How To Choose The Right Waterproof Jacket For Your Hiking Adventures

There’s nothing more unpleasant than being soaked in water. Being a child living in Cornwall, UK, which is home to an average of about 156 rainy days a year, and an ability to have the four seasons all in one day, I’ve been on plenty of dogs walks in the rain or thru-hikes as well as bicycle rides. If I were to stay inside every time the weather turned bad, honestly, I’d never venture out so an appropriate waterproof jacket is now one of my essentials.

All waterproof jackets aren’t made equal, and although an open-front poncho may suffice for a rainy day it’s not going to aid in a storm on the mountain. Here are the things you should think about.

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

If you’re looking for proper defense against the elements, purchase outerwear that is waterproof and not just water-resistant. Waterproof gear can provide protection from light rain, however, it allows water to enter quickly.

A waterproof jacket can stand against the harshest of circumstances, but if do not purchase a jacket that is air-tight, you’ll experience water build-up inside of the jacket instead. If you exercise hard, it will leave you sweaty and uncomfortable. Finding a jacket with waterproof membranes is a great way to make sure that the garment is air-tight and lets moisture be able to escape.

You’ve probably heard about many brands which have all sorts of waterproof membranes available. It usually functions by using tiny pores that are tiny enough to prevent drops of rain from entering your jacket, yet large enough to allow sweat to evaporate. Gore-Tex, for example, isn’t the only waterproof membrane available on the market today and a variety of outdoor brands have different versions.

If your jacket isn’t as water-resistant as it used to be but the good news is that you don’t have to purchase a new one. A water-repellent, durable coat (DWR) can be applied to the exterior of a waterproof or water-resistant jacket. If your jacket begins to lose its impermeability, it’s easy to apply the DWR yourself. To determine if your jacket requires a DWR topping-up, spray it with water and check whether the water beads up and disappears. If it does, then you’re good. If it creates dry, dark patches of fabric, it’s time to purchase a DWR replenishment product and then recoat your coat.

What can I do to determine the level of protection a waterproof jacket can provide me?

There’s a useful scale to use, and a lot of stores will display the waterproof rating on their jackets. The minimum is 5,000mm of waterproofing needed that is considered to be waterproof, not just water-resistant, however, this won’t hold against anything beyond light rain or drizzle. 10,000mm-15,000mm is sufficient for most rains, while 20,000mm and upwards is recommended for extremely severe deluges or extreme conditions however, the jackets tend to be heavier.

What kind of fit should I opt for?

Because you’re not likely to be walking around in an unprotected bikini and a water-resistant jacket, choose a coat with enough space to layer. For hiking in three seasons, it’s a good idea to get an arcteryx jacket that lets you wear a base layer, as well as an overcoat underneath, which will suffice, however when you’re going to be doing winter mountaineering, you’ll need something more spacious to allow you to layer up.

What other features can be useful?

Find jackets that have taped seams. This signifies that the seams on the inside are sealed to prevent water from entering through the tiny holes. Storm flaps are a useful feature: flaps on the outside cover zips on jackets which is another area that’s porous where rain could get in. For most of my occasions, I prefer wearing a rain jacket that has a hood that is peaked. The hood keeps rain from your eyes, while jackets with a hood that is drawn up let the rain drip down your face.