A Guide to finding the perfect waterproof coat for you
Jump to Guide Section
- Key features of a waterproof coat
- Finding the best coat by requirement
- Finding the best waterproof coat by activity
- Recommended coats for men and ladies
- How much should you spend on a waterproof coat
Why are waterproof coats important?
The Brits are famous for many things, The Beatles, fish and chips, David Beckham, and of course, our rainy weather. It rains for 156 days of the year on average, that’s heading far too close to half of the year in the wet for our liking! And whilst we would love to curl up on the sofa for a duvet day and binge watch Outlander, we are tougher than a little bit of rain, but that doesn’t mean we want to be soggy and saturated. When it is what you will be wearing for almost half the year…It is important to get the right waterproof coat.
Choosing the right coat or jacket
There are many things to consider when looking for a waterproof coat or jacket and finding the best one for your needs. The market is full of waterproof jackets, and it is hard to know which jacket is the right jacket, how much you should pay, and what the technical terms mean.
Key things to look out for:
Weatherproof jackets protect you from the wind and rain, but require upkeep to keep their water resistance, an example of this are waxed coats and jackets.
Waterproof coats are completely water resistant and repel all liquid.
Whilst you want a coat that will keep you warm and dry, you don’t want a coat that will weigh you down and hold you back. The weight of a coat has a lot to do with personal preference and use.
Breathability in coats is important, you want something that you are comfortable in, that wicks moisture away from inside.
Keeps your zips covered to ensure no water gets in.
Detachable and adjustable hoods
A hood can be a great way to keep you warm and dry.
The seams of the coat are bonded with hardwearing strips of tape that are applied with heat and ensures no water can penetrate the weaker seam areas.
Finding the best coats by requirement…
Best weatherproof coats
Weatherproof coats such as Barbour Waxed Jackets are known for repelling water, originally designed, and created for those working on the wet and windy ports of the Northeast of England. The sailors, fishermen, dock, and shipyard workers were all kept dry whilst at work in a Barbour wax jacket. The cotton fabric is impregnated with oils and waxes to make it water repellent, and the reason it is a weatherproof fabric and not waterproof fabric, is because of the regular maintenance (rewaxing and proofing) required to keep them waterproof.
Top tip: Look here to find out how easy it is to reproof and wax a Barbour jacket
A wax jacket is sturdy and long lasting, so whilst you need to keep reproofing them, they will last a very long time given the correct care. They are lightweight, fitted, and fashionable, with their famous country style.
Best waterproof coats
Waterproof coats come in various shapes, sizes and fabrics, and it is difficult to know what constitutes as a good waterproof coat, particularly when most brands specialising in outdoor coats and jackets have created their own waterproof technology.
Gore-tex technology – Gore-tex is renowned for being one of the best waterproof fabrics, is endlessly waterproof.
Teflon – Teflon is used to treat tweed fabrics to make them waterproof and keep the tweed looking its best.
Venturi by Schoffel – a fabric exclusively created by country brand Schoffel, Venturi is waterproof, and combines multiple membranes.
G-1000 by Fjallraven – is a waterproof fabric, that is densely knitted and combined with Fjallravens Greenland wax.
Eco-shell by Fjallraven – protects you from the rain all year round, using recycled material, it is treated with environmentally friendly PFC-free technology to make it waterproof.
Hydratic by Fjallraven – waterproof outer shell, that comes in various forms depending on desired warmth and wind protection.
Best windproof waterproof coats
Whilst remaining dry is the top priority no one wants to be battered by the wind. Many of the waterproof membranes used in modern day waterproof coats are also windproof, protecting you from those chilling windy days.
Gore-tex technology – along with being completely waterproof, Gore-tex is also permanently windproof.
Venturi by Schoffel – As the wind hits the membrane under the outer layer, it is repelled back and is transferred back out through the outer layer.
G-1000 by Fjallraven – due it its dense knitting construction, G-1000 is a windproof fabric, that does not allow the wind to penetrate the fabric. It can be combined with the Greenland wax for increased proofness.
Eco-shell by Fjallraven – the windproof outer fabric combined with the membrane stops the wind getting through.
