Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Rain Jacket Review

I am not exactly what you’d call a fair-weather backpacker. Between my day job as a backcountry guide in the Smokies and a planned thru-hike of Scotland’s West Highland Way, I anticipated a lot of wet weather on the trail this year — so I knew I needed a rain jacket that could handle anything. Enter the Patagonia Torrentshell.

This sturdy three-layer rain jacket isn’t the lightest offering available, but it seemed like the right choice for my use case. How did it hold up? Keep reading to find out.

Patagonia Torrentshell At a Glance

Patagonia Torrentshell 3L rain jacket on display on a wet hike in GSMNP

MSRP: $179
Weight: 12.4 oz (women’s), 14.1oz (men’s)
Materials: 3-layer, 3.5-oz 50-denier ECONYL 100% recycled nylon ripstop face, polycarbonate PU membrane with 13% biobased content, tricot backer, DWR finish
Size Range: Women’s XS-XXL, men’s XS-3XL

Circumstances of Review

I work as a backpacking guide in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and have worn this jacket on multi-night trips throughout my 2024 season. The Torrentshell also accompanied me to Scotland to hike the West Highland Way. Both southern Appalachia and Scotland are known for their soggy weather, and this jacket was put to the test during damp and windy days.

Key Features

Adjustable hood: Two-way adjustable hood with a visor to keep the rain out of your eyes (especially valuable if you wear glasses!).

Microfleece-lined neck: Just enough microfleece to improve next-to-skin feel in this high-contact area, with a waterproof-breathable barrier for extra protection.

Pit zips and hand pockets: Unlike minimalist ultralight rain jackets, the Torrentshell splashes out in the weight department for pit zips to improve ventilation in the sweaty underarm area, plus zippable handwarmer pockets for stowing your hands or small snacks/gear items.

Cuff closures: Velcro closures allow you to cinch the cuffs tight around your wrists so that rainwater doesn’t run up your sleeves every time you raise your arms (like when using trekking poles).

Adjustable drawcord hem: Hem is cinchable so you can get the perfect fit and shut out cold drafts no matter where this falls on your waist/hips.

PFC/PFAS-free: The Torrentshell has a Durable Water Repellent finish, like most rain jackets, but it is made without harmful “forever chemicals.” We now know that this class of chemical is both persistent in the environment and dangerous to human and environmental health, and more and more brands are making the shift to PFC/PFAS-free DWR treatments.

Patagonia Torrentshell Materials, Fit, and Performance


I am a 5’8, 150 lb female with wider hips and a smaller chest. I wear a women’s medium, and it fits me fine. I was able to comfortably zip this jacket over a base layer, midlayer, and fleece.

Had I tried to squeeze a puffy into the equation, I bet the rain jacket would have fit more snugly, but overall, I was pleased with the fit. I also appreciated the longer cut because the jacket never rode up under my hip belt when wearing it with a full pack. 


There are multiple elastic cords, zippers, and velcro straps to better meet the wearer’s preferred fit. The hood can be cinched down using the claps on the back of the hood, or tightened on the sides using the draw cord. The sleeve cuffs can be tightened or loosened with velcro. There is also an adjustable drawcord around the waist. 


Patagonia’s signature H₂No is a performance standard rather than an actual product. It involves both lab and field testing to rate an item’s “waterproofness, breathability, surface repellency, and long-term durability.” In the Torrentshell 3L rain jacket, the actual waterproofing comes from the use of the three separate layers: a quick drying nylon face, a waterproof polycarbonate membrane, and tricot backer for a soft inner layer that touches skin. The jacket is finished with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR). 


Because of the jacket’s three layer design, there isn’t a lot of air flow throughout the jacket. In order to ensure water doesn’t get in, those materials trap heat in. Patagonia’s designers have tried to navigate this by including 11” pit zips on the Torrentshell 3L to increase ventilation. 

Patagonia Torrentshell 3L women’s jacket in “Pufferfish Gold”, size medium


There are left and right front pockets that function as hand warmers. No chest pocket or pocket sown into the inner lining.


Two zippered hand warmer pockets. Storm flaps (double layer of material) on top and bottom of center zipper to prevent soaking through or zipper getting stuck. 11” pit zips on each side for added ventilation.

Did I Get Wet?

In the short term, no. Long term, yes. At a certain point nothing is truly waterproof after a couple hours of consistent drizzle. That reality, coupled with the fact that I was actively sweating while wearing this jacket, makes it hard for me to determine how wet I really got. Was I wet with rain because the jacket soaked through? Or was I wet because I had been sweating underneath all my layers? 

Aside from extended backpacking trips in the Smokies and Scotland, I wear this jacket regularly in my daily life. It has kept me dry during dashes to my car and on walks around my neighborhood on dreary days. I think this jacket does well for an hour or so, and then eventually the rain wins and starts to slowly permeate the material.

