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Waterproof Technology

Waterproof Products

Stay dry with fabrics designed to keep water at bay.

When you’re enjoying the outdoors you want to feel comfortable and stay dry even in the most forbidding wind and rain. Waterproof fabrics will keep you and your insulating layers dry, so you can stay comfortable and go even further on your next adventure.

 

Depending on the intensity of your activity, it’s important to find a waterproof fabric that will also breathe.

Even in cooler temperatures the sweat vapour generated by your body will want to escape from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration. If this vapour can’t escape it creates a build-up of moisture, causing condensation on the inside of your garment.

  • Keeps you and your insulating layers dry.
  • Helps to maintain core body temperture.
  • Can be highly breathable.

How It Works

 

There are two main waterproof technologies:

  • Membranes
  • Coatings
Woman in Waterproof Jacket in the Rain

Membranes

Membrane Waterproof Technology

 

PA durable thin layer of expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE), polyurethane, (PU) or polyester is either bonded through high pressure to the face fabric or suspended between fabric layers.

 

These membranes have a microscopic web-like structure that is incredibly thin. Water droplets are too large to pass through the microscopic holes in the membrane, but the pores are large enough to allow sweat and vapour to escape. 

 

Benefits

  • Durable
  • Highly breathable
  • Ideal for high intensity activities 

 

Coatings

Coating Waterproof  Technology

 

Coatings are used to fully seal a fabric, making it waterproof and windproof. A thin layer of liquid polyurethane (PU) is either sprayed or painted onto the inside face of the outer fabric.

 

They are formulated in two ways; either with a network of microscopic holes, creating passageways for sweat and vapour to escape or the vapour latches onto the hydrophilic (Water attracting) molecular chains, moving along the structure until they reach the outer surface. 

 

Benefits:

  • Good breathability
  • Windproof
  • Ideal for low intensity activities or casual use

 

Down Fill Power Ratings

Hydrostatic Head Explained

Manufactures can measure how waterproof a fabric is by placing a column, filled with water over a piece of taut fabric, to see how many millilitres the fabric can withstand before leaking. The greater the hydrostatic head, the more waterproof the fabric.

To be classified as waterproof garments have to be given a minimum measurement of 1,500mm in the UK. Many manufactures also develop their own rigorous methods to test how waterproof and breathable a fabric is.

The waterproof rating can be reduced by increasing pressure on the garment such as sitting or kneeling on wet ground or wearing a rucksack. 

 

Durable Water Repellant Coating

Durable Water Repellent Coating

 

A durable water repellent (DWR) coating is a chemical applied to the outer most fabric layer, so that water ‘beads’ and rolls off, preventing the face fabric from ‘wetting out’ and becoming saturated with water. This needs to be re-applied either by spraying, painting or washing and tumble drying to maintain the performance of your garment, ensuring you stay dry. 

 

Seam Sealing

Seam Sealing

 

While a fabric may be waterproof, if it isn’t seam sealed it cannot be considered fully waterproof. The holes made by sewing needles may be small, but water droplets can still find a way through. Ensuring that every hole is sealed keeps you and your insulating layers warm and dry.

 

 

Non Waterproof Clothing

  • Quickly absorbs water and becomes saturated
  • Takes longer to dry
  • Doesn't retain body heat when wet

Whether you get caught in a brief shower or frequent down pours, if your clothing doesn’t protect you from the rain it quickly becomes saturated and heavy, soaking your inner layers. Not a situation anyone wants to get caught in – especially if you’re stuck in the same clothes all day!

Waterproof Ranges

Other Technologies