When we say a rain jacket the first thing that undoubtedly springs to mind is one of those well-known EVA-made yellow models that we wore as kids. And while these pieces, sometimes known as slickers, are still in use and are rather common in some countries, raincoats have gone a long way since then.
There are so many wonderful rainwear options available now that are both fashionable and useful. They come in a wide range of colours and designs and can be made of various materials. From stylish trench coats ideal for a rainy day in the city to technical jackets made for hiking and camping, there is something for everyone.
And, since not all rain jackets are the same, there are some important factors to keep in mind when shopping for the one that best suits you.
Waterproof Breathable Materials
The secret to all raincoats is their waterproof, breathable fabric. Why? Because in essence, air and perspiration vapour can exit the area but water cannot. Therefore, these materials will keep you from getting wet, becoming cold, and having a miserable vacation. Sounds perfect, right? These are the best waterproof breathable materials to look for in your jacket.
Don’t let bad weather come between you and the great outdoors by choosing high-quality Goretex jackets that will keep you warm and dry! The GoreTex rain jacket can be worn in any type of environment or weather.
It is the wardrobe staple for those living somewhere that gets a lot of rain. Even if you don’t live in a wet region, a rain jacket made of Gore-Tex can be useful in emergencies or while engaging in outdoor activities like hiking, camping, or even fishing. You can layer underneath if it gets chilly to stay warm. Gore-Tex offers more than one membrane. The material comes in a variety of designs each made for a certain experience. However, the ePTFE membrane is present in the midst of each, though.
Therefore, the GORE-TEX Pro series is the strongest and most resilient and is frequently used for high-end rain jackets. It has three layers and a 40-denier face fabric, and it breathes well. On the other hand, the active series, as its name suggests is for continuous motion. It still has three layers, but it breathes more easily than Pro.
Due to its weight and packability, PacLite is frequently used in trekking rain jackets. It has a 2.5-layer construction and is significantly less bulky than GORE-TEX Pro or comparable 3-layer materials. As a result, it can be compressed into a small package.
The new GORE-TEX fabric C-Knit combines the toughness of Pro with a lightweight, soft feel. Although still a 3-layer structure, the material feels well on the skin, layers nicely, and packs down quite tiny.
Regardless of the type of series you decide to choose, having a gore tex waterproof jacket will keep you dry and not let a single drop of water pass through for a limitless amount of time. Plus, Goretex jackets are the real value for the money given their durability, resilience, and versatility as well.
Another material option to consider when looking for a waterproof and breathable rain jacket is the eVent. Inspired by industrial air filters and General Electric it also uses an ePTFE membrane.
However, the key distinction between this and GORE-TEX is that, unlike GORE-TEX, eVent does not use a laminated PU layer to cover the membrane’s small holes. Instead of this, eVent employs a coating that encircles each fibre, leaving the perforations open yet safe. Because of this, eVent is typically thought to be more breathable than GORE-TEX but requires more frequent washing.
Nearly as well-known in the industry as GORE-TEX, Polartec is best known for creating the fleece market. NeoShell is a PU-based membrane that prioritizes breathability, skipping ePTFE entirely. Although it is not as strong or water-resistant as its ePTFE-based rivals, this lightweight rain jacket is an excellent option for people who perspire a lot or who prefer an active, airy rain jacket.
Since a good rain jacket must repel water, let water vapour from your skin out, and allow air to escape if you want true breathability, manufacturers nowadays put another PU layer over the ePTFE membrane, which brought about a third component.
This third component allows air and vapour to escape while preventing outside water from entering. While you perspire down the trail in the pouring rain, thin membranes are stretched over other textiles, then squeezed together against the skin. It’s crucial to consider how you’ll use it and what you want from a jacket because there is no such thing as the perfect rain jacket. Some of the fabrics are more durable, more breathable, require frequent washing, and feel uncomfortable against the skin.
Raincoats nowadays come with many different features which, in turn, increase the jacket’s functionality. Let’s take a look at the most common ones.
Unlike other rain protective gear, a rainproof jacket needs a hood! You can wrap the hood securely about your face to shield it from side-blown rain and wind, which frequently takes the shape of drawstrings and toggles. This prevents raindrops from splashing in your face. The depth of the hood is a matter of personal choice although those with bigger heads should consider deeper hoods.
Even though you’ll have your valuables stashed somewhere safe and pockets on rain jackets designed for trekking are slightly less important, most people still enjoy and use them as a comfort or last-minute measure. Most raincoats come with a hand warmer pocket location placed low on the jacket for more casual use, like a hoodie, or much higher up to avoid a backpack’s hip belt or climbing harness. There are models with chest pockets as well.
A zipper must function normally, not stick, and last for a long time. This applies to any clothing with zippers, but there are a few additional criteria for raincoats. Zippers can be a weak point in your water resistance, and fumbling with one in a heavy downpour can be a major problem. Therefore, a quality rain jacket should feature waterproof zippers.