We are solidly in Spring now, which means solidly embracing April showers. Although cold drizzle and sporadic rain showers have the potential to threaten anyone’s outdoor experience, there’s always good, old fashioned waterproof clothing! But wow, what a market to wade through! To help you out and encourage the explorer within you to get outside no matter whatever the weather, we have compiled a few helpful hints with the help of ukclimbing.com, Go Outdoors and Boys Life.
- The first thing to consider when purchasing a waterproof jacket is how water and moisture resistant the jacket is. Waterproofing is measured on a Hydrostatic Head scale – this means they are rated on how much water you can place on the material before the pressure of the water pushes it through the fabric. To get a properly waterproofed jacket, you want to look out for levels above 25.4 inches (1000m) of water. To find out this level, check the fine print in the user’s manual or on the hang tag.
- Light weight vs. All-season vs. Mountain jackets – Everyone has different adventures in mind, and so everyone needs a different waterproof jacket to fit the bill. Here are the most popular types of jackets you may need:
Lightweight Jackets: Are you a wicked packer always counting every ounce? Are you aiming to go far, and fast? If so, you will need a lightweight jacket to keep up with your every move. There are some extremely light jackets these days, some weighing in less than 7 ounces! However, although you save on the weight, you may sacrifice on durability. Less weight generally means thinner fabrics, so although they may be just as water proof, they’re unlikely to last you years down the road. You may also struggle with layers under the jacket.
All-season Jackets: This type of jacket is standard for the average walker. The performance is up there with the best, they are easy enough to pack for a quick escape, and they tend to be longer and roomier to fit more layers underneath. However, depending on the cut and the number of features the jacket boasts (hoods/zippers/pockets) the weight can vary and can get pretty hefty.
Mountain Jackets: If year-round climbing hiking or mountaineering is your cup of tea, then purchasing a mountain jacket is what you need to do. However, there are a few things you need to remember when getting a mountain jacket: Make sure they’re roomy enough for several layers underneath, make sure the sleeves are cut so you have the best arm movement range possible, and look out for underarm stretch panels to help with motion and breathability. You also may want to check the hood for helmet compatibility.
- Make sure it is breathable!!! Water proofing is great, but if the fabric is waterproofed in both directions it will keep your sweat in, making it hot, sticky and uncomfortable. According to ukcliming.com, an adult can create up to 1lb of sweat per hour, so it’s definitely worth finding out the breathability of your jacket. You can also make sure there are pit zips (zippers that run underneath the arm pits). If you are a very energetic explorer, these are a must! Additionally, look out for sleeves that let you roll them up, and a removable inner lining to release some of that heat if need be!
- Finally, we suggest you try your jacket on in person before purchasing on line. All jackets come in different shapes and sizes and so making sure the sleeves and the waist are the correct lengths are only possible in person!
Our favorite? The guys and gals in the ENO office are all fond of Rab’s jackets.
Enjoy staying dry in these April showers ENOpians!