The right balance of waterproofing and breathability

Whatever outdoor activity you do, from hiking to working in the fields, you need the right clothing. One of the most vital things to think about in the UK is the weather. It can change quickly, with sun one minute and then a sudden downpour the next. So, it is always a good idea to have some waterproofs nearby in case you need them.

The important thing to keep in mind with waterproof clothing is you need to get the right balance of waterproofing and breathability. We want to have a closer look at that here to see why it is so crucial.

Water out and water in

The goal with waterproofing is to stop moisture from penetrating the material and getting through to the other side. This is the case with clothing, tents, and much more. However, by stopping water from getting in, you can also prevent moisture from getting out. In many cases this is not an issue, but with clothing and some other items, it can cause a lot of discomfort.

Traditionally waterproof clothing was heavy. Some garments were made from seal or whale intestines or rubber because water could not penetrate them. Others were fabric with a treatment of oil or wax. The most famous were oilskins. But, while they could keep the wearer dry in the rain, the garments would also trap moisture and sweat. That makes working or even something simple like walking unpleasant.

Modern fabrics

There has been a huge amount of research into creating the ideal waterproofs. You can’t have a material that is entirely impervious. Instead it needs to have holes that are large enough to release vapour (we call this breathability) while also stopping external water droplets from penetrating the material.

There are generally two options here; use a water resistance fabric or give non-waterproof fabric a resistant coating. The latter could be a shell or lining. Some coatings are incredibly good because they encourage water to bead on the surface so it eventually just flows away.

How to choose?

What you need to figure out here is the levels of breathability and waterproofing you need. Plus you need to think about weight, layering, durability, and features.

If you are going to be wearing the clothes while doing strenuous activities, they need to be more breathable because you will sweat more. As a result, they must release a higher volume of vapour. If it is only light exertion, you can compromise on some of the breathability.

Garments can have different waterproof ratings depending on the volume of water they can stop. If you are generally only out for short periods in light showers, you don’t need as much protection. You will likely only be dealing with a few millimetres of water. However, if you spend long hours working outside in torrential rain, you need higher rated gear.

Order waterproofs from us

Hopefully the information above shows you what to consider when you look at garments. Comfort is absolutely crucial, no matter the activity. However, it is a double-edged sword. You don’t want to be uncomfortable because the garment makes you hot and sweaty or because it lets water through. That is why you need the balance.

If you are looking for clothing specifically for agriculture or hunting, JS Hubbuck Ltd has some great products. You can browse waterproofs on our website or contact us for recommendations. There are items from some fantastic brands, so you can buy with confidence.