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 Waterproof Clothing

Waterproof clothing not only keeps out the rain but also prevents the wind from getting through. Wind chill can be a major problem which makes an otherwise merely slightly cold day potentially dangerous if you cannot get to shelter.

In still air a temperature of 0 C feels like  0 C. If there is a wind of ten knots (which is only classed as a gentle breeze) it will feel the same as -5 C. At 25 knots (a fresh to strong breeze) the effect falls to  -12 C.  If your clothing gets wet, the effect is worse.

Even relatively cheap waterproofs will keep out the rain and protect you from the wind. What they will not do is "breathe" - i.e. you will quickly become damp/wet with perspiration which cannot escape. A person produces anything up to 0.5 litres of sweat per hour walking normally  and up to 1.5 litres during strenuous activity. So if your walking is likely to involve much exertion because you stride out or will be ascending hills, you really should go for breathable fabrics. GORE-TEX is probably the best known. Bear in mind that once you put on a waterproof jacket  of any type, escape of perspiration will be reduced and the cooling effect of wind will also be reduced. You may need to reduce layers underneath to maintain a comfortable temperature.

My personal preference is for a shell waterproof only (i.e. unlined) as you then have the flexibility to wear underneath whatever layers are appropriate to both temperature and effort being expended. A permanently lined jacket reduces that flexibility and could be too warm in summer.

Although  good breathable waterproofs will not be cheap, they should last years. After all, hopefully, they will spend most of their time in the rucksack!

Breathable waterproofs are not a "fit and forget" item. They do need some maintenance otherwise they will lose their waterproofing ability and if that starts to fail, the "breathability" does also. Trousers in particular should be washed if they get muddy. Jackets will need less washing but should be washed occasionally. Frequency depends on use or how quickly they get dirty - common sense applies. However, only pure soap flakes or a cleanser recommended for use with breathable materials should be used. Do not use anything which is detergent based. Periodically, a re-waterproofing should be applied. Nikwax is probably the best known proprietary brand for washing and waterproofing agents. These can be applied in a washing machine so are simple to use.

Finally, buy jacket and trousers. When it rains on a jacket, the rain runs off and your legs will get wetter more quickly than if you were not wearing it. If economising, buy the best jacket you can and cheaper trousers.

Visit the Happy Hiker (in Association with Amazon) on line Hiking Store to buy hiking waterproofs.

Zalando

All information on this site is given in good faith and no liability is accepted in respect of any damage, loss or injury which might result from acting on it.