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The aspirations of the Patagonia Torrentshell Pullover are decidedly to the point: to provide lightweight, waterproof and breathable protection in the face of inclement wet weather. While simple enough in concept, the manner in which this deceptively straightforward jacket accomplishes this is most assuredly not.
The effectiveness of a rain shell is measured, of course, largely by its ability to keep its wearer dry during drizzles and deluges alike. That the ultra lightweight Patagonia Torrentshell Pullover succeeds remarkably well in doing so is due in large part to Patagonia’s proprietary H2No material, which combines a waterproof laminate over a supple, ripstop nylon fabric; this is not a shell that inhibits movement or wilts under abuse.
The H2No laminate also facilitates the outward flow of water vapor from the body through the jacket membrane, preventing a debilitating clammy interior even during extended hikes through downpours in warmer climes.
With an unfussy appearance, the Torrentshell Pullover packs an impressive feature list that belies its meager 10.1 ounces. From the top down, a function over frills aesthetic prevails, beginning with the adjustable and stowable hood that rolls up snugly for those times when the showers abate. The laminated visor is a nice touch, even if its reach doesn’t extend as far as it could without impacting the design adversely.
When fully zipped, the pullover extends above the chin, which is protected from rubbing against the nylon shell with soft microfleece. The zipper itself, which can be sealed underneath a storm overlap, is surprisingly sturdy for an ultralight jacket and is built to last. A zippered internal chest pocket can accommodate a smartphone and wallet with room to spare.
The overall fit is somewhat snug; as you’d expect, it’s not intended to be worn over layers. As well, its streamlined design left room for only the chest pocket; if you plan on long runs with the jacket, choose wisely what you stuff in there.
Of course, you could simply choose to pack the Patagonia Torrentshell Pullover itself in the reversible pocket. Clip it to your belt or backpack with the attached carabiner loop and within seconds you’ll have monsoon-level protection at the first sign of a nimbus cloud. (MSRP $99)
Steven Horak is a writer, editor and photographer with a particular interest in travel and wildlife. He was the lead editor of Ultimate Adventures: A Rough Guide to Adventure Travel and as an author he’s contributed to Rough Guides to the Czech Republic, Costa Rica and Canada. He’s also authored children’s books on animals, created ESL and EFL materials and has written for New York-based publications such as TimeOut New York and NYMag.com.
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