Typical rainy weather in Scotland while exploring the Fairy Pools on Isle of Skye

Patagonia Torrentshell Pros

A brand with purpose: Patagonia’s values are plainly stated on their website: “We guarantee everything we make. We take responsibility for our impact. We support grassroots activism. We keep your gear going. We give our profits to the planet.” A key characteristic that Patagonia is known for is participating in fair trade. While researching for this article, I watched their short film “Fair Trade: The First Step”. Patagonia partners with Fair Trade USA to ensure that a premium is paid for every item that is made in a Fair Trade Certified factory. That premium then goes to a worker-elected board where members decide what to do with the funds. In the film, the highlighted factory chose to direct premium funds to a childcare center on campus. As a consumer, it makes me feel good knowing that my patronage is helping to benefit the person who stitched my rain jacket.

Patagonia boasts an “ironclad guarantee”: If a piece of their gear, from clothing to equipment, breaks down over time, Patagonia will repair it for a fee. Purchasing something from Patagonia means you can expect to get your money’s worth. 

Windproof: While hiking in Scotland, this jacket mainly served as my windbreaker. Atop Conic Hill and Ben Nevis we experienced strong winds. I threw the jacket on to prevent the wind from chilling me, and it was a lifesaver! I could still feel the wind biting through my pants, but my rain jacket kept the wind off my core. It also served as a great insulating layer during chilly nights at camp.

Visor: The laminated visor atop the hood helps to keep the rain out of your eyes and prevent it from dripping down your face.

Packability: The jacket can be stuffed down into its own little attached stuff sack that’s located in the left front zipper pocket. I usually opted to just roll the jacket in on itself with the laminated visor. Either way it stores away small for when it isn’t raining.

Patagonia Torrentshell 3L rain jacket packed down

Patagonia Torrentshell Cons

Price: I rocked a single pair of $25 Frogg Toggs on my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. I definitely consider myself frugal at best. Because of that, this price point is a con for me.

When looking at other brands like Arc’teryx, though, Patagonia’s price is humble (especially when you remember that the $179 Patagonia jacket was made in a Fair Trade Certified factory). Yes, there are cheaper options on the market, but there are also significantly more expensive choices as well.

Weight: Clocking in at just over 12oz for the women’s jacket and 14oz for the men’s, this jacket certainly isn’t ultralight. For a quick weekend trip or running around town, the weight doesn’t really matter. But for a multi-week or multi-month trip, those ounces add up.

There are a variety of ultralight rain jackets on the market if weight is not something you’re willing to compromise on.  

Drawcords hard to use: The drawcords around the hood of the jacket are embedded in the fabric. This means that you can’t actually see the release button to be able to adjust the cord. It took a lot of trial and error for me to blindly grope the release button before I figured out how to adjust the hood claps.

There is a drawcord on either side of the hood and another on the back of the hood. This fumbling could be chalked up to operator error, but the release mechanism for the drawcord at the hem of the jacket is visible and easy to use.

Given that the jacket has two different types of release mechanisms, I think the designers should have stuck with the easier-to-use one or at least made them both visible so that they’re easier to operate (especially when it’s raining sideways and you’re trying to adjust the jacket’s hood!).

Limited pockets: If pockets are high on your priority list, this jacket is not for you. There are only two handwarmer pockets. Other rain jackets can have a chest pocket or even hidden inside pockets. I felt like the two pockets for my hands were fine, but I have enjoyed having secret hiding spots in other jackets.

Not the most breathable: Even with the pit zips wide open, I found it hard to regulate my body temperature when wearing this jacket. It isn’t the most breathable. My core especially holds onto heat, and there’s little to be done in terms of ventilation in that area when the main zipper is shut to block out rain. 

Patagonia Torrentshell 3L rain jacket being used as a windbreaker atop Ben Nevis in Scotland


Overall, this is a good jacket for the price. There are cheaper options on the market as well as more expensive ones. I truly believe that there is no such thing as “waterproof” and that no matter what you pay, you are still going to end up wet eventually.

I would not consider this jacket especially breathable, but beggars can’t be choosers. There’s no such a thing as a perfect rain jacket. Being caught without a rain jacket during a torrential downpour can feel soul-crushing (and dangerous), so I always recommend bringing something.

The Patagonia Torrentshell 3L is an appropriate jacket to bring along on all types of adventures, whether it be a thru-hike, weekend trip, or even just the walk between your car and the office. 

Shop the Women’s Patagonia Torrentshell

Shop the Men’s Patagonia Torrentshell


Comparable Jackets

Cotopaxi Cielo Rain Jacket

  • MSRP: $145
  • Weight: 16 oz

REI Co-Op XERODry GTX Jacket

  • MSRP: $179
  • Weight: 11 oz

The North Face Alta Vista Jacket

  • MSRP: $140
  • Weight: 11.2 oz

For a more in depth look at what rain jackets thru-hikers are wearing in this year, check out The Best Backpacking Rain Jackets for Thru-Hiking in 2024 on The Trek.

The Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Rain Jacket was donated for the purpose of review

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