The perfect rain jacket is waterproof, breathable, lightweight, durable and affordable.
Unfortunately it doesn’t exist.
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:
- 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).
- Good water repellency & breathability.
- 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).
- 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.
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 😎 .