If there’s one thing this gear reviewing venture has taught me is that you can count on brands that are good. I’ve been exposed to brands I’d never before tried through this gig, which is awesome and educational as well – I never would have found out how much I like Patagonia had I not gotten some samples for this site. Now, it’s top on my list; as long as the item fits my body, I like it.

But the reason I never tried Patagonia before is that I perceived it was expensive. And some of it is. Patagonia just came out with an $800 down parka, for instance. $800! An $800 belay jacket. And I bet tons of people think they want that, but why? How many of us belay in such conditions that we need an $800 belay jacket? Not me. No, thank you. I don’t even belay when I need a $400 belay jacket anymore. So, I didn’t ask to try out the fantabuloso $800 belay jacket, no, I kind of stupidly decided to do an article on price point gear instead. I had been noticing that even though Patagonia is known for being expensive, it has an extensive line of mid and low priced stuff too. Once I saw that you can get one of my favorite Patagonia pieces, the Simple Guide pants, for just $10 more than you would pay for some crappy Columbia pants at Sports Authority, I started to wonder if the “Patagucci” moniker was really fair. So I asked for a set of the price point Torrentshell line and set about finding out whether it really is worth it to buy a $300 rain shell and whether or not a $100 rain shell will do.

But the thing is, my counterpart did a way better job of finding this out than I did. So I have posted his review below. English is his second language so if you want to get all uppity about grammar let’s see you write a gear review in YOUR second language. You do have one, right?

I liked the Torrentshell I tried. It fit well, it repelled the rain, it was warm, it has good features, I didn’t have to get all freaky about keeping my ice tools away from it because it costs about $100 which is pretty low for a jacket these days. I had no complaints and I’ll probably use it pretty frequently. It’s got that great Patagonia fit and is good quality as you would expect. The fabric is the difference; it’s just not AS GOOD as the $300 Super Cell which is made of Gore Tex. It’s hard to go wrong with Gore Tex but sometimes it’s hard to come up with the money. The pared-down H2No performance standard material on the Torrentshell is as basic as it gets. Don’t expect serious breathability (as was pointed out to me, if it’s more humid inside than outside, the fabric isn’t going to understand that it’s supposed to breathe) because it’s base-level fabric. If this is what you can afford then buy it and accept that if you wear it when it’s raining and you’re working hard, you’re going to get wet with sweat. Better to get wet from the rain, and carry a dry layer and put that on with the Torrentshell on top when you stop moving.

So you’ll have to make some allowances if you buy low end. If that’s what you can afford, that’s totally OK. I’d rather see you buy the low end and use the hell out of it than buy top end and sit crying in a corner because you nicked it with your chain ring and can’t return it to the store because now they’re all on to us about that. One thing that’s awesome, though, is that the Torrenshell is still pretty damn abrasion resistant. More about that below:

Patagonia Men’s Torrentshell Stretch Jacket

Color: Cilantro CIR-175
Size: M
My personal review.

This is the first shell from Patagonia I have.
It was hard for me to decide to try it after using normally my other jackets for specific sports.

The first time I tried was in snowboarding, backcountry snowboarding to be specific.
The shell is light, so light, which is a good point in the hiking part. I wear the jacket all the hike and I open the armpit ventilation zippers and I barely sweat. The shell breath really well in those conditions, where you hike and sweat and the air is dry. It helps a little to keep you warm, I mean is not insulated but keeps your own heat, letting your transpiration to go away.
The front zipper was a pain in the … chin. Really, that zipper is so stiff. So If you opened a little it bothers you all the time poking your chin.

So, for snowboarding, the jacket performed really well, it gives me the flexibility needed arms, chest, hips, all fit so nice. And again, the breathability is so cool. The biggest concerns here were that the back part of the jacket is not long enough for some of my activities. It would be nice that the back part were longer a little and not keep it going up your pants because de backpack. The other part… the zipper again. I close the chin zipper all the way up to protect the powder to come in, but zipper is that stiff that the flap part next to my cheek was bothering me all the way down, is not flexible because the zipper.

