Help me choose a rain shell

3:04 p.m. on January 10, 2014 (EST)
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After I shredded my cheap rainshell on my big backpacking trip last summer, I need to replace it.  I plan to use my REI dividend to do so.  The following are in my price range:

REI Rainwall

Patagonia Torrentshell

Marmot Precip

Columbia Dr Downpour

Since I have lived in a dry climate for a number of years now, I don't have much experience with such things.  The planned use will primarily be as a rainshell/windbreaker on backpacking trips (occasional thundershowers in the Sierra), with occasional use in town during winter rain always a possibility.  I want good water resistance that does not allow for breakthrough/soaking through, breathability if possible, and decent abrasion resistance.  

Of those four choices, which would you pick and why?

3:48 p.m. on January 10, 2014 (EST)
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I don't have experience with any of these jackets, but the Precip consistently gets called the best one in this price range. I also know plenty of people who own and like their torrentshells just fine.

3:48 p.m. on January 10, 2014 (EST)
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1,902 forum posts

I have a pair of Marmot Precip pants I really like. I have them on in my avatar photo and have worn them winter camping and skiing. They are lightweight and well made. How they fare in heavy rain, don't know, but the jackets are similar construction.

I have an REI rain jacket, not sure what model, but I have worn it in rain and it works well. It has pit zips and is fairly lightweight. It is made from Elements, an REI proprietary fabric.I don't see any men's jackets made with Elements, but did see a woman's jacket.

The advantage with REI, regardless of what brand you buy, is that if there is a manufacturing defect, you can take it back (check their new return policy). FYI, no more forever for any reason policy-I suspect they got tired of people wearing a pair of boots for ten years then taking them back, claiming they wore out and wanted new ones.

7:45 p.m. on January 10, 2014 (EST)
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Of the ones listed I have only used the Marmot PreCip, mine is four years old and still in great shape.   I don't run through the woods in it though - like the survivor guys on TV.

9:06 p.m. on January 10, 2014 (EST)
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I'd go with the Patagonia.  In general the quality is excellent and they will fix or replace products, no questions asked, if anything goes wrong.  My wife has the torrenshell and likes it a lot.  I wish I had one.

April 22, 2018
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