Patagonia Storm10 Ultralight Rain Jacket Review
When it comes to finding the quintessential rain jacket for your thru-hike, the options can easily feel overwhelming. As it turns out, waterproofness isn’t the only quality that keeps you, well, dry. Taking into consideration the jacket’s breathability, fit, and ability to keep you warm without turning into an inescapable moisture magnet are all factors in finding that perfect jacket.
And while no jacket is perfect, the Patagonia Storm10 will answer the prayers of those searching for a sleek, lightweight weatherproof jacket that doesn’t skimp on the bells and whistles. This three-layer jacket, with the women’s model clocking in at just 7.4 ounces, doesn’t sacrifice the creature comforts that most ultralight jackets do. Think lightweight, plus backpack-compatible pockets, adjustable hood, and low-profile cuffs, all finished off with Patagonia’s polished look. Plus, it even packs down to the size of a 21-ounce Hydro Flask.
Patagonia Storm10 At-a-Glance
Weight: 7.4 oz (women’s) | 8.3 oz (men’s)
Materials: 3-layer, 20-denier 100% recycled nylon ripstop outer layer and 7-denier tricot interior backer
Waterproofing: H2No polyester-based membrane and DWR finish
Circumstances of Review
I tested this jacket across Colorado’s high peaks during a late monsoon season, August to October. This packable layer endured the exposed alpine of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, rugged trails involving scrambling and high mobility in the Elk Range, dense, precipitous forests of the Indian Peaks Wilderness, and daily afternoon thunderstorms that required an emergency shell.
Although I only found myself needing this jacket for shorter, daily bursts of inclement weather, it maintained its stormproofness in torrential rain, piercing hail, and even a summertime snowstorm for a few hours at a time. It was also my go-to layer while trekking on wind-stripped ridges above 14,000 feet, and typically tested in temperatures ranging from 40 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Patagonia Storm10 Features
You can easily adjust the hood using a single-pull drawcord in the back to pull in the elasticized sides for protection against the elements. One of my biggest rain jacket pet peeves is a floppy hood that continually sinks over your eyes, which typically offers minimal protection and no visibility. The Storm10 handled this minuscule, yet irritating, problem and offered great peripheral vision.
For my fellow dirtbag friends who also utilize much of their thru-hiking apparel for climbing, mountaineering, or skiing endeavors, the hood on this jacket is also helmet-compatible.
The first thing most lightweight jackets sacrifice is pockets. Fortunately, the Storm10 doesn’t make you choose between functionality and weight. Still maintaining its featherweight status, this jacket is built with a whopping three pockets. Two front pockets, intentionally designed to be compatible with a backpack waist belt, are large enough to fit the necessities (phone, snacks, and other easy-access items). Plus, the external chest pocket stealthily doubles as a stuff sack for the entire jacket.
Anti-Clammy Inner Fabric
Most ultralight rain jackets skimp on an inner material, which means as soon as you begin to sweat, that fabric clings to your skin like plastic wrap. Patagonia remedied this issue with the Storm10’s tricot backer, a nylon fabric that feels soft against the skin and resists clamminess.
Cuffs and Drawcords
As promised by Patagonia’s sleek design, this jacket also boasts adjustable cuffs to tightly seal out weather using a velcro closure and a drawcord hem to better adjust the fit of the jacket’s waist.
Stormproof Zipper & Storm Flap
This jacket features a full-length watertight zipper with an internal storm flap to ensure maximum protection. That said, all zippers on this jacket are also coated and waterproofed.
The Great Debate: Breathability & Waterproofness
The two common questions when assessing a rain jacket are, “Is it breathable?” and, “Is it really waterproof?” While most jackets try to incorporate breathable and waterproof features into their fabrics or coatings, it’s not possible to have 100% of either. Let’s get into what that means.
Patagonia relies on its signature H2No membrane, made from 100% recycled polyester-based fabric, to give the jacket its waterproof abilities. Coupled with the 3-layer construction and DWR finish, this is what offers one of the more durable and long-lasting waterproof options outside of a Gore-Tex or thicker and heavier material.
However, the flip side of H2No’s high-quality waterproof abilities is that it sacrifices breathability. That’s just the name of the game with waterproof fabrics and isn’t unique to the Storm10. Rain jackets don’t allow your body heat and sweat to escape as well as non-waterproof layers.
