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Gear Review: MontBell Torrent Flier Jacket

MontBell Torrent Flier Jacket

Ultralight Rain Shell
MontBell Torrent Flier Jacket
$249, 8 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: Unisex S-XL
montbell.us

When a violent thunderstorm caught me on the 9,595-foot summit of Eagle Cap Peak in Oregon, and the skies opened up with booming thunder, lightning, and pounding rain and hail, I was certainly glad to have this shell handy. It fended off strong winds and kept me dry through that tempest, as it did in extended, wind-driven rains in Norway’s Jotunheimen National Park, and when I got caught in a sudden June snow squall a pitch off the ground while rock climbing at Idaho’s City of Rocks. The Gore-Tex Paclite membrane delivers good waterproofing and wind protection.

But I like this jacket just as much when I’m not wearing it—because at a half-pound, it’s one of the lightest, most packable waterproof-breathable rain shells on the market. And it accomplishes this low weight and bulk without sacrificing deep (15-inch) pit zips, seam taping, or cuff, hem, and hood adjustability. But there are tradeoffs with a shell this light: Breathability is okay, but doesn’t compare with the best membranes on the market (including other Gore products). It has just one pocket (chest), and the hood lacks an extended brim to protect your face, like you’d find in a more technical and heavier rain shell. The 12-denier ripstop nylon is moderately durable, but don’t be entirely careless with it. Consider the Torrent Flier a good choice when low weight is at least as high a priority as weather protection.

—Michael Lanza

About The Author

Michael Lanza

A former field editor for Backpacker Magazine, Michael Lanza created The Big Outside to share stories and images from his many backpacking, hiking, and other outdoor adventures, as well as expert tips and gear reviews to help readers plan and pull off their own great adventures.

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Welcome to The Big Outside

photo of Michael Lanza

Hi, I'm Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside and former Northwest Editor at Backpacker magazine. Click my photo to learn more about me and my blog. Sign up for my free email newsletter in the blue box above. Click on Subscribe Now! in the main menu (top right) to get full access to all of my stories on America's best backpacking, hiking, and outdoor adventures. And click on Ask Me in the main menu to learn how I can help you plan your next trip.

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