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This Jacket Is Your Next Take-Everywhere Layer: Patagonia Storm Racer Jacket Review

With ample rain protection as well as wind resistance, this minimal layer will become a staple in your pack — perhaps even replacing your beloved Houdini.
A hiker wearing the Storm Racer at the beach in New Zealand(Photo/Courtney Holden)
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Preparing for a 4-month stint in New Zealand was an exercise in traveling light. Despite having Patagonia’s Black Hole mega-hauler to cram my life into, I still had to rein in my tendency to overpack.

Gear with multi-functionality — running shoes that work on the road and the trail, a pair of jeans chic enough for a dinner date yet stretchy enough for high-stepping over rocks and roots — earned a place in the go-pile, while single-purpose items stayed home in Colorado. 

The waterproof, windproof, and uber-packable Patagonia Storm Racer made the cut. After testing it for 3 months in gale-force winds, sudden storms, and more than one tropical rainforest, I’m glad it did. 

Little else in our closets these days can save your bacon like a rain jacket can. And while bulky hardshells serve up protection that’ll outlast weeklong storms, they drag like a boat anchor when packed — and forget about running in them. Svelte rain jackets like the Storm Racer rebalance the scales, and when the forecast takes a turn, the best shell jacket is the one you’ve got with you.

In short: The lightweight Patagonia Storm Racer stands up to the elements. Stuffable into its chest pocket, the jacket is easy to tote along and is ready if — or, in New Zealand, when — the weather turns sour. It isn’t a barely-there layer like Patagonia’s long-loved Houdini, but I’d argue its boost in functionality is well worth the (minimal) weight penalty.

To see how the Storm Racer stacks up to other rain jackets on the market, check out GearJunkie’s Buyer’s Guides for Rain Jackets and Women’s Rain Jackets.

Patagonia Women’s Storm Racer Jacket


  • Waterproof Material H2No Performance 3L
  • Waterproof Rating 20,000 mm
  • Breathability Rating Unpublished
  • Pit Zips No
  • Fit Trim/active
  • Size XXS-XL
  • Pockets One
  • Weight 6.3 oz.


  • Great just-in-case layer for rain and wind
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Stuffs down small
  • Sustainable design


  • Won’t stand up to intense rain
  • Small chest pocket
  • Loud color options

Patagonia Storm Racer Jacket: Review

Designs and Features

The front profile of the Storm Racer, showing the sleeves, full zip, and front pocket
With a classic silhouette and a proven three-layer membrane, the weight and packed size is the big deal on the Storm Racer; (photo/Courtney Holden)

The Storm Racer is basically a hooded, waterproof shell with one minimal chest pocket. The H2No Performance Standard shell features a three-layer construction with a 20-denier fully recycled nylon ripstop face and 7-denier tricot backer sandwiching an inner, waterproof/breathable barrier. PFC-free DWR provides additional rain protection.

Two basic cinch points — one at the nape and one at the waist — add an extra touch of size customizability, as well as the option to further batten down the hatches if the jacket’s already-slim fit isn’t cutting muster.

At just 6.3 ounces for the women’s and 7.2 ounces for the men’s, the Storm Racer is also noticeably lighter than other rain jackets that GearJunkie experts have put through the wringer, many of which hover around the 10-ounce mark. 

The backside of the Storm Racer, showing the hood adjustments
There’s just enough adjustability on the Storm Racer to keep the breeze from sneaking in; (photo/Courtney Holden)

Excellent (but Not Perfect) Performance

Stripping down the Storm Racer’s silhouette allows the jacket to be uber-packable by raincoat standards. The entire thing quickly and easily stuffs into its chest pocket to become a pliable wad about the size of a mango. There’s really no reason not to pack this jacket, especially in a place where shoulder-warming sunshine will turn to Antarctic gusts and heavy rain in the span of an hour.

As a simple wind protection layer, the Storm Racer delivers ample protection while still breathing effectively. I’ve reached for this layer on multiple bike rides, wearing it over my thin puffy coat as an extra defense against biting wind. I’ve also thrown it on over a basic polyester tech tee — my standard running uniform — when I wanted a touch more warmth on dry yet chilly days.

In both instances, the jacket impressed me with its breathability. No question, the Storm Racer effectively allowed my body heat to escape while still blocking the wind.

The author wearing the Storm Racer against a New Zealand backdrop
Rain or shine, the Storm Racer proves its worth; (photo/Mike Soltys)

Plenty of other outings provided opportunities to test out the Storm Racer’s prowess in the waterproof department. On one fast-hiking pursuit up the side of a mountain, sunny skies quickly turned to swirling mist and pummeling wind and spitting rain as I crested a ridgeline.

Despite the Storm Racer’s slim fit, I zipped the jacket over my t-shirt and fleece without any issue (it wasn’t too tight and didn’t impede my range of motion), and I remained warm and dry despite the abrupt weather shift. 

Another day, I got caught biking in a deluge. Water pooled inches deep in the cycling lane, and my wheels whipped it both up my back and onto my chest. Once home, my jeans were sopping, wring-them-out-like-a-towel wet from the waist down.

My face was also dripping, partly because the tip of the hood extends only about an inch past my face (I would like it to be a touch longer). My upper body, on the other hand, which had been safely tucked under the jacket, was completely dry. 

