A waterproof jacket is your biggest barrier against wet weather, something that the travellers are too familiar with. Whether you’re looking for a backpacking trip or trekking adventure, keeping things dry and clean is always a priority, after all, you don’t want to be sick. And letting your camera get wet? Not a chance!

As a traveller, you are going to need protection from rain more often than not. So when you take the plunge and decide to buy a rain jacket, you are confronted with an important question: which one do you choose among a wide range of options in the market?

Choosing a rain jacket might make you curl your toes when you’ve been offered so many choices in-store and online. But the process of picking the right fit for your traveller self can be made easy by knowing what you need and through research done well and Decathlon makes it easy for you! 

Decathlon is the one-stop destination for all your quality sports and travel goods. It provides people across the world by developing innovative and affordably priced gear and equipment products. We’ve narrowed down all the things you must consider when planning to buy a rain jacket. Here’s our expert guide to buying one that works great for you. Check it out!

Choosing The Best Rain Jacket For Travellers

There are several common styles of waterproof jacket for you to consider. Understanding some key terms and the basics of rainwear technology will help you navigate to the jacket that keeps you dry and the one that fits your budget. Always set a budget before you make a purchase!

Types Of Weather Protection

Depending on the level of protection ou need, you can choose between different levels of waterproofing and weather protection. Here are a few types that set the grounds for buying rain jackets for men and women.

Waterproof Vs. Water-Resistant

The difference between water-resistant and waterproof arises from the fabric. Water-resistant material is so tightly woven that water struggles to get through. However, a water-resistant jacket can only stand up to so much rain. Water-resistant jackets are great for a light shower, humid climates and are often windbreakers. Water resistant walking shoes are also something a traveller must consider.

A waterproof material, on the other hand, provides a complete water barrier. In this sense a plastic bag is waterproof. Think rain jacket or emergency poncho! If you simply need to keep the rain out while sitting or standing around, this gear does just fine and costs very little money. If you do any exertion, though, your rain slicker will be slick inside, too. And it won’t take much wind to make a poncho largely ineffective.

Windproof Vs. Wind Resistant

Waterproof jackets are also windproof. This makes sense when you consider that a barrier designed to block rain would also block the wind that’s pushing the rain. You will also find jackets with windproof technology, typically some type of laminate, that are only considered water-resistant.

This waterproof jacket has been eco-designed for occasional wet weather hikes, in the forest or on the coast. It can be stored cleverly in its kangaroo pocket. Several colours are available. While the technology in the fabric is the biggest factor in the cost of rainwear, construction details also play a role. Jackets with a robust feature set will reflect that in their price. Weight is also affected, so you might see a jacket with a top-tier fabric but few extra features, especially pockets, if the ultralight design is the goal. And that’s when important questions must be asked.

Is a hiking raincoat different from a normal raincoat?
Yes, a hiking raincoat has additional features such as breathability and flexibility. This is a key feature to consider, as when on a hike, constant movement with a rain jacket can make the hiker feel uneasy due to the heat generated within the jacket. The presence of vents helps with increasing breathability to provide comfort to the hiker.

How long should a rain jacket last?
Getting the most stretch out of your rain jacket is the wisest thing to do, for your budget and the environment. Imagine for yourself, do you want to be spending your hard-earned money every year or a poor quality jacket or a decent amount that’ll last you many many adventures. 10-20 years is a good period for a rain jacket to last without any significant tears or holes. 

Nature is at its best during the monsoons- lush green lands, thick dense forests, waterfalls and streams galore. All of these are best enjoyed in a Decathlon raincoat, rain pants and rain jackets.

Does washing a rain jacket ruin it?

If not washed properly, the jacket will reek. Also, the use of ordinary detergents can damage the composition of its textile fibres and strip it off of its durable water repellent (DWR) coating. Care tags give specific instructions on how to wash, dry, iron, and bleach your garments. Follow the instructions carefully, otherwise, you will risk ruining your precious waterproof jacket.

Materials Used For Rain Jacket

When a jacket’s outer fabric is “water repellent,” precipitation beads up and rolls off. Note that this isn’t the same as a fabric being “water-resistant,” which is an overall assessment of its ability to prevent water penetration.

Decathlon pays attention to its technology through components, advancement and continuous tests.

