How To Buy The Perfect Kids' Waterproof Jacket

When it comes to keeping active children dry and comfortable during outdoor play, a good waterproof jacket is essential kit. Waterproof outer layers allow kids to fully enjoy their favourite activities regardless of the weather. Light drizzle or torrential downpour, a reliable waterproof coat means the fun needn't stop when the heavens open.


With so many styles and technical features now available, choosing the right kids waterproof jacket for your child can feel overwhelming. This comprehensive buying guide aims to make the process straight-forward, covering everything you need to know when selecting the ideal waterproof jacket for your young adventurer.  


Why Waterproof Jackets Are Essential for Active Kids  

Waterproof jackets are a versatile outer layer engineered to keep children dry in wet weather. They prevent rain, sleet and snow soaking through to inner layers whilst blocking wind chill. This enables youngsters to continue having fun outdoors regardless of inclement conditions.


For sporty kids who love cycle rides, playground adventures or family hikes, a good waterproof coat is a wise investment. With a waterproof jacket on hand, they can carry on playing outside even when the skies open without getting soaked, cold and miserable. 


As well as reliable wet weather protection, kids' waterproof jackets offer many other invaluable benefits. Many jackets include an inner fleece lining for warmth in colder temps. Some feature a detachable inner jacket for moderating body temperature. Technical fabrics and vents prevent overheating and interior condensation build-up during energetic play. Windproofing blocks blustery winds which can penetrate layers and steal body heat, and well-designed coats incorporate soft linings, adjustable hoods and elasticated cuffs to keep kids comfy.


For safety, reflective trims or prints boost visibility in low light conditions, which is vital for short winter days. Light jackets compress down small for easy packing in school bags and luggage. And durable water repellent coatings enable surface dirt to be wiped clean and machine washing takes care of deeper grime.


With so many benefits, it's clear why a high quality waterproof jacket is a savvy investment for active youngsters who relish playing outdoors come rain or shine.  


What to Consider When Buying a Kids' Waterproof Jacket

With an enormous range of styles, features and technologies now available, choosing the ideal kids' waterproof jacket requires consideration.


Intended Use

Kids participate in diverse outdoor activities, so match the jacket to your child's needs. Seek breathable warmth for general play. Pick hiking jackets with cargo pockets for family treks. Opt for insulated powder skirts and helmet compatibility for skiing. Choose cycling jackets with reflectives and elasticated cuffs to boost visibility and safety.  


Weather Conditions

Consider your typical climate and seasons. In persistently wet regions, pick durable jackets with fully sealed seams. Where rain is sporadic, a water resistant top layer can suffice for cost efficiency. For winter snow and ice, choose an insulated jacket or size up to layer thicker mid-layers underneath. 


Age & Independence  

Factor in your child's age and how self-sufficient they are. Little ones need simple toggles and elasticated cuffs that are quick and easy to handle independently. Older kids can manage trickier Velcro straps and buckles themselves. Seek accessible zip pockets to instil responsibility. 


Growth & Durability

Kids grow rapidly so anticipate room for expansion to maximise use. For fast-growing babies and toddlers, opt for budget styles like Regatta that offer excellent value and protection without breaking the bank. Sturdy designs with adjustable features accommodate growth spurts.


School Use

Seeking a lightweight packable jacket that can be quickly stashed in a locker makes sense for school days. Durable water resistance tackles drizzle during recess without getting clammy during class. Reflective safety prints cater for darker evenings.  


Personal Preference  

Involve children in choosing their jacket to get them excited about wearing it. Vibrant colours, fun prints and cool branding help it feel like "their" jacket. Opt for decorative reflective trim designs to enhance visibility with kid appeal.  



Higher priced jackets typically utilise superior technical fabrics and features. But many budget friendly styles like Didriksons still deliver great rain protection, warmth and longevity for the price. Focus on must-have attributes then stick within your spending threshold.


By evaluating your child's intended use, climate, age, growth, school needs, preferences and budget, it becomes much easier to select the jacket they'll eagerly wear that perfectly matches their lifestyle.


Understanding Waterproof Ratings & Breathability

When researching kids' waterproof jackets, you'll encounter some technical terminology relating to water resistance and breathability. 


Waterproof Ratings  

A fabric's waterproof rating indicates how much rainfall it can withstand before leaking: 1,500mm to 5,000mm is water resistant and fine for light showers; 5,000mm to 20,000mm is the minimum for a true waterproof jacket and is ideal for moderate rain; and 20,000mm+ is highly waterproof for wet regions and water sports where submersion is likely. 


To guarantee waterproofness, premium jackets use membranes like Gore-Tex that block rain at a molecular level whilst enabling sweat to escape. Cheaper jackets rely on water-resistant coatings that repel moisture without breathable membranes.


Fully sealed seams are also vital. They prevent leaks where jacket panels join. Check critical seams around pockets, hoods and shoulders are sealed.



Good ventilation and breathability prevent sweating and condensation inside a jacket. Breathability is measured in grams per square metre over 24 hours: 0 to 5,000g/m2/24hrs is minimally breathable; 5,000 to 20,000g/m2/24hrs is good for casual use; and 20,000g+/m2/24hrs is highly breathable for active kids. 


Jackets with mesh lining or vents like underarm zips enhance air circulation and cooling. For strenuous activity, jackets with microporous membranes actively wick interior moisture out while blocking external rain.


Checking waterproof ratings and breathability scores allows you to select jackets with optimally balanced wet weather protection and cooling airflow for your child's needs.


