Patagonia Storm Racer Jacket ReviewApril 22, 2015
- Good breathability with effective mechanical venting
- Attractive cut
- Stowable hood
- Quiet face fabric
- Solid weather resistance
- Only one pocket, accessed from inside
- Back vents can be blocked by packs
The Patagonia Storm Racer Jacket is a solid shell I loved for wet-weather running with versatility. I found it equally adept for mountain biking, road riding, hiking and other uses. While the mechanical vents are blocked by a pack, this jacket functions well as an all around shell.
In a two-hour trail run in pouring rain we never felt a drop. The hood, which stores in the collar, offers plenty of protection without restricting too much visibility or bouncing around out of control.
Patagonia built in mechanical vents into the Storm Racer to support the breathable membrane, which worked well. Two vents sit on the back and are always cracked; a piece of fabric shielding them from rain or drips In addition, zippered vents on the biceps can be opened to create an instant cross breeze that I discovered whips through the jacket and out the back vents when running. The system works well. On a mountain run in the low 50ºs we managed to overwhelm the whole system, but only felt clammy and wet once we stopped and took the jacket off. The membrane has a soft textured backing that hides the condensation so the jacket rarely feels wet to the touch—a nice feature.
The Patagonia Storm Racer is a bare bones jacket. The only pocket is at chest height, but inside the jacket. We had to unzip the front zipper half way to access it. We missed the hand pockets at breaks and for stashing gloves and a hat when we started to heat up. The hood works well, stashing into the collar with a couple snaps when not needed and pulling out easily when the rain picked up. A single-pull bungy cinches it tight. Elastic on the wrists works well for keeping cuffs in place and limiting drips down the arm. But what we liked most on this jacket was how quiet it is. There was little rustling and “crunch” to it even when sprinting intervals.
With so few features there is little to go wrong. Probably not the toughest shell out there, but not its intended purpose either.
Overall this is a light and highly packable shell, but compared to other jackets aimed at the ounce counting long distance trail runner the Speed Racer is edging towards stocky. At just under 10 ounces any other “running” specific shells are going to be lighter, but not perform as well. But in the grand scheme a darn packable jacket.