Hydratic by Fjallraven – if you are looking for a waterproof and windproof coat the Hydratic 2.5L or 2L is recommended as it is fused with a shell fabric, stopping the wind getting through. It is also useful as an outer layer on insulated, non-waterproof coats.
Best lightweight waterproof coats
The weight of a coat can be determined purely by trying it on, insulated coats that have an insulating layer and coats that have a heavy-duty outer layer such as Cordura naturally tend to be heavier. Lightweight coats are particularly advantageous for those who are on the move, working out, and need a good range of movement, they are also better for the summer months.
Best breathable waterproof coats
Breathability shouldn’t be confused with ventilation; it is all to do with the transfer of moisture from within the coat or jacket out. Therefore the best waterproof coats tend to use membranes, so that the moisture can be wicked away from the body for breathability, but the membrane layers also stop any moisture from getting in.
Gore-tex technology – is extremely breathable, it is used for this purpose in coats and country boots, it wicks moisture away from the body, without letting any in, resulting in an extremely comfortable wear.
G-1000 by Fjallraven – is a breathable fabric, wicking moisture away from the body, for increased ventilation you can wash out the Greenland wax for cooler more breathable clothing, ideal for wearing your coat in the warmer seasons.
Eco-shell by Fjallraven – hydropgilic membrane makes this fabric very breathable, when you sweat and the moisture content inside the coat gets higher than the outside the moisture is absorbed out by the membrane.
Best insulated waterproof coats
Particularly in the winter months you want a coat that will not only keep you dry but keep you warm. Insulated coats have an insulated inner lining. The inner linings tend to be made from synthetic materials including quilting and down. Like the waterproof membranes, most brands have invested in their own linings e.g., G-Loft Supreme from Fjallraven and Primaloft from Schoffel. Other things to look out for when looking for a coat that will keep you warm such as Lined pockets, storm cuffs and hoods.
Finding the best waterproof coat by activity…
Best waterproof coats for hiking and hill walking
For those looking for a waterproof coat for hiking and hill walking, uninsulated coats are best, a shell style of waterproof coat that can be layered up with fleeces and thermals. A good range of movement and breathability is also very important so that you are not restricted in movement and that perspiration can leave the body/coat and you remain comfortable throughout.
Best waterproof coats for dog walking and everyday wear
When it comes to walking the dog, you need a good coat that you can depend on, particularly one with handy pockets for treats. Depending on the season you may want a more insulated coat so you can walk at a leisurely pace with your pooch without getting cold. Breathability is also important, so you don’t get too sweaty and uncomfortable.
Best waterproof coats for horse riding
When finding a waterproof coat for riding, movement is key. Look for saddle vents so you can sit comfortably on the saddle and external pockets that are easy to get in and out of.
Best waterproof coats for running
Waterproof running coats must be breathable, there will easily be more moisture inside your jacket than outside, they should be lightweight, and not restrictive.
Best waterproof coats for shooting and hunting
When looking for a waterproof coat for a shoot or hunt two things must come into play: technology and style. Cut is important, and you should look for a coat that has a generous sports cut, with dropped shoulders for flexibility and unrestricted lift. Large bellow pockets (with drainage holes) and retainer straps for easy cartridge access and internal zip pockets for security and hand warmer pockets are also useful features to look out for.
Best waterproof coats for fishing
Finding a waterproof coat for fishing is a little more niche. You want a coat that is not only top spec in terms of waterproofness, but also technical aspects to improve your fishing experience such as Velcro fly patches, chest pockets, d-ring tools for utensils, water resistant zippers and Hypalon ports for zinger attachments. Elasticated drawcords to pull the hem of the coat in and ensure no water gets in when wading and a storm hood with a peak to keep rain off your face are also useful.
Best waterproof coats for golfing
When your game is on par, you don’t want the weather throwing you off. A windproof, waterproof, and lightweight coat is perfect for a day on the course. Breathability and range of movement are also things to look for, so there are no excuses for poor form.
Best waterproof coats for snow and cold weather
Insulation is key when looking for a waterproof coat for the snowy weather. Whether you are destined for après ski in the alps or simply feel the cold in the winter months there are little things to look out for when looking for a waterproof coat that will keep you warm. A good liner, quilted, padded or fleece for example will add warmth to your body. Hoods, storm cuffs, fleece lined pockets will all add to keeping warm in the snow and colder weather.
