Find the best waterproof jacket for you
On average, the UK has 133 days of rain or snow in a single year – meaning if you don’t have a waterproof jacket in your wardrobe, you’re spending nearly half the year (unsuccessfully) dodging the rain clouds. In our waterproof buying guide, we will ensure that you’re armed with all of the information you need to buy the perfect waterproof jacket for your lifestyle.
Showerproof, weatherproof, and waterproof – what’s the difference?
A showerproof jacket is pretty much any jacket with an oilcloth, wax, or polyamide outer shell. This kind of jacket is fine if there’s a light rain spell, or you’re simply running from the house to the car, or other very short trips outside. It won’t be suitable for dog walking, hiking or for heavier rain storms.
The term ‘weatherproof’ is often attributed to a wax jacket. A waxed jacket will protect from rain and wind. Wax jackets are only weatherproof so long as the waxed outer is maintained.
Waterproof jackets are going to be the focus of this blog; a high quality waterproof jacket is the best way to ensure you’re completely protected from the elements.
What to look for
When shopping for a high performance waterproof jacket, you may come across some technical terms that you may not be familiar with, but are important when it comes to choosing the right jacket for you.
DWR stands for Durable Water Repellent – this is a coating added to fabrics during the manufacturing process to make them water resistant. Over time, this DWR coating can become less effective, so may need to be re-proofed with a specialist product.
Breathable jackets are ideal for active lives, and are great for hiking, running, cycling or riding. These jackets feature a technical three layer system which ensures water cannot get into the jacket, but moisture on the inside is wicked away keeping you cool and comfortable. Some highly technical jackets may feature a GORE-TEX system – this is exceptionally lightweight, and is patented as one of the best waterproof and breathable systems in the world.
Taped seams feature of the majority of waterproof jackets. This means a seal is placed over every seam of the jacket, trousers, or bag to ensure water cannot penetrate the jacket.
A packaway jacket can be rolled up and stored away in a small pocket or pouch to make it easily transportable. These jackets are often exceptionally lightweight too, making them great for the commute or travellers.
If a jacket has a grown hood this means it is a permanent feature on the jacket. A detachable hood can be attached to and detached from the jacket, while a rolled hood is attached, but can be folded up and zipped into the collar.
Many jackets are fitted with storm plackets and cuffs. A storm placket covers the zip and buttons with a waterproof panel to ensure water cannot seep through the zip. A storm cuff is fitted to the wrist to keep not only water but wind at bay.
How to choose a jacket for your needs
If you’re looking for a jacket that will perform while still looking stylish for your commute or the school run, then we recommend looking for a lightweight jacket with DWR and taped seams. Keeping it lightweight means you can easily layer it over your suit or workwear without a cumbersome feeling. Any style of hood would be suitable for this, but if you are required to keep a more formal look for your work, then a detachable hood might be preferable.
For general use, such as walking the dogs or day trips with the family, then a breathable jacket with DWR and taped seams is ideal. Breathability is recommended as it will ensure you are comfortable during summer storms, meaning you only have to invest in one high quality jacket. A rolled or grown hood is perfect for this use as there’s no chance you will be caught without it with little option for going undercover!
Active ladies and gents who enjoy running, hiking, cycling or equestrian based sports will also benefit from a breathable or GORE-TEX jacket for optimum comfort during these activities. Taped seams are essential, while runners, riders and cyclists would certainly benefit from storm cuffs where available. We recommend a rolled hood for these activities as it ensures you are more streamlined. For cyclists and hikers where a bag can easily be carried, a packable jacket may be preferable.
If you partake in country sports or work predominately outdoors, then we strongly recommend a GORE-TEX jacket to ensure you are kept warm, dry and comfortable. A grown or detachable hood would be a great choice for this kind of activity, as these kind of hoods tend to be thicker, and therefore offer more warmth. Storm plackets and cuffs are essential to keep rain and mud away, while country sportsmen and women will want to look for draining holes in cartridge pockets.
Waterproof jackets can be cleaned, cared for, and reproofed using specialist products. Each jacket manufacturer has their own product of choice for this, however many recommend Nikwax as the best way to care for your waterproofs. Nikwax cleaning agents can be used just like detergent to thoroughly clean your jacket or other waterproof item and restore it to its former glory. We have a full blog all about how to wash your waterproofs, so be sure to check that out before you need to clean your jacket!
We love to see you enjoying your Outdoor and Country products, whatever the weather! If you have a great picture of you wearing your favourite waterproofs, then before to share it with us using #OutdoorandCountry on Instagram, and you could be in with a chance to win a £50 gift card to spend in-store or online!