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WATERPROOF CLOTHING

There is a bewildering range of materials, makes, styles and prices of waterproof clothing available out there.

The BIG questions are:
what type do I need to be looking at for the activities I do?
and
what do you get when you pay more money?

On this page I will attempt to give you enough information to be able to answer those questions.

 

Waterproof Clothing - The 2 Main Types

Non- Breathable

Waterproof Clothing These waterproof jackets or trousers can be as simple as the one shown in the picture which is simply made of 100 PVC, or they can be lighter weight Nylon Jackets with PVC coatings applied to make them waterproof.
They will do the job they are designed for with no problem, namely to keep the rain out. The down-side is that as they are not breathable as you get hotter in the jacket their is nowhere for perspiration to go to, so you can become 'clammy' inside.Some of these jackets try to minimise this problem by putting various air vents in the design to keep you cooler.

Breathable

Waterproof Breathable Jacket Breathable jackets offer all the water repellent qualities that you find in the above products, but with the added advantage of breathabilty. This basically means that using various methods depending on the material, moisture vapour is moved from the inside of the garment to the outside. This is done on a molecular level, so you cannot see any holes or vents in the products, but you will certainly notice the difference as you become warmer during any strenuous activity.
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Waterproof Fabrics

Non Breathable

These materials as mentioned before are usually PVC, PVC Nylon or sometimes Rubber Coatings.

Breathable

There are many, many different makes of breathable, waterproof fabric and coatings on the Market.
These include Isotex©, Indra©, Gore-Tex©, Sympatex©, Scantex© and many more.
The prices can vary greatly between one brand and another, often influenced by if they use their own coating e.g. Isotex© on Regatta clothing or if they use another companies material e.g. Gore-Tex© on Berghaus.
Which ever product you go for it will never stop you from perspiring, especially in hot conditions, or if you are carrying a rucksack... But it will move the moisture away from the body as soon as you cool down.
For more information on some of the products click on the links below :

Isotex from Regatta Technical Information
Aqua Dry from Craghopper Technical Information
Indra from Outdoor Scene Technical Information

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Water Clothing Features

The features available will obviously vary a great deal from one product to the next, but here I will list just a few features that you can look out for :

FEATURE BENEFIT
Full Length Zip on Over Trousers Particularly useful for getting trousers on and off while wearing boots.
Taped Seams This will help ensure water doesn't penetrate the stitching holes.
Velcro main zip covering Helps to keep water and wind from coming in through the zip
Back or Underarm Ventilation Helps to keep you cooler in warm conditions
Interactive second zip This is used to zip a Fleece jacket into the waterproof for added warmth.
Wired hood These hoods mean that when the drawcord on the hood is pulled the hood does not pull down over the face causing water to run down the face of the wearer.
Shockcord waist Used to pull the jacket in tight, but shockcord will stretch so that it does not seem uncomfortable.
Map pockets These internal or external pockets are designed to take a map, and keep it dry.
Reinforced shoulders and elbows Help to protect the jacket from rucksacks and general wear and tear.

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Waterproof Jackets and Trousers in Breathable or Non-Breathable Fabrics - For all this and more click here

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