Jon from the ecommerce team tests the H2N0 fabric all round waterproof shell from Patagonia:

I’ve tried loads of different waterproof jacket materials over the years, Gore-Tex of course, in many guises, Paclite, 3 layer, 2 layer and more, eVent, TriplePoint Ceramic (anyone remember that?) Sympatex and a few clothing systems with variable results.

Not however a H2No jacket, H2No is a proprietary fabric technology from Patagonia, which means its developed by them for their exclusive use.

Subtle H2NO logo on the lower sleeve

With a more than a nod to sustainability and lowering their environmental impact the Torrentshell has an 100% recycled nylon outer fabric. The jacket is a “3 layer” which used to mean a stiffer feel with the trade off being it was tougher for the rough and tumble of hard use.

These days 3 layer fabrics have come on loads and are softer feeling, fine to wear next to skin with a short sleeved T for example and packable. You still get the benefits of durability of a 3 layer too.

The fabric of the jacket appears to be one with coloured outer, green in my case, with a grey fine mesh feel to the inside. In reality it’s 3 layers laminated together with the fully waterproof bit being the middle of the sandwich, protected on both sides.

Packable wise the jacket stows in its left hand pocket, the reason it’s the left is that one features a zip puller on the inside of the zip as well as a hanging loop in case you want to clip your jacket on to something when stuffed.

I would rate this as a compact waterproof, you can get smaller and lighter but for year-round use this one balances size with overall feeling of being protected in the rain. Super light waterproofs are ideal for spring summer when something that packs down to a super small size is better. However for year round and potentially all day in a shell I’d choose something of this weight.

Compact pack size, measuring around 24cm length

Inside the jacket looks high quality, as you would expect, with neat thinner taping, to improve surface area for breathability and feel. Around the neck there’s a laminated soft feel patch to cover where a few seams meet on the back of the neck. I couldn’t see the fabric and seams being uncomfortable in this area but some users may, so this mitigates that.

Fit wise I chose a medium size, being between around a 42” chest sometimes means a large for me in tops but the Torrentshell is a great fit. I can get a light insulated jacket underneath (Rab Cirrus Flex) for colder days or wear with less and it doesn’t feel baggy.

On some wet days it was really easy to get all the drawcords tightened to help keep the rain out, the hood works with a rear cord to take volume away and the same for round the rim to keep the hood the right size for your head, whether wearing a hat or not.

One useful feature I’ve used on this and previous jackets is the underarm zippers. Typical days walking will have you overheating one minute and zipping everything up the next when the wind whips up. Being able to unzip a bit under the arms to release heat really helps. The zips are easily grabbed, even with gloves and operated with one hand.

Like most shells when new the water just beads off, even in heavy rain. Whilst I haven’t washed mine yet it’s interesting that Patagonia print a reminder to wash regularly to keep dry. In general, most people don’t wash their shells enough. Whether that’s not being sure what to wash in or a worry that their investment won’t stand washing very often perhaps. Dirt and your sweat will impede a fabric breathing so take a look at our advice here and don’t be afraid to give a shell a wash every few months. Get in touch if you need any advice on this.

In use I found the Patagonia Torrentshell really comfortable, whether as a windproof layer on cold blowy days or in the rain. Comparing it with my last long-term shell, an early version Pro Shell from Gore-Tex also in 3 layer, I found this one to be comparable. Using the under-arm zippers when needed I haven’t overheated yet and the fabric feels just right weight for protection in driving rain. It’s been an Autumn Winter test so far so it will be interesting to see how it feels in warmer seasons but for my first H2No jacket I’m impressed.