The Torrent jacket was aptly named as I stepped out of the car and onto the Michigan plains. I was working in Grayling, around three hours north of Detroit, for a week, followed by a few days off. We’d been warned that the weather was forecast to be bad – that wet, grey time between beautiful summer and crisp, white winter.
Northern Michigan is commonly referred to as ‘Up North’, and not in a Yorkshire flat-cap-and-real-ale kind of up north. Grayling was beautiful, even in the rain – stunning autumn colours (a week or two past their best, the locals said), long, open roads with snowmobile tracks running along the edges, and roadside bars and diners with fish from Lake Michigan. They’re also very into hunting, shooting and fishing, and I think there was maybe only one place where there wasn’t a stuffed animal on the wall.
Before we jumped out of the car on day one I had already layered up – base layer, t-shirt over, a mid-layer and my new jacket. Taking one look at the weather, I knew it had to be waterproof and then some. It was just above freezing, but the Torrent is more than just a waterproof – it has padding which added a few vital degrees to my core temperature. I really liked this about the Torrent – unlike my usual outer layer. Pockets were roomy enough for gloved hands and the hood could fit a mid-layer hood, a beanie and still go comfortably over your head. Drawstring toggles kept the hood on too.
I have an extra-small, my usual size, so no need to go a size bigger to fit all your layers underneath – it still came down well over my waist (always keep your kidneys warm!). It wasn’t a women’s fit, but that didn’t matter as it left more room for bundling up underneath.
It survived a week of work and then I took it on a trip to the woods.
My day off was supposed to be a kayaking trip, but every company in Grayling had shut for the season as they’d had so much rain in the days before, so I went to the woods. Someone had recommended Hartwick State Pines, a pretty state park about 20 minutes from Grayling. I went to the visitor centre and checked in with the Ranger.
My walk in the woods with the bears is a whole other story, but suffice to say I walked round as quickly as I could, without actually breaking into a run. I was pretty visible in my bright blue jacket – a really lovely colour if you’re keen to be seen – but it comes in more subtle forest green too. I did get a bit sweaty in my jacket but that’s probably because a) I didn’t want to stand still long enough to remove some mid-layers and b) I was trotting – not running – around at a fair old clip!
I love this jacket – it is absolutely perfect for weekend hikes in the hills, robust enough for outdoor work, comfortable to wear and roomy enough for lots of layers underneath. Pockets and hood are just right for shoving hands into or disappearing into in a downpour.
I liked its smart new colour, and the extra lining for more than just a waterproof outer. It’s versatile too – could be used for everything for a day’s hike to working outdoors.
It doesn’t pack down very small, but is light for its features, so if space, rather than weight, is an issue, you might have to think instead about an insulated jacket like the Softie ML9 with a simple waterproof over.
Please note I am sent gear from Snugpak to review but I am not paid to write reviews or to endorse products.