Waterproof jackets are the final layer in your layering system, which provides a waterproof barrier.
The key difference between waterproofs is the material they are made from. All waterproof layers vary in how waterproof they are and their breathability.
Every waterproof coat that we sell has a waterproof and breathability figure that corresponds with the product. We have made it nice and easy for you to understand what these figures mean so that you can get a waterproof coat that is right for you. Below is a table explaining all of the waterproof levels.
|Waterproof Rating (mm)||Resistance provided||What it can withstand|
|0-5,000 mm||No resistance - some resistance to moisture||No pressure, dry snow and light rain.|
|6,000-10,000 mm||Rainproof and waterproof under light pressure||Light pressure, average snow and light rain. |
|11,000-15,000 mm||Rainproof and waterproof except under high pressure||Light pressure, average snow and moderate rain.|
|16,000-20,000 mm||Rainproof and waterproof under high pressure||Some pressure, heavy snow and heavy rain.|
|20,000 mm+||Rainproof and waterproof under very high pressure||High pressure, wet snow and heavy rain.|
Once you have decided which level is right for you, it is then important to take other features of the coat into account.
The breathability of the waterproof is very important.
Both manufacturers and independent labs determine breathability ratings, but the testings are diverse, this makes it very difficult to compare breathability of waterproofs like for like.
Breathability ratings are measured by g/m2 or grams per square meter. Generally, the higher the grams, the more breathable the waterproof jacket will be. Below is a list of breathability ratings and what function they provide.
5,000g This coat will allow your body moisture escape during most snow activities.
10,000g This coat will allow your body moisture to escape during heavy activity where your body will be producing more moisture than usual.
15,000g This coat will allow for moisture to escape during any work out.
Additional things to take into account...
The next thing to take into account is the fit. The coat needs to be large enough to fit a mid-layer or a base layer underneath, if the coat is too small then it will leave you feeling pretty chilly! If it is too tight it will also restrict your movement, which can be frustrating when doing an outdoor activity. So make sure that you do not underestimate what size you need.
The second thing to consider is the zips. Now, this seems to be a pretty basic thing to consider, but you do not want to me caught out in heavy rain with a waterproof that doesn’t zip up properly! If you want a waterproof for heavy rain, wet snow or moderate pressure the zips are important, but usually forgotten. Zips can cause a great deal of cold air to get in if they are not sealed properly, so make sure they are hidden by storm proof flaps or are waterproof themselves.
Finally, take into account the added features. You will know yourself whether you need a hood, a pocket for compasses and maps or just a basic waterproof, but keep this in mind whilst shopping. Many waterproofs come with lots of added extras so take some time and read the information carefully.