How to Choose a Waterproof Jacket

By Alpkit

Waterproof Jacket Buying Guide


This guide covers the main things to think about when choosing a waterproof jacket. The jargon used to describe waterproof jackets can be so specialist that even the most enthusiastic enthusiast needs to look up every other word to begin to understand what they’re paying for. It’s needlessly complicated, so we've broken everything down to make it simple. That way you can decide which waterproof is best for you.


Top Questions when Buying a Waterproof Jacket


How waterproof will my jacket be?

The measure for waterproofing is hydrostatic head (HH). The higher the HH rating, the longer your waterproof will keep out the rain. Officially anything over 1500 mm is waterproof but ours range from 8,000mm – 30,000mm. Check that the seams are taped (poking lots of holes in seams with a needle lets the water in) and that the zips are water-resistant or have a waterproof storm flap (this can be external flap of fabric with velcro or a thin strip behind the zip itself).

How breathable is a waterproof?

We measure breathability by something called Moisture Vapour Transmission Rate (MVTR) which is counted in grams per square metre per day. 8000g/m_/24hrs is fine for sedentary activities, 10,000-15,000 for moderate activity and 20,000+ is necessary for high intensity exercise like running, cycling or strenuous hillwallking. The higher your level of activity, the harder you work and the more heat and sweat you produce. If your jacket isn’t breathable, the sweat can’t escape and stays inside your jacket, making you feel damp.

Will my waterproof be comfortable when I'm active?

A waterproof can be comfortable to wear all day if it's breathable and the cut is right for what you're doing. So when you choose a waterproof jacket think about how much freedom of movement you need and how heavy you need it to be.

Should I choose a waterproof specific to my activity?

A waterproof designed for a specific range of activities will keep you more comfortable for longer. Alpkit jackets are designed with specific uses in mind, which helps you choose the right one. Runners need fabric that’s light, breathable and flexible whilst riders need a slim fit with a long back, good forward reach and easy access pockets. Walkers benefit from longer coats, bigger pockets and snugger fitting hoods. Mountaineers need a tough shell with space for warm layers underneath, good coverage when their arms are raised, higher pockets that leave room for a harness as well as a hood that goes over a helmet.

Waterproofs and the environment

Be aware of the _environmental impact of waterproof jackets._ The durable water repellent (DWR) coatings that make your waterproof repel water have historically had significant unintended environmental impacts by using chemicals that accumulate in nature. We and the outdoor industry are leading the way in minimising our environmental impact on the natural places that we love to play in.


Watch our Guide to Choosing a Waterproof

Over to Ben and Gabe in Hathersage to talk you through our range.

And finally, what you can do with your old waterproof...

If you’ve decided to retire a waterproof, please consider passing it on to our Continuum project so we can reuse and recycle by putting it into the hands of someone who needs it.

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