Waterproof trousers are either a favourite or a nemesis. They can limit your movements if they aren’t fitted well. They will make you resentful of putting them on if they absorb water instead of repelling it. If you have well-made, well-fitted, warm and comfortable shoes, you will reach for them whenever it rains. It can get very wet when you work outdoors in the UK. A pair of waterproof pants can make the difference between a sunny day and a very grim one.
Let’s begin with some jargon.
What is waterproof and breathable?
No matter what you choose or where you are forced to compromise, waterproof and breathable garments must be available. Waterproof and breathable garments are made with small pores to allow water to enter from the outside but large enough to expel sweat vapour.
What is a membrane?
It is a waterproof and breathable layer. Although your garment may be made of one layer, it has two or three layers.
Durable water repellent is a polymer applied to the fabric’s outside to shed water. It is sometimes integrated into the fabric’s weave, while others add it as an invisible layer. It can be damaged by outside factors such as dirt, oil, UV radiation and washing. The fabