In attempt to provide you with as much information as possible about waterproof jackets and waterproofing in general, we have put together a list of our frequently asked questions. If you can’t find the information you’re looking for, please take a look at our waterproof information guides – here you can find all the information you need about waterproofing and waterproof jackets.
- Can you wash a waterproof jacket?
Yes, you can; in fact, we advise it. There is a common misconception that you can’t wash a waterproof jacket because it is waterproof or that it may ruin or damage the jackets waterproofness, however, this is a mistake. With frequent use, dirt and sweat can gradually build up and ultimately block the fibres’ breathability which may have an impact on the performance of the jacket. In order to prevent this, we recommend washing your waterproof jacket every so often and therefore have created a step-by-step guide with instructions on how to wash your waterproof jacket.
Key points to note are:
- Wash your garment at 30 degrees Celsius
- Use soap powder or liquid with NO fabric softeners or conditioners
- For more intense grease or dirt use a non-biological detergent
- DO NOT dry clean any of the garments
- Dry in a tumble drier on a low temperature and remove/shake every 15 minutes for an approximately an hour
- If the DWR chemical treatment has worn out, you can treat the waterproof jacket with Nikwax®
- What is DWR?
DWR or ‘Durable Water Repellent Technology’ is a specialist finish which is applied to the face fabric of our waterproof products, and without it, the fabric would ‘wet out’. DWR is not permanent and exposure to the elements and gradual wear and tear could strip it from the fabric. If your waterproof jacket is not performing as effectively as when bought, the DWR element may need re-proofing.
- What is GORE-TEX®?
GORE-TEX® is renowned for being the first waterproof, windproof and breathable fabric, launched in Europe; it’s pioneering design and technology has shaped how outdoors kit is developed today.
In 1977, Berghaus was the first European outdoors company to introduce GORE-TEX® and incorporate its revolutionary technology into our clothing range.
If you would like to find out more information about the history of GORE-TEX® or its waterproof mechanism, read up on our GORE-TEX® technology guide.
- Is a waterproof jacket also windproof?
Although it cannot be said for all waterproof jackets in general, the technologies used to develop Berghaus waterproof jackets mean that they’re also windproof. The same principle which prevents water and moisture entering the jacket but still allows it to leave also applies to the flow and ventilation of air.
- Should you re-proof a waterproof jacket?
Over time and with pre-longed use, the durable water-repellent (DWR) finish which is applied to the outer surface of a waterproof jacket can wear off. This chemical treatment, which is applied to a jacket during manufacture, prevents the fabric from absorbing moisture by creating a beading effect when in contact with water.
It is important to first check areas which are subject to a lot of movement and contact, such as the sides of the jacket and the arms. Similarly, it is also worth re-proofing a jacket after it has been washed as it is likely that both tasks need to be done at the same time.
Re-proofing a jacket is simple; Berghaus sell a range of Nikwax® treatments, which contain elastic water-repellent polymers that bond to the fibres of your jacket, leaving the spaces between open and breathable so it performs just as well as the day you bought it.
If you’d like to learn how to re-proof a waterproof jacket, we’ve put together a guide explaining how to use Nikwax® treatments.
- How often should you re-proof a waterproof jacket?
How often your waterproof jacket is re-proofed will ultimately depend on how frequently you wear it and to what extent the jacket is tested against the elements. Should you feel as though your jacket is not performing as well as it used to, this is an obvious indication that it may need washing and re-proofing.
If you wear your jacket frequently then we advise to re-proof it ever 3-4 months depending on the intensity of your outdoor adventures. If you’re a less frequent wearer, then re-proofing your jacket could span between half of a year to a year.
- What is layering and why is it important?
Layering is the process of combining multiple layers of clothing to ensure that you’re protected and comfortable during your outdoors pursuits. Many people who’re not aware of the layering system and how effective it can be, may believe that it solely relates to keeping warm, however, the nature of the system is to ensure you can regulate your body temperature when necessary depending on whether or not you’re too cold or too hot. Although it more commonly refers to jackets and tops, the theory behind the system can also be applied to leggings and trousers.
Key points to note are:
- The combination of multiple thin layers as oppose to one bulky layer can keep you warmer as the multiple layers trap the heat and act as an insulator.
- It is important to consistently layer with specialised breathable garments as combining non breathable garments will make for an ineffective system.
- The layering system is designed to allow you to regulate your temperature by adding and removing layers depending on whether you need to warm up or cool down; without the system this task would be much more difficult to manage effectively.
- Layering systems are often comprised of a “base layer”: the first layer which lays against your skin, the “mid layer”: used primarily as an insulator and the “outer layer”: protects you from the elements.
- Cotton garments should NOT be used as they’re not breathable and thus soak up and retain moisture.
If you would like to find out more information about the layering system, how it works and how you can create an effective one, check out our waterproof layering guide.
- Are waterproof jackets gender specific?
Generally speaking a lot of generic waterproof jackets are unisex and are not gender specific; Berghaus waterproof jackets, on the contrary, have been specifically designed with gender considerations. The sizing and ‘fit’ of a waterproof jacket is extremely important and is often overlooked, however, it can have a considerable impact on the jacket’s performance. We have created a waterproof jacket sizing guide to help you with this.
Each and every Berghaus jacket has been created with a tailored fit specific to either males or females. Most often, women’s waterproof jackets have shorter arms, narrower shoulders and wider hips, making them more comfortable from women to wear.
- How should a waterproof jacket fit?
The “fit” of a waterproof jacket is very important and can often effect how well it performs. All of our waterproof jackets have been specifically designed to enhance performance and not hinder it; jackets that are too tight may restrict movement, whereas jackets which are too loose may create unnecessary weight and inconvenient bulk.
Make sure you choose a jacket which will assist and enhance your chosen activity; in order to help you do this, our waterproof jackets are categorised into three “fits”: Technical Fit, Active Fit and Relaxed Fit.
View our jacket sizing guide to find out more information on this.
Key points to note are:
- Consider the activity you’re engaging in when deciding on the most suitable fit; technical fit = tighter, for high performance – relaxed fit: looser, for casual comfort.
- Consider the layering system required for your activity when choosing the fit of your jacket.
- Ensure that you have freedom of movement where you need it – especially when you’re layers are applied.
- Consider the equipment you may need for you activity and how this will affect the fit of the jacket you need.
- Make sure that the cuffs are long enough to ensure that prevent rain for entering into your system but not too long to impede your movement.
- Ensure that the jacket is long enough to maintain coverage of your lower back when stretching to prevent the exposure of your mid/base layer.
- The hood of the jacket should provide sufficient coverage and protection without obstructing your view and should be adjustable to suit.
- What is breathability?
Breathability is the measure of how quickly moisture generated from your body is able to pass through a fabric from the inside to the outer shell. It is an essential element which is deeply considered when developing any of our waterproof jackets. By allowing the free flow of moisture vapour, the breathability function of a garments allows you to naturally regulate your body temperature by sweating whilst staying dry.
If you are interested in breathability and would like to know more, check out our guide on what is breathability?
- What is the best waterproof jacket?
The best waterproof jacket will ultimately depend on intention of use as all of our jackets have been developed specifically with features which may make them better for particular activities.
However, with such a large of choice, we understand that choosing the ‘“best waterproof jacket’ can be a little daunting. For that reason, we have developed a waterproof jacket selector tool which uses a series of questions and criteria to help pinpoint the jackets which have been specifically designed to meet your needs and requirements.
Any other information which you may need or be interested in when looking for the perfect jacket can be found within our waterproof jacket hub.