Alpine Bikes, Scotland's Bike Specialists is now the biggest independent cycle retailer in Scotland.
At Blues Ski, Scotland's Ski Specialist, we've been providing the finest ski equipment for over 30 years, and we've been skiing on every continent.
Wherever your next camping adventure takes you, we have a fantastic selection of camping equipment to suit any trip.
Whether paddling in the sea, wild swimming in a loch or kayaking down your local waterways, the freedom of travelling on water is a tonic to everyday life.
From your local crag to the summit of Everest, at Tiso, you’ll find the climbing and mountaineering equipment you need. Whether you're just getting started or an experienced climber, whatever your adventure needs, we have the gear.
Whether you're looking to start a new hobby, or want to increase your exercise, walking is one of the easiest and most popular ways to do this.
Whether you're hitting the track or the trail, you want to be prepared with the right running kit.
A reliable waterproof jacket is a staple piece of outdoor kit - it’s rare that you’d set off
without packing one "just in case". Your waterproof shell acts as a barrier against the elements, but it’s easy to get confused when looking at the huge range
of waterproofs available on the market, and it can be difficult to narrow down which jacket best suits your needs. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide
so that you can understand the overwhelming range of features and technologies, and make a decision with confidence.
How should my waterproof jacket fit?
Common features explained
Activity Guide: Which Jacket When?
There are a few things you’ll need to consider when you’re looking for a waterproof garment. Firstly - what do you need it for? Is it going to need to
withstand all day rain, or just light showers? Are you using it for moving fast on trails, doing extreme climbs, or does it need to be more of an all-rounder?
Once you’ve decided on how you will use your waterproof, it’ll make it much easier to narrow down the seemingly endless options.
Secondly, remember that waterproof garments can be very versatile. Waterproofs can be combined with various layers to suit different uses and weather
conditions. Ultimately its purpose is to keep you dry - you can dress for the temperature by layering up underneath.
Finally, there’s a difference between water-resistant and waterproof - water-resistant garments will protect you from short, light rain showers and feature a
water-repellent coating to help water roll off. Jackets that are labelled “waterproof” are constructed using a membrane technology that blocks water from
entering the jacket altogether. You can read more about this below.
All waterproof jackets feature a durable water-repellent (DWR) coating on the outer layer to help water roll off and delay the time it takes for water to permeate the fabric. What makes a jacket waterproof is the membrane technology on the inner which is bonded to the outer fabric - this allows sweat to pass out whilst preventing rain from getting in. Different jackets will have different layering systems - all layers contain a waterproof membrane bonded to an outer face fabric (usually made of polyester), but differ when it comes to the inner fabric.
2-layer: Best for everyday, basic waterproofs - this construction features a thin mesh inner layer to protect the membrane.
2.5-layer: A coating or print is applied to the membrane to provide more protection. They’re highly packable and great for throwing in your bag on
3-layer: The membrane is bonded to a knitted or woven inner fabric for a highly durable construction, which is ideal for mountain conditions.
There are a variety of different types of waterproof technologies on the market, from both specialist manufacturers and outdoor clothing brands
that have developed their own technologies.
The most popular waterproof fabric brand, GORE-TEX introduced their original membrane technology in 1978 and through all of its advancements, it still
remains a firm favourite within the outdoor apparel industry. It’s instantly recognisable, iconic, and used by pretty much every outdoor brand you can
Pertex is another well-known fabric technology provider, and their Shield range is used in waterproof clothing by a range of outdoor brands including
Rab, Montane, and
The North Face.
Many brands have developed their own waterproof membrane technologies, and TNF’s FUTURELIGHT™ is a high tech example of this. It adds air permeability to
the waterproof membrane, for better venting and breathability without sacrificing waterproofness and durability.
Using a mixture of 2, 2.5, and 3-layer construction methods, DryVent™ is TNF’s staple waterproof membrane technology that is used across a variety of
different products and technical abilities.
H₂No™ is Patagonia’s standard that ensures waterproofness, breathability and durability. Rigorously tested, products must pass a three way test in order
to be awarded H2No status.
