DriDucks Ultra-Lite 2 Rain Jacket Review

Dri Ducks 2

DriDucks & yours truly | Ascending Ishinca Pass | Cordillera Blanca Traverse, Peru, 2014.

The perfect rain jacket is waterproof, breathable, lightweight, durable and affordable.

Unfortunately it doesn’t exist.

Bummer.

Choosing a rain jacket basically comes down to two main criteria:

  • Suitability for the conditions into which you are venturing.
  • Something that is in your price range.

Rain jacket prices run the gamut from bargain basement to uber-expensive ($500 plus). Situated near the lower end of that fiscal spectrum is the star of today’s gear review – the DriDucks Ultra-Lite 2 Rain Jacket.

What follows is a bullet point summary of the positives, negatives and other important miscellanea pertaining to DriDucks. The opinions below are based on some 100 plus days in the field using DriDucks Jackets since 2009:

Details

  • Price: US$22 for jacket and pants – includes shipping in the USA (Note: Price is from Frog Toggs Raingear, manufacturers of DriDucks. You can sometimes find them even cheaper on Amazon).
  • Material: Microporous non-woven polypropylene.
  • Sizing: DriDucks run large. Real large. Between 1 and 1.5 sizes. A medium is quite big on me (I’m 6’1″ – 180 lbs // 186 cm – 81 kg). Nonetheless, I chose to go with it over the small, as it gave me the freedom to comfortably wear one or two layers underneath when temps started dropping. Final word: If in doubt, size down
  • Jacket Weight: Medium – 6 oz (171 grams).
Dri Ducks 1

Day 14 – Cordillera Blanca Traverse | Peru, 2014.

Positives

  • Good water repellency & breathability.
  • Lightweight.
  • Ridiculously cheap. In fact, so affordable that I suggest purchasing two pairs just in case the first one gets shredded. Arguably the best value rain gear on the market; though not without a fairly big caveat (see Negatives below).

Negatives

  • The zipper and fabric are fragile. In regards to the latter, you definitely don’t want to take a DriDucks garment on any hike that involves bushwhacking or overgrown pathways. Whilst it is true DriDucks will never win any durability contests, for $22 you can only expect so much.
  • What about the pants?: They are more fragile than the jacket. I suggest leaving them at home. Irrespective of the environment, chances are you will blow out the crotch, backside or rip a hole in one of the legs within a week or two of regular usage.

Recommended Usage 

For hikers on a budget, the DriDucks Ultra-Lite 2 Rain Jacket represents a good choice for maintained trails, open desert landscapes or three-season excursions above tree line. Basically anywhere that your chosen path isn’t overgrown. Just in case, duct tape does a great job at repairing small tears.

Disclosure: I purchased the two DriDucks jackets that I have owned with my own money. Yes, I am the last of the Big Spenders  😎 .


Comments

DriDucks Ultra-Lite 2 Rain Jacket Review — 3 Comments

  1. These used to be called Frogg Toggs. Light yes. Durable? Shredded in any kind of bushwack. Even riding a bus. in 1999 these were the Hip New Thing! Most suited for sitting in the cheap seats at a January football game in the rain with layers. Definitely not for the CDT. In Colorado ? All that brush you walk through would tear then to shreds.

    • As I mentioned in the review, they will never be considered durable. And I wouldn’t consider taking the pants out into the field.

      However, I disagree in regards to the jacket’s suitability for the Continental Divide Trail. From what I recall, brush was never much of an issue in Colorado…….at least not for one’s upper body. Indeed, a hiking buddy, Joshua “Bobcat” Stacy, just finished a CDT thru hike a couple of months ago, and he wore the same DriDucks jacket for the entire journey.

  2. For three-season backpacking in Coloarado, it is what I carry. Colorado is pretty dry compard to other areas in addition to being open in many areas. Basically, the rain gear is just used on occasion. Even for the three-season off trail hiking I do, the DriDucks are my rain gear of choice.

    For more technical pursuits, and winter, I do take something more durable.

    And, I agree, the pants are rubbish. I keep a pair in my car as emergency rain gear only.

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