Walking Jackets

August 2022

Who knew that choosing a jacket to pop out in could be so hard? Is it breathable? Is it waterproof enough? Will I sweat in it? There are so many factors to consider before splashing the cash on an all singing all dancing jacket when in reality you’re only using it to pick the kids up from school!

Different colour Lightweight Jackets on rail Different colour Lightweight Jackets on rail

So, what are the best walking jackets to go for you ask?

Let's break it down a bit to make sure you’re getting the right bang for your buck! Buying a jacket can be difficult, especially because there is such a wide variety of options out there. There are hundreds of brands, fabrics, and components which make it difficult to know what's best for you.

Firstly, there is a big difference between a waterproof jacket and a water-resistant jacket. Waterproof walking jackets are usually made up of a more complicated fabric and a membrane which means they are typically used for active days out due to the breathability of the fabric, which can be really useful when hiking. Whereas, water-resistant jackets tend not to be breathable and are only supposed to be used for little trips around the town to keep the rain and drizzle off.

This can be best demonstrated through the hydrostatic head (HH) which is a way of measuring how waterproof a fabric is. The resulting measurement in millimetres relates to how high a column of water standing on the fabric would need to be before the water would penetrate the fabric. In the UK a jacket is considered waterproof if it has a (HH) of 1500mm, however, there are many jackets that can have a (HH) of anywhere between 10,000mm to 30,000mm making them extremely waterproof, and keeping you extremely dry.

Black Berghaus coat: Worn Black Berghaus coat: Worn

If you’re popping to the corner shop then there's a big chance that you won’t need a hill-climbing jacket, but if you’re a cyclist or a hiker, you’ll need one with breathability. This refers to small holes that allow water vapour to be released from the jacket, but they’re not big enough to allow rain water to come in, this means you’ll be able to stay comfortable and as sweat-free and dry as possible. You have probably heard of GORE-TEX, developed by Robert W. Gore, which is a brand of membrane used to create a jacket. Membranes are extra layers underneath the fabric which are stretched out to create tiny little pores that assist in moving moisture from the inside to the outside of the jacket whilst also stopping any water from coming in. This is how a waterproof jacket is breathable.

Trespass Jacket worn Trespass Jacket worn

WHICH JACKET SHALL I BUY?

Water-resistant coats are generally made for everyday use. The inside of the fabric is coated in polyurethane which stops water from coming in from the outside. However, this barrier also works the other way and stops sweat from getting out, so the inside of the jacket can feel a little damp and sticky if you’re running around, or it’s a little warmer than usual. Although this is not always the case for example with softshell coats, which are extremely waterproof and extremely breathable despite only having a HH of 5000mm.

Waterproof jackets are usually called ‘Membrane Waterproofs’ and are ideal for wearing whilst being active, for example when you’re cycling, running or walking.

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