Tips on choosing rainwear
More rain, more powerful storms, hail and winds in all seasons. Functional high quality rainwear is more important than ever. But there is much to choose from, and many mistakenly believe that all kinds of rainwear is 100% waterproof.
It is not ...
QualityWear.com makes it easy for you to choose right by marking all descriptions of rainwear with a "barometer". The barometer indicates the degree of protection against bad weather. If you check the barometer and read the product descriptions, you can't make an entirely wrong decision.
Don't worry, 100% waterproof rainwear is of course available. But the bulk of rainwear is more or less waterproof depending on the fabric it is made of, the way the seams are made, and a number of functional design details that you might not notice when you try it on indoors. Only when you are experiencing a real game of bad weather, you will find that water has an amazing ability to run upwards and sideways and penetrate into the most unthinkable and uncomfortable places.
The water resistance of rainwear is usually indicated in millimeter water column (for example 5,000 mm or 5 m H²O). This is the water resistance of the fabric stretched over a tube filled with water. The height of the tube / water column, determines the water column pressure. If the fabric can retain the water into a tube that is 5,000 mm high (5 meters) the water column pressure is 5,000 mm (5 m H²O).
However, this method does not say anything about the fabric giving in and becoming thinner when you bend your knees and elbows, sit down or hang a bag over your shoulder. And the method does not account for the fabrics ability to withstand wear and tear, washing, frost, hail, chemicals, manure - or whether it is antistatic etc. These issues is important in the selection of rainwear for sports and work.
It is also important to look at the seams as often is the "weakness" in rainwear. Welded seams are close to being 100% waterproof, but can only be made in PU- or PVC-coated fabrics. Breathable fabric can't be welded, and the seams are instead taped on the inside or secured with a silicone membrane.
Finally, the functional details in the design have a great influence on the overall experience of the rainwear being "dry". For example, double buttoned front with folded edge, pockets with reverse overlay, ergonomic knees and elbows, additional ventilation, the hood design, correctly placed waterproof zippers, and cuffs at wrists and ankles.
QualityWear.dom have chosen to evaluate the rainwear on all criteria, divide it into groups and label the descriptions with a barometer that shows you what the different kinds of rainwear can withstand. Checking out the barometer and reading the descriptions before buying, you can't make an entirely wrong purchase.
How to understand the barometer
Rainwear in this group keeps you dry in slight to moderate rain for 2-4 hours. The LIGHT protection group includes breathable rainwear and rainwear manufactured in 170-190 g PU-coated fabric that can withstand the pressure of a water column of 3 to 5,000 mm (3-5 m H²O). Rainwear in this group covers most people's need for rainwear to go to work or education or a quick trip to the city. Rainwear in this group usually have taped seams.
Rainwear in this group keeps you dry in moderate to heavy rain for 4-8 hours. The MEDIUM protection group includes breathable rainwear and rainwear manufactured in 200-300 g PVC or PU coated fabric that can withstand the pressure of a water column of 5 to 15,000 mm (5-15 m H²O). In this group you usually find suitable rainwear for hunters, anglers, sailors, riders and all of us who like to work outdoors, walking the dog or go for walks along the beach or in the woods - even when it rains. Rainwear in this group can have both taped and welded seams.
Rainwear in this group protects you from storms and heavy rain for more than 8 hours. The HEAVY protection group includes rainwear manufactured in 300-700 g PVC coated fabric that can withstand the pressure of a 15,000 mm water column or more (+15 m H²O). In this group you will find the "old fashioned" oil rainwear, strong waterproof workwear that can withstand frost, hail, chemicals, manure etc. But also a variety of designer rain jackets and raincoats that in addition to being 100% rainproof and well thought in all the details, is high fashion. Rainwear in this group have welded seams.
This group contains rainwear manufactured in a variety of technologically advanced fabric with and without coatings, membranes and impregnation. Most breathable rainwear can withstand the pressure of a water column up to 5,000 mm (5 m H²O) and keeps you dry in slight to moderate rain for 2-3 hours. But at QualityWear.com we also sell breathable rainwear, which can withstand up to 10,000 mm (10 m H²O) and protects you in moderate to heavy rain for 4-8 hours. Remember to check the water column and breathability in the descriptions. Rainwear in this group have taped seams or seams sealed with silicone.
Breathable or not breathable, what to choose?
The fabrics traditionally used for manufacturing rainwear can be divided into two types:
Breathable, covering a wide range of technologically advanced fabrics with and without coatings, membranes and waterproofing. And not breathable, which is PU or PVC coated cotton, polyester or polyamide.
Both types have their advantages and disadvantages.
Breathable rainwear has the obvious advantage that your skin can breathe through the fabric and get rid of sweat when cycling, running or working. However, breathable rainwear are impregnated on the outside to prevent rain from penetrating. This impregnation wear out over time, and especially by incorrect washing. Breathable rainwear should be washed with a special detergent and re impregnated regularly to remain waterproof. In addition, the seams can't be welded and certain water which means it takes a long time for them to dry after use.
Rainwear in PU and PVC has great durability and remain watertight until the coating is completely or partially worn through. The stronger the material is, the higher the water resistance and wear resistance. In addition, the seams can be welded. When rainwear in PU or PVC has been used, you simply shake of the rain. The rainwear will dry up very quickly and be ready for use again. But your skin can't breathe through the fabric. Should you want to ride your bike or work in PU or PVC coated rainwear, it need extra ventilation.
Hopefully you can use the above information to make the right decision. If you have further questions or need assistance, please write us at: sales@QualityWear.com.