How To Choose The Right Jacket For Your Hiking Adventures

Do you know anything that is more painful than being soaked in water? Growing up on the coast of Cornwall, UK, which is home to an average of about 156 days of rain per year, and a propensity to experience all four seasons in one day, I’ve had plenty of rainy dog walks and thru-hikes. I’ve also done a few bicycle rides. If I kept indoors every time the weather got unpleasant, I’d never venture out so an excellent waterproof jacket has become one of my most-used items.

Not all waterproof jackets are manufactured equally. So, even though the poncho with a transparent design might be perfectly sufficient to wear for a rainy weekend but it’s not likely to assist in a mountain storm. This is what you must look at.

The difference is what’s between waterproof and water-repellent?

If you’re looking for proper protection against the elements, you should purchase a waterproof jacket but not just water-resistant. The gear that is water-resistant will offer protection against light rains, but it lets in water quickly.

A waterproof coat can stand against harsher weather environments, but if do not buy one that’s breathable, you’ll end up with sweaty areas on the interior of the coat instead. When exercising for a long time, however, you’ll end up soaked and uncomfortable. A coat that has a waterproof membrane is a good way to make sure that the garment is ventilated and allows moisture to go away.

You’ve probably heard of Gore-Tex, the most well-known waterproof membrane that is available. It functions by using tiny pores that are tiny enough to block drops of rain from entering the jacket, yet big enough to let your sweat wick out. It’s far from the only waterproof fabric on the market and a variety of outdoor brands have their own versions.

If your jacket hasn’t been as waterproof as it once was and you’re not sure why the good news is that you don’t have to purchase a new jacket. A water-repellent, durable coating (DWR) applies to the outside of a waterproof or water-resistant jacket. In the event that your jacket begins to lose its impermeability, it’s easy to apply a DWR yourself. To determine if your jacket needs the DWR top-up, splash it with water and see how the water beads or is able to slide off. If the water does not, you’re okay. If it’s causing damp, dark patches of fabric instead, it’s time to invest in a DWR replenishment product and recoat your coat.

What can I do to determine the degree of protection a waterproof jacket will provide me?

There’s a good scale to use, and a lot of retailers will indicate a waterproof rating next to their jackets. A minimum of 5,000mm is the level of waterproofing that is required for a jacket to be considered waterproof and not only water-resistant, but it won’t stand for much other than light drizzle or drizzle. 10,000mm-15,000mm should be able to withstand the most severe downpours. Anything from 20,000mm upwards is for really intense conditions and heavy downpours, but the jackets are generally much heavier.

What type of fit should I look for?

Given that you’re probably not running around in just a bikini and a waterproof jacket, choose a coat with enough space to layer. For three-season hiking, a waterproof jacket that lets you wear a base layer with an under-layer of a down jacket should be adequate, but in winter mountaineering, it’s best to have something more spacious to allow you to layer. One of the best jackets like that is the Arcteryx beta ar jacket, which has enough space for you to layer your clothes and provides you with perfect protection from the rain.

What additional features are beneficial?

Check for jackets with taped seams. This means that the seams are sealed to prevent water from getting in through the tiny holes. Storm flaps are a useful feature: flaps on the outside that cover jacket zips and are another open area where rain may get inside. Personally, for the majority of events, I’d recommend an outfit with an elevated hood. It keeps the rain from your eyes, whereas jackets with a hood that is drawn up let the rain drip down your face.