Waterproof Clothing Guide

Waterproof Clothing Guide


Having a good waterproof jacket and trousers/breeches are essential for any equestrian.  Here is our guide to understanding the world of waterproofing to help you pick the right products for you


Waterproof Ratings


How waterproof a jacket is will depend on its waterproof rating.  Waterproof Ratings are determined using a Hydrostatic Head Test and are used to ensure the product meets the British Standard (which must be more than 1,500mm). 


In a Hydrostatic Head test, the fabric is pulled tight under a 1 inch diameter sealed tube of water. This is then observed over 24 hours to see how many millimetres of water the fabric can withstand on top of it before it soaks through. The level at which water starts to come through the fabric is the hydrostatic head, which is measured in mm.The higher a jacket’s waterproof rating, the longer the fabric will remain waterproof for.

PSI (pounds per square inch) is another way of rating waterproofness. To be classed as fully waterproof, the product has to have a minimum of 3 PSI by British Standard


Rating Resistance Weather
0 - 1500 mm Water resistant Very light rain
1500 - 5000 mm Waterproof Light to average rain
5000 mm Very waterproof Moderate to heavy rain
10000 mm Highly waterproof Heavy rain


Products with a rating of 1,500mm to 2,000mm are suitable for everyday use in light rain, whereas a product with a rating of 5000mm to 10,000mm is suitable for just about all weather conditions so is great for tackling the worst of the winter weather around the yard. These higher rated jackets will also be breathable. 



What Makes a Product Waterproof?


There are two variations of ‘waterproof’ - water resistant (or showerproof) where materials can withstand light rain, and fully waterproof.  When looking for a waterproof item, here are a few things to look out for:


Waterproof Coating

The fabric used for water resistant clothing will be treated with a Durable Water Repellency coating (DWR), or a similar water repellent coating. You can tell a product has been treated with a water repellent coating as water will bead on the surface of the fabric and run off.  Water resistant items tend to be more affordable but are usually less durable and may need reproofing more regularly than other waterproof jackets. 


Taped Seams

For an item to be 100% waterproof it will need to have taped seams. Taped seams are heat sealed seams that stop water coming through the stitching. This is essential if you are looking for something to withstand heavier rain



The ability of cothing to allow perspiration to escape is as important as not letting water in, especially if you will be working up a sweat on the yard or riding. If sweat is unable to escape, condensation will gather in the lining of the garment and feel damp. It’s common for people to feel as though their waterproof has ‘leaked’ when in fact it’s perspiration from inside they are feeling. In addition to a breathable membrane, other features such as underarm zips can help with breathability.


It is important to note that no garment is completely waterproof (unless made entirely of rubber!) and can eventually leak given enough water, time and pressure.  Particularly with activewear, the breathable element is essential to allowing sweat to evapourate.  The key is to have an effective outer shell with taped seams, while efficiently allowing perspiration evapourate.