You need to know that there are different levels of waterproofing, and different tests to measure them. On the one hand, the waterproofing of a fabric is given, and on the other, the waterproofing of an entire product is proven.

Check that in addition to using a waterproof material, your jacket has waterproof zips.


The Water Column Test

This test measures the resistance of a fabric to water pressure.

The results of the test are expressed in mm of a water column or mm Schmerber (the name of the textile manufacturer Charles Edouard Schmerber who created this measuring tool).

1 Schmerber = 1 mm water column = 0.1 mbar .

Average rain pressure is in the range of 1000 to 2000 Schmerber. It is therefore considered that a garment which resists the pressure of a 1.3-metre water column (i.e. 1300 mm) is waterproof (according to the standard ISO 811).

But beware, a jacket designed with a waterproof fabric to the level of 2000mm Schmerber will protect you from the rain, but maybe not a downpour or a long storm. Indeed, the higher the Schmerber rating, the more waterproof the material.

Please note
: the quality of the fabric used is very important, as the waterproofing of a new jacket designed using poor-quality material may change after washing. Quechua guarantees that our products provide the same level of waterproofing before and after washing.

The Water Column Test

The Shower Test

This test is, in our view, the most representative, as a product designed with a very waterproof fabric will be able to take on water via its seams, flaps and zips, etc. In this test, the products are placed under a shower in order to test their overall waterproofing.

The Shower Test

What level of Waterproofing for what use?

After the test, the following classifications can be defined: - a product rated 2 protects the user from a small shower (6cm of rainfall in 1 hour which corresponds to the average lowland rainfall for a month in France)

  • a product rated 3 protects the user from showers (12cm of rainfall in 2 hours)
  • a product rated 4 protects the user from rainstorms (30cm of rainfall in 3 hours)
  • a product rated 5 protects the user from a thunderstorm (1.8 metres of water in 4 hours) You will find these ratings in the technical profiles indicated on the sheets of our Waterproof Jackets on our website


Be careful not to confuse Waterproofing and Water-Repellency

We have seen that waterproofing represents the product's ability to resist the penetration of rain. On the contrary, water-repellency is a fabric's ability to let water slide over its surface without seeping in.

The water-repellent treatment is a treatment via coating which can be added to certain products: it can either be added to a jacket with a waterproof layer to improve it, or it can be added to a product which is not essentially waterproof.

In the second case, it guarantees a temporary solution if you are caught out in the rain. These products, such as the X-light padded jacket, are generally designed for a different function such as heat provision, and their water-repellency is just a "bonus", as they are not designed to protect you from the rain while hiking. A jacket which is only water repellent (and not waterproof) is only designed to ensure minimal protection, and it will be suitable for a "makeshift" use.

In the event of rain, consider putting on a 3rd waterproof layer. Owing to wear and tear, your jacket may lose its water-repellent property, so check out our recommendations on restoring it.


To stay dry, you must also wear breathable clothing so you do not end up wet due to perspiration when exerting yourself. You'll find these scores in the technical profiles indicated on the sheets on our Waterproof Jackets on our website

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