Berghaus’s own 2.5-layer waterproof fabric comes in three different forms, ranging from 15,000-20,000mm waterproof rating.
Perhaps the most important element of the waterproof jacket is the fit. A jacket should cover
your lower back when you lift both of your arms up, with cuffs covering your wrists. Bear in mind that you might need to keep some extra room underneath the
jacket if you are planning to layer - so it may be worth trying the next size up. Most jackets have adjusters at the hood, cuffs, and hem that
will help to tailor the fit to your body shape.
The fit of your jacket will largely depend on the end use and the brand manufacturing it. Many brands have fit guides to show which jackets are slim
fitting and which are more relaxed, so it’s worth checking that out before you make a purchase. In general, trail running jackets will have a slimmer fit to
keep excess fabric and weight to a minimum. Hiking jackets are roomier to allow for easy layering, often with a longer body for better coverage when the rain
comes on. Technical jackets for climbing and mountaineering may have a tapered design, with more volume at the top for freedom of movement and a slimmer hip
area to fit snugly underneath a harness.
Waterproof ratings, also known as water column or hydrostatic head ratings, indicate how waterproof a garment is:
5,000-10,000mm: will tolerate light showers and drizzle
10,000-15,000mm: can cope with heavy showers/snow but will start to soak through if exposed to such conditions all day
20,000mm+: suitable for unpredictable mountaineering conditions, for full day rain/snow forecasts
Breathability ratings determine how much moisture the fabric can release, helping regulate your body temperature and minimise sweating:
5,000-10,000g/㎡: suitable for casual city walking, but will overheat during activities with any degree of intensity
10,000-15,000g/㎡: a good middle ground, these jackets will cope with activities where your energy output is varied, like hiking
20,000g/㎡+: this rating is designed to remain breathable on long full day hikes and runs when you’re working hard for long periods of time
DWR Finish: Stands for durable water-repellent finish. This is a water-repellent coating applied to the jacket during production that allows water to bead off and increases breathability. Depending on how often you use your waterproof, this will need to be refreshed with a reproofer from time to time. Traditionally, these coatings contain fluorocarbons or PFCs, which are known to have harmful effects on both the environment and human health. An increasing number of companies are switching out their DWRs to PFC-free - you can read more about this here
Taped seams: Seals the holes created by stitching needles to prevent water leaking through - every waterproof jacket will feature some form of taped seam.
Stiffened peak: Many waterproof jackets will feature a stiffened peak on the hood to help rain roll off and keep it away from your face.
Helmet-compatible hood: Featured on some more technical waterproof jackets, a helmet-compatible hood has more volume than a normal hood so that the wearer can fit a helmet underneath, combined with volume reducers and adjusters so that it fits without a helmet, too.
Packable hood: For everyday or summer hiking jackets, it can be great to go for an option with a packable hood so that you can stow it away when it’s not needed.
Storm flap: A strip of fabric that covers zips to keep wind and rain out.
Water-resistant zippers: Highly technical jackets feature water-resistant zippers on the pockets and main zips, eliminating the need for a storm flap.
Pit zips: Allows you to zip down the underarm of the jacket to circulate air and aid with ventilation during periods of high exertion.
2-way zips: Allows you to unzip the jacket from the hem, highly functional when wearing a harness or to improve freedom of movement.
Articulated sleeves: Sleeves that have a slight bend in them to move easier with the natural shape of your elbow, increasing mobility.
Drawcords: Placed in areas of excess volume to allow you to cinch in the jacket and improve the fit.
Hook & loop cuffs: Velcro cuff adjusters, featured on many hiking jackets to seal out the rain and cold.
Best fit: Regular fit with additional room for layers and a drop hem for coverage
Ideal waterproof rating: 15,000mm+
We recommend: Rab Downpour
When you’re heading out in the hills, you want something that is going to be reliable if the weather takes a turn. The perfect hiking jacket should have a relatively
high hydrostatic head rating, breathability for periods of high output, and a stiffened peak to keep the rain off your face. Secure pockets will keep your
essentials close to hand and packability is always useful especially in changeable weather or summer hikes.