The author wearing the Storm Racer on a beach in New Zealand while it rains hard
The 3-layer H2No membrane puts up the good fight when it comes to running in the rain; (photo/Mike Soltys)

Running in the rain with the Storm Racer is a slightly different story. I typically forgo a waterproof layer of any sort on soggy runs. Accepting that I will be wet from the rain for the duration of my workout seems like a better alternative than overheating in a humid, terrarium-esque hell of my own making.

In the name of research, however, I did put the Storm Racer through the paces on a drizzling, 55-degree morning and found it performed above average. I still found myself sweating a little inside the jacket, but it breathed enough to avoid the full-on terrarium effect. And it was nice to have the waterproof protection, without which I would have been drenched and cold. 

It’s important to note that while the H2No Performance waterproofing is excellent, it’s not completely immune to the elements. Hiking 8 miles through a rainforest in an unrelenting downpour proved to be a bit too much for even this precipitation-deterring workhorse. By the time I’d finished, it had rained close to 5 inches, and I was soaked down to my skin everywhere, even under the Storm Racer’s protective layer.

Of course, so was my husband in his Fjällräven raincoat (an older version of the Keb Eco-Shell Jacket) and my son in his Antora Rain Jacket from The North Face, which indicates that little less than a roof could have withstood that level of wetness. I’ll give the Storm Racer a pass.

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Crossover Style — Sort Of

I love dual functionality any day, but when it comes to travel, I prioritize pieces that work well and look at home in multiple settings. Thanks to its sleek silhouette and ability to crush down into a purse-friendly size, the Storm Racer proves to be a great companion in urban environments too — or at least the men’s version does since it comes in both blue and black, in addition to the practically neon Phosphorus Green.

The women’s version, however, comes in only two colors: bold Subtidal Blue (basically turquoise) and even bolder Pimento Red. I love color as much as the next Bob Ross, but when traveling through a city, I’d prefer to do as the New Yorkers do and wear a black, or at least an unassuming navy. 

Is That a Phone in Your Pocket?

While my Google Pixel 7 does fit into the Storm Racer’s front chest pocket, it’s not easy to finagle in there, and it’s even harder to wrestle out. On the upside, the compartment’s just-big-enough size means my phone stays flush against my chest even while running. There’s no bouncing.

Then again, trying to quickly grab my phone to snap a picture of some fleeting image — a chirping fantail or a stunning cloud — was a lost cause. I know I’m being picky here, but if I had my druthers, the pocket would be just half an inch or so longer to facilitate a smoother in-out transition.

Comparing the Storm Racer to the Houdini

The Patagonia Storm Racer and Houdini shells side-by-side with a Nalgene bottle for scale
Storm Racer left, Houdini right. Which one you choose, however, will depend on whether you’re after breathability or waterproofing; (photo/Courtney Holden)

If you’re in the market for a lightweight running jacket, you might also be considering Patagonia’s long-loved Houdini. At just 3.4 ounces, this 100% recycled nylon jacket also packs into its chest pocket, though it crushes down even smaller than the Storm Racer to roughly the size of a kiwi.

The Houdini also resists light moisture thanks to a PFC-free DWR finish but proves super-breathable, arguably even more so than the Storm Racer, given the lightness of the material.

Which jacket is right for you? That depends on how much space you have available, how diligently you’re counting ounces, and whether you’re prioritizing breathability or staying dry. If you’re an ultra-marathoner reserving precious space in your running vest for much-needed calories, then the Houdini is probably your best bet. Same answer if you’re shaving weight in pursuit of FKT glory or hammering out a hard, super sweaty workout. 

When going for an average run, you’ll need to decide between preferring to stay dry in the rain (choose the Storm Racer) or not minding a little sweat (go with the Houdini). Personally, I’d make this decision on a case-by-case basis depending on the temperature, how hard and consistently it’s raining, and how remote I’ll be when I’m running.

In most other instances, I’d argue the added benefit of having a fully waterproof layer on hand is worth it. If you’re hiking, biking, walking the dog, strolling to the coffee shop, or just doing life when it’s raining (not just misting), about to rain, cold, or all three, wad the Storm Racer up and throw it in your pack. 

If you’re a budget-conscious shopper, the Houdini’s $109 price point will look more palatable than the Storm Racer’s $299 wallet hit. Don’t be fooled. You’re better off with the Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Rain Jacket ($179) instead, our editors’ pick for “Best Value Rain Jacket.”

Patagonia Storm Racer: The Final Word

The author wearing the Storm Racer looks out from a summit
More than your average rain jacket, the Patagonia Storm Racer trims the fat — but retains the protection you need; (photo/Mike Soltys)

Whenever you’re running or hiking for double-digit miles, especially when you’re at elevation, it’s always wise to be prepared for a sudden drop in the mercury, an uptick in wind gusts, unexpected precipitation, or all three. When Mother Nature lets loose, you want a layer you can rely on: The Patagonia Storm Racer is just that.

True, this shell isn’t quite as featherweight or as squishable as Patagonia’s light-as-air jacket Houdini. And while the Storm Racer is certainly waterproof, it might struggle in an extended, unrelenting downpour. Still, the Storm Racer will be a staple in my backpack — and my fanny pack, purse, and sling bag as well — for years to come.

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