Patagonia Women’s Storm Racer Jacket Review
April showers brings May flowers is how the saying goes. Out here in Colorado, we have seen those showers spill into almost every day in the month of May. While many have resorted to running on the treadmill, aka the dreadmill, I have embraced the rainy conditions thanks to the Patagonia Storm Racer Jacket. Truth be told, I never run on a treadmill and will get out the door in pretty much any weather condition, yet have never had a specific rain jacket for running. Patagonia solved that problem for Spring 2015 by adding the Storm Racer Jacket to its’ line up. All in all, I have probably worn this jacket on 30+ days, with temperatures ranging from 35F with thunder-snow (a new term for me since moving to the mountains) to 60F torrential downpours. Here are some of my thoughts on the jacket.
Performance and Features
Patagonia has incorporated a super light 30 denier nylon ripstop for the outer layer, complete with a durable water repellent finish (DWR). Water beads up on the surface of the jacket, even after a few hours of use. Here is a photo to capture the jacket in action.
The jacket is a 2.5 layer design, which may sound a bit confusing. The 2.5 comes from the inclusion of a low-weight face fabric (first layer), a laminate (2nd layer), followed by a thin breathable high texture backing, which earns itself a 1/2 layer. The jacket is lighter than a 2 layer design, but a bit less durable than a 3 layer; these trade offs make it an excellent layer for trail running, where you want something lightweight and do not worry as much about how rugged it is, as opposed to when you buy a shell for let’s say rock climbing. I have not taken the jacket on any scree field scrambles yet (as many of these areas are still blanketed in snow!), but can attest to about 3 months of use in a variety of trail conditions, with some bushwhacking, and have found the outer looking just like new.
Patagonia has incorporated zippered openings in the front of the jacket, along the upper arms, paired with small mesh openings at the rear of the jacket. The goal is for the heat to dissipate and be drawn through this channel to help keep you from getting wet from the inside out. While I feel that these compartments are a great idea, and the placement of the rear vents were spot on in terms of arm motion, I didn’t think they really worked all that well and would like to see a little larger opening on either side.
It is a delicate balance between allowing for the dumping of heat vs letting moisture in, and I understand the fine balance. I did like the innovation and steering away from large pit zips that often become bothersome while running with chaffing, getting caught under pack straps, or ballooning of the jacket. Yet I still felt pretty sweaty underneath no matter the temperatures I found myself running in.
The Patagonia Storm Racer Jacket has all the features you need in a rain jacket, yet ditches some of the bells and whistles that aren’t necessary when you are running. For example, the Storm Racer Jacket features only one pocket, located at the left chest with an internal zipper only. A traditional rain jacket may feature alpine or hand pockets along the hem. These pockets aren’t necessary when running, as you may be using a running vest, pack, or waist hydration system. Additional pockets add weight, they also mean that any item you put in that pocket will bounce up and down as you run. The solo pocket helps to keep the clean no frills lines of the jacket and provides enough storage for your keys or smartphone.
When the jacket is not in use, it packs down to about the size of a water bottle, standard bike bottle size. It can be easily stashed in a running pack when not in use. At 8.3 ounces, it also won’t add much weight either.
The Storm Racer Jacket includes elastic cuffs vs traditional velcro adjustment cuff, another weight saving feature. This helps to reduce bulk, while not sacrificing performance. As you can see in the photo, the cuff is asymmetric and offers a bit more coverage down over the back of your hand. The cuff offered plenty of room and easily accommodated my bulky GPS watch underneath and I could easily check my progress with a tug on the sleeve.
The Patagonia Storm Racer Jacket features a single hem adjustment on the right side. Due to the slim fit of this jacket, I never really needed to use this feature and felt that the jackets’ hem stayed down even on very windy days without it. It is nice to know that it is there if I ever do need to seal out the elements even more.
The jacket features a single pull adjustment at the back of the hood which is pretty simple to adjust while on the move. The hood features a semi rigid brim, which works well when a hat is worn. The brim is a bit floppy, when compared to other rain jackets that I own. This wasn’t a big problem for me, as I am pretty much always wear a hat to protect myself from the sun and other elements.
The hood on the Storm Racer Jacket is separate from the collar of the jacket, meaning that you can adjust the hood up and down without touching the main zipper or the collar area. This is a personal preference area, but for me I feel like I have greater movement with the hood separated and like to have the ability to put the hood up and down without a lot of adjustments. It should also be noted, that when the hood isn’t needed it can be rolled towards the collar and is secured to the main body of the jacket with two snaps. With the ever changing conditions here in Colorado, I tended to leave the hood out at all times.
Spring 2015 is the first time that Patagonia is rolling out their new sizing system, with a goal of getting a fit that is truer to size. I actually didn’t know that when I ordered the Storm Racer Jacket and ordered my normal shell size, medium. The jacket features a slim fit, meaning that it is designed to be worn over a base or mid-layer, but not for heavy layering. The sizing was spot on in my book and hits about 5″ below the top of my hip bone (iliac crest), with a longer center back length. The jacket doesn’t feel boxy, thanks to a taper in over the mid section. Here are some measurements I took, based on a size medium.
Front zipper (at the collar) to front hem: 24″
Center back length (base of collar) to the rear hem: 26.5″
Arm (inner inseam) length: 20″
The Patagonia Women’s Storm Racer Jacket is available in XS through XL. Here is a link the the new size guide.
The Patagonia Storm Racer Jacket is not only a trail running specific rain coat, but also a killer just in case layer for fast packing or around town use. It is super small to pack away, down to about the size of a bike water bottle. On many of my recent spring travels, I have brought the jacket along in my daypack or purse.
Another great feature, despite heavy use for running, it doesn’t have the stench of many of my other running jackets, making it an easy piece for travel. Combine the no stink with its’ ability to repel moisture like a champ and you’ve got a versatile outerwear option.
Don’t let the rain halt your progress towards summer fitness. If I would have waited until the rain passed, I wouldn’t have gotten out for a run for about the past 3 weeks straight. Thankfully, the Patagonia Storm Racer Jacket was my go to piece and allowed me to push on through a variety of rain, snow, hail mixes. As we transition into summer (soon I hope!), I anticipate that the Storm Racer Jacket will have a permanent spot in my running vest for the impromptu afternoon thunderstorms that Colorado is well known for. Overall, the Patagonia Women’s Storm Racer Jacket has been a great product!
- 2.7-layer, lightweight 2.4-oz 30-denier 100% nylon ripstop with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish
- High-texture backing to keep the jacket from sticking to sweaty skin
- 8.3 ounces
- Slim Fit
- MSRP $279