Best waterproof coats for men and ladies explained
Choosing the right coat depends on where and when you want to wear it, but it also depends on personal preference and style.
Recommended weatherproof waxed Jackets
Barbour wax jackets are weatherproof and windproof, they do require rewaxing to keep their waterproofness but are the perfect jackets for everyday country life and are not well suited to hiking and exercising.
Recommended waterproof lightweight Coats
Lightweight coats and jackets are ideal for the unpredictable weather and when you are on the go. Lightweight coats are easy to carry around or pack in a bag. Pack away coats like the Schoffel Ketton folds away into a pocket and is extremely lightweight. The Ptarmigan Ultralight II is one of the lightest weight country shooting coats on the market today.
Absolutely perfect for what I wanted, active countryside use, keeps the elements out but also light enough and breathable for all day activewear – Robert Alington-Smith on the Ketton Packaway Coat.
In spring and summer stylish and practical waterproof coats are a must, just because the weather isn’t at its best doesn’t mean you should look the same. Find light, waterproof coats that compliment your summer wardrobe.
Recommended waterproof coats for activities – fishing, riding, hiking
The Schoffel Salar Wading jacket and Mayfly Fly Fishing jacket are both specifically manufactured for those who enjoy fishing, the attention to detail on these coats is second to none, perfect for the proficient angler. The Ariat Coastal H20 is designed specifically for equestrian with saddle vents (see our recommended lightweight coats).
Recommended waterproof coats for country sports
Finding a coat for country sports such as shooting, and hunting isn’t easy when there are so many to choose from (and they are quite difficult to tell apart). Typically, they all have the expected features of a shooting coat and are cut particularly for performance. Teflon coated tweed coats are still popular to this day with their traditional style and technical execution.
This jacket is expensive, but it is lightweight and very malleable compared to others I have had in my hand. My old one is over 10 years old and is still waterproof and very presentable! I’ve loved owning it and will love having this one as “Best” jacket!I highly recommend it. – Anonymous on the Ptarmigan Tweed Coat
The Schoffel Ptarmigan and Snipe range are some of the most popular sporting style coats on the market today. The Ptarmigan Extreme coat (3), the Classic Ptarmigan (4) and the Ptarmigan Pro II (2) are all Gore-Tex, the main difference between them is that the Classic has a Cordura outer layer, which is known for its strength and durability, it is also lightly insulated resulting in a heavier coat than the Extreme and Pro. The Pro has a 3-layer Gore-Tex laminate for extreme weather protection, the Extreme II is lighter weight and is made from a 2-layer Gore-Tex laminate. The lightest weight Schoffel shooting coat is the Ptarmigan Ultralight II (see our recommended lightweight coats), made from the Schoffel Venturi waterproof fabric.
Recommended waterproof coats for warmth and insulation
In the winter months it’s important to not only stay dry but also warm. Fjallraven coats are exceptionally warm, with their insulated linings. They have their own G Loft supreme insulation, and the coats are padded internally with this. Little details such as drawcords at the waist and storm cuffs also help keep the warmth in. The mens Dubarry Urlingford has a down quilted layer for added insulation.
Waterproof coats that are value for money
There just some coats out there that tick all the boxes in terms of waterproofness, weight, insulation, and wind resistance. Value for money can mean many things, a coat that you can wear year-round, a coat that you get lots of wear out of or a coat that can be worn doing many activities. To find a coat that is value for money you really need to be clear on what you are looking for. A coat that ticks all the boxes for us at A·Hume is the Fjallraven Visby 3 in 1 Jacket. It is an extremely practical coat that can be worn as a waterproof outer shell, a quilted jacket, or zipped together for both. Given its versatile nature, it can be worn in various ways all year round.
How much should you spend on a waterproof coat?
Premium coats come with a price tag, and if you are looking for a coat that ticks all the boxes (waterproof, breathable, insulating, lightweight etc) then it is difficult to find a good waterproof coat under £100.00. There are of course coats out there below this price point, however these will likely be summer waterproof layers, with very little to them. The price you pay for a good waterproof also correlates to how much use you will get out of it, the better the coat the longer it will last, keeping you warm and dry for not one but many years.