Pactimo might not be a mainstream brand in the UK, but boy does it make some effective kit. The Torrent Stretch Waterproof jacket is lightweight, waterproof and breathable, with only – for me – a couple of flaws.
Pros: Waterproof, very breathable, comfortable stretch fit
Cons: Short sleeves, no pockets
Let's cover those flaws first, because they'll likely be the determining factor as to whether you should plump for the Torrent over rivals that make use of arguably the weatherproof fabric of choice: Gore-Tex.
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First, the sleeves are short – surprisingly so, as you can see in the photos. I usually wear large or medium and had a medium on test, which was comfortable because of the excellent 37.5 stretch fabric, but even with my longish arms I was surprised how high up the cuffs sat, at around 3cm of where I'd normally like them to be. A large would have remedied this to some extent, but certainly not completely.
That said, this is designed to be a lightweight jacket – something you can fit on over the top of your standard kit without affecting your silhouette too much, as well as adding minimum weight (142g in a medium), so it's understandable that the American brand might have chosen to minimise the garment where possible. This is further demonstrated by the lack of pockets.
If you don't mind these two characteristics and prefer to use your jacket as a whip-on, whip-off type layer, the Torrent jacket could be right up your street.
The 37.5 fabric is brilliant, frankly, and the amount of stretch in it means you can get a really comfortable fit without resorting to flexible sections as Mat found with Castelli's Idro Pro jacket (which uses Gore Shakedry tech). We're told that 37.5 uses 'Cocona' particles that actively attract excess moisture and heat to help you keep your body temperature as close to optimum as possible.
> Buyer's Guide: 21 of the best waterproof cycling jackets
The dimpled pattern you see on the outer fabric becomes slightly more pronounced when the garment is working hard to do its thing, which sounds a bit like witchcraft... I mean, it's just a fabric. An additional DWR treatment means that it delivers a 20,000mm watercolumn waterproofness rating alongside a 37,000mm breathability rating.
Those figures are from the top table of any technical fabric that I'm aware of in the consumer market today, and I can hardly disagree with them following several wet-dry-wet rides in the form of longer spins and commutes over the past few weeks as autumn has well and truly set in.
I tested a Gore Shakedry jacket earlier this year, and that's a stunning all-round performer, but the Torrent can definitely stand comparison in terms of those key performance points that matter (especially as it's £100 cheaper). Interestingly, the 37.5 fabric feels almost rubbery to the touch on the inside, but it never feels uncomfortable, as that description might suggest.
> Buyer's Guide: 18 of the best winter cycling jackets
In terms of construction, the tail is nicely dropped for rear coverage, and the collar has some good height to it to keep out the elements without feeling too tight around the neck. I also like the semi-reflective black taping that marks out the stitching, which adds even more visibility in the dark on top of the high-vis yellow on test (you can also have it in black, if you want a stealthier look).
The full length waterproof zip is easy to seat and manoeuvre on the move, and Pactimo has fitted a branded rubber end to it too. It's such a small detail, but does genuinely make working the zip just that bit easier than it might otherwise be – especially when you've got full fingered gloves on.
When washing you do need to treat it with care – I washed it on a delicate setting with Nikwax Techwash to maintain the DWR treatment, and that did the trick. As with all technical jackets like this, if it's clean after use and you can avoid washing it, that's normally the best way to retain native performance.
For me, it's a shame that the sleeves are as short as they are – this alone means that I wouldn't choose the Torrent Stretch Waterproof jacket. But not everyone has arms as long as mine, and the performance of the 37.5 fabric in breathability, waterproofness and its ability to stretch is very impressive indeed.
While £160 isn't to be sneezed at, it is, as I mentioned above, quite a big saving over the top-end Gore Shakedry jackets – those made by Gore itself and others that use the fabric, such as Castelli and 7Mesh.
As long as the sleeves are long enough for you and you don't mind not having pockets in your lightweight waterproof jacket, it's well worth considering.
Very impressive fabric and a great performer overall, with a couple of provisos...
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Make and model: Pactimo Torrent Stretch Waterproof Jacket
Tell us what the jacket is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Pactimo says: "A true rain jacket, the Torrent is a not only completely waterproof, but lightweight, form-fitting, and extremely breathable. The stretchy aero fit and super packability are added features for this jacket that offers excellent protection against the wettest of conditions thanks to a DWR (durable water repellent), seam-sealed outer and waterproof zipper. Unlike most cycling rain jackets on the market, the Torrent's highly breathable knit fabric, combined with 37.5® Technology known for it's ability to move heat and moisture away from the body, ensures a dry, heat-regulated interior over long distances."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?
