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Choosing the Right Rain Jacket That Best Fits Your Needs


November 4, 2021

It is that time of year when you must brave the elements with high-quality rainwear that can keep you warm and dry. Whether you are working at a worksite during a heavy downpour or just want to get coffee around the corner during a light drizzle, the right rain jacket can make all the difference.

Understanding the different aspects and features of quality rainwear can help you determine the right jacket for your lifestyle and budget. Our rain jacket guide goes through all the factors you must consider to find the perfect fit.

Man working in rain in rain jacket

Water-Resistant vs. Waterproof

When it comes to rain jackets, all offer some level of protection from water falling from above, splashing from below, and hitting you from all angles. However, rain jackets have different levels of water resistance. It is important to choose the right level of water protection based on your particular needs.

Rain jackets can come in water-resistant and waterproof varieties. Both water-resistant and waterproof rain jackets are treated with a durable water repellent (DWR) finish on the outer layer. DWR is the durable and functional coating that allows the rain droplets to slide off and keep you dry.

Water-Resistant

For the lowest level of rain protection, water-resistant rain jackets can keep you dry during a light drizzle. Think soft shells and windbreakers made of materials like lightweight nylon. This option is breathable and flexible, perfect for an evening walk or a quick trip to the grocery store in moderate precipitation.

Waterproof

For extended water exposure, waterproof rain jackets such as PVC rainwear can handle serious rainfall. Waterproof jackets prevent the water from seeping through. These come in both breathable and non-breathable options. For those who plan to perform strenuous work that works up a sweat, a breathable option is the best choice.

A jacket made from a material such as GORETEX will give you the most waterproof option along with breathability. Gore-Tex can repel liquid water while allowing water vapor to pass through and is designed to be a lightweight, waterproof fabric for all-weather use. Also, look for tape-sealed seams on the inside of the jacket for optimal waterproof capability. There are many other jackets available made from different fabrics that are also tape sealed. But remember, not all of these will be 100% waterproof like GORETEX.

Wind-Resistant vs. Windproof

Should you get a wind-resistant or windproof jacket? What is the difference between the two? The level of wind resistance and water resistance in a jacket is often the same.

Wind-Resistant

Just like a water-resistant rain jacket, a wind-resistant jacket provides lightweight protection that can easily be packed in a pocket or bag when the rain stops. It is intended for short outings and light winds, not a heavy storm.

Windproof

A windproof jacket is commonly waterproof, too. Windproof jackets usually feature a laminate that completely prevents wind from penetrating the jacket layers. In addition, windproof materials ensure that the warm air inside is not replaced by the cold air outside.

Rain Jacket Layers

woman in rain jacket

Rain jackets feature a water-resistant coating in between an outer and inner fabric layer. The outer layer is durable enough to handle the inevitable wear and tear that happens while outdoors. The inner layer protects against natural body oils and abrasion.

The type of rainwear you choose will depend on the kind of work are you doing. Is it casual, farming, or construction work?

The more bells and whistles a raingear garment has (think needle holes from seams), the more potential for leakage.

Wilco carries 3 types of Raingear

PVC

It is a material that is fully waterproof. It is great when you are out on a tractor or digging ditches. It has a high degree of waterproof and you won’t get leakage (great for sitting on a tractor all day) It is a moderate price point. The disadvantage, is that it is a very heavy piece. You won’t want to be swinging a lot of hammers or a lot of constructions wearing a heavier PVC garment due to the weight involved. It also is not breathable, which means you are going to sweat. If it is warm outside and it starts to rain, you will start to sweat from the inside out versus the opposite.

Carhartt Men's Midweight Waterproof Rainstorm Jacket, 103508

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Carhartt Men's Waterproof Mid-Weight Rainstorm Bib Overalls, 103505

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Nylon Coated

Nylon is a fabric but has been coated to make it waterproof. It is lightweight, packable, has a moderate price point, and has a lot of movability to it. Great for construction and Christmas tree harvest.

