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Review of Frogg Toggs Rainsuit
and Comparison to Activent


Reviewer: Charles Lindsey, 11/07/98
Review Type: Lightweight Hiking Rain Gear
Product: Frogg Toggs Pro Action Rainsuit
Manufacturer: Frogg Toggs Rainwear)
Usage: 4-season, moderate, on-trail hiking/backpacking, canoeing

Updated: May 25, 2005

NOTICE: FROGG TOGGS are NO LONGER AVAILABLE


OTHER ULTRALIGHT RAIN GEARMontbell Peak Shell

Frogg Toggs Material :

100% polypropylene trilaminate. Two waterproof and windproof outer layers protect you from the elements. A middle microporous film allows the material to breath through tiny pores 20,000 times smaller than a raindrop but large enough to allow vapors to escape.

Frogg Toggs Review :

I've been testing out the Frogg Toggs Pro Action rainsuit to use as backpacking and hiking rain clothes.

It tests waterproof. I've tested it in Northwest Washington downpours, lengthy rainy spells, and even tied the four corners of the Frogg Togg jacket together then filled it with water and hung it up for 24 hours - not even a bead of condensation on the outside. It is waterproof.

It tests windproof. I've been in moderately stiff, cold winds with just lightweight thermal underwear on underneath and the wind was not penetrating.

The Frog Toggs lightweight hiking rainsuit does "breathe" and considerably better than goretex, probably comparable to activent.

So as far as breathable, waterproof, and windproof goes, I have no problem with this ultralight rainsuit.

WEIGHT:
The entire suit (jacket & pants) is under one pound (my size SM-MD weighs 14 ounces (I cut some tags off, incidentally).

FEATURES:
Functional hood and full front zip on the jacket. Jacket has elasticized cuffs and bottom hem - does a good job of holding in body heat. The rainpants have elastic cuffs and a 7 inch side ankle zip. Pants also have elasticized drawcord waist.

They also make an ultralight anorak which I did not test, which has the standard anorak features (hood & front pouch).

DURABILITY:
After the first wash, the frog toggs material softened up a little, although it's fairly soft to begin with. It has consistency almost like paper. However, it is a patented 3-ply material they call Dura/Vent. An ultra-thin microporous film (similar to activent) sandwiched between two layers of ultra-thin polypropylene.

After four washes it still does the job, so far doesn't wet out - doesn't bead up either, water just bounces off or runs off (kinda like FROGG skin).

TEAR STRENGTH
I grabbed the material in both fists and tugged on it. With just moderate force the material ripped open. As would be expected, the Frogg Togg material's reaction to open flame is that it melts and will burn, but it does not explode. The flame actually has to touch the garment before it will ignite. It does not withstand abrasion well. I dug into the material with a back and forth movement of the tip of my finger about a dozen times until my finger poked thru the material. Not very strong, but probably strong enough for some applications and for some folks who are very careful with their gear.

OTHER COMMENTS
I found the Frogg Togg jacket to be a little short - didn't cover my fleece jacket, but the arms are long (sorta like bat wing construction) so that they do not ride up the arm when the arm is extended. The hood is functional and cinches down via a nylon cord & cordlock. the jacket has a zipper storm cover and even covers the neck and chin area. The jacket doesn't have pitzips or even pockets for that matter.

I found the Frogg Togg pants to be a wee bit short. Even though they were the correct size for me, they were too short and did not cover the top of my boots in most active conditions. The pants were long enough -- they reached my ankles -- and covered my boots when standing and relatively inactive, but when climbing or traveling thru brush or bending over, they would ride up over the boots. Probably one size larger would take care of that problem, or better yet, if you're in a wet situation, wear lightweight low gaiters under the pants.

COST
The suit (pro-action jacket and pants) retail at less than US $100. My size SM-MD cost $69.50 (that's the total for jacket and pants !!!)

RECOMMENDATION
I would recommend this suit for trail trekking, especially three-season where you need insurance against unexpected inclement weather, but where most of the time the rainsuit probably will stay in the pack. I, personally, will use it during the Summer months when it is likely to stay in my pack most of the time. For a W/B rainsuit that is under one pound, and under $100, it's hard not to find a use for it.

I would not recommend this suit as an all-conditions, all-around backpacking rainsuit, for obvious reasons.


