How to Choose a Rain Jacket

Choosing a waterproof rain jacket requires more thought than just selecting a brand and picking a color. It can take years or decades of putting rain jackets to the test out in nature to finally learn how to identify the features that meet your needs and preferences. Fortunately, you don’t have to do the legwork. Here’s some advice on how to choose a rain jacket to help bypass the trial and error.

Breathability

Breathability – or air permeability – refers to a garment’s ability to dissipate body heat and vapor. Some waterproof materials breathe better than others.

The warmer the conditions and the more vigorous the activity, the more important air permeability becomes.

A waterproof jacket that doesn’t offer air permeability might keep the rain out, but it will trap sweat in.

Layers

Generally speaking, 3-layer rain jackets provide the most durability, but are heavier than 2 and 2.5-layer rain jackets.

The half layer in a 2.5-layer rain jacket refers to protective treatment rather than an actual layer of fabric. 2.5-layer rain jackets are the most common type of rain jacket.

Vents

The two main things to look for in a rain jacket are waterproofness and breathability. Sometimes materials sacrifice breathability in order to maximize their ability to keep water out.

This is where venting comes in. Vents – whether they are pit zippers, side zippers, or lasercut holes – allow you to dump heat and vapor if your jacket doesn’t provide adequate breathability.

Seams and zippers

Examine all seams, zippers, and points where water could potentially leak in through the jacket. You want all seams to be fully seam taped, and zippers should be laminated for added water resistance.

Fit

Think about the weather conditions you will be in before buying a rain jacket. You might be inclined to buy a trim fitting jacket, but if you’re going to wear that jacket in cold weather you need ample space for warm layers.

Weight

Weight matters more to some than it does to others. Look for lightweight rain jackets – such as the Helium II from Outdoor Research – if you want an emergency rain jacket to keep in your pack at all times.

Warranty

Lots of outdoor jacket brands provide lifetime warranties these days. This indicates the level of quality in the construction of the jacket, which can give you confidence in making a high dollar purchase.

Looking for a place to buy a rain jacket in Northwest Arkansas?Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters in Evelyn Hills is your go-to store. Be sure to check out our selection of waterproof rain jackets from brands like Outdoor Research, Marmot, and more.

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