When you have to choose new rainwear, there are several things you should be aware of, because waterproof is not just waterproof. What exactly we mean by this, you can read about in this blog post.
There are two ways in which clothes can be waterproof. The one way is the classic rainwear, that keeps water out and keeps you dry - without being breathable. The advantage of this is that it means adding a layer on top of your normal clothes - one that does not take up too much space, but keeps water out. The disadvantage is that it is not breathable and does not get rid of body heat, so condensation will form underneath the rainwear, making you feel damp and clammy. This means that the risk of getting cold is very high, and the comfort level very low. So, if you plan on wearing your rainwear all day long, consider carefully whether this solution is the right choice for you. If so, be sure to select the layers underneath your rainwear effectively to draw moisture away from your body and avoid getting cold.
This type of rainwear can have the advantage of having other properties essential to the ability to perform work duties in safest and best possible way. This might be a resistance to fat, oil and blood, an important factor if you for example work as a fisherman or a cleaner at a butchery. The rainwear might also have flame-retardant properties, which is a major safety factor at sea. In relation to weather, it is also important to consider whether the rainwear will be used in cold conditions, since the cold could have an impact on the flexibility of the material, and thus comfort.
Welded and taped seams play an at least equally as important role in water resistance as the material the rainwear is made of. If the seams are not or welded or taped, water will be able to seep through The way it works is by sealing seams with a special tape, or by fusing fabric together using heat, avoiding creating holes in the material through stitching altogether.
In order for jackets to be breathable at the same time as being wind and waterproof, they must be fitted with a membrane such as Gore-Tex or Helly Tech. The membrane keeps wind and water out whilst allowing excess heat and moisture to be released, so you do not get damp and thus cold underneath the jacket. It is important to understand that it is the air underneath the jacket which warms up and thereby acts as insulation. The membrane is therefore important for the regulation of temperature by keeping the wind and cold out, keeping warmth inside or letting excess heat out. If the jacket has a lining and is not just a shell jacket, it is of course extra insulating and warm and can be worn as a winter coat.
Membranes are sensitive and must be cared for in order to preserve their properties. This is why it is important to maintain the membrane, and under no circumstances use fabric softener when washing such items. Read more about washing and waterproofing of outerwear in this blog post here.
Water resistance is measured in mm, and the higher the hydrostatic head, the more waterproof the product is, which is of high importance for its ability to keep you properly dry. At Cheap-Workwear.com, we say that an item of clothing must have a hydrostatic head of at least 5,000 mm and have taped/welded seams in order to be categorized as waterproof. For rainwear intended for day-long use, we recommend a minimum hydrostatic head of 8,000 as well as welded/taped seams in order to be able to withstand heavy downpours while cycling or sitting on machine. It is again important to assess whether the water resistance is enough on its own, or if the situation in which the item is to be used also calls for breathability.
Breathability indicates how much moisture can be drawn out through the membrane. The higher the breathability, the better the membrane is at letting excess heat and moisture out. Breathability is measured in MVP = g/m2*24 h, which indicates how much moisture per square metre can be transported away within 24 hours. If you are very active, you should choose as high a level of breathability as possible in order to avoid condensation forming beneath the clothing, as it is this condensation that makes you feel wet and cold.
If you are in doubt about what best suits your needs, you are always welcome to contact our customer service by e-mail or phone. They will be ready with suggestions to help you find just what you are looking for.