Waterproof clothing will keep you dry in even the wettest weather.
Whether you just have to walk to and from your car in a drizzle, or brave the great outdoors in bad weather, waterproof clothing will keep you dry and comfortable. Soft-shell and hard-shell jackets can be water-resistant or waterproof.
Water-Resistant vs. Water-Repellent vs. Waterproof
When you’re looking for the right gear, think about what kind of elements you’ll be facing. We break down the three types of clothing that can keep you dry.
Water-resistant clothes don’t let water through easily. They won’t completely stop it. Water-resistance is measured by how much water can be kept above the fabric until it goes through. Water-resistant clothing is quite breathable. If you’re going to be highly active in cool conditions, look for water-resistant clothing. Water-resistant clothes are great if you’re facing light rain or snow.
Water-repellent clothing is a step up from water-resistant clothes when it comes to blocking water. However, water-repellent clothing tends to be less breathable. Clothing made from this kind of material will repel water, and can stand more water than water-resistant clothes. Moderate amounts of water will bead off the material, similar to waterproof material. Eventually, though, the water will soak through.
Waterproof clothing prevents water from getting through the clothing. Waterproof clothing generally comes in breathable or non-breathable fabric. Breathable fabric helps sweat evaporate from the inside of the coat. This gives you maximum comfort while keeping you dry from rain or snow. Non-breathable waterproof fabric will keep you dry from rain, but sweat will not evaporate. Non-breathable waterproof clothing is typically for emergency use, or light activities.
Common Waterproof Clothing Materials
Waterproof clothing is coated with different fabrics. Waterproof coatings are usually rubber or plastics, such as PVC.
When you look for waterproof clothing, keep in mind what you’ll be doing. If you’re going to be active, look for clothes made from Gore-Tex. Gore-Tex is breathable and tough, allowing you to be active while staying dry. The small pores in Gore-Tex wick away moisture and keep you dry.
Waterproof rain boots are typically made from PVC or rubber. If you work outside in wet weather, look for waterproof rubber overboots. Overboots and overshoes can be slipped over your work boots to keep your feet dry.
How to Waterproof Your Clothing & Boots
The easiest way to waterproof your clothes is to use a waterproofing spray. Before you spray the clothing, clean it first. Follow directions on the label to wash the material. Also follow directions on the waterproof spray to make sure it’s applicable for the clothing you want to waterproof. Apply the spray outside in an open area. You can either hang the clothing up or lie it flat on a table. If you lie it flat on a table, make sure one side is dry before you flip it over. Evenly coat the entire garment, using a back and forth motion.
You can also waterproof your work boots. You can use beeswax or mink oil to waterproof your leather work boots. Be sure to clean off the boots before applying the waterproofer. Follow directions on the mink oil and beeswax to make sure they will work with your boots.