Update 3/14/99:

I've been wearing the same test jacket almost daily since I first published this review, and have logged about 120 miles with it underneath my pack (30 lbs in a Mountainsmith Mountainlight 5200). The jacket does not appear to be wearing through nor has it torn under these normal conditions. As previously stated, I have been in heavy rain and wind and the Frogg Togg jacket does its job.


Update 1/20/02:

Since I published this report back in 1998, the functionality of Frogg Togg garments has remained the same. However, the sizing has gotten larger, so when purchasing, (1) err on the side of a smaller size and (2) ask folks out in the "Lite Gear Talk" Discussion site about their experiences with the garments both in terms of sizing and in general. I still use mine and am quite pleased, especially in light of the cost.


Update 5/25/05:

Well, once again, it's time to revisit the Frogg Togg ultralight rainsuit to see if there are noteworthy updates - in function, sizing and quality. I just received a size MED and size LARGE Pro Action Jacket and Rainpants. I compared them to a pair of Frogg Toggs that I stashed back in 2001 or 2002.

FUNCTION: The jacket is a little longer - which is good since it offers a couple more inches of coverage to keep rain out when you bend over. The new jacket also has five buttons down the front storm flap rather than the two - one top and one bottom - on the older jacket. This is a good update which keeps the storm flap secure and adds more weather worthiness. The pants are pretty much the same except the button-down pass-through pocket opening is a little larger and the crotch seam from top front of the pants passing underneath to the top of the back of the pants is reinforced, so blown crotch seams shouldn't be a problem with these new pants.

QUALITY: Overall quality is good, stitching is well done and consistent. As already mentioned the new pants have a reinforced crotch seam. Also, the newer Frogg Toggs material feels thicker and more substantial than the older model. I haven't verified that as a fact, but the material definitely feels thicker and the suit is one ounce heavier.

SIZING: The reason that I got a pair of size Med and one of size Large is because I normally wear a size Large, but with Frog Toggs, I tend to wear a smaller size. I wasn't sure if that was still true, so I ordered both sizes. Sure enough, the size MED fits perfect. The size of the older pair of Toggs is size SM/MED. That sizing is no longer used and the current size MEDIUM is a tad larger than the SM/MED. To give some perspective, I normally wear size Large raingear from Marmot and other manufacturers. The size MEDIUM Frogg Togg Pro Action Suit is almost identical in sizing to my pair of LARGE Marmot Precip Jacket and Pants. By the way, I have 33" waist, 39" chest, pants: inseam about 33". There's plenty of room left in the pant waist and jacket chest. Also, the jacket has oversizing in the chest and bicep area for layering.

WEIGHT: Suit: 429 grams, 15.1 ounces; Jacket: 244 grams, 8.6 ounces; Pants: 185 grams, 6.5 ounces.

end of updates


COMPARISON TEST of FROGG TOGG to ACTIVENT:

Waterproof:

I conducted a few comparative tests with the Frogg Togg material and Activent. I used a Frogg Togg jacket and a Marmot Activent Anorak.

As stated above, I created a "bowl" in the Frogg Togg jacket and filled it with water; tied it off and hung it up for 24 hours. The material did not leak nor did condensation occur. In additional tests, I squeezed on the water ball to attempt to force the water thru the material and could not do so.

I tried the same test with the activent material. It very quickly had a clammy feel to it (the inside lining) and became damp even before I touched it. However, at this point, it was not yet leaking. I let it sit for only a few hours and noticed several beads of water forming on it. As I had done to the Frogg Togg, I squeezed on the water ball to attempt to force water thru the material and I proceeded to get wet as water squirted out at me from several places. Some places seemed weaker than others but the bottom line is that the material is not water proof and it doesn't take very long for the water to work through.

Bottom Line: Frogg Toggs is clearly more wind/water proof than Activent.

Durability:

I also tried the same durability tests on the Activent as on the Frogg Toggs. I could not rip the activent material by tugging on it nor could I break through the activent material with a back and forth movement of the tip of my finger. The material reacts to flame about the same as Frogg Toggs -- it melts but does not explode and the flame has to actually touch the garment before it ignites.

Bottom Line: Activent is clearly more durable than Frogg Toggs .

Weight:

Frogg Togg: 14 ounces (top/bottom)
Activent: 18 ounces (top/bottom)


OTHER ULTRALIGHT RAIN GEARMontbell Peak Shell


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