With the so-called summer that most of the country has been enduring so far this year, waterproofs have been a must – even for a simple trip into town!
For those really braving the elements in the great outdoors, here’s a guide to the top ten jackets on the market.
What is a Waterproof?
Waterproof fabric is resistant to penetration by water. The best waterproofs are the most breathable – letting moisture build-up from the inside out at the same time as stopping the wet from getting in.
Keeping your body temperature regulated is one of the most important factors for any outdoor activity in poor weather. Jackets must allow perspiration to evaporate through the fabric while keeping out the rain from the outside.
Major manufactures like The North Face, Rab and Berghaus are all renowned for the quality of their wet weather gear, with clothing designed to cope with the very worst Mother Nature can come up with.
From mountain jackets built to withstand the most extreme temperatures as well as the wind and rain, to lightweight waterproofs designed to keep you dry without weighing you down, the choice is endless.
The secret is to define your needs before you buy – climbing in the Alps or walking in the west country will need very different kinds of protection from the elements.
One specific definition of being waterproof requires the fabric to withstand water pressure without leaking.
For any fabric to be considered fully waterproof it has to be able to withstand the pressure of a column of water 1000mm high – this gives it an hh rating of 1000. To measure the hydrostatic head correctly, the height of the column is increased until the water begins to penetrate the fabric.
Best You’ll Find
In no particular order, here’s a guide to the very best waterproofs you’ll find anywhere.
- The Mountain Dru is a Rab classic, constructed from waterproof eVent fabric and designed for tough mountain conditions. Ideal for mountain walking, winter backpacking and mountaineering.
- Their Latok Alpine is tailor-made for Alpine climbers – but is suitable for year-round use in a wide range of activities. The perfect choice for multi-day backpacking.
- Jack Wolfskin’s Resolution Jacket is designed for trekking and climbing, reinforced in places to accommodate a climbing harness or rucksack waistbelt.
- The Berghaus Velum is the most breathable mountaineering jacket in their collection, in 3-layer Gore-Tex designed for waterproof, windproof protection.
- Their Cornice Long uses the same Gore-Tex construction in a longer-than-normal model that offers greater coverage to the lower back.
- The Highland Jacket from The North Face is waterproof and insulated, with an 80g Heatseeker synthetic lining providing the warmth and a HyVent outer supplying the waterproofing.
- Their Stratos Jacket is also made from waterproof HyVent – with an added DWR -Durable Water Resistant – treatment for even greater protection.
- Lighter weight jackets include The North Face Triumph Anorack, which combines maximum breathability with superlight, waterproof HyVent DT fabric.
- The Minimus from Montane is the perfect, all-round multi-activity jacket, in waterproof, fully-breathable Pertex Shield fabric.
- The 100% waterproof OMM Cypher is a technical smock jacket for mountain marathons and any activity where minimum weight must be a consideration.
Nicki Williams writes for Gear-Zone, specialists in wet weather clothing, outdoor equipment and camping gear
Picture source: Compfight