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A Practical Guide To Waterproofing In Style

2024-05-31

A Practical Guide To Waterproofing In Style

Whether you’re hitting the hiking trails, venturing high up into the mountains or simply live in an area that is prone to unexpected downpours, waterproof clothing is a versatile essential. But like any other gear, there are many types of waterproof clothing out there – and understanding the different features and fabrics you might come across can help you choose the right pieces for your needs.

This guide covers the ins and outs of waterproof gear and what to look for when choosing and buying waterproof boots, clothing or accessories.

Waterproofing Boots

What waterproof features should I look for?

Whether you’re buying shoes, a jacket or any other type of waterproof clothing, choose pieces you’re comfortable wearing and that are designed for longevity with high-quality materials.

That aside, look out for these key waterproofing features:

Durable water repellent: Linings and interlinings play an important role in how well a waterproof garment can handle moisture. Durable water repellent is a membrane that is added to clothing to prevent linings from becoming saturated with moisture. GORE-TEX® is a commonly used waterproof membrane technology and is known for its longevity and reliability.

Waterproof pockets: The design and location of pockets on waterproof clothing is crucial to keeping out water and wind. Ideally, a garment should have zippered pockets with waterproofed linings.

Sealed seams: In waterproof clothing and shoes, a thin waterproof tape can be applied to cover the holes made by the needle at the seams to avoid moisture penetration. A garment can either be ‘fully taped’ (where every seam is taped) or ‘critically taped’ (where exposed areas such as the neck, shoulders and chest are taped).

Waterproof zips: Some waterproof garments include hydro-seal zips, which use a rubber mechanism to bind shut and keep our water when closed. Others have what’s known as a ‘storm baffle’, which is a section of waterproof material that folds over the zip.

Drawcords and velcro: Many waterproof garments have drawcord or velcro seals at the head and wrists or at the ankles to effectively keep water out.

Understanding waterproof and breathability ratings

The waterproof and breathability ratings of garments usually include two numbers. The first number describes the level of waterproofing, and the second refers to breathability.

The higher the waterproof rating, the more resistant to water the fabric will be. Likewise, the higher the breathability rating, the more the fabric will allow moisture and vapour to escape, which helps regulate temperature and minimise sweating.

Waterproof and breathability ratings can be categorised as follows:

Waterproof ratings

  • 5,000mm: Minimal resistance to moisture, suitable for light rain or dry snow conditions.

  • 10,000mm – 15,000mm: Designed to withstand most downpours and snow but will soak through if subjected to pressure and heavy, sustained rain.

  • 20,000mm and above: Will remain waterproof in almost all conditions, even with pressure such as carrying a heavy pack.

Breathability ratings

  • 5,000 – 10,000g/m²: Suitable for urban outings, fishing, camping or low-intensity activities.

  • 10,000 – 15,000g/m²: Suitable for low-level walking and hiking or very light jogging.

  • 15,000 – 20,000g/m² and above: Suitable for mountaineering and trekking uphill or in warm climates.

What are the essentials of a waterproof outfit?

If you’re looking for a waterproof outfit, men’s or women’s, here are the key pieces to complete your ensemble:

Waterproof boots or shoes

Sturdy, durable waterproof footwear is arguably the most important item you’ll need, particularly if you’ll be walking in wet or muddy conditions. A good pair of waterproof boots can last years and keep your feet dry and protected in any conditions.

Try: The Original 6-inch Boot

Waterproof jacket

A reliable waterproof jacket will keep you warm and dry around the head, neck, torso and wrists, which are the most critical areas of the body for thermoregulation. Your jacket should also be breathable, allowing sweat to escape, so you stay dry from the inside and comfortable throughout the day.

Try: Timberland Eco Ready 3-in-1 Waterproof Jacket

Waterproof trousers

Waterproof trousers are generally made of nylon or a nylon blend and are treated with a durable water repellent. When buying waterproof trousers, consider both functionality and fit. They should be able to not only repel water but also offer freedom of movement while you’re on the go.

Try: Timberland Convertible Trousers

Waterproof gloves

For activities like mountaineering and skiing, waterproof gloves can help minimise exposure to moisture and keep the cold out. Look for styles with a waterproof membrane or with weatherproof fabrics such as polyester and nylon.

Try: Timberland Snow Brook Pinnacle 2-in-1 Gloves

Timberland has been an industry leader for almost half a century. Explore the latest collection of waterproof footwear and apparel.