Viking Tempest Classic Men's Jacket, 838

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Watershed Stormcreek 650 Bib Overalls

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Watershed Stormcreek 600 Jacket

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Watershed Stormcreek II 08-500 Jacket

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Viking Ladies Creekside Rain Jacket, 866

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GORE-TEX

GORETEX is a premium raingear option. It is a very thin membrane liner that goes inside of the fabric, the fabric provides durability and the membrane provides breathability so you gave vapors coming out and water molecules that cannot go through those pores because they are larger than the membrane of the fabric.

Rain jackets are not created equal. You must consider your unique needs to determine the right one for you. Do you plan to perform strenuous activities? Are you looking for pockets to keep your valuables safe? Here are a few rain jacket features you may want to consider.

Watershed Storm Shield 900 Jacket

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Carhartt Shoreline 102382 Jacket, Detachable Hood, Zipper Closure

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Carhartt Men's Insulated Shoreline Jacket, 102702

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Hood

Many rain jackets come with hoods. Casual rain jackets usually have a straightforward hood adjustment or none at all. Other hood designs such as hiking rain jacket hoods, can be adjusted and feature a stiffened brim.

If you are hitting the slopes or need a hard hat, a large adjustable hood opening can accommodate a helmet. Other rain jackets have removable hoods that can zip off and be stored elsewhere if you need a full range of vision.

Watershed Storm Shield Waterproof Snap On Gore-Tex Hood, 975041

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Watershed Stormcreek 675 Hood

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Pockets

Casual rain jackets tend to have the most pockets to store your everyday items such as keys, smartphones, and wallets. Hiking or climbing rain jackets tend to feature pockets higher up on the body and away from areas that can interfere with backpack straps or a hip belt.

Consider the style of pocket in the rain jacket. Some have a soft-lined pocket for sensitive items such as glasses or snow goggles. Others have cord ports so you can slide your headphones cables through and listen to your music. Some rain jackets do not have any pockets at all for activities that require lightweight apparel.

Zippers and Vents

Zippers are essential to the functionality of your rain jacket, from zipping up the front to ventilation zippers with velcro that provides protection from water and breathability in strategic locations such as your armpits, back, and chest.

Keep in mind, zippers can add weight to your jacket, not to mention provide more areas where water can leak through if you are not careful. The more seams a jacket has, the more possible it is for water to leak through. Look for tape-sealed seams. As an alternative to zippers, some jacket manufacturers have developed core vents such as mesh lining in the handwarmer pockets to provide breathability when unzipped.

Man wearing rain jacket in the rain

Adjustments

The best rain jackets have adjustment functionality in the waist and wrists to provide a tight closure to keep water out. When the sky clears up, you can simply loosen the adjustment and provide more ventilation and breathability to your body.

Packability

Are you looking for a water-resistant layer that is travel-friendly? Ultra-lightweight versions can be stuffed into a pocket or backpack. Some rain jackets even have a pocket that can double as a storage pouch for easy carry.

High Visibility

High visibility (hi-vis) rain gear is designed for use at a worksite in rainy and wet conditions. ANSI Class rain jackets are waterproof, durable, and come in a range of high visibility colors such as yellow, orange, or lime with silver reflective striping.

Carhartt Men's Hi-Visibility Class 3 Sherwood Jacket, 100787

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Viking Men's Open Road Hi-Visibility Jacket, D6323JG

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Viking Men's Open Road Hi-Visibility Bib Pants, D6323PG

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Shop for Rainwear at Wilco Farm Stores

Ready to make an investment that will last you for years and keep you dry and warm in the rainy season? Shop Wilco farm stores for the best rain jackets for women, men, and kids. We have rain jackets for the whole family in waterproof and water-resistant options.

We would love to see your rainwear style, use #mywilcolife on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and tag Wilco Stores.

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