pring and summer showers are not only good for the flowers, but for your rainwear sales as well. Whether commuting or hiking, it’s not enough for customers to simply tout around an umbrella, especially for those who frequent the great outdoors. Now is the time when many people are searching for jackets that are breathable, stylish and resilient.
Customers want protective materials that allow them to enjoy their active outdoor adventures or strolls through the city without getting soaked from head-to-toe. In fact, an important piece of criteria that many people use to evaluate the best suitable lightweight jacket is water-resistance.
Although many outdoor pieces are often advertised as being waterproof, 100 percent waterproof fabric doesn’t exist naturally. Truthfully, water can pass through just about anything when enough pressure is applied.
In order to produce materials that are actually waterproof, the most common method is ultrasonic welding. It’s rarely applied to clothing due to the cost and expertise required in manufacturing, but can sometimes be found on accessories like waterproof bags.
What all fabrics are, is water-resistant.
Water-resistant by definition means that something can “resist though not entirely prevent the penetration of water.” In reference to fabric, materials like cotton are less water-resistant than something like nylon, but they can be made more resistant—even 100 percent waterproof—through the use of special coatings that help reduce absorbency.
This is usually done through an application of either a laminate membrane or liquid coating to the interior of a garment. Another method typically used is taped seams. This technique melts tape over the seams of a piece of clothing to prevent water from leaking through.
After a garment has gone through the waterproofing process, it’s put through a series of tests to determine both its waterproof rating and breathability.
How is Water-Resistance Measured?
A fabric’s ability to remain water-resistant for a sustained period of time is tested through the application of pressurized water, also known as the static-column test. This can be a little misleading, but that ability is labeled as the fabric’s “Waterproof Rating,” even though as we mentioned earlier, most fabrics aren’t capable of being “waterproof.”
During this test, a one-inch diameter tube is placed on top of a piece of material. As the tube is filled with water, there are markers for measuring the water level height in millimeters. The height where leakage begins is used to indicate a fabric’s waterproof rating.
Fabric waterproof ratings typically breakdown into five classifications that help sellers and shoppers best determine which water-resistant jacket works best for them. The higher a waterproof jacket’s rating, the longer you’ll remain dry.
While it’s important to keep the elements out, all of the heat that builds up inside of a jacket also needs the ability to escape. Otherwise—by rain or sweat—a customer will end up wet regardless of how water-resistant an item actually is. This is where breathability testing comes into play. Measured in grams, it expresses how much water vapor can move inside-out through one square meter of fabric over a 24-hour period of time.
The Best Water-Resistant Jackets
Independent Trading Company is known for its surf-inspired, soft, casual styles. Their Expedition Collection features durable pieces made with warmth and functionality in mind.
Their moisture wicking, water, and wind resistant fabrics are top-of-the-line for use in just about any outdoor activity. Here are just a few of our favorite water-resistant jackets from Independent’s Expedition line:
Poly-Tech Soft Shell Jacket
The highest resistance of the line at 20,000 millimeters, this jacket comes complete with a waterproof polyester shell and microfleece lining. It’s a great addition to any outdoor enthusiast’s closet—perfect for backpacking, outdoor sports or any other activity prone to getting stuck in the occasional downpour.
Hooded Water-Resistant Windbreaker Jacket
This lightweight jacket alternative has a 10,000 millimeter waterproof rating and good breathability. It’s easy to pack away in a backpack for long bike rides or the short overnight camping trip.
Lightweight Windbreaker Zip Jacket
On the lower end of the scale, with a 600 millimeter waterproof rating, this 2.5 oz jacket is available in 13 different colors and combinations: like Forest Camo and Classic Navy/Saddle. For city commutes and a night around the bonfire, this jacket is a lightweight mix of fashion and functionality.
S&S Activewear offers a wide selection of water-resistant jackets to keep your customers dry year-round. Check out our best sellers from Independent Trading Co. before placing your next order.