Remember the elementary school riddle, “What’s black and white and red/read all over?” A zebra with the measles? A newspaper? In my case, it’s my Patagonia Women’s Torrentshell Stretch Jacket, in maraschino, of course. Where does the “black and white” fit in, you ask? It comes from the fact that this jacket knows exactly what it is. There is no gray area; the Torrentshell is awesome at keeping you dry, layering and upholding your stylish reputation.
As part of Patagonia’s H2No product line, the Torrentshell is the ultimate breathable rain jacket, perfect for spring or summer showers or for pairing with wintertime gear. Please note that if it’s chilly, you’ll want to layer with warmer clothing because, while this jacket effortlessly blocks wind, it is thin, with zero insulation. I love that the Torrentshell is light and not the least bit bulky. In fact, it stuffs into its own pocket. How amazingly pack-friendly is that?
Sometimes, ordering gear online is risky business because items often run outrageously small or large. My Torrentshell fits exactly right; it even has long sleeves that don’t pull or shorten halfway up my forearm when I move my arms. (I’m pretty sure this is why the jacket has “stretch” in its name.) I have to admit that my least favorite aspect of this jacket is that it makes a crinkle sound when I move. I’m hoping this will lessen as I break it in more, but it may be necessary for such great waterproof technology.
Another lovable feature is the Torrentshell’s labyrinth of pockets, complete with coated waterproof zippers. No matter how much or how little I carry, this jacket has a storage spot. I’ve enjoyed the hip, chest and sleeve pockets, and I like knowing that I can stash my phone, lip balm and ID while I play in the snow, and not wonder if they will become waterlogged.
Flexibility is crucial, especially in my Colorado location, where weather changes constantly. I tested this jacket during a raging snowstorm in the Grand Lake region of the Rocky Mountains, and it passed with flying colors. The Torrentshell easily morphs into the jacket I desire. I can customize my fit, comfort and air-flow preference with pit zips, a waist drawstring and Velcro wrist closures. Plus, the adjustable hood is hard to beat. It is a “for real” hood that stays snuggly on my head and keeps the elements out, not a “for show” hood that slowly slips off the back of my head or over my eyes with every step I take.
Patagonia offers a plethora of gear that I would highly recommend. The Women’s Torrentshell Stretch Jacket retails for $199, and you can find additional products and details at www.patagonia.com.