  • Components: The fabric resistance is measured with a water pressure expressed in mm of water column ( tests based on the ISO 811 norm). The higher the pressure, the more the fabric is considered waterproof. A component with a 2,000mm waterproofness will resist the pressure of 2000mm of water (the equivalent of a two-hour rainfall).‍
  • Water Repellent Capacity: The water-repellent capacity of a fabric is its capacity to let the water slip on its surface without absorbing it. The water-repellency capacity is procured by a treatment on the outside of the fabric. This treatment needs to be renewed during the clothing’s lifetime (we suggest every 3 washes). All Quechua raincoats benefit from a water-repellent treatment.
  • Shower Test: All Decathlon jackets are validated in a shower test under a certain amount of litres per m2 per hour during a few hours (according to specificities). This test recreates a more or less important storm in the mountains.

How to take care of your rain jacket? 

On a rainy day, we quickly grab a raincoat and use it. Later we put it back in the closet until the next season. To make it waterproof and yet lightweight, raincoats are made up of leather, PVC, or a rubber coating. It requires maintenance and care to make it last longer and water resistant until its usage. Learn how to take care of your rain jacket.

Firstly, we need to understand which material the raincoat is made of. Usually, they are multilayered clothing which protects you as well as keeps you warm, it lets the precipitation out. They are usually coated with DWR (Durable Water Repellent), as it has to be a waterproof jacket and water-resistant. Here are the tips to save rainwear:

  1. Read the label: Go through the manufacturer's label to follow the instructions regarding the water temperature, how to get washes, and things to avoid. The label is usually found on the left side of the coat. 
  2. Preparing for cleaning: Ensure the pockets are empty, and keep the zippers closed before you set it to wash in the washing machine. Do not wash it with any bright-coloured clothes to prevent colour staining.
  3. Picking the right cleanser: Laundry detergents are not meant for raincoats. The detergents might ruin the raincoat material. Use a cleanser specifically meant to clean raincoats, which helps to maintain the coat for a longer period.
  4. Washing instruction: While washing your raincoat, maintain the water temperature accordingly that is given in the instruction. It does not require heavy cleaning, a single wash should be sufficient to revitalize the coat.
  5. Drying the coat: Drying instructions are as well provided on the label. Air drying is a great option, but do not overheat, as it may damage the material. 
  6. Avoid ironing and bleaching: Never use bleach, fabric softeners, or laundry detergents over a raincoat. Also, avoid ironing and dry cleaning.
  7. Storing: Hang the raincoat while it is not in use. Do not fold it, it might lead to crease formation.   

How to choose a mountain hiking jacket? 

For mountain trekking, hiking jackets are mandatory and work as layered clothing to protect the hiker from wind, rain, cold, and snow. Not just the weather, but also protects against stones, bushes, insects, etc. With the variety of options available in the market, it is tough to choose the right one. Here are the factors that let you choose a mountain hiking jacket. 

  1. Weather: It is the first and foremost important criterion before choosing the jacket. Weather plays a vital role in deciding on a hiking jacket. Considering the environmental conditions, if it is rainy, you must wear a waterproof jacket. If it is winter weather, go for a down jacket. Check the temperature of the location, as this will give an idea about layering. Besides definite weather conditions, there might be varying temperatures, in that case, you need to get a flexible jacket with a removable outer shell. Jackets are the top essentials for trekking, ensure you are investing in the right one.
  2. Correct Fit: Every brand comes with different sizes of jackets. While choosing the trekking jacket, never go for a tight fit, there should be space for you to move, and the skin must breathe under this layering of clothes. With perfect size and fit, it gives you comfort and protection. Ideally, a jacket must weigh 400 grams.
  3. Material: There are several choices in choosing the material of a trekking jacket. The minimum requirement of a trekking jacket is that it must be waterproof, breathability, sturdy, and tear-proof. Choose hard shell jackets that come with 2- 3 layers, one of those prominent materials is the GORE-TEX Pro fabric. This material minimizes sweat and is specially designed for adventurous activities. Apart from this, the soft shell jackets are a great choice, they are made up of fleece which makes it comfortable and keeps warm.
  4. Waterproof rating: The resistance of a jacket depends upon the waterproof rating, the higher the rating, the longer the jacket remains waterproof. Jackets with a rating of 1500 mm-2000 mm are suitable for all seasons. It sustains heavy rain, making it ideal for hikers and walkers. A jacket rating of 5000 mm-10,000 mm is mostly suitable for a serious trek with bad weather conditions. A jacket rating of 20,000mm is ideal for extremely heavy rains yet breathable with multi-layer jackets.
  5. Zippers: Zippers are not to be neglected because they are life saviours during the trek. Ensure that the jackets have enough zip to contain mobile phones, torches, maps, etc., making it easier to have them handy.


