A decade ago, I bought my first brand-name rain shell. I was embarking on a volunteer trip to Uganda that would change my life and eventually lead me to the outdoor industry. Countless unforgettable memories ensued, including the day in Gulu when it suddenly started downpouring rain, and my entire body was drenched, including my brand-new jacket.
Since then, I’ve been quite particular about rain gear, opting only for GORE-TEX products. But as someone who is also environmentally conscious, that’s been a problematic preference. Most GORE-TEX products are made with perfluorochemicals (PFCs), which are extremely toxic and persistent, taking decades to break down in the environment.
That led me on a multiyear search. I wanted to find a high-performance rain jacket that could accompany me on my adventures hiking, backpacking, and maybe even snowboarding, and one that was also as environmentally friendly as possible.
The Patagonia Granite Crest checks all of those boxes.
In short: I tested the Patagonia Granite Crest women’s rain jacket trail running, hiking, biking, and snowboarding — and I’m smitten. The satisfaction of owning one single jacket to use on every outdoor pursuit is liberating. The waterproofing is on par with GORE-TEX, the helmet is hood-compatible, it packs into its own pocket, and thanks to the jacket’s NetPlus technology, the materials are sourced from 100% post-consumer recycled materials (read: discarded ocean fishing nets).
3-layer H2No Performance Standard NetPlus 100% post-consumer recycled nylon ripstop made from recycled fishing nets
Two-way adjustable, helmet compatible
Stuffs into its own pocket
Helmet compatible hood
Made from eco-conscious recycled material
Limited bright color options
Sizing runs small
Patagonia Granite Crest Women’s Rain Jacket: Review
I’ll be honest — I first noticed this jacket because it was on the sale rack at a Patagonia Outlet during its biggest sale of the year. I slid my arms inside and zipped it up to my chin. The fit was so unique and hard to come by, it felt like being wrapped in a cozy blanket. Then I read the tag and realized I’d stumbled onto something special.
“Responsibly made with NetPlus® 100% postconsumer recycled nylon ripstop made from recycled fishing nets to help reduce ocean plastic pollution,” the tag read. On top of that, the jacket was PFC-free and finished with a durable water-repellent (DWR) coating that contains zero perfluorinated chemicals.
Patagonia believes we need to “protect our home planet.” And because GORE-TEX is one of the unsustainable materials commonly used in outdoor gear, the brand is shifting toward alternatives. It was the first to use GORE-TEX’s new ePE membrane in last winter’s Storm Shift jacket. And NetPlus is Patagonia’s own proprietary eco-material that it’s phasing into more SKUs with every season.
I have been a loyal GORE-TEX consumer for years. Yet, I also reuse plastic bags and I compost; I avoid driving and ride my bike as much as possible; I take the train instead of flying, and I shop at thrift stores, yard sales, and used clothing websites online.
I try to be environmentally conscious wherever I can be. And when I saw that the Patagonia Granite Crest women’s rain jacket wasn’t just made from recycled materials, but made from discarded fish nets pulled from the ocean, I was sold.
Keeping You Dry & Warm
The question was, will this item do the job it’s intended to do? Even after sliding my card at the checkout counter, I was skeptical. My excitement at the fit, features, and sustainability factors was followed with a “we’ll see.”
I went snowboarding on a cold, snowy day at Kirkwood Mountain Resort, layering under the rain jacket with my base layer and puffy. Then, I went trail running out my back door on one of those mixed-precipitation days where it was fluffy snow one minute and rain the next. On another occasion, I was caught in an all-day rainstorm while cycling from the Columbia Icefields to Jasper, Alberta, Canada.
Through all these experiences, I was smiling because I was protected from the elements and having fun on a heavy weather day. There is something incredibly satisfying about watching those little droplets of rain bead on your sleeve!
I was stoked that my new gear investment had pulled through and not disappointed.
