Are there any things more painful than putting on wet clothes? Being a child within Cornwall, UK, which has an average of rainy days per year, as well as a tendency to offer up all four seasons in one day, I’ve been on plenty of dog walks in the rain and thru-hikes. I’ve also done a few bike rides. If I was to stay in the house each occasion that the weather was awful, then I’d never leave and that’s why an appropriate waterproof jacket has become one of my staples.

The majority of waterproof jackets aren’t created equally, and while the poncho with a transparent design might suffice to wear for a rainy weekend but it’s unlikely to assist in a mountain storm. Here are the things you should be thinking about.

What’s the distinction between waterproof and water-repellent?

If you want proper protection against the elements, purchase a waterproof jacket not only water-resistant. Water-resistant gear will offer some protection against showers of light but lets water in very quickly.

The waterproof jacket will stand against much more severe circumstances, but if don’t purchase one that’s air-tight, you’ll experience sweaty areas on the interior of the jacket instead. When engaging in intense exercise will leave you soaked and uncomfortable. Looking for a coat with a waterproof membrane is a great way to ensure that it will be air-tight and let moisture be able to escape.

You’ve probably heard of Gore-Tex one of the most renowned waterproof membranes available. It functions by using tiny pores that aren’t big enough to stop drops of rain from getting inside the jacket, yet big enough to let sweat wick out. It’s far from the only waterproof membrane available on the market these days and a variety of outdoor brands are now offering their own version.

If your jacket isn’t as durable as it once was it’s good to know that you don’t necessarily have to purchase a new one. A water-repellent, durable coating (DWR) will be applied to the outside of a waterproof or water-resistant jacket. In the event that your jacket begins to lose its impermeability, it’s a breeze to apply a DWR yourself. If you want to determine if the jacket requires to be topped up with a DWR topping-up, spray it with water to see whether the water evaporates and disappears. If it does, then you’re good. If it leaves damp, dark patches of fabric, it’s time to get a DWR replenishment item and recoat your coat.

What can I do to determine the degree of protection a water-resistant jacket will provide me?

There’s a great scale to use to help you determine this, and numerous outlets will list the rating of waterproof on their jackets. The minimum is 5,000mm of waterproofing that is required for a coat for it to count as water-proof and not just water-resistant, however, this won’t hold against anything beyond light rain and drizzle. 10,000mm-15,000mm should be able to withstand the most severe downpours, and 20,000mm and upwards is ideal for very heavy deluges and extreme conditions. However, jackets will generally be heavier.

What fit should I go for?

Given that you’re probably not running around in just a bikini and a waterproof jacket, make sure you purchase a garment with enough space to layer. For hiking in three seasons and mountaineering, a jacket with a waterproof design that lets you wear a base layer and a down jacket underneath should suffice. However, in winter mountaineering you’ll want something that is roomier, allowing you to layer up.

What other features are useful?

Check for insulated jackets with taped seams. This means that the seams have been sealed to stop rain from entering through the tiny holes. Storm flaps are an additional practical accessory: flaps that cover zips on jackets also have a porous area in which rain may get inside. Personally, for all my outdoor activities, I would prefer to wear a raincoat with an elevated hood. The hood keeps rain out of your eyes. Jackets that only have a drawstring hood allow rain to run down your face.