Gear Guide

Waterproofs

Waterproof jackets

This is an essential piece of kit.  You will need a hard-shell waterproof jacket with a hood, as well as keeping you dry in the rain this will also help keep you warm if it’s windy. 

Features worth looking for are:

  • a storm flap to cover the zip so water doesn't leak in (some jackets now have waterproof zips) 
  • Velcro tabs on the cuffs hold them snug,
  • a hood with peak and draw cords to pull it tight so it doesn’t flap in your face. 

Breathable fabrics, like Gortex will be more comfortable to wear for long periods of time as they let your sweat escape; you don't need to pay a premium for genuine Gortex, most of manufacturers' own-brand breathable fabrics tend to be just as good. 

Avoid heavily insulated coats as these will get hot in summer and coats with furry trims that will soak up water.

Padded winter coats, parkers, down-style and soft-shell jackets are not suitable as your main coat.  Although they will keep you warm when it’s cold they will soak through in prolonged heavy rain and on a camp we won’t have the ability to dry them out again.

Although a basic “pack-a-mac” will provide a hard shell layer, they don't provide much warmth, and the hoods are often pretty useless.  If you can, it’s worth buying a heavier duty hard shell jacket as it will keep you warmer and drier.

 

Waterproof jackets for water activities

Unless it's really hot and sunny, we normally recommend that people wear a waterproof coat when taking part in water activities, this is to help reduce the wind chill, rather than to keep you dry.

Because it's almost certainly going to end up soaked, this coat needs to be in addition to your “proper” waterproof jacket!  It doesn’t need to be anything fancy or expensive, a basic pac-a-mac style cagoule will do.

Some of the places we go for water activities have coats that we can borrow and the Group has some "cags" that we can loan out.

 

Waterproof trousers

Another essential piece of kit, these will keep your legs dry if it’s raining or if the ground is very wet & muddy. A basic pair of waterproof over trousers is all you need. Zips on the legs will make it easier to put them on whilst still wearing your shoes or boots, and breathable fabrics will be more comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

 

Cleaning

You can clean your waterproofs by handwashing in luke warm water.  If they’re very muddy then use non-biological washing powder or a specialist cleaner (such as Nikwax Tech Wash) – you might be able to wash it in the washing machine, but check the care label first. 

If you’ve got a breathable jacket it’s worth refreshing the waterproofing periodically, using a specialist product (e.g. Nikwax TX Direct) – ask for advice when you buy it.


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