A Classic Shell Jacket Gets New Tech: Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Jacket Review

Newly Updated – The Patagonia Torrentshell 3L gets a big upgrade in the waterproofing department.

We love a good throwback story, but the truth is, the Torrentshell rain jacket never fell out of fashion. He only got better. One of Patagonia’s most popular jackets, the Torrentshell 3L Jacket has power, and for good reason.

In its current adaptation, the Torrentshell gains a half layer in its proprietary Patagonia H2No membrane over its predecessor, and with it an increase in overall waterproofness and durability. But more than that, it was the overall versatility and accessibility of the jacket that won us over.

We tested the latest version of the Torrentshell 3L jacket in Washington’s Cascades this spring. We have found that at its price range, there are few other jackets that can match the value this jacket offers. It might not be the most breathable or packable rain jacket out there, but for general hiking and everyday use, it’s easily one of the first we’d reach for.

In short: At $150, the Torrentshell 3L Jacket undercuts many other jackets — and beats them in quite a few measures. A recently updated three-layer H2No The waterproof membrane brings this classic piece into the present and makes it a viable choice for anyone looking for a case to go.

Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Jacket Review

(Photo/Nick Belcaster)

Torrentshell 3L: Specifications

  • Waterproof membrane: Exclusive three-layer H2No
  • Waterproof index: 20,000mm/24hrs.
  • Breathability index: Unpublished
  • Armpit zips: Nope
  • Adapt: Usual
  • Lester: 13.9 oz.
  • Price: $150

Waterproofing

Brewed especially for Patagonia, the exclusive H2No Performance Standard technology used in the Torrentshell spec has a waterproof rating of 20,000mm, which proved more than enough in our tests to keep out heavy downpours and gales.

The new three-layer membrane adds extra knit backing, which improves moisture wicking and helps keep the membrane free of body oils that would otherwise block and hinder waterproof performance. We consider this a great update to the Torrentshell jacket.

This extra layer comes at a weight and bulk penalty (our two main complaints), but given that most other competing rain jackets use a 2.5 layer membrane, you gain a considerable amount of waterproofing for the trade-off.

Jackets like the Outdoor Research Dry Line or the Mountain Hardwear Stretch Ozonic both are offered at a similar price but will not provide the same durable seal.

Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Balaclava
(Photo/Nick Belcaster)

Breathability

There are no published breathability ratings for H2No waterproof membranes (trust us, we scoured the internet). But, in testing, we found the Patagonia Torrentshell 3L ability to breathe better than other 2.5 layer jackets and about as good as other three layer jackets.

Compared to a jacket like the 66 North Snaefell, which uses a Polartec NeoShell three-layer membrane, the difference is noticeable, but this jacket costs $375 more. And for the money, the Torrentshell is absolutely capable.

On hard climbs we had to vent with the pit zippers, which is not uncommon, and we were grateful for the double-zippered underarm openings to keep air flowing.

Comfort

With a stiffer feel than some other rain jackets, the Torrentshell feels like an old-fashioned rain jacket and produces a bit of crease when in use. We don’t know if this is partly due to the 100% recycled outer fabric (50% pre-consumer, 50% post-consumer nylon), but it makes sense to trust it. We imagine that with a little use this jacket would break down and become looser.

Added wicking textile to the inside of the jacket increases overall comfort and feel, but the shell is missing a few key details (soft chin bar, please!).

Patagonia Torrentshell Wristbands
(Photo/Nick Belcaster)

Weight and Packed Size

At 13.9 ounces, the Torrentshell isn’t your wispy trail runner’s emergency shell, but it’s not designed to be. Clean Patagonia Storm10 jacket uses the same three-layer version of its H2No waterproof membrane, but it comes in at a svelte 8.3 ounces in total. The Torrentshell’s weight and bulk are largely due to its 50D ripstop nylon outer fabric and sturdier construction.

Patagonia was certainly channeling its Wear it for life ethos and aimed to create a jacket that would stand up to seasons of abuse – and they nailed it with the Torrentshell.

Zippers, pockets and hood

As a more budget-friendly jacket, the Torrentshell uses no waterproof zippers seen in high-end rain shells. Instead, the main zipper sports a unique tri-fold storm flap arrangement that wraps around the zipper and seals out the weather, which we think works well. The same storm flap design is found on the hand pocket zippers and underarm zippers.

The right pocket has a double-sided zipper and carabiner loop, meaning the entire case can be stowed there for easy carrying. The hood, although not compatible with a helmet, fitted well and is two-way adjustable with a rolled brim.

Patagonia Torrentshell Balaclava
(Photo/Nick Belcaster)

Durability and durability

Patagonia’s decision to make the Torrentshell from its three-layer H2No waterproof membrane will certainly increase the jacket’s long-term durability, as well as the thicker 50D outer fabric. We find it hard to believe that anything but the roughest treatment would start to wear this jacket down, and in testing we couldn’t put a scratch on it.

We’ve already hailed the Torrentshell as highly sustainable, but also understand that there’s no free lunch. Reaching for a jacket that tipped the scales in one direction usually means it’s more likely to suffer in another metric.

For durable jackets, it often comes down to overall performance. Rain jackets of yore used all types of petrochemicals to achieve their waterproof performance. While Patagonia is taking steps to use only fluorocarbon-free DWR finishes in all of its outerwear by fall 2022, the Torrentshell unfortunately still uses the former.

Conclusion

The Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Jacket would make an easy choice for anyone looking to grab a rain jacket and go. The newly updated three-layer H2No waterproof membrane has greatly improved this already classic jacket and puts it head and shoulders above others in the same range.

A highly durable construction – with 100% recycled outer fabric, Fair Trade certified stitching and a PU membrane that incorporates 13% bio-based content – completes this everyday shell. The jacket makes some concessions, especially in terms of average breathability, bulkier size and stiffer fabric. But priced at $150, few jackets come close in accessible performance.

Check Men’s Price at REI Check Women’s Price at REI