Poncho and rain jacket - What’s the difference? 

The best way to differentiate between a poncho and a rain jacket depends on your choice of activity and weather conditions. A poncho or a rain jacket will help you stay dry during wet weather. Here is the difference between a poncho and a rain jacket for understanding their usage: 

Poncho Rain Jacket
A single layer of fabric Rain jackets are multi-layered
A great option for a short holiday A great choice for trekking and longer journey
Suitable only for sudden rain showers Suitable for heavy rains
No zippers to contain necessary things Contains a zipper to hold necessary things
Extremely lightweight and compact Rain jackets are lightweight, yet designed with additional features to improve comfort

The type of rain gear depends upon the trip and the means of traveling. For activities like hiking, fishing, and a bicycle ride, Poncho would be a great choice. If the travel is about exploring the city, or layer up for protection from the cold, a rain jacket would be perfect. While you have plenty of place for storage, ensure to carry both and choose the right choice of rain gear based on the requirement. 

Most Breathable Rain Jackets With Its Benefits

Breathability in waterproof/breathable rainwear is the game-changer. No one wants to play outside in a wearable sauna. The key to avoiding that fate is “moisture vapour transfer,” which, scientific purists will tell you, is what we’re talking about when we say “breathability.

Transferring sweat vapour through a shell happens in part because the warm, moist air inside is attracted to colder, relatively drier air outside. The efficiency of the vapour transfer process helps determine how dry or clammy you feel, and improving that efficiency has been the focus of outdoor brands for decades. The key component of your rainwear fabric is a coating or membrane that does the technological trick of blocking rain while also allowing sweat vapour to escape. Because it’s relatively delicate, a membrane will be bonded to a protective fabric to create a laminate.

Ventilation is the key deciding factor whether it’s a lightweight waterproof jacket for travelling or rain jackets for bikers. Ventilation zips under the arms or on the chest to facilitate sweat evacuation.

The following notes must be kept in mind:

  • Component: Capacity of the product to release the vapour created by the body. In addition to the breathability of the fabrics used, Quechua is developing technical solutions (zippers, aerations, mesh, etc) that improve the overall ventilation of all the jackets. These ventilation systems allow for temperature regulation inside the jackets and to facilitate the evacuation of sweat formed by the body during physical efforts.
  • Fabric: To know if a fabric is breathable, we measure its RET evaporation resistance (test based on the ISO 11092 norm). The lower the resistance, the more the fabric allows the vapour generated by the body inactivity to be released, thus making it more breathable.

RET < 9 = Extremely Breathable Fabric

9 < RET < 12 = Very Breathable Fabric

12 < RET < 20 = Breathable Fabric

RET > 20 = Less Breathable Fabric

SH100 X-WARM Waterproof Jacket for women who love travelling and is comfortable down to -10°C. Ideal for hikes in the snow: high coverage lined hood, warm pockets and wide padded flap behind the zip for an extra 3°C. With an adjustable hood rip-tab sleeve adjustment & jacket tightening system with toggle, this jacket is cut in 100% recycled fleece lining.

Men's Waterproof Sailing Race 100 Jacket is designed to protect you from spray and moderate rain for training and inshore racing. This anorak is just what you need for training or racing. Its lightweight and shortcut will make it easier to manoeuvre on board! Moulded to be breathable (RET < 12), the fabric specially coated to reduce the cooling effect of the wind.

Best Packable And Lightweight Rain Jackets For Travellers

Many Decathlon jackets are guaranteed 100% waterproof but come with a variety of options in terms of hoods, materials, pockets and stuff-sacks.

Lightweight jackets which are easy to store in their shells are great for bikers, hikers and anyone whose life is all about those small adventures. Rain ponchos made from a watertight material that are designed to keep the body dry from the rain and can be folded and stored in bags while taking minimal space.

This Men's 3-in-1 Waterproof Travel Trekking Jacket is a warm, waterproof, durable and multi-pocket 3-in-1 jacket to travel the world with peace of mind. This jacket adapts easily to different climates and in temperatures down to -10°C, thanks to the removable and compressible padded jacket that you will soon forget about during your adventures!

Get a rain jacket that works for you from Decathlon today! 

Checkout our range of Rain Jackets
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