When searching for high quality rainwear, you may find your head starts spinning with the sheer number of choices on offer. You might find yourself asking questions such as:
– Which design features are of the highest importance?
– Which rainwear illustrates best value for money?
When it comes to rainwear, the old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ is most certainly true. Nonetheless, this does not mean you need to fork out a small fortune and take a risk that your purchase is of high quality and will do what it claims to do.
Before you go ahead and purchase a raincoat, it is worth considering the three most important features you should look for – not just in terms of quality, but also the most appropriate raincoat for the activities you plan to engage in. Let’s take a look at these features below.
Waterproof (i.e. Not Simply Water-Resistant)
If you are planning to take part in wet-weather activities that require your raincoat to withstand driving rain, it is particularly important you select a raincoat that is waterproof, rather than water-resistant. A ‘waterproof’ raincoat will keep you dry even in pouring rain, as opposed to a ‘water-resistant’ raincoat which should only be used during brief periods of light rain.
It is not uncommon to spend approximately two hundred dollars on a good quality and waterproof raincoat. A reliable fabric and design is born from significant research, technology and rigorous testing, and during periods of heavy rain, you will benefit from a waterproof fabric and design that keeps you both dry and comfortable.
One of the greatest differences between average, poor quality rainwear and high quality rainwear is what is referred to as ‘breathability’. A breathable raincoat allows perspiration to be released to the outside world while still being waterproof. This is achieved through the use of specially-crafted rainwear fabrics. A raincoat that is not breathable can leave you feeling just as wet from perspiration as you may do from rain, particularly during instances of high activity.
Though the majority of breathability is in relation to the fabrics utilised, high-quality breathable rainwear may also include vents, ‘pit zips’ (to aid aeration under the arms) and other features (for example, mesh-lined pockets). These added features can be of great benefit when you are particularly active e.g. when hiking or watching sport during heavy rain.
Practical features, particularly drawstrings, pockets and packability often form a part of top quality rainwear.
–Drawstrings: Many high quality raincoats allow for the option of pulling in at the bottom (for further waterproofing) and/or at the waist (for comfort and style). Some raincoats also allow for closing the sleeves at the wrists for additional waterproofing. Drawstrings can be especially beneficial when it comes to rainwear for kids, in situations where you need to protect them from playing in puddles as well as rainfall!
–Pockets: At time of purchase, it can be easy to overlook pockets as an important feature of a raincoat, but they are most definitely worth taking into consideration. Do you need only one or two pockets perhaps, for say your keys and phone when popping out briefly? Or perhaps you’re looking for something a little more, rather than carrying a pack during longer outings? Jackets with a number of pockets, particularly specialised pockets, can be more expensive than simpler jackets with fewer pockets. You will also want to avoid any unnecessary bulk if you’re after something with only basic pockets.
–Packability: Overseas travel or hiking are two key situations where packability is likely to be a very important consideration when it comes to purchasing a raincoat. A raincoat that is easy to pack should be light in weight and manufactured from flexible materials. Some may also include a specialised inbuilt pocket which doubles as a pouch for the raincoat when packed away. If you are more likely to use your raincoat for local activities or day trips, this feature may not be particularly important for you and a potential waste of money.
It should not be underestimated just how much the right raincoat can affect your enjoyment and comfort in the great outdoors. By taking the above important features into consideration, you will be better able to choose something appropriate for your needs that allows you to stay dry and comfortable, whatever the weather!