Getting the right wet-weather gear for your outdoor adventure can make or break the trip. Going without can result in damp clothes, increased exposure to the elements and lets face it, a miserable mood! Get the right waterproof clothing and apparel and you'll find comfort and peace of mind no matter what mother nature throws at you. As always finding the right rainwear for you is highly dependant on who you are, where you're going, the climate, the distance and what you need. Use your past experiences to forecast future rain jacket needs. Are you seeking something more breathable? More durable? Lighter? Something exactly the same? Understanding your personal needs can help you locate your niche on the outerwear continuum. We've compiled a few starting points to help get you thinking:
Water resistant is the lowest level of water protection of the three. A garment of this rating will provide some protection and act as a shell barrier on top of other layers. Products in this category are usually more lightweight, cheaper and less durable than others. It will usually not have a coating on the original fabric used. This type of rainwear can handle light rain for a brief time, such as windbreakers. If precipitation lingers or starts coming down sideways with strong winds, these won’t be up to the task.
Waterproof ratings are measured in terms of the amount of liquid in millimeters (mm) the fabric can withstand. For example a jacket with a 5000mm rating would being to leak through after more than this amount was to be exposed to the garment. The higher the number, the more waterproof the fabric.
A rating of 5000mm to 10,000mm is suitable for just about all weather conditions but equally at home in lesser ones, great for walking the dog or a serious trek in bad conditions. These higher rated jackets will also be breathable.
Most outerwear, including all waterproof/breathable rainwear, has an added durable water repellent (DWR) finish. When a jacket’s outer fabric is “water repellent,” precipitation literally beads up and rolls off. Note that this isn’t the same as a fabric being “water-resistant,” which is an overall assessment of its ability to prevent water penetration.
Our Stay Dry Trekker is a tri layer heavy duty mid thigh length waterproof & breathable jacket. Its outer shell provides a water & wind proof barrier with a DWR (durable water repellent) coating to help shed surface water. The mid layer is a breathable membrane that efficiently moves sweat and moisture through the shell fabric, keeping you comfortable and dry. The inner layer protects the breathable membrane for long lasting durable performance and comfort.
The extent of breathability of a garment is determined by how effective the fabric is at allowing air & moisture from sweat to escape all while stopping moisture to enter. If you’re planning any activity that will heat up your body significantly and may cause sweating you should consider the breathability of the product. The different levels of water resistance generally correlate to a level of breathability. In principle the more effective a coat is at keeping the rain out, the less breathable it is.
Just as “water-resistant” relates to “waterproof,” “wind-resistant” becomes “windproof” when test results exceed an established threshold.
Windproof: Any waterproof jacket is also windproof. That makes sense when you consider that a barrier designed to block driving rain would also block the wind that’s pushing the rain. You will also find jackets with windproof technology, typically some type of laminate, that are only considered water-resistant.
Wind-resistant: Essentially the same as a water-resistant jacket, this is often an ultralight garment that easily stuffs into a pocket. Made for short trips and optimistic forecasts, it won’t offer much protection in a full-fledged storm.
Consider carefully what you require for your outdoor adventure, what creature comforts you most desire, what function you need from your rain wear, the price you are willing to pay and of coarse, how good you want to look out on those trails!
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