The Dryzzle Futurelight vs. Old the Dryzzle
The North Face has dropped Gore-Tex from the Dryzzle in favor of their new proprietary waterproof material called Futurelight. Futurelight is created through a process called nanospinning, which creates kind of a microscopic web on the material which won't allow water through, but is supposed to allow for great breathability. We've purchased one of the new Dryzzle Futurelight models for testing, and are linking to the updated model now. Compare the Futurelight version (below, left) to the original model we tested (right)
Until we've released the results from our test period with the Dryzzle Futurelight, the review below still refers to the Dryzzle with the Gore-Tex material.
Hands-On Review of the Dryzzle
The Dryzzle is an excellent all-around jacket for hiking, backpacking or around town use; it will function for occasional downhill and backcountry ski days or summer-time mountaineering trips. Its Gore-Tex Paclite fabric provides excellent breathability and long-lasting storm protection. Feature-wise, this contender is worthy for around town or hiking or backpacking. Its fit and mobility make it just okay for climbing or other activities that require significant movement.
This contender uses Gore-tex PacLite for its weather resistance, and our testing team feels this is easily one of the best fabrics available. The Dryzzle's DWR is unbelievable good; we struggled to take a photo with water on the jacket because it just ran off so easily. The Gore-Tex Paclite is super long lasting and near as stormworthy as it gets. The hood offers fantastic weather protection; while on several extended hikes on very wet days, the Dryzzle kept us dry.
The DWR on the Dryzzle is so good that we struggled to take photos of water on it because it ran off so easily. Our testing team was also impressed with how long the DWR lasted on this jacket - still going strong after a dozen hikes and lots of around town use in the Pacific Northwest.
Breathability and Ventilation
This rain jacket's Gore-Tex Paclite fabric offered top-notch breathability and proved more permeable than most other materials we tested. This contender impressed our review team while on real-world hiking and backpacking trips and during our side-by-side treadmill test. Besides great breathability, this rain jacket features pit-zips. While they aren't anything special and are common among similarly priced jackets, they certainly are nice when you want to dump heat and facilitate the moisture to escape.
Comfort and Mobility
We liked the overall feel of the Dryzzle. It offered decent (but not excellent) mobility. The only thing our testing team found lacking was that its arms were ever so slightly on the short side and the cut was a little boxier than most. We never had a problem with the sleeves while hiking or backpacking, but while climbing or performing other tasks with our hands above our heads, we noticed the sleeves pulled back near our wrists more than most models. This wasn't a huge drawback, rather more of a minor annoyance.
The Dryzzle offers average mobility. The hem stayed down with our hands over our heads and the jacket never felt restrictive, but the sleeves would pull back when reaching above our heads or straight out in front of us.
Several small features made the Dryzzle a little cozier. Some of these features include a micro-fleece fabric on the inside of the top of the zipper to keep the wearer's chin from getting caught in the zipper. There is also an internal fabric that rarely felt clammy even while working hard, as well as easy-to-grab zipper pulls. Other small features warrant us to give a subtle nod to comfort and show attention to detail.
The Dryzzle's hood, like the Marmot Minimalist's, is fantastic, offering outstanding storm protection and excellent peripheral vision. The only downside for some users is that it doesn't work very well with a climbing or bike helmet.
The Dryzzle's hood was fantastic with a baseball cap or a beanie, or only just your head. It provided the wearer above-average storm protection and kept our testers dry in both real-world uses and through an array of side-by-side comparisons. This contender offers excellent features that help keep it snug around the wearer's head without limiting any peripheral vision. The only downside? The Dryzzle's hood doesn't fit over a climbing or bike helmet very well; while it does technically fit, it's much tighter than the other models we tested, and it does affect the wearer's comfort and peripheral vision in these scenarios.
The cinch cord on the Dryzzle's hood.
The Dryzzle features two hand-warmer-style pockets and one chest Napoleon style pocket. The lower pockets are a nice place to put your hands but are low enough that they get covered up by a backpack waist-belt or climbing harness, making them hard to access. The one small upside of this jacket during these activities is that even with a more substantial pack, the zippers don't seem to pinch; they aren't as painful as other models in our review because of a combination of the storm flaps and lower gauge zipper. With that said if you are aiming to do a lot of backpacking or other trips where you might be carrying a pack, we'd recommend the Arc'teryx Zeta SL, REI Drypoint GTX, or the Marmot Minimalist, which all have more pack friendly pockets.
The Dryzzle is a pretty versatile jacket, though its lower hand pockets get covered by a backpack's waist-belt or a climbing harness. Luckily, The North Face used pretty low profile zippers, so it generally wasn't a big deal as far as discomfort.
This contender weighs 13 ounces; it's lighter than most three-layer construction Gore-tex jackets but pretty average among Gore-tex Paclite models. While this jacket could be considered lightweight, there are lighter weight options, such as the Outdoor Research Helium II (6.5 oz), and the Black Diamond Fineline (7.5 oz), which are half or nearly half the weight. The REI Drypoint GTX and the Arc'teryx Zeta SL are the lightest Gore-Tex jackets that we tested, with both weighing around 11 ounces; however, neither feature pit-zips, which is likely where much of the two-ounce weight difference can be accounted for.
The Dryzzle uses a 50D face fabric which is slightly thicker than most rain jackets. Our testing team was impressed by the overall durability of the Dryzzle and think it's plenty durable enough for most backpacking and hiking uses. It would even be a good option for occasional mountaineering or backcountry skiing applications. It offers comparable toughness to the OR Foray and the Arc'tyerx Zeta SL, though isn't quite as tough as the Marmot Minimalist.
Similar to our weight comparison, this contender packs down reasonably small and offers better packability than most 3-layer Gore-Tex jackets. That said, it's pretty average among Gore-tex Paclite models and doesn't compress nearly as well as some Pertex or models that use a coated waterproof breathable insert. Though it's not as far off, it is likely only 10-20% larger than most of those models. It isn't a huge deal for most, but the Dryzzle doesn't compress into either of its pockets, unlike several other similar models that we reviewed.
This rain jacket is an average price wise when compared to many other Gore-Tex PacLite models on the market. It's slightly less expensive than the Outdoor Research Foray and a lot less expensive than the Arc'teryx Zeta SL. While the Dryzzle is more expensive than nearly all models that feature a propitiatory coated waterproof-breathable fabric, the Gore-tex Paclite fabric offers superior breathability and long-lasting weather resistance (when compared to many of the less expensive coated models). For folks doing more than just walking around town, it's worth it.
Conclusion and the Bottom Line
The Dryzzle is an excellent all-around shell for everything from backpacking to urban rainy day adventures. It's also reasonably priced. Folks will be impressed with its longevity and superior breathability over other options like the Marmot PreCip, The North Face Venture 2, or the Patagonia Torrentshell.