Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite2 Jacket Overview
Let me be frank: You do not have to drain your bank account to be an ultralight backpacker.
I wish someone had told me that when I first started browsing REI Garage Sales in hope of scoring a sweet deal on an overpriced waterproof Snuggie. More often than not, simplicity works as well as, if not better than, an absurdly complex product with added features up the wazoo.
That’s where the Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite2 Jacket comes in. It’s a simple rain jacket that doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel. Weighing in at a lean 5.5 ounces (for a men’s small), this jacket is windproof, waterproof, and no-excuse-not-to-bring-it-proof. Priced at less than $20 you’ll find it in the dictionary under the word “budget”. To put it simply: outdoor rain gear doesn’t get more affordable than this.
That’s why we’ve awarded the Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite2 Jacket our Budget Pick for the Ultralight Backpacker.
Check out our comprehensive Guide to Rain Jackets to earn your degree in waterproof-onomics, and read on to see why the Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite2 Jacket is the best bang for your buck in rain gear.
Ultra-Lite2 Jacket Specifications
|Feature Type||Feature Specs||What This Means|
|Weight||5.5 oz. (156 g)||Incredibly light. It’s a basic shell and not very durable, but if you’re looking for an extreme cut in rain protection weight, this helps a lot.|
|Layer||2-Layer||Two-layer shells are the most basic around, and the Ultra-Lite2 jacket is extremeley basic. Not the best for breathability, but keeps water from getting in. More on rain jacket layers in our Guide.|
|Waterproof Membrane||Dripore Gen 2||This is Frogg Togg’s custom membrane, and was updated in 2016 from the original. It feels good against the skin and keeps water out, but will probably make you sweat when moving. More on rain jacket waterproof membranes in our Guide.|
|Face Fabric||Polypropylene Material||Frogg Toggs doesn’t get specific about their materials, but they use polypropylene in the construction of this jacket.|
|Lining Material||N/A||Frogg Toggs doesn’t list a specific lining material, but we believe it’s a combination of polypropylene and the waterproof membrane.|
|No. of Pockets||2 hand pockets||The Ultra-Lite2 Jacket has two zippered hand pockets that work well.|
|Pocket Placement||In-between||The placement of said pockets aren’t so low that they are blocked by a hip belt, but they’re not very high, either.|
|Pit Zips/Vents||No||A super basic shell, it does not have vents or pit zips.|
|Water Resistant Zippers||No||The zipper is large, but not water resistant all by itself.|
|Storm Flaps||Yes||To help with a non-water-resistant zipper, make sure to close the storm flap over the zipper.|
|Packs Into Itself?||Yes||You can squish the Ultra-Lite2 Jacket into its own pocket for easy storage.|
|Hood||Yes, two toggle pulls||A good-sized hood, but nothing fancy. It isn’t very well articulated, meaning it doesn’t move with you. It does have two toggles at the neck area to cinch it tight around the head, but no visor for increased protection.|
|Fit||Baggy||The fit is baggy overall, and sized very large. Order at least a size down, if not two sizes down.|
|Seams||Welded||The seams are welded tight, so as long as the jacket doesn’t rip, water won’t get through.|
|Manufacturer Warranty||One Year Limited Warranty||The Frogg Toggs rain gear is not known for longevity or durability. They offer a one year limited warranty against defects in manufacturing and workmanship, but any use and abuse is on you. Don’t expect to return this jacket for a refund.|
|Retail Price||$19.99||Insanely low price for a functional rain jacket. It has its flaws, but that bottom end is hard to argue with.|
Gear Review of Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite2 Jacket
Origins: Easing You In
I wasn’t expecting any bad weather in California’s Trinity Wilderness as the forecast called for nothing other than sun and smoke, but I packed the Ultra-Lite2 Jacket just in case one of those infamous NorCal mountain thunderstorms appeared out of the blue.
And wouldn’t you know it, that’s just what happened. Always be prepared, folks!
It started off as a bright, sunshiny kind of day on the Pacific Crest Trail where clear blue skies offered me an unobstructed view of that morning’s solar eclipse. I didn’t get to see the total eclipse (my friends in Oregon still won’t stop telling me how awesome it was), but the sky dimmed for ten minutes, which blurred the shadows in an trippy way, and that was cool. I’ll take what I can get!
Sometime between the solar dimming and lunch I heard thunderous rumbles all around, which confused me because there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. At first I thought the noise must’ve been unseen jet planes, but it wasn’t long before the wind picked up and I turned around to see the massive storm clouds creeping toward me.
A couple of hours passed as I hiked onward, hustling to stay ahead of the clouds. It wasn’t until the wind suddenly stopped that I knew I was about to be rained on, so I dropped my pack and put on the Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite2 Jacket.
Revelation: The Moment I Knew
Moments after donning the Ultra-Lite2 and pulling my pack on the rain began to fall. It was a drizzle at first, and then it became a downpour.
