When it comes to specialty waterproof gear there are a ton of options on the market, so it’s important to know what to look for when shopping for rain gear to serve your specific needs. Is your primary concern insulation from the cold? Do you need high visibility materials? Extra durability? Not all rain gear is built the same, so we’ve laid out some of our top waterproof items for work, casual wear, and extreme conditions to help you better understand your options.
Know the Lingo
Let’s start with the basics of waterproof and water resistant clothing. Most waterproof clothing is coated with a DWR (durable water repellent) layer so that water beads off of the fabric rather than soaking into it. This preserves the breathability of the fabric underneath, so water stays out, but you aren’t locking in body heat and sweat at the same time. There are also different levels of waterproofing, dependent on all of the materials used and the application the garment was designed for.
- Water Repellent: Refers to a garment that has DWR treated fabric. Waterproof and water resistant items both fall under the umbrella term water repellent, so you want to be sure to really examine how repellent the clothing is depending on your needs.
- Water Resistant: If an article of clothing is labeled as water resistant, it has a DWR coating on the inner layer of fabric to keep you dry, but doesn’t offer a complete barrier from water soaking in. Materials like polyester and nylon are more water resistant than cotton because they are so tightly woven that water doesn’t sink into them as easily, but they cannot keep you dry in a downpour.
- Waterproof: Waterproof garments provide the highest level of water repellence possible. Waterproof apparel typically has DWR applied to one layer with an outer layer made of water resistant material.
What Level of Waterproofing Do You Need?
The intended use of your rain gear is going to determine if you need anything from a $10 disposable rain jacket to a sturdy, insulated rain suit to withstand extreme weather conditions. When choosing your waterproof apparel, consider the levels of durability, breathability, insulation, potential jobsite hazards, and reflective material you may need to stay comfortable and protected on the job.
Rainy Day Gear
If you’re in need of lightweight rainy day gear for casual wear, we have a few great options available that will keep you dry but won’t break the bank. The Helly Hansen Manchester Rain Jacket is lightweight and fully waterproof thanks to their Helly Tech Protection. Every seam is fully taped to ensure that no water can get through, and it also features a cape in the back for ventilation and breathability. This jacket is super sleek and great for work, hiking, sporting events, and more.
For a little less stylish, but super practical option, we also have 2- and 3-piece rain suits for less than $20. These will give you full-body protection from the rain and can easily be worn over other layers for extra warmth. PIP West Chester has a very affordable 3-piece rain suit that comes with a PVC rain jacket, bibs, and a detachable hood, available in a wide range of sizes from Small up to 7XL. Get the matching rain boots for only $18.99 to complete the set! TREDS Rubber Slush Overboots are perfect for rain protection over top of your work boots, allowing you to maintain the safety benefits of steel or composite toe boots while keeping out rain, mud and slush. These are all great for situations where you need fuller rain protection but don’t need insulation or anything too heavy-duty.
When working on a hazardous jobsite it’s important, and often required, to have outerwear that protects you from the rain and keeps you visible. Hi-vis workwear options like the Blaklader Hi-Vis Shell Jacket and Ripstop Pants are ANSI 107 Class 3 certified and fleece lined to keep you warm and dry throughout those long work days. The Helly Hansen Alta Jacket, Pants, and Bib are similar as well but are not as insulated as the Blaklader set, which is designed for winter wear and extreme weather conditions.
For jobs that require FR/AR rated apparel, NSA is the way to go. Their Hydroflash Foul Weather Jacket is FR/AR rated, weatherproof, windproof, hot liquid and steam resistant, petroleum and oil-based mud resistant, and fast drying with reflective trim. While this jacket is pricier than other options, it is built to outlast virtually any undesirable jobsite conditions you may encounter, and is available in navy, orange, and yellow colorways.
Cold Weather Wear
For water protection in the cold weather, the Milwaukee Hydrobreak Rain Shell is a great option, designed to be layered for long days out in the cold. The Ripstop and Polyester Laminate outer layer provides long-term protection from snow, rain, and wind. It is designed with the jobsite in mind so you have full mobility and reinforcement in key, high-friction areas. The outer ripstop polyester offers tear and abrasion resistance while the inner printed pattern delivers comfort and breathability.
The Ergodyne N-Ferno Black Winter Work Jacket is another great option, built to outlast the cold and protect you from rain, wind, and snow. This winter work jacket is ideal for those who work in cold environments where hi-vis is not required, such as refrigeration, transportation, airlines or agriculture. It’s also great for outdoor recreational activities such as snowmobiling or hiking.
When you need extreme waterproofing, such as fishermen, sanitation engineers, or anyone else that encounters high water throughout the day, you’re going to need seriously heavy-duty garments that lock out 100% of water and moisture. The Helly Hansen Mandal Bibs are made of oil- and mildew-resistant PVC coated polyester to lock out moisture. Pick up the matching jacket for full-body water protection! For more of our waterproof bib options, check out what we have available here.
Need help figuring out which waterproof and water resistant option is right for you? Give us a call at 800-242-4424, email us at email@example.com, or leave a comment below for assistance. We’re always happy to help! To be the first to know about new products and deals, subscribe to our e-newsletter and follow us on social media!