Rain Jacket Features and How to Choose the Right Style

September 23, 2023
Natalie Thorburn


For most people, certain pieces of clothing have a practical function. We wear clothes for specific seasons and some to protect us from different weather conditions. For example, owning a rain jacket might come in handy when the wet season falls around.


Rain jackets are meant to keep people dry, shielding them from rain, fleet, or snow. Throughout the years, it has been innovated to fit various lifestyles. Whether you're going to work, to a social event, or out for a hike, there is a rain jacket for unpredictable weather.

In this blog, we will explore the specialized technology that makes rain jackets a reliable item of clothing. We want to help you understand the materials that make the item weather-proof and how you can pick the best style that suits your lifestyle and activities.

The Science Behind Waterproofing

In the realm of rain jacket technology, understanding water resistance is paramount. This crucial element ensures we stay dry and comfortable even in the harshest downpours. Let's explore the two primary types of proofing and learn what waterproofing ratings mean.

Types of Water-Prevention Technologies

Polyurethane (PU) Coating - It is a widely used technique where a layer of polyurethane is applied to the fabric, creating a barrier that prevents water penetration. PU-coated jackets are durable, cost-effective, and versatile. However, they may be less breathable compared to other kinds.

Gore-Tex and Other Membranes - It is an advanced membrane technology. Gore-Tex has a micro-porous structure that allows moisture vapor to escape while preventing water droplets from entering. As a result, it is a highly breathable and waterproof material that is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts and those requiring top-tier performance.

Meaning Behind Waterproof Ratings

These ratings appear as Hydrostatic Head (HH) and are measured in millimeters (mm). This measurement determines the fabric's ability to withstand water pressure before it starts to seep through.

For example, a rain jacket with a 10,000mm HH rating can withstand the pressure exerted by a 10,000mm tall column of water. However, higher HH ratings don't always equate to improved performance. Other factors like fabric type and construction play a role in overall water resistance.

How Breathability Works

Breathability in rain jackets is just as crucial as waterproofing. It allows sweat vapor to escape, ensuring comfort even when doing high-intensity activities. It is achieved through microscopic pores in the fabric and a measurement known as Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate (MVTR).

Additionally, a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating enhances breathability as it causes the water to bead up and roll off the surface instead of soaking in the fabric.

The Resistance to Evaporative Heat Transfer (RET) value is often used in measuring breathability. A lower RET value indicates higher breathability. For instance, a jacket with an RET value of 6 or lower is considered highly breathable, making it suitable for strenuous activities.

Maintaining Waterproof Qualities

To ensure your rain jacket stands strong against rain, regular care is essential. Gently hand wash with a mild detergent, rinse thoroughly, and avoid harsh chemicals. Reproof with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) spray or wash-in solution. Activate the DWR with low heat and store it on a hanger, avoiding direct sunlight. These steps guarantee a longer lifespan and continued performance.

Finding the Right Balance

Like most clothing, choosing a rain jacket involves finding the perfect balance between functionality and style. Apart from the technical aspects, examine your needs and why you want to buy rain jackets. Remember that you need to ensure your rain jacket keeps you dry and complements your activities and surroundings seamlessly.

Lifestyle and Activities

For those with a more active lifestyle and outdoor enthusiasts, breathability and durability are top priorities. Look for jackets with advanced membrane technologies like Gore-Tex. For urban use, versatility and style may be critical factors. Consider a jacket with a PU coating for a balance of waterproofing and affordability.

Climate and Weather Conditions

A lightweight and packable rain jacket with moderate proofing may suffice in milder climates with occasional drizzles. You can use it, especially when the weather is unpredictable. A high HH-rated jacket with superior waterproofing capabilities is best in regions prone to heavy rainfall. This way, you stay dry for some time and prevent damage from the cold.

Fitting and Layering

Ensure your rain jacket allows easy movement, especially if you plan on layering underneath. Try it on with your usual layers to get an accurate fit. While you may need to stay dry, we must ensure your mobility remains intact.

With this knowledge, you can confidently navigate the world of rain jackets. Remember, the perfect rain jacket aligns with your specific needs and activities. Whether you're a rugged outdoor explorer or a city dweller dodging puddles, there's a rain jacket tailored just for you. Happy exploring!


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