Importance of a good waterproof jacket is realised when you get caught in a downpour on the trail or during other activities. But there are situations where you won’t need a waterproof jacket and even a water-resistant one will do just fine. Water-resistant jackets have other benefits too compared to waterproof jackets. Most people get confused about which type will be appropriate for their trip. So we have compared them in the following sections based on their qualities to make the process of picking easier. But, before we move on to comparing them, let's understand the difference between them.

Difference Waterproof and Water-Resistant Jackets

Whenever the term “water-resistant” is used, it rarely means the same as “waterproof”. Waterproof jackets or pants feature specific waterproofing technology whereas the water-resistant apparels have no such technology. The main difference between a waterproof and a water-resistant jacket lies in their construction. Water-resistant jackets feature a durable water repellent or DWR finish on the exterior. It gives protection from light rain, snow and moisture. If the jacket has a breathable waterproof membrane, laminate or any other such waterproofing technology then it is called a waterproof jacket. Generally, waterproof jackets are partially or fully sealed on the seams to stop water seepage.

Waterproof or Water-Resistant: What to Pick?

Picking a gear depends upon the kind of activity you want to pursue in it. While buying a water-resistant jacket you should keep in mind that it will only give you partial protection from water. Some water-resistant jackets also feature breathable protection from wind. Others are generally warm down jackets or flexible soft shells. So, if your activity won’t require complete protection from water and you want your jacket to be breathable and lightweight, then a water-resistant jacket is ideal for you. Other activities where a water-resistant jacket would be suitable are hikes, climbs, walks, and rides in dry weather condition.

Activities like skiing or snowboarding require extreme weather protection. A waterproof jacket would be the ideal one in this case as it will protect you from snowy winds and moisture. A waterproof jacket is also suitable for trips in wet weather or on a trail where possibility of a sudden downpour is imminent. The bottom line is, you would only require a waterproof jacket when you have to spend considerable time in wet weather or high moisture conditions. Packing a waterproof jacket in your bag is recommended whenever you head out to protect yourself from sudden rains. In other situations, a quality water-resistant jacket will do all the work for you.

So that brings us to the end of this informative piece on waterproof and water-resistant jackets. All the information in the previous sections should be enough for you to decide on what kind of jacket to pick. For additional information on waterproofing abilities of the jackets, you can look at their waterproof ratings. You can look online at how the waterproof ratings vary for different types of apparels. High waterproof rating implies better protection from water. The scale of waterproof rating varies with different type of jackets and so you should pick the one ideally suited for your need. If you want more information on the waterproofing gears and apparel, you can check out our other informative pieces.