What’s the difference between waterproof, water repellent, and water resistant jackets?

In the fight against the elements, it’s natural to consider the materials of the raingear we choose in our good efforts to stay warm and dry during chaotic weather conditions. It’s safe to say that getting soaked while enjoying the outdoors can truly dampen the good memories being experienced. Luckily, understanding the differences between waterproof, water-resistant, and water repellent materials can help adventurers make educated choices in their wardrobe selection. These key terms can be the difference between a soggy situation or a fortified and dry experience outside, allowing you to focus on the moments that truly matter.

This article will explore the differences between water-resistant vs. waterproof and water repellent garments and what to expect from these different levels of water protection. After learning the unique features of these classifications you’ll be able to make an informed decision on which garments your child should wear when you know that wet conditions are on the horizon.

What is Water Resistant?

When a garment is considered water-resistant it means that it’s able to resist the penetration of water to some degree. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the garment won’t retain water, most materials will have some basic level of water resistance. This is why you have to be careful when choosing jackets and rain gear, most of these garments feature some level of water resistance but may still result in the person wearing the piece getting wet. When comparing water-resistant vs. waterproof vs. water repellent, it’s important to know that water-resistant garments are the least protective of the three. Even cotton jackets are considered water-resistant, while still not guaranteeing that moisture will be kept away from other clothing and skin.

What is Water Repellent?

Water repellent is the next stage against defending garments against water and means that the garment is not easily penetrated by water, typically due to being treated with a surface coating. This surface coating typically consists of a hydrophobic material, causing water to not absorb into the garment easily. When you see water beading up on fabric this can generally be taken as a sign that the garment is water repellent. While not being completely impermeable to water passing through, water repellant pieces will still do a pretty decent job of keeping those wearing these garments dry. Clothing made from water repellent materials tends to be a bit more breathable than waterproof garments, as the protective coating is usually a bit more flexible.

waterdrops symbols square


Water Column: What does it mean?

All Reima fabrics or products marked with raindrop icons are waterproof. The waterproof level is indicated with water columns which tell how much water pressure the fabric endures in thickness before water begins to pass its surface. The thickness of the water mass/pressure is stated in millimeters (mm).

One Rain Drop - Water column over 3,000 mm: Protects against light rain or heavy rain for a short amount of time.

Two Rain Drops - Water column over 5,000 mm: Protects against heavy rain. Will stay dry unless sitting in the rain

Three Rain Drops -Water column over 8,000 mm: Is suitable for both heavy rain but also sitting in the rain.

Four Rain Drops -Water column over 10,000 mm: For extreme conditions. Protects in active outings in wet surroundings and in heavy rain, all day. Extremely waterproof

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What is Waterproof?

The strongest level of protection against water intrusion is waterproof materials, which are virtually impervious to water. While these garments will certainly defend against any wet intrusions, it’s equally important to consider that waterproofing a piece goes both ways, so choosing breathable materials is highly suggested. Especially for those who are active outdoors, you’ll want to be able to allow sweat to permeate outside of the garment and not get trapped within. If you live or are traveling in an area that is prone to exceptional levels of rainfall and inclement weather, waterproof rain gear can be the difference between a positive and negative experience outside.

While a garment being considered waterproof will typically grant that water won’t penetrate the fabric, there are still varying levels of waterproofing that Reima products feature multiple levels of waterproof protection that allow the intended conditions for use to naturally guide the customer toward the best garment for fighting against wet circumstances. To ensure complete protection from water, it is important to select items with sealed or taped seams. That way, you can rest assured that no moisture can penetrate through the stitching. When it comes to waterproofing your experiences, Reima will have a fashionable and reliable selection of pieces that will fortify any future splish-splashing.

Find Waterproof Gear for Your Child at Reima!

When getting your child dressed for the adventures that await outdoors you don’t want a rainy day getting in the way of amazing experiences. Having a strong understanding of the difference between water-resistant vs. waterproof and water repellent can make a huge difference in terms of the comfortability of a child when playing outside. Find an extensive selection of waterproof kids’ rain gear at Reima to feel at ease about your child heading outside during those rainy days. What might have been a dreary day spent indoors can turn into a cherished memory spent making a splash outdoors, without the fear of soggy clothes and chilly temperatures with the help of Reima’s toddler rainwear and outdoor garments.

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