Frogg Toggs report #3 (field report from Mt. Hood)
- Frogg Toggs Report 3 (First field report)
I took my Toggs with me on my three days around Mt. Hood trip this
week-end. The Timberline Trail ranges from 3200' to 7200', with
terrain ranging from thick forest and undergrowth to barren slopes
and early season snowfields. Because of the lack of weather, the
chance to test the Toggs was minimal, but I did get a few chances, as
On my third night, I was camped at the Cooper Spur shelter at 6600'.
The area it almost utterly barren, with just a few gnarly trees
(almost shrubs) just down slope, and down wind. There is really very
little between you and the glaciated peak but distance, and not much
of that (half a mile to Eliot Glacier, maybe a mile to Newton-Clark
Glacier). The temperature was cool, maybe into the low 50's, but with
a good wind chill. I was wearing my zip on pants (no wind block
there), a first layer t-shirt, a long sleeved shirt, and a polypro
pullover, and I was still cold. So, I decided if Oregon wasn't going
to give me some rain to test the Toggs in, at least I could test the
wind performance. Ya gotta make the most of what you've got, you know.
Well, with the Toggs (top and bottoms) over the layers mentioned
above, I was very comfortable. I also added glove liners, a polypro
cap, and admitted I couldn't wear my Tevas with damp socks, so the
boots went back on. I spent the next hour laying on a rock watching
the clouds drift across the moon, the sky go purple, the stars come
out, the lights go on in Hood River, etc. Specifically, I didn't
think at all about being cold. I suspect I could have worn the Toggs
as a shell over just shorts and a t-shirt and been comfortable, but I
couldn't be bothered getting off that rock and back in the shelter to
Some things I did notice at this point. As I mentioned before, I went
with the SM/MD even though my weight suggested going larger. As a
result, I have a set of Toggs that fit comfortably. However, I also
have a habit of stuffing my pockets like a chipmunks cheeks. Gorp,
map in a ziplock, compass, whistle, pocket knife, bandana, ziplock
full of garbage from lunch, etc. This caused two things to happen.
One, the Toggs fit very snugly over the thighs. Enough so that I
would worry if I was climbing, stretching, etc. I don't have huge
thighs, but neither are they skinny. The main issue is that the Toggs
have basically no give at all, so a tight fit can be constricting,
and possibly damaging to the Toggs. I would not even be able to put
my emergency bag (first aid kit, mylar blanket, etc.) in a pocket
under the Toggs for a river crossing where the possibility of loosing
the pack exists. A bummer considering swollen rivers are a
possibility during rain.
And two, the pass through pocket is a little small for getting to the
cargo pockets of my pants. The regular pockets are no problem. I
suspect the small pass through size is to minimize water getting in
that way. Both issues argue for minimizing what goes in one's pockets.
One last discovery at this point. The toggle on the pants is not held
on by a knot at the end of the cord. If you are not paying attention,
you can pull the toggle right off, then you have to make sure you
don't loose it and fiddle to get it back on. I would suggest one of
the first things you do when you get your new Toggs is tie that knot.
If you don't, it is sure to come off at an inopportune time (at least
if you have my kind of Karma ;)
After another day of clear skies and warm temps, I was coming down
off the mountain early Tuesday morning, and I finally got some rain.
Not much, but I did get to carry the pack over the Toggs jacket for
half a mile or so, and wear it around town the rest of the day. Under
minimal sweat load it breathed quite well, and was completely
waterproof. I used the hood a bit, and I especially like the way it
comes down to my forehead, rather than the lower part of my nose like
so many other hoods I have used (the lightweight nylon jacket from
REI comes to mind). However, I think under most circumstances I will
be using a hat rather than the hood, and saving the hood/hat combo
for blowing rain.
I did notice that, after having the jacket off for a time, when I put
it back on it felt a little clammy. Without getting too detailed, the
jacket won't breathe if you aren't wearing it, so the moisture inside
that has yet to escape will condense on the inside surface when you
are not wearing it. This clammy feeling went away quickly once I put
the jacket back on, and my body heat built up a differential in vapor
pressure again. While I have yet to wear the Toggs while doing a
serious climb, I suspect that I will wish for big pit zips under
those circumstances. Given that the weather here in Portland seems to
have changed for the wetter, I will report back soon on how the Toggs
work on the Firelanes of Forest Park.
So to sum up: the Toggs performed very well as a wind shell. I don't
think they would replace a lightweight wind shirt, but as a shell on
a windy ridge or under (relatively) extreame conditions, they do a
great job. Fit is again shown to be very important, and pocket
packers or folks with big ole legs may find they need to get a size
larger and deal with a little more bagginess elsewhere to ensure that
the legs have some room to move. Water shedding is excellent, and
breathability seems to be good under low sweat conditions. How they
work under a big sweatload in a warm rain remains to be seen.
And some ideas for the manufacturer:
Would a hoodless option perhaps be possible? For any conditions other
than blowing rain, going hoodless with a hat may be more comfortable
for some, and would cut down on weight & bulk.
Perhaps that knot in the pants cord could be there from the factory?