How to choose a waterproof jacket

For anyone that lives in the UK, avoiding the rain is a common problem and it can impact you at any time in the year, even the summer. As such, having clothing that is suitable in rainy weather is a must. Although you may consider shoes that are created from a material that is water resistant or opt to bring an umbrella out with you when clouds begin to gather in the sky, owning a waterproof jacket is strongly recommended.

If you don’t currently have a waterproof jacket, you may be wondering what you should look for before committing to one. Below, we explain the factors you should consider when it comes to choosing a waterproof jacket.

What is a waterproof jacket?

Designed to be effective in wet and windy weather, a waterproof jacket uses material that is suitable for protecting you against the rain. Instead of materials like cotton, wool, corduroy and tweed, waterproof jackets are created using polyester and nylon to prevent rain from passing through to beneath the jacket and leaving the rest of your clothes wet. 

An older man and woman wearing waterproof jackets in the rain.

What to look for in a waterproof jacket

A waterproof jacket can be used for a number of different reasons. Many people want a waterproof jacket simply for protecting themselves from the rain, whereas other people want a one for specific outdoor activities such as running, hiking, cycling or skiing. Due to this, you may have specific features that you’re looking for in a waterproof jacket that cater to these activities.

When it comes to choosing a waterproof jacket, you may consider a jacket that has:

- A chin guard

- Cuffs

- A dropped hem

- A hood- Pockets

- Pull cords

- Sealed seams

- A tight or loose fit

- Velcro

- Vented pits

- Zips

What is the best waterproof jacket material?

Another important consideration when choosing a waterproof jacket is the material. Waterproof jackets can be created using a handful of different materials and each has its own pros and cons.

Waterproof jacket materials include:

GORE-TEX - frequently used for jackets intended for outdoor activities

Laminated cotton - a breathable material that is often used as an additional layer on top of another material

Nylon and polyester - materials that are commonly used for effective water resistance

Polyurethane laminate - created through combining polyester and cotton, it is breathable and durable.

From the available options, GORE-TEX is often regarded as being the most effective material for water resistance. However, as it’s not as durable and breathable as other options, you may prefer to choose a material that offers everything you would typically need from a waterproof jacket such as nylon or polyester.

What is the best lightweight waterproof jacket?

If you want a waterproof jacket for exercise or simply getting around without getting wet on especially rainy days, having one that is lightweight makes it easier to wear without being pulled down, remain cool in warmer months and store without using up a lot of space.

Fortunately, waterproof jackets are often thin, lightweight and breathable, protecting the user from the rain while avoiding heat from building up inside. A 100% polyester waterproof jacket is the perfect example of this and would be a good option for anyone that wants a water resistant jacket without feeling like they’re carrying unnecessary weight.

What is the best waterproof jacket?

Choosing a waterproof jacket will be based on your own personal specifications, and as previously mentioned, the features, material and weight could play a part.

If you want a lightweight, breathable waterproof jacket, a polyester jacket would be a suitable option. However, if you want something thicker, more substantial and better at protecting you against cold weather, a showerproof parka may be a better option. Alternatively, you may want a mix between the two. If so, a waterproof padded jacket could be worth considering.

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