If you are in the market for a new rain jacket, you are going to run into a lot of different terminology for each rain coat that you look at. Some of the more popular terms that you will see are: waterproof, water-resistant, windproof, and wind-resistant. Here is a quick guide to what those terms actually mean in terms of how your jacket will work and protect you.
What All Those Water Terms Mean
There are different degrees of protection against water that rain jackets are designed to provide. The three most common designations that you'll see are waterproof and breathable, waterproof and non-breathable, and water-resistant.
Waterproof & Breathable: When a jacket carries this type of label, that means that the jacket you are purchasing is designed to move perspiration away from your body. At the same time, this type of rain jacket will keep water away from you. This is the kind of jacket you need if you plan on being physically active outside in the rain.
Waterproof & Non-Breathable: Jackets with this label are designed just to keep the rain off of you. They will not help keep your perspiration off of your skin. These rain jackets are usually simple rain slickers.
Water-resistant: This type of jacket is designed to be breathable and is designed to withstand light rains. It is not for spending extensive time out in the rain, but is okay when it is just sprinkling outside or you are just dashing from your vehicle and into the store.
What All Those Wind Terms Mean
In addition to having specific language surrounding water, most rain jackets also include specific wind-based technical terms. The two most popular wind designations are: wind-resistant and windproof.
Wind-resistant: When a jacket is labeled as being wind-resistant, that generally means that the jacket is really lightweight. Think of a jacket that you can squish up and put inside of the pocket of a bigger jacket. This jacket will buffer the wind for and provide you protection against light wind storms, but is not going to give you a lot of protection in a large wind storm.
Windproof: Pretty much any jacket that is labeled as waterproof should also be windproof. Essentially, the same components that should keep a rain jacket waterproof should also keep it windproof. Jackets that are labeled windproof should protect you against winds from strong storms and driving rain.
Use this guide to determine what type of jacket you need and what water and wind terms you need to look for when you head to the store to get a new rain jacket. If you have more questions, ask a team member at retailers like The Jacket Shack.