It’s been around 3 weeks since I’ve been using this shell as my daily shell, commute winter biking to work and around. So cool that coming to work in the morning I’m not sweated. And blocks the wind when need it. 2 weeks ago I crash in my bike, fell and slide over black ice, dirt and pavement. My pant got torn, but where I hit my shoulder and arm was just dirty and with some black color from the asphalt, but not torn.

I have been splashed and hiking with it around these days in spring. Is working good. But is not rainy season yet in Alaska, so, I cannot tell you the performance for rain and the relation Rain-Breathability. We know that the gradient of humidity between layers is the main player here. So I don’t know how the jacket will perform in a sweaty conditions when the humidity outside is bigger because the rain, but I have good expectations on the material. The zipper, well I hope they fix that design, put some snap buttons or something… it’s just annoying.

In brief, the material, weight, breathability, the fit are good. But the zipper is stiff, hard to move them out of your neck or chin. Also the pockets are not as big or as many, would be great bigger pockets, or more.

And now in Spanish

Mi revisión personal

Esta es la primera chamarra exterior que tengo de Patagonia.
Fue difícil para mí decidirme a probarla, después que normalmente uso mis otras chamarras para cada deporte en específico.

La primera vez que la probé fue en snowboarding, backcountry snowboarding, para ser específico.
La chamarra es ligera, muy ligera, que es algo muy bueno cuando caminas en la montaña. Use la chamarra toda la caminata y abrí las ventilas de las axilas, rara vez sudé. La chamarra transpira muy bien en esas condiciones, donde caminas, sudas y el aire exterior es seco. Ayuda un poco a mantenerse en calor, me refiero a que la chamarra no es caliente, pero ayuda a mantener el calor corporal sin sudar.
El cierre frontal es una molestia, en el mentón. En verdad! Ese cierre está muy duro. Cuando abres el cierre un poco molesta que todo el tiempo se te vaya encajando en la barbilla.

Para hacer snowboarding la chamarra se desempeña muy bien, me da flexibilidad necesaria en brazos, pecho, cadera, todo sienta bien. Y de nuevo la transpiración del material es muy buena. Mi mayor inconformidad es la parte de atrás de la chamarra. Es muy corta para algunas actividades y todo el tiempo se sube hacia arriba del pantalón cuando traes una mochila puesta. Y de nuevo el cierre frontal molesta. Esta ocasión lo cerré completo, para proteger mi barbilla y cuello de la nieve, sin embargo la parte que cubre la mejilla molesta que no se dobla porque el cierre es muy rígido.

Ya son alrededor de 3 semanas que la estoy utilizando diariamente como chamarra exterior, viajar en bici al trabajo en invierno y alrededores. Se siente muy bien que venga a la oficina a trabajar sin sudar, ya que la chamarra transpira muy bien y cubre el viento. Hace dos semanas me caí de la bicicleta y me deslicé sobre hielo negro, tierra y pavimento. My pantalón se rompió, pero donde mi hombro y brazo golpearon y rasparon no se rompieron, solo se ensuciaron.

Me he salpicado y caminado con esta chamarra estos últimos días en primavera. Trabaja muy bien. Pero tengo que mencionar que aún no es temporada de lluvias en Alaska, por lo tanto no puedo decirles el desempeño de la chamarra en lluvia y la relación de Transpiración con Lluvia. Nosotros sabemos que el gradiente de humedad entre capas es el rol importante aquí. Entonces no sé como será el desempeño en condiciones de sudar cuando la humedad exterior es mayor a causa de la lluvia, pero tengo buenas expectativas de que el material será bueno. El cierre, pues espero hagan algo para arreglarlo, o cambien el diseño. Agregarle unos botones para doblarlo o algo así. Es demasiado molesto.

En resumen, el material, el peso, la transpiración, el cómo sienta, son muy buenos para esa chamarra. Pero el cierre es demasiado rígido y molesto, difícil de moverlo fuera de tu cuello o barbilla. Además las bolsas no son muy grandes o suficientes, sería genial que le agregaran más bolsillos o fueran más grandes.