Winter 2015/16 has brought vicious rain; biblical floods; howling gales and storms with names. So what do we wear to survive the wettest winter on record?
When rivers burst their banks and vast tracts of the country disappear under oceanic volumes of water a wet suit begins to look like the outfit of choice for winter.
Normally warmth is the highest winter priority but this winter it’s dry.
If you’ve spent much time outside lately? Then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Seriously not nice. Dry is the new warm and a high performing waterproof jacket is top of everyone’s shopping list.
So how waterproof is waterproof?
Thoughts on Waterproof
Any product sold as 100% waterproof will have been tested by the manufacturer and an independent body like the BSI to ensure it meets the agreed standard.
Andy Kirkpatrick , climber and one man consumer watchdog, has spent an indecent amount of time thinking about what to wear when weather goes bad and according to him if it’s sold as waterproof it will almost certainly ‘be so waterproof it can withstand the same water pressure as a nuclear submarine’s hull cruising along the bottom of the ocean.’
Yay. This sounds like an excellent endorsement of anything sold as waterproof and we can all look forward to being as dry as the Mojave Desert even if the rain is driving faster than Lewis Hamilton.
Well, actually there’s a bit more to it. The fabric may be exceptionally waterproof but what happens when the wind gets up and starts blasting icy pellets down your neck, through the zips and seams? That doesn’t sound so fun.
Thoughts on Windproof
Truth is your outer layer needs to be windproof as well as waterproof. Which means it needs to be exceptionally well designed and high functioning in terms of fit.
If you want to stay dry in truly awful weather you’ll need zip protectors, storm cuffs, storm flaps and a well fitting collar that won’t allow water to run down your neck when you look up or down. Basically all the features that prevent windblown rain blasting into all the nooks and crannies.
Thoughts on Breathability
Except you don’t want to create a fortress against the elements. I know that sounds contrary to everything above but sweat is the enemy within when it comes to staying dry.
Inevitably, even if you’re just out walking the dog, there will come a time when you either sweat because you’ve put too many layers on or you’re exerting yourself – maybe walking up hill.
At this point unless the man-made moisture has some way of escaping then you are exactly what you wanted to avoid. Wet. And before you know it, cold and wet.
Whilst no garment can actually breathe in the sense of possessing a big pair of lungs to haul air in and out, some are better than others at allowing perspiration to evaporate. So check the breathability credentials of a garment carefully.
The Best Weatherproof Jackets
Winter Weight – Schoffel Ptarmigan Extreme Coat
Schoffel’s latest coat using GORE-TEX®, the two layer laminate the Ptarmigan Extreme provides ultimate weather protection for unparalleled performance. GORE-TEX® two layer laminate with an ultralight durable Twill polyester with soft hand.
100% waterproof, windproof and extremely breathable. Sport cut.
All Season – Schoffel Ptarmigan Interactive Coat
The lightweight Ptarmigan Interactive Shooting Coat benefits from the reliability of GORE-TEX® and the durablility of Cordura®, add the warmth of Polartec® to the mix and you have a perfect country coat.100% waterproof, windproof and highly breathable.
Lightweight – Musto Fenland Packaway Jacket
Waterproof and breathable, exceptionally light and versatile. There’s no compromise on performance, despite its small pack size. Designed in response to consumer demand for lighter clothing whatever their country activity. This jacket has light nylon outer with a hydrophilic breathable, waterproof and windproof coating.
Winter – Didriksons Ronja Jacket
The Ronja Jacket by Didriksons is specially developed for harsh weather, with all seams taped to keep you warm and dry during all weather conditions. The outer fabric is 100% polyester woven 2-layer laminate. The waterproof coat has many features including an adjustable hood, an adjustable waist, adjustable hems, a 2 way front zip, and inside elastic cuffs to block out any unwanted cold. The Jacket has a detachable synthetic fur hood and multiple pockets both inside and out.
All Season – Schoffel Uppingham Country Coat
3 in 1 coat with quilted inzip (can be worn as separate water resistant jacket). Venturi two layer laminate. 100% waterproof, wind-proof and highly breathable. Adjustable cuff. Side vents on both coat and inner jacket. Detachable hood.
Lightweight – Schoffel Superlight Ghillie Coat
Durable lightweight Meryl outer fabric with a Venturi liner. 100% waterproof, wind-proof and highly breathable. High loft insulation. Microfleece hand warming pockets. Detachable hood. Quick drying.
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