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Article Teaser: Rainwear does more than simply keep out rain or snow, it protects from wind, cold, and chemical splashes. Your choice of rainwear depends on the expected weather, the expected temperatures, your planned activities, and your budget. Rainwear materials and designs greatly affect the performance you can expect. There are three major types of rainwear:

Keep reading below...

Choosing Rainwear

Copyright (c) 2010-2017

Rainwear does more than simply keep out rain or snow, it protects from wind, cold, and chemical splashes. Your choice of rainwear depends on the expected weather, the expected temperatures, your planned activities, and your budget. Rainwear materials and designs greatly affect the performance you can expect. There are three major types of rainwear:

  • Water-Resistant / Breathable

  • Waterproof / Breathable

  • Waterproof / Nonbreathable

  • Water-Resistant / Breathable

    Water-resistant/breathable rainwear repels wind and light precipitation while providing excellent breathability to keep you cool when your body heats up. It relies on durable water repellent (DWR) finishes applied by the manufacturer. It tends to be lighter, less bulky, and less expensive than other rainwear. It is generally not adequately weatherproof to protect you in harsh conditions or during extended periods of rain. It is appropriate for mild weather, light precipitation, and high activity levels. It is not appropriate as industrial safety equipment where protection from extreme weather or chemicals is needed.

    Waterproof / Breathable

    Waterproof/breathable rainwear provides an excellent choice for a wide range of weather conditions and activities. The combination of breathability and moisture protection through DWR finishes means that you can use a single piece of gear in both warm and cold conditions. The exact performance that you realize from waterproof/breathable rainwear depends on the fabrics used, Gore-Tex being a well-known example, and your activity level. Because water vapor (i.e., sweat) is able to escape through the fabric, the rainwear provides the best combination of repelling the elements while allowing you to stay comfortable as you work. Waterproof/breathable garments are generally not appropriate safety equipment for industrial applications.

    Waterproof / Nonbreathable

    Waterproof/nonbreathable rainwear provides impermeable protection from the elements, wind, and chemical splashes; the greatest range of applications from lightweight disposable protection to durable protection designed for adverse conditions. Unlike DWR-dependent rainwear, nonbreathable rainwear is most commonly protected using PVC coatings that provide protection against chemical spills, durability, and, in some cases, flame retardant properties. Others are protected using neoprene to provide chemical resistance not found in PVC and improved comfort. Waterproof/nonbreathable rainwear offers cost-effective, durable protection suitable to most industrial applications.

    Features to Consider

  • Hoods: Hoods provide protection for the head and neck. Permanently attached hoods offer the best protection against leaks. Hoods that can be rolled up or folded away when not in use are less bulky. Elastic cords with toggles that allow adjustment of the hood around your face offer better comfort and visibility. Some hoods may also have stiffened visors or brims that can be shaped to fit. Detachable hoods also offer great protection against the elements and provide the benefit that they can be completely removed when not needed.

  • Pockets: Pockets allow essential gear to be carried and easy to reach, including special pockets for identification or badges. Pockets can also increase the weight of the shell. Pockets should be easily accessible, easy to open and close, and well protected against leaks.

  • Vents: Vents enhance the garment's ability to breath no matter what type of fabric is used in its construction. Larger vents provide improved airflow but increase the risk of leaks. Common vents include underarm, side, and back vents. Cape ventilated backs provide improved breathability and comfort.

  • Split Back / Inner Leg Snaps: Split backs and / or inner leg snaps enable longer coats to be used similar to chaps, retaining protection while providing increased mobility where needed.

  • Closures: Closures around the neck, ankles, and front of raingear present a potential for leaking. Zippers should be covered by storm flaps, fabric strips that protect against leaks. Other alternatives include Velcro closures that create a watertight seal around openings, inner sleeves with elastic closures, and take up snaps.

  • Reflective Stripes: Reflective jackets and tape stripes improve visibility and safety in low-light or dangerous conditions.

  • Rainwear Care

    Rainwear that is dependent on a DWR finish applied by the fabric manufacturer should always be maintained according to the manufacturer's instructions. Over time, the DWR finish will begin to wear and the shell will begin "wetting out" in the rain. This means that some of the rain is soaking into the material, rather than beading up and rolling off. Wetting out causes the shell to become heavier and reduces breathability. When wetting out is observed, the DWR should be renewed according to the manufacturer's instructions.

    Rainwear made from materials such as neoprene can often be repaired when leaking occurs. Always follow manufacturer's recommendations for repair of small tears and seams.


    About The Author: Shop Amazon - Top Gift Ideas
    Rathi Niyogi is the CEO of CriticalTool, a national distributor of safety vests and other reflective apparel. If you thought this article was helpful, information on the basics of Reflective Clothing including Rainwear and ANSI standards can be found here http://www.criticaltool.com/high-visibility-reflective-clothing-the-basics.html

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