How to choose clothes to stay dry in wet weather & the snow?
What is the best rainwear and waterproof gear?
Just like other aspects of life, what's best for one person might not be best for you, as it depends on:
- What kind of activity you'll be doing (will it be low, moderate or high intensity?)
- The conditions you'll wear it in now and in the future (temperature, rain, snow?)
- How important body movement is (can it be restricted or do you need full range of motion?)
- How often you'll be wearing it (most days or weeks, or only a few times a year?)
- How long you want it to last (for one or a few outdoor adventures, or for years to come?)
What rainwear and waterproof gear do you need?
If you don't want rain and snow dampening clothes and spirits, you'll need waterproof clothes.
They're the outdoor clothes made from fabrics that stop water getting in whilst letting your body moisture out, so you stay dry and your skin can breathe. How waterproof different pieces of clothing are varies, and the best way to weigh up options is to look at the hydrostatic rating.
Waterproof Hydrostatic Rating
When you're comparing waterproof clothes look for the hydrostatic rating:
- This gives you an idea of how long clothes will stay waterproof for in the wet.
- It's shown in millimetres (mm of rain it can handle in a day before water gets through).
- The higher the hydrostatic rating the more waterproof the clothing will be:
- 2,000mm hydrostatic rated clothing protects you from rain/dry snow for about 2 hours.
- 5,000mm hydrostatic rated clothing protects you in light showers but not heavier rain.
- 10,000mm hydrostatic rated clothing protects you from slightly heavier rain.
- 15,000mm hydrostatic rated clothing protects you from heavy rain and wet snow.
- 20,000mm+ hydrostatic rated clothing (or close to it) keeps you dry all day long.
- Some jackets have a Durable Water Repellent coating so rain drops just roll right off.
When it comes to waterproof clothing, you also need to compare how different fabrics breathe:
- If the fabric is breathable your body moisture can escape so you won't get all sweaty.
- Shown in grams (grams of water vapour that can exit a square-metre of fabric in a day).
- The higher the breathability rating the longer you'll last before getting hot and sweaty:
- 5,000-10,000g breathability rated clothing suits low intensity activities like lift skiing.
- 10,000-15,000g breathability rated clothing suits moderate-high intensity activities.
- 20,000g+ breathability rated clothing is the level needed for extreme adventures.
- Ventilation mesh in jacket underarms or pockets help you prevent overheating as well.
Waterproof & Warm
- Combines your outer and middle layers so is less bulky than a separate insulation layer.
- Is great for snowy conditions and sports like skiing where you need freedom to move.
There are two types of waterproof jackets and rainwear:
Soft shell jackets are:
- Usually wind-proof and water-repellent (but not waterproof as the seams aren't sealed).
- Extremely light to carry with room to move around easily so they're comfortable to wear.
- Breathable and warm so suited to cold weather when there's the chance of a light shower.
Hard shell jackets can be:
- Coated in a Durable Water Repellent coating (DWR) or PU (Polyurethane) which is water-repellent (not waterproof). These jackets lack breathability when there's no membrane.
- Bonded to a breathable membrane that's on the inner side of the jacket's outward-facing nylon which allows body moisture to escape. Some jackets have an extra inner layer to protect the membrane from clogging with sweat and body oil as clogs reduce breathability.
Seams & Zips
Outer layer jackets and pants are more waterproof if they have:
- Zips covered with a fabric flap or there's clear tape on the inside of the zip.
- Sealed seams that stop water seeping in through the stitching holes:
- Fully taped seams means every clothing seam is sealed with clear tape.
- Critically taped seams means only the major seams are tape-sealed.
Hood, Collar & Cuffs
For more protection from the elements look for jackets with:
- Wrist cuffs you can tighten so water and cold can't get in.
- A high collar so your neck is protected from the cold and rain.
- A hood to keep your head warm and dry with:
- Pull toggles on the hood you can tighten so it won't fly off.
- A brim so the peak that juts out keeps the rain off your face.
Types of Pants
Consider which type of pants would be best suited to what you want to wear them for:
- Snow pants - designed to protect you from the snow and wind and keep you warm.
- Zip-off (or convertible) pants - ideal for when you want to convert your pants to shorts.
- Soft shell pants - made from durable, stretchy, water-repellent (not waterproof) material.
If you'll be in colder weather and snow, go for outer layers geared toward lower temperatures.
What clothing do you need to bring to the snow?
Water and windproof and insulated to keep your legs warm and dry on the slopes.
For a more comfortable and enjoyable experience you may want pants with:
- Vents - to increase air flow and keep you dry (most have mesh lining so snow won't get in).