Best fit: Tapered with extra volume at top and slim at hips
Ideal waterproof rating: 10,000mm+
We recommend: Patagonia Triolet
When it comes to climbing, you’ll need a lot of technical features such as articulated sleeves for improved freedom of movement, adjustments to make
sure it fits close to your body and under your harness, and a helmet-compatible hood. When you’re climbing in the summer, you’re unlikely to need a
jacket as hard wearing as those made for winter climbs - something lightweight and packable is ideal, so that you can throw it in your backpack when
you don’t need it.
Best fit: Slim with no excess volume
Ideal waterproof rating: 10,000mm
We recommend: Montane Minimus Stretch Ultra
Weight is the most important element when you’re moving fast and light - anything under 200g is what you should be looking for in a trail running jacket
to make sure it won’t weigh you down. Ventilation from mesh areas or pit zips, alongside high breathability, will ensure you’re kept cool even as
your energy output goes up. Make sure any pockets are secure enough to keep your belongings safe, and reflective panels will make sure you remain
visible if you’re heading out after dark.
Best fit: Tapered, extra volume at the top and slim at the hips
Ideal waterproof rating: 20,000mm+
We recommend: Berghaus Extrem MTN Seeker GTX
For mountaineering, you’ll need a jacket with full protection including a high hydrostatic head rating, and superior durability/resistance to abrasion.
Articulated sleeves will help you move more freely, adjustability will help the jacket to fit close to the body in the right areas, and a two way zip
is great for accessibility. A helmet-compatible hood will be essential.
Best fit: Regular fit with room for layers
Ideal waterproof rating: 5,000-10,000mm+
We recommend: Adidas RAIN.RDY
For an everyday jacket, you need something that’s going to be showerproof enough to keep the rain off for short periods of time, with decent pockets
for convenience. It doesn’t need to be highly technical or breathable, could include a packable hood for changeable weather, and have enough room
to fit a winter jumper underneath.
It’s worth noting that waterproof jackets have a relatively high environmental impact in terms of both the chemicals and materials used in their production.
The durable water-repellent (DWR) coating applied to the outer layer of a waterproof jacket has traditionally been made using harmful
perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) - “forever chemicals” which are known to build up in the environment and have harmful effects on both the
planet and human health. In recent years, long chain (C8) PFCs, which have been proven to have damaging effects, have been banned and replaced by
short chain (C6) PFCs which are thought to be less harmful. However, emerging evidence has shown that although their impact is slower, C6
PFCs can still have a damaging effect on the environment. Although PFCs are still considered unbeatable in their waterproofing
performance, an increasing number of companies are switching to PFC-free DWR in their waterproofs, with the exception of highly technical
As well as this, the materials used in waterproofs, particularly the waterproof membrane, are made with plastic compounds which are
non-biodegradable and therefore will ultimately end up in landfill. Many brands are switching to recycled materials which is a positive
step forward by helping to keep plastic out of landfill for longer. It’s worth keeping in mind the long-term impact that waterproof
garments can have - but don't let it put you off completely! When properly cared for, waterproof garments can last a very long time -
and this is a sustainable practice in itself. Just make sure that the waterproof you purchase is the
right one for you and will remain in your wardrobe for years to come - which is hopefully what this guide has helped you to do!
To maintain optimum performance of your waterproof it is essential that it's kept clean and that the DWR treatment is working.
Washing your waterproof and
reproofing it regularly is key to ensuring it lasts longer, and that the
membrane is kept clean and functioning. Check out this article for a step
by step on how to wash waterproof garments properly. For tips on how to best look after all of your outdoor clothing, see our
care and repair guide.
Find your new waterproof here:
Sign up to our newsletter for exclusive offers, events and news from Alpine Bikes, Blues and Tiso.
Spend £50 or more and get FREE Delivery
We are committed to a more sustainable journey and we want to make it easy for our customers to do the same.
Spread the costs with finance options such as Klarna, PayPal & v12