Useful Features For Comfort, Warmth & Usability

As well as waterproofing and breathability, useful extras that boost comfort, warmth and usability include a well-fitting hood to keep the rain off a child's face. Seek adjustable hoods that accommodate bike helmets and peripheral vision.


Adjustable velcro, elasticated or inner wrist gaiters help seal out rain, wind and snow. This retains warmth while allowing room for growth.


Jackets for school, hiking or cycling benefit from zipped pockets to safely stow valuables and essentials. Inside mesh pockets add extra storage options.


Fleece, polyester or mesh linings provide insulation and next-to-skin comfort without overheating. Look out for features like detachable linings, which offer versatility.


Strategic mesh panels and zip vents underarm or along the back allow heat and moisture to escape, preventing stickiness.


Growing Room

Seeking extended back lengths and adjustable features builds in space for growth, maximising lifespan as children get taller. By evaluating which specific features best match your child's planned activities, you can readily identify the ideal jacket for their needs.


Fabrics for Weather Protection, Breathability & Durability

Different fabrics are engineered to balance weather protection, ventilation and durability in kids' jackets. One of the most affordable fabric options, polyurethane (PU) coated nylon provides basic water resistance and windproofness. PU coatings repel moisture but lack microporous membranes to manage condensation.


Lightweight packable polyester bonded with water resistant finishes offers a good balance of water repellency, ventilation and easy care. Mainstream choices like Regatta use polyester to deliver good rain protection at a reasonable cost.  


Rugged and tear-resistant, nylon stands up well to regular use and abrasion. Coated nylon supplies water repellency for light showers. Uncoated nylon layers provide wind resistance while remaining breathable.


For premium waterproofness, Gore-Tex jackets have a microporous membrane that keeps rain out yet allows sweat vapour to escape. Fully windproof and highly breathable, Gore-Tex offers the ultimate wet weather protection.


Flexible softshell jackets combine weather resistance with breathability for vigorous activity. The tightly woven exterior sheds light rain whilst the textured inner lining boosts warmth.


By understanding the strengths of each fabric, you can select outer layers with ideal properties to keep your child dry and comfortable in their chosen activities.


Kids' Jacket Styles Suited to Different Activities

Optimal jacket designs vary by intended activity. Matching specific features and attributes to your child's needs ensures they get targeted performance. For playgrounds and travelling to school, pick lightweight packable styles that can be quickly stashed when sunny. Seek weather resistance, breathability and reflectives for safety.


Jackets for family trekking need moisture wicking performance and breathable warmth for comfort over miles. Seek cargo pockets for snack storage and accessible drink bottle zips. Add grow room for layering.


Kids' ski jackets require insulation, wet snow shedding outer fabric and elasticated inner cuffs that fit under gloves. Powder skirts prevent snow ingress whilst helmet compatible hoods maintain visibility.


Opt for elasticated cuffs, bright colours and reflectives to maximise visibility and safety for young cyclists. Windproofing blocks chill whilst water resistance keeps them dry.


To stay comfortably dry during cross country and family jogs, choose lightweight jackets with breathable membranes that actively wick energetic sweat. Add reflective prints that catch light.  


By matching jacket designs to the specific demands of your child's chosen activity, you can enhance enjoyment, safety and performance whilst minimising cold discomfort.


Kids' Outdoor Wear Brands to Look For

Reputable brands design waterproof kids' jackets purpose-built for active youngsters. At Cotswold Outdoor, you can find the best options from brands like The North Face, Regatta, Didriksons and Berghaus, to name a few.  


Renowned for technical performance, The North Face offers a vast range of feature-packed waterproof jackets from toddler to teen including insulated winter coats, rain shells and stretchy softshells.


Committed to affordability without compromising on quality, Regatta produce durable kids' coats using Isotex waterproof fabric. The Hydrafort and Pack It ranges provide especially good value.


Swedish brand Didriksons focus on fun, functional kids' outerwear including waterproof sets and detachable jackets that enable versatile layering.


Using robust fabrics, Berghaus builds weatherproof and insulated jackets designed for family adventures from hiking and camping to everyday outings.  


Reliable waterproofing from respected experts provides assurance you're getting durable wet weather protection when investing in a kids' jacket.


Getting The Perfect Fit & Size

Since children grow rapidly, carefully choose the right jacket size allowing generous room for expansion. Have your child try jackets on wherever possible and include them in the fitting process. Cross-check current height and weight against the brand's sizing chart. Sizing varies between manufacturers so don't rely solely on standard age.


Be sure to build in space for layering fleeces and sweaters underneath as needed season to season. And check sleeve cuffs extend beyond wrists and the hem falls to the hip or below for adequate length as kids grow taller. Elasticated cuffs, adjustable cord locks and toggle tightening will also provide room to grow.


Opt for looser athletic fit shapes over body-hugging styles to accommodate growth spurts, and size up if in doubt to maximise duration of use. Oversized jackets can be worn for years as children grow. Try outer shell jackets without insulating inner layers when assessing size.


With careful measurement and optimal fit guidance, you can select a thoughtfully sized jacket to provide enduring protection as your child expands their adventurous side.


Invest in Waterproof Versatility for Kids 

An activity-aligned, well-fitting kids' waterproof jacket enables fun and adventure whatever the weather. By understanding your child's needs, assessing features, fabrics, brands and fit, you can make an informed choice matching their lifestyle.


Choose wisely and your little one will stay happily dry for seasons of memorable rainy day exploits ahead. Let their excitement-filled outdoor adventures continue uninterrupted – come rain or shine!

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