Is there anything more miserable than having your clothes wet? Being a child in Cornwall, UK, which has an average of 156 rainy days per year, with a tendency to provide all four seasons in one day, I’ve been on my fair share of dog walks in the rain and thru-hikes. I’ve also done a few bicycle rides. If I kept indoors every time the weather turned unpleasant, I’d probably never venture out and that’s why the right waterproof jacket is now one of my most-used items.
There aren’t all waterproof jackets manufactured equally. So, even though an open-front poncho may be perfectly sufficient for a rainy occasion but it’s not going to assist in a mountain storm. Here’s what you should be thinking about.
What’s the main difference between waterproof and water-repellent?
If you’re looking for proper protection against the elements then purchase outerwear that is waterproof but not just water-resistant. Waterproof clothing can offer protection from a light rain but lets water in very quickly. Arcteryx Alpha SV is one of the best options like that on the market.
A waterproof jacket stands against much more severe situations, but if do not purchase a jacket that is air-tight, you’ll experience sweaty areas on the interior of the jacket instead. If you exercise hard, this will still leave you sweaty and uncomfortable. In search of a coat with a waterproof membrane is a great option to ensure that the coat is breathable and allows moisture to go away.
You’ve probably heard about Gore-Tex, the most famous waterproof membrane that is available. It operates by using small pores that are small enough to keep drops of rain from getting into your jacket, but big enough to allow sweat to evaporate. It’s far from the only waterproof membrane on the market and numerous outdoor brands now have different versions.
If your jacket isn’t as water-resistant as it was in the past it’s good to know that you don’t need to purchase a new jacket. A water-repellent, durable coat (DWR) has been applied to the outside of a water-resistant or waterproof jacket. If the jacket loses its impermeability, it’s simple to reapply the DWR yourself. To determine whether your jacket needs a DWR refill, wash it with water and observe whether the water beads up and falls off. If it does, then you’re in good shape. If it’s causing the area wet and dark fabric instead, it’s the right time to invest in a DWR replenishment product and then recoat your coat.
What is the best way to know what degree of protection a waterproof jacket provides me?
There’s a good scale to help you determine this, and numerous retailers will include a waterproof rating alongside their jackets. 5 millimeters is the minimum amount of waterproofing that is required in order to qualify as waterproof, and not only water-resistant, however, this isn’t enough to stand against beyond light rain and drizzle. 10,000mm-15,000mm is sufficient for most rains, while 20,000mm and up is the best for intense deluges and extreme weather, but the jackets generally weigh more.
Which one should I go for?
Because you’re not likely to be walking around in one bikini or waterproof jacket, you should choose a jacket that has enough space to layer. For three-season hiking, an outdoor jacket that allows you to wear a base layer with a down jacket underneath should be adequate, but for winter mountaineering, you’ll need something roomier to allow you to layer.
What other features could be helpful?
Look for jackets with taped seams. This means that the seams have been sealed to stop the water from entering through tiny holes. Storm flaps are another practical extra: outer flaps to cover zips in jackets Another area with a porous surface where rain can get in. For most of my excursions, I’d prefer to wear a rain jacket that has a hood with a peak. This keeps the rain out of your eyes. On the other hand, jackets that only have a drawstring hood let the rain run down your face.