How To Choose The Right Waterproof Jacket For Your Hiking Adventures

Do you know anything that is more painful than being in a wet outfit? Being a child in Cornwall, UK, which is home to an average of about 156 days of rain per year, with a tendency to provide the four seasons all in the same day, I’ve completed plenty of rainy dog walks or thru-hikes as well as bicycle rides. If I was to stay in the house each day that the weather was foul, frankly, I’d be unable to go out, which means that the right waterproof jacket is now one of my staples.

There aren’t all waterproof jackets made equal, and although an open-back poncho could suffice for a rainy occasion, however, it’s not going to help in a mountain storm. Here’s what you need to take into consideration.

The difference is what’s between water-repellent and waterproof?

If you’re looking to have solid protection against the elements, buy clothing that is waterproof not only water-resistant. Waterproof gear can provide protection from light showers but allows water in quickly.

The waterproof jacket will stand against the harshest of conditions, but if you don’t choose one that’s ventilated, you’ll see condensation on the inside of the coat instead. If you exercise hard, however, you’ll end up feeling uncomfortable and wet. In search of a coat with a waterproof membrane is a great way to ensure that the coat is air-tight and lets moisture be able to escape.

You’ve probably heard of Gore-Tex one of the most renowned waterproof membranes on the market. It operates by using small pores that aren’t big enough to stop drops of rain from getting inside your Arcteryx jacket, yet large enough to let sweat evaporate. It’s not the only waterproof membrane available on the market, and many outdoor brands are now offering their own versions.

If your jacket isn’t as waterproof as it was in the past but the good news is that you don’t necessarily have to purchase a brand new one. A water-repellent, durable coat (DWR) has been applied to the exterior of a water-resistant or waterproof jacket, and if your jacket begins to lose impermeability, it’s a breeze to apply a DWR yourself.

To determine if your garment requires a DWR top-up, splash it with water and check whether the water beads up and slides off. If it does, then you’re good. If it leaves damp, dark patches of fabric, then it’s time to get a DWR replenishment item and recoat your coat.

How can I tell what level of protection a waterproof jacket will give me?

There’s a great scale to use, and a lot of stores will display a waterproof rating alongside their jackets. A minimum of 5,000mm is the level of waterproofing needed for a jacket for it to count as water-proof and not merely water-resistant, but this level won’t stand for much more than light showers or drizzle. 10,000mm-15,000mm should be able to withstand the most severe downpours. Anything from 20,000mm up is the best for massive deluges or extreme weather, however, jackets generally weigh more.

What is the best fit I should go for?

Because you’re not likely to be running around in just bikinis and a waterproof jacket, buy a jacket that allows enough room to layer. For hiking in three seasons and mountaineering, a jacket with a waterproof design that lets you wear a base layer as well as a jacket with a down layer underneath should be adequate, but If you’re planning to go on winter mountaineering then you’ll require 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 have been sealed, stopping water from getting through the tiny gaps. Storm flaps are a useful additional feature: flaps outside that protect zips of the jacket, another porous area where rain can get in. For most of my events, I’d recommend wearing a raincoat with a hood that is peaked. The hood keeps rain out of your eyes, whereas those with unattached hoods let rain trickle down your face.