How To Choose The Perfect Waterproof Jacket For Your Hiking Adventures

Is there anything more miserable than having your clothes wet? Growing up on the coast of Cornwall, UK, which is home to an average of wet days per year, and has a tendency to experience all four seasons in one day, I’ve done my fair share of dog walks in the rain or thru-hikes as well as bike rides. If I had to stay in my house every time that the weather was awful, then I’d probably never venture out, which means that an appropriate waterproof jacket has become one of my go-to items.

The majority of waterproof jackets aren’t made equal, and although a see-through poncho might be perfect for a rainy festival it’s not going to assist in a snowstorm. Here’s what you need to take into consideration.

How can you tell the differences between water-repellent and waterproof?

If you’re looking for protection against the elements then purchase an outfit that is waterproof but not just water-resistant. Waterproof gear can provide protection from light showers but lets water in very quickly.

A waterproof jacket can stand against the harshest of circumstances, but if don’t purchase one that’s breathable, you’ll be prone to moisture build-up on the inside of the jacket instead. While exercising vigorously, however, you’ll end up damp and uncomfortable. Finding a jacket with waterproof membranes is a great method to ensure that it will be breathable and allow moisture to let out. You’ve probably heard of Gore-Tex which is the most well-known waterproof membrane on the market. It is made up of tiny pores that are tiny enough to keep drops of rain from entering the jacket, yet big enough to let your sweat wick out. It’s far from the only waterproof fabric on the market and a variety of outdoor brands are now making distinct versions of the membrane.

If your jacket isn’t as waterproof as it was in the past it’s good to know that you don’t necessarily have to buy a brand new one. A water-repellent, durable coating (DWR) is applied to the exterior of a water-resistant jacket. In the event that your jacket is beginning to lose its impermeability, it’s simple to apply a DWR yourself. To determine if your jacket needs the DWR topping-up, spray it with water and observe whether the water beads up and disappears. If it does, it’s fine. If it creates damp, dark patches of fabric instead, it’s time to purchase a DWR replenishment product and then recoat your coat.

What do I need to know about the degree of protection a waterproof jacket provides me?

There’s a good scale for this, and many retailers will include the waterproof rating on their jackets. At 5,000mm, you’ll find the minimum amount of waterproofing required for a coat to be considered waterproof not just water-resistant but it’s not enough to stand against anything greater than mild showers or drizzle. 10,000mm-15,000mm should be able to withstand the most severe downpours, and 20,000mm and upwards is for really intense deluges and extreme weather however, the jackets will generally be heavier.

What type of fit should I look for?

Since you’re unlikely to be going about in one bikini or waterproof jacket, get a jacket with enough space to layer. For hiking in three seasons and mountaineering, a jacket like Arcteryx beta lt, with a waterproof design that allows you to put on a base layer and a down jacket underneath should suffice. However, if you’re partaking in winter mountaineering, you’ll need something roomier to allow you to layer.

What other features could be helpful?

Find jackets that have taped seams. This signifies that the seams on the inside are sealed, preventing water from getting in through tiny holes. Storm flaps can be a practical option: flaps with an outer layer that covers jacket zips also have a porous area in which rain can seep in. For most of my occasions, I prefer wearing a raincoat with an open hood. This keeps the rain out of your eyes, whereas those that only have a drawstring hood allow rain to get a little closer to your face.