Dryzzle, DryVent Bio and Antora: Three Waterproof Hiking Jackets from The North Face

Nobody likes to cancel a hike because of the rain. Waterproof jackets are essential for protecting us from the weather (both the rain and the wind), and when they’re for hiking they need to be lightweight and breathable as well. Here are three options from The North Face to ensure your hike doesn’t have to be canceled.

Waterproof hiking jackets from The North Face

At Barrabes our most important job is matching our customers with the right products according to their needs. As users we often assume the most expensive or most technical piece of gear is always the best, when many times highly technical gear has characteristics that we don’t need and won’t use, depending on what activity we’re going to do. Or on the other end of the spectrum, we may settle for equipment or materials that are inadequate for the activity we’re planning, either due to budget issues or a lack of understanding of the technology or of our needs.

With respect to waterproof hiking jackets—the topic of this article—we often see customers choose a highly technical mountaineering jacket due to its superior waterproof properties. However, for a less extreme activity such as hiking, a mountaineering shell is overkill. These shells are constructed to stand up to extreme conditions and harsh punishment, and so are much stiffer, more uncomfortable to wear, and considerably more expensive than other options on the market designed for hiking.

What we look for in a fair-weather hiking jacket is something that’s waterproof, breathable and lightweight. As mentioned earlier, mountaineering jackets are generally stiff and heavier, while ultra-lightweight jackets for highly aerobic activities such as trail running tend to be so thin and minimalist that they actually sacrifice some of their impermeability as a result.

So what should you look for in a warm-weather hiking jacket? First off, you’ll need something that’s highly waterproof . High mountaineering jackets generally only deal with precipitation in the form of snow, which as a solid is less likely to penetrate the fabric and get inside than rain. Ultralight trail running jackets, on the other hand, can skimp a bit on impermeability in exchange for being lighter, given the highly aerobic nature of trail running. Even if you’re a bit damp, you’re not likely to get cold while trail running because it’s so intense.

The North Face
Three jackets, three different membranes. Photo by The North Face

A hiking jacket can’t afford either of these luxuries. They have to keep rain and not just snow out. Furthermore, getting damp while hiking is more problematic than while trail running as you risk losing body heat and getting cold. Since you’ll be using this jacket while hiking and usually in fair weather (as opposed to extreme cold or alpine conditions), the jacket needs to be extremely breathable as well, in order to ventilate body heat and evacuate moisture from perspiration. Finally, a hiking jacket needs to be lightweight and packable , something you can store easily in your pack when it’s not raining without taking up excessive space or adding lots of weight.

The balance among these three needs—waterproof, breathable and lightweight—is achieved through a combination of the materials used in the outer face fabric, membrane and inner liner, along with other features such as ventilation, fit and adjustments. In this article we’re going to look at three jackets from The North Face and see how each one balances these different materials and features in order to achieve a particular result in their design. We hope this discussion gives you an idea of the differences among these three jackets so you can better decide which one suits your needs.

1 - Dryzzle Futurelight

The Dryzzle Jacket has been around for a number of years now as a best-selling hiking jacket. With high marks in comfort, fit, economy of design and (now in its latest version) sustainability, it’s a popular appeal that appeals to a broad range of users. Updated with href="" class=enlacey >The North Face’s proprietary Futurelight technology,the Dryzzle jacket is a highly breathable three-layer waterproof shell that’s lightweight, packable and durable. It’s made from recycled polyester and uses a PFC-free DWR treatment as a part of TNF’s “Explore without compromise” sustainability efforts.

Men’s Dryzzle Futurelight jacket

The Dryzzle Futurelight is a versatile jacket with lots of adjustment options. Whether you need it to protect you from the rain, keep the wind out, or just provide a bit of warmth, adjustments in the hood, cuffs, and waist allow you to adapt the fit to the weather conditions at all times.

Women’s Dryzzle Futurelight jacket

2 - West Basin DryVent Jacket

The new three-layer West Basin DryVent shell is an exciting new development in sustainability through its use of renewable raw materials. Unlike traditional membranes, which are purely petroleum based, 27% of the polyurethane in the body fabric of the West Basin DryVent is made from plant-based content (corn). The external face fabric is made from 95% recycled nylon and polyester and only 5% elastane, which can’t be recycled but is necessary for adding elasticity to the jacket for improved freedom of movement.

The North Face West Basin DryVent jacket

Just as with the Dryzzle, the West Basin DryVent has a lot of adjustment features to adapt to different conditions, from a windy ridge to a damp morning along a low valley floor. An adjustable three-piece hood, elastic cuffs and an elastic draw-cord hem will allow you to regulate rain protection and ventilation as conditions change. The West Basin DryVent jacket has a three-layer design, with an outer face fabric and laminated inner liner, making it highly breathable, and it packs away nicely in our pack when we don’t need it.

3 - Antora Jacket

The Antora is a simple yet effective waterproof hiking jacket, a good budget-friendly option compared to the Dryzzle Futurelight. The first thing we can observe is that the Antora has a more traditional DryVent membrane and a more basic design with fewer features. The Antora is a two-layer construction, with the membrane attached the outer face fabric with an inner polyster mesh to protect the membrane from rubbing against our and skin other layers.

The adjustment options and waterproofing properties on the Antora are more basic. Instead of taped seams, the Antora uses a more basic storm flap on the main zipper and pockets to keep the rain out but is not as waterproof as the other two jackets. Elastic cuffs also help keep water out, but are not adjustable the way the hook-and-loop cuffs of the Dryzzle Futurelight are. Just like the previous models mentioned, the Antora jacket has a PFC-free DWR treatment and is made of 100% recycled nylon and polyster.

The North Face Antora jacket

We hope this short article has been a useful overview of the most popular North Face jackets for this season. Be sure to have a look at our website and/or contact our online customer service team for more details and our full range of waterproof jackets for this season.


Leave a comment

Be the first to comment on this article.