Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tour Divide - Stuff That Worked - Patagonia Torrentshell Jacket


Issaquah, Washington, the town where I live, is right at the base of the Washington Cascades. Issaquah gets a bit more rain than Seattle and the spring of 2010 was extra wet. In March I splurged and got myself a Patagonia Torrentshell jacket.

My friend Mark Thomas has observed that any garment that claims to be waterproof and breathable is usually one or the other, but not both. Fabric can only vent so much, so I've learned to look for jackets with big arm-pit zippers. The Torrentshell has such zippers and while the jacket is light (about 12 ounces), it's tough and very well designed.

I've pretty much lived in this jacket since I got it. It's a good wind jacket and a GREAT rain jacket. I rode into Banff in pouring down rain in this jacket. I've weathered snowstorms in this jacket. This jacket has been caked with Montana mud and washed clean by Montana rain. When the weather finally turns sunny, the jacket doesn't take up much room in my pack.

Like all Patagonia stuff, it's not cheap, but it's worth every dime. I'd say the same thing about the Patagonia Capilene Long Johns I bought in Helena. Worth the money and worth the weight in my pack. Yvon Chouinard and the folks at Patagonia make good stuff. Tough enough for the Tour Divide but I know one reason for that. One of Patagonia's product testers is John Stamstad, the original Great Divide racer.


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