How To Choose The Perfect Jacket For Your Hiking Adventures

Are there any things more painful than being soaked in water? Growing up in Cornwall, the UK, which is home to an average of rainy days per year, and an ability to give you the four seasons all in the same day, I’ve completed plenty of dog walks in the rain, thru-hikes, and bike rides. If I had to stay in my house every time the weather turned bad, honestly, I’d never venture out thus an appropriate waterproof jacket is now one of my staples.

All waterproof jackets aren’t made equal, and although the poncho with a transparent design might be ideal for a rainy occasion, however, it’s not going to assist in a snowstorm. Here’s what to take into consideration.

What is the difference between water-repellent and waterproof?

If you’re looking for proper defense against the elements then purchase clothing that is waterproof, not merely water-resistant. Water-resistant clothing will provide some protection from light rain, but let water in quickly.

A waterproof jacket can stand up to much harsher conditions, but if you do not purchase a jacket that is breathable, you’ll end up with condensation on the inside of the coat instead. While exercising vigorously, will leave you feeling uncomfortable and wet. A coat that has waterproof membranes is a great method to make sure it’s air-tight and lets moisture escape. You’ve probably heard of Gore-Tex, the most well-known waterproof membrane available. It works by using small pores that are small enough to stop drops of rain from getting into your jacket, but big enough to let sweat evaporate. Gore-Tex isn’t even the only waterproof fabric on the market and numerous outdoor brands now have different versions.

If your jacket hasn’t been as waterproof as it once was it’s good to know that you don’t need to purchase a new one. A durable water-repellent coating (DWR) is applied to the exterior of a water-resistant or waterproof jacket. If your jacket begins to lose impermeability, it’s quite simple to apply a DWR yourself. If you want to determine if the jacket requires to be topped up with a DWR refill, wash it with water and check whether the water beads up and falls off. If it does, then you’re in good shape. If it’s leaving damp, dark patches of fabric, it’s time to buy a DWR replenishment product, and recoat your coat.

What do I need to know about the degree of protection a waterproof jacket can provide me?

There’s a useful scale that can be used, and many retailers will indicate the rating of waterproof on their jackets. The minimum is 5,000mm of waterproofing that is required that is considered to be waterproof, and not just water-resistant, however, this won’t hold for much beyond light rain and drizzle. 10,000mm-20,000mm is the ideal range for most rains, while 20,000mm and upwards is recommended for extremely intense deluges and extreme weather but the jackets tend to be much heavier.

Which one should I go for?

Because you’re not likely to be running around in just a bikini and a waterproof jacket, buy a jacket that allows enough room to layer. For three-season hiking, an outdoor jacket that allows you to wear a base layer, as well as an overcoat underneath, will be sufficient, but in winter mountaineering, you’ll require something a bit more roomy to allow you to layer up.

What other features are useful?

Find insulated jackets that have taped seams. This means that the seams have been sealed, stopping rain from entering through the tiny gaps. Storm flaps can be a practical additional feature: flaps outside that protect zips of the jacket, another porous area where rain could get in. For most of my activities, I would prefer an outfit with an open hood. It keeps the rain from your eyes. Jackets that only have unattached hoods let the rain run down your face.