In addition to the jacket’s waterproof membrane trapping moisture, the more important thing to consider with the Storm10 is its lack of venting. For a jacket that seems to offer a lot of fan-favorite features, such as pockets, it seems remiss of Patagonia not to include pit zips for easy ventilation.
While I mainly tested this jacket at higher altitudes and, hence, cooler temperatures, it’s easy to assume that this jacket would turn into a personal sauna if worn in warmer climates or during more intensive activity.
Patagonia Storm10 Pros
Lightweight and Packable
Without a doubt, the biggest attention-grabber for hikers looking to cut on weight is how ridiculously lightweight and packable the Storm10 is. Most ultralight options, like the classic Frogg Toggs, may be a few ounces lighter, but they are significantly lacking in features. The Storm10 is almost as light and packable, plus it’s more comfortable, fits better, and offers a plethora of features that improve its ability to keep you dry.
It’s difficult to find a jacket that’s designed to be adjustable on all fronts. While Patagonia’s fit and sizing can be a bit wonky (see cons list below), the adjustable velcro cuffs, drawcord hood, and waistband make up for it.
Patagonia is known for their high-quality gear, so this comes as no surprise. Although it may not utilize Gore-Tex, Patagonia’s proprietary waterproof membrane is one of the best on the market, and resists wetting out in tough environments.
Fair Trade Certified
Another key quality Patagonia is known for is the company’s outstanding ethics when it comes to environmental action and fair labor. The company pays (and charges) a premium for every one of its items made in a Fair Trade Certified factory in an effort to ensure living wages for workers in their supply chain.
Patagonia Storm10 Cons
The high price tag that accompanies every Patagonia garment is consistently a barrier in my book. Although you’re often investing in a high-quality piece of gear, that justification is typically an afterthought with more affordable and equally high-quality gear on the market. At $329, even with decked-out features like pockets, or adjustable hood and cuffs, the price is difficult to excuse considering it’s not Gore-Tex and lacks ventilation options.
Durable Water-Repellent coatings don’t last forever and can be a pain to maintain. Although the bulk of the Storm10’s weather protection is provided by the internal membrane, you still need to refresh the DWR coating periodically to ensure your jacket functions properly. DWR’s main function is to prevent the outer fabric from wetting out, thus preserving breathability. While hardly unique to the Storm10, DWR health should be a concern over the life of the jacket. It will likely not last the entirety of a longer thru-hike meaning that you might benefit from giving it some love along the way.
My one quip with Patagonia is their wonky sizing. Categorized as a slim-fitting jacket, the Storm10 is a narrow garment that best fits an individual with a long, straight torso. As a woman with hips, I found the sizing on this jacket difficult to get right. In an effort to ensure layering compatibility with fleeces and other jackets underneath, I sized up at the cost of an awkward fit that bunches at the hips.
While I acknowledge fashion is closer to the bottom of my list (proof: I’ve rocked the baggy Frogg Toggs look for many miles), the bunched fabric is, frankly, annoying when wearing the hip belt of a pack. In addition, the helmet-compatible hood looks incredibly goofy if you’re not wearing a helmet—which, for the sake of a thru-hike, is a moot point.
Get Ready to Sweat
Like I mentioned above, the downside to this jacket’s great waterproofing is its reduced breathability and lack of venting options. The jacket fails to include any pit zips, forcing the wearer to depend on the jacket’s membrane for breathability, which is inadequate during active pursuits.
All things considered, the Patagonia Storm10 is a fantastic option for ultralight backpackers who want a jacket that disappears in their pack while also keeping some luxury features such as an adjustable hood and pockets. Assuredly durable and waterproof, this jacket is ideal for those expecting passing afternoon thunderstorms on a trail like the PCT or Colorado Trail, rather than a soggy, precipitous thru-hike through the Pacific Northwest during the rainy season.
Comparable Ultralight Rain Jackets
Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite² Rain Jacket
Weight: 5.8 oz
Montbell Versalite Jacket
Weight: 6.4 oz
Outdoor Research Helium Rain Jacket
Weight: 6.3 oz
This Patagonia Storm10 was donated for the purpose of review
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