FABRICS & CONSTRUCTION: The Torrent has been designed with our Aero fit to minimize jacket flapping and movement while riding. This is possible due to the ultra-light, DWR laminated fabric with 4-way mechanical stretch. The knit outer fabric also makes this jacket soft to the touch and quiet, especially when compared to hardshells with similar waterproof capabilities. Additionally, the Torrent features a long drop tail and articulated sleeves for optimal fit in your riding position.
One of the most innovative aspects of the Torrent is the use of active Cocona particles from 37.5® Technology, which attract humidity and then use your own body heat to rapidly transfer that moisture away from the interior through the ultra-breathable membrane. This rapid transfer of moisture ensures a regulated body temperature and dry climate inside the jacket, while keeping the elements out, ensuring a proven 25% increase in athletic performance (results based on an independent University of Colorado study). You can actually see 37.5 in action by the dimpling that occurs on the fabric. This is when the hydrophilic particles are working to move the moisture to the exterior of the garment. When the jacket dries, the material returns to its native state. It's a bit like magic, and if you've ever worn a typical plastic rain jacket, you'll truly appreciate the cool dry interior of the Torrent. Learn more at www.thirtysevenfive.com.
The Torrent has also been finished with a waterproof YKK zipper and 360 degree reflective taping for improved safety in low light conditions.
- 5 Layer laminate: DWR coated knit face, super-breathable laminate, 37.5 Technology print next-to-skin (99g/m2)
- Ultra lightweight/ packable, lighter than some jersey fabrics
- Waterproof Column (Waterproofness): 20,000mm
- Moisture Transfer Rate (Breathability): 37,000mm
- 4-way, Mechanical stretch (0% Spandex)
- Waterproof YKK Zipper
- 360 degree reflective taping
Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
The quality here is very good indeed – especially the taped seams.
Rate the jacket for performance:
The 37.5 fabric is superb and worth a full 10, but the short sleeves just knock it down to a 9 (for shorter armed riders, it's a 10).
Rate the jacket for durability:
The high-vis colour will stain if you don't look after it, but the quality of the fabric and seams suggest little to worry about from a product weighing 142g.
Rate the jacket for waterproofing based on the manufacturer's rating:
It's not quite Shakedry in its ability to literally 'shake dry', but it's not far off.
Rate the jacket for breathability based on the manufacturer's rating:
The rubbery feeling of the internal surface is the only slight drawback here; it breathes really well, but any moisture missed or deposited is really felt on the skin.
Rate the jacket for fit:
The stretchy nature of the fabric is brilliant – in fact, I prefer this aspect of it over Gore's Shakedry fabric which doesn't stretch much at all – but the sleeves are disappointingly short on me despite a comfortable race fit on the body.
Rate the jacket for sizing:
Sizes true, except for those sleeves.
Rate the jacket for weight:
142g is very light for a jacket with this level of performance.
Rate the jacket for comfort:
Because the sleeves come up so short on me, the cuffs are a bit annoying. Aside from this, I've no complaints.
Rate the jacket for value:
£165 is a fair asking price here, especially as you can spend significantly upwards of £200 on Shakedry-equipped products. You just need to make sure the sleeves are long enough for you.
How easy is the jacket to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
You need to treat it with care, but the fabric rewards you for that.
Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Really well, aside from the sleeves that cause the cuffs to sneak up on me.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket
Technical characteristics of the fabric, the fit (sleeves aside).
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket
The sleeves! And the lack of pockets isn't great either, but (sort of) understandable.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Castelli Idro jacket is around £100 more, and the Gore C5 1985 Shakedry jacket I tested earlier this year is too. Against these, you have to say it looks very good value. It's £5 more than Santini's Guard Rain Jacket, though that's slightly bulkier.
Did you enjoy using the jacket? Yes, apart from the sleeves.
Would you consider buying the jacket? No, the sleeves are too short for me.
Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? Yes, but they need shorter arms than me, for sure.
Use this box to explain your overall score
If you don't mind the short sleeves and lack of pockets, the Torrent Stretch Waterproof jacket is a really good option. It performs very well, and though it's not quite top of the tree, it's not the highest priced either.
Age: 29 Height: 188cm Weight: 80kg
I usually ride: Canyon Ultimate CF SL 9.0 SL (2016) My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding
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