My Favorite Features
The hood can easily fit over my snowboarding or bike helmet when fully opened. I’ve had similar hoods on other jackets previously. However, with the Patagonia Granite Crest, I don’t feel choked, stifled, or limited in my range of movement. I could comfortably and easily turn my head with a helmet on. What a novelty!
What’s more, when I wore this jacket on a trail run, I cinched the hood with the drawstring to secure it perfectly over my hat and snugly around my face. Once again, the Granite Crest provided the peripheral vision and ease of movement I needed, while also keeping my skin protected from the snow.
The dual-direction armpit zippers provide similar benefits. Often, when we need to wear a rain shell, we’re also expending heaps of physical effort, and working up a sweat. So “pit-zips” are essential. The pit zips of the Patagonia Granite Crest jacket are huge at full length. They reach from just above my natural waist, halfway to my elbow.
This wide opening is necessary ventilation when skinning or pedaling uphill. Also, with a zipper on either end, one can dial in the balance between ventilation and protection. And the zippers have no mesh or other materials to snag on.
Stacked With Important Details
This piece also has a longer “tail” in the back to keep your bum dry. When I’m standing, it completely covers my rear. When I’m cycling, it reaches back, nearly meeting my seat.
This was a big selling point for me. I’m sure most other people buying women’s-specific gear will relate — items are usually too short. And I even have a short torso! A base layer too short to tuck into one’s leggings or a wicking, quick-dry backpacking shirt riding up under the hip belt of a rucksack are the typical experiences with women’s tops.
Lastly, there is the stuff sack zippered pocket. Many rain shells offer this feature to improve the packability of the garment. Using the built-in design of stuffing into the chest pocket, it is much smaller than a Nalgene bottle. It could fit in a mountain biking fanny pack or even an ultra-running pack.
Some other shells on the market can pack down smaller. But from what I’ve witnessed, those typically won’t have as many features. They might not have armpit zippers for breathability or they might not be fully waterproof.
The chest pocket, plus the two waist pockets, all hold sizeable volume as well. Typically, I put my phone in the chest pocket and my liner gloves, buff, snacks, etc., in the lower pockets. Lastly, for those intensely chilling or windy days with sideways precipitation, drawstrings around the bottom of the shell allow the ability to cinch around your waist or bum.
Areas for Improvement: Sizing and Color Palette
The Patagonia Granite Crest rain jacket still lacks in an area that is common for women’s outdoor gear, especially for the Patagonia brand — sizing.
These days, I often size up on top garments to make sure it’s long enough, or because women’s short sleeves are too tight for my arms. In this case, I sized up because I knew I wanted to layer underneath with one to three layers, depending on the day, location, and activity.
Many other reviewers from the Patagonia website agree. Women should size up unless they want a more form-fitting rain shell. Be warned, though: Because I sized up, the sleeves are very long for me. They reach well past my hands. To accommodate for this fit discrepancy, though, the jacket has strong and tight Velcro at the end of the sleeves, so the long arm length doesn’t affect my experience negatively.
As a cyclist touring on roads and an early morning trail runner sharing the single track with mountain bikers, having some brighter color options would also be nice. The current color palette for this season of Patagonia gear focuses on softer, more muted, colors. They look nice. But they don’t work well when you’re trying to increase your visibility. The Sumac Red looks to be the best option, but that’s one out of 10 choices, so it might not be available in many stores or in many sizes.
Patagonia Granite Crest Jacket Conclusion
This jacket impressed me with its waterproofing and windproofing, helmet-compatible hood, packability, and versatility. It is not a snow jacket, but I’ve snowboarded in it. It is not a cycling-specific shell, but I’ve biked many miles in it. And it’s great for hiking and backpacking. The sizing is a little tight and the colors could be brighter — but aside from those menial drawbacks, this is a truly great rain jacket.
For those “outdoor minimalists” that prefer one go-to garment for each and every of their favorite outdoor activities, who are adventuring during all seasons and in climates with dramatic weather changes, and who care about the impact their purchases make on our environment, the Patagonia Granite Crest is a jacket to seriously consider.