Are you looking for a rain jacket for upcoming outdoor adventures?
This article is about hard shell raincoats, which are waterproof, breathable and windproof.
In addition to the appropriate size and color, there are other criteria that you should consider:
What water column should the jacket have?
You will find everything you need to know about the water column here
With membrane or coating?
A crucial question when looking for a rain jacket! Membrane jackets are more robust than jackets with coatings. Coatings wore off over time and must then be applied again. How long it takes for the coating to “go down” depends mainly on how much the jacket is stressed. For example, the load is significantly higher if a heavy backpack rubs on the shoulders.
For this reason, it is advisable to use a membrane jacket for long walks with heavy luggage. However, the climatic conditions in which you will wear the jacket are also important. Because of their mode of operation, some membrane jackets are only respiratory active when the outside temperature is significantly lower than the temperature in the jacket. Why this is so, you will find here.
How many layers?
Membrane jackets are available either with 3, with 2 or with 2.5 layers.
In a 3-layered jacket, the outer fabric, membrane and lining are laminated to one layer. That way the membrane is protected against friction from inside and from outside. By compressing the layers, 3-layer jackets are very light and stable. They are therefore ideal for long trips with heavy luggage.
2-layer jackets consist of two layers, as the name suggests. Shell and membrane are laminated together. The lining remains an extra layer and is simply hooked into the jacket. The disadvantage of this is that the layers can rub against one another and thereby damage one another. Advantage: since the production is much simpler, 2-layer jackets are usually much cheaper than 3-layer jackets.
Now to the last variant: the 2.5-layer jackets. Here the membrane is protected by a further layer in order to protect it from the aforementioned friction. They are therefore in the area of stability between 3- and 2-layer jackets. This is also the case from a price point of view. Compared to 3-layer jackets, however, there are two advantages: by avoiding lamination of the layers, 2.5-layer jackets are lighter and more breathable than 3-layer jackets.
3-layer jackets: for long, for the material demanding, tours with heavy backpack.
2-layer jackets: for day trips without or with light luggage.
2.5-layer jackets: for hikes with medium heavy luggage for those of you who are quickly sweating.
What else is there to consider?
Ventilation like underarm ventilation
Personally one of my favorite features! These are two additional zippers under the arms. If it is too warm you simply pull it up and have an extra ventilation … exactly where it is necessary.
A well-fitting hood is essential for a rain jacket! For an optimal fit, there should be several adjustment options: front at the neck and at the back. The hood should adapt to your movements. Otherwise, it limits your field of view.
Interesting for cyclists or climbers: there are hoods, which are designed more spacious, to be worn over a helmet.
Just as with the membrane, water should not penetrate through the zippers. In rainwear, there are two types of zippers:
a) technical zippers
They are watertight by their special design.
b) Zippers with cover strip
This is a normal zipper, which is protected by a cloth strip.
For which type of zipper you decide, is rather unimportant. Both variants fulfill their purpose in practice. The important thing is that your jacket has one of the two zipper styles.