I realized I had been hiking uphill and was nearing the top of a ridge, a place you never want to be caught in during a thunderstorm, so I stepped aside to take shelter under a pine tree with long branches and thickly-packed needles.
The forest sang with the sound of countless raindrops crashing through the conifer canopy, pelting the duff below as the skies roared above. The bulk of the storm passed overhead in a matter of minutes, but the trailing drizzle hung around for the rest of the afternoon.
I had cinched down the hood of the Ultra-Lite2 tightly over my face for the worst of the weather. When the precipitation lightened I loosened the cord and unzipped the jacket’s only zipper to see that my puffy jacket was dry.
The wet wind persisted until evening, so I kept the rain jacket on for the rest of the day, covering myself from the rain as needed and unzipping to ventilate my body when given the chance.
Later that night, reflecting upon my day, I realized that this ridiculously inexpensive jacket performed just as well as the more expensive rain gear I had left at home.
There isn’t much deep digging to do when it comes to the wonderfully simple Ultra-Lite2.
I can tell you about the ultralight bi-laminate polypropylene fabric that is welded at the seams to prevent leaks and tears. It’s a soft plastic that is gentle on your skin. The material is enjoyable to touch and fun to roll and squish down as small as you can pack it. I’m able to compress it to the size of a pair of balled-up socks, which is small enough to fit in just about any pocket.
The full-length zipper is surprisingly hearty and loosely covered by a thin storm flap for added protection. The drawcords in the hood worked well to lock out the wet weather, as did the elastic-embedded wrist cuffs. Only the jacket’s hip hem is left hanging (literally), as it has no adjustable features.
I have yet to encounter a situation where the rain penetrated these defenses, but they are basic. Whipping winds with sideways rain may give you some trouble.
The Ultra-Lite is so light you’ll hardly notice you’re wearing it. The elastic wrists are snug but not too tight, and the hood clamps down only as much as you desire. Everything else hangs loose like a poncho, which pairs well with your backpack’s straps.
Nope. Just nope. As in, absolutely no durability. Remember when I said it was super cheap? Well it’s not made to last.
Avoid twigs and trim your fingernails. The fabric will shred as soon as it comes into contact with anything that can poke or snag. You will be protected from the weather and nothing else, but this jacket is so inexpensive that you can purchase a handful of them for the same price as a more durable rain jacket.
Frogg Toggs claims that this jacket has “unmatched sweat-free breathability.” What that means, I don’t know, because I absolutely had sweat issues. If I could choose one superpower it would be to turn my sweat glands off and on at my will. Think of the possibilities!
It’s not the least-breathable jacket I’ve ever worn, but it’s still a waterproof rain jacket, so you’re going to sweat. There are no pit-zips and you can’t undo the elastic at your wrists. Your only ventilation option is the main zipper.
This plastic shell keeps the water out. I’ve known hikers who’ve worn garbage bags for rain protection because hey, they work, but with the Frogg Toggs you have some basic features (and comforts) that make a huge difference. It’s a little difficult to tell where the rain protection ends and the sweat condensation begins, so when you’re on the move you’ll have to manage your body heat as best as you can.
The Ultra-Lite Rain Jacket is notorious for being way oversized. I wear a men’s medium most of the time, but a Frogg Toggs size small hangs loose on me with enough room for a large puffy jacket to fit underneath. Make sure to purchase accordingly by dropping a size or two.
As previously stated, pit-zips would help a lot. Hiking uphill in bad weather requires constant checks and balances in dealing with exterior moisture and interior ventilation. I had no issues with the Frogg Toggs while taking a break or hanging around at camp, only when I was in motion.
The added zippers would likely raise the overall weight by something like a quarter of an ounce, which absolutely no one would find acceptable (how dare they even think of considering it!), so I completely understand the company’s decision to forego the design choice. Sorry, when I grieve I tend to get a bit sarcastic.
This sweat issue is one that all rain jackets have to deal with. If you’re constantly hiking with heavy loads in lots of rain, you may want a jacket that breathes better and is more durable.
Storm clouds be damned, I’m not spending a boatload of cash to keep a little rain off my shoulders! The Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite2 Jacket will protect you from the elements because that’s all it was made to do, and it’s going to do its darnedest.
Where to Buy Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite2 Jacket
Frogg Toggs offers a handful of rain jackets, but the one we like is the Ultra-Lite2 Jacket. Just to confuse consumers, that jacket is also sometimes called the “Ultra Lite Jacket” and the “Ultra-Lite 2 Jacket” or some variations of those words. Frogg Toggs updated all of its rain jackets to a “2” line in 2016, so if you buy an Ultra Lite Jacket from them it will have the new membrane.
This is offered in a men’s in two colors — blue and grey — and women’s variation in one color — pink. Yeah, those are the colors. You can also buy an Ultra Lite Suit, which is the same jacket and a pair of pants made of the same material. Many people opt for this because it’s typically $5 more and gives you leg protection. We’ve found that the pants get a lot more twisting than the jacket, so they rip much quicker. In the end it’s your call.
Compare Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite2 Jacket and Suit prices below.]