- Adjustable waistbands - for size flexibility throughout the day or season-to-season.
- Built-in gaiters - to stop snow getting in just pull them over the top of your boots.
- Some also have a powder skirt which stops powdery snow flying up under your jacket.
- A hood shields your eyes and face from the elements and keeps your head warm.
An absolute essential so your hands are warm and comfortable and you can use your fingers:
- Water resistant gloves are fine for walks and for experienced skiers and snowboarders.
- Beginners will need fully waterproof gloves because they'll be falling in the snow a lot.
- Snowboarders who regularly adjust their bindings will want good waterproof gloves too.
- A toggle or strap you tighten stops snow getting in, and insulated gloves keep hands warm.
Apres means after in French, so apres boots are for walking around after a day on the slopes:
- The right waterproof and insulated footwear keeps your feet warm, dry and blister-free.
- Apres boots have a temperature rating which tells you how warm the boots will be.
- Apres boots with an insulated insole are warmer than those without, as heat can escape.
- Breathable boots circulate air so foot moisture doesn't cause odours and bacteria.
Staying warm and dry is the aim of the game on and off the slopes, so make sure you:
- Have all the gear you need for a fun snow adventure.
- Keep a change of clothes in the car for the trip home.
Think about what you'll be doing when you're wearing your rainwear or waterproof gear. Just walking around or being more active? This will help you work out what kind of fit you'll need. For example:
- If you'll be wearing the jacket with two layers underneath (thermals and an insulation layer) you'll need enough room for them so the jacket's not too tight.
- If you're going cycling or hiking you'll want a fitted jacket so rain and cold air can't get in.
- If you're skiing, snowboarding, cycling or climbing and getting a jacket with hood, make sure you can fit your helmet under the hood.
You may also have a preference for how fitted you like your clothes to be:
- Slim - A snug fit that's close to your body so your clothes aren't bulky.
- Standard - A traditional fit with enough space for wearing under layers.
- Baggy - Plenty of room to move so you can pull of tricks on the slopes.
When it comes to apres boots:
- The better the foot support the more comfortable the boot.
- Boots with insoles and laces give you more support and a better fit than pull on boots.
Try on and compare a few different options at your nearest Anaconda store, and practice doing the movements you'll be doing when you're wearing the gear to make sure it fits you properly, doesn't ride up anywhere and feels comfortable.
When you're weighing up which waterproof gear to buy, think about quality versus cost:
- Soft shell jackets are cheaper than hard shell jackets because they're only water resistant not waterproof.
- Hard shell jackets that only have a Durable Water Repellent or Polyurethane coating lack breathability which is why they're cheaper than breathable membrane jackets.
- A good quality jacket that's a middle and outer layer in one and will last you years.
- Keeping the kids warm and dry will keep them happier in the snow for longer.
When it comes to how much you should spend on your gear:
- Cheaper gear tends to be less waterproof, so you get what you pay for.
- If you just want a waterproof jacket to throw on when you're exploring the town, or you don't travel outdoors as often, you can get something a little cheaper.
- If you'll be exploring outdoors a lot, especially in winter or the snow, invest in high-quality outdoor wear that will last you for years to come.
What outdoor clothing stores stock outdoor clothing options?
How to care for waterproof clothing?
At Anaconda, you can get outdoor gear at great prices:
Jackets & Pants
- Women's and men's jackets from $50-$350
- Kids' jackets from $27-$130
- Women's and men's pants from $40-$175
- Kids' pants from $27-$110
Gloves & Boots
- Women's and men's gloves from $15-$85
- Kids' gloves from $10-$45
- Women's and men's apres boots from $40-$150
- Kids' apres boots for $29-55
When you go to the Clothing section on the Anaconda website, you can choose men's, women's or kids' outdoor clothing or snow clothing, then you'll see tick box filters down the left hand side of the page. Using these filters makes working out which gear to buy easier and faster because you can choose to filter what you see by:
- Water Proof - so you know what's water resistant and water proof.
- Wind Proof - so all the gear you're looking at is wind proof.
- Breathable - so you can see all the gear that's breathable.
- Price so you only see gear that's within your budget.
- Deal - so you only see all gear that's on sale.
- Size - so you can see gear that's in your size.
- Colour - so you only see gear in colours you like.
- Brand - so you can find specific brands like The North Face.
How to care for waterproof clothing?
Caring for your clothes in the right way ensures they'll stay waterproof for years to come:
- Always check the label and follow the washing instructions so you know if/how you should wash, dry and iron that specific piece of clothing.
- With some clothing, you can restore the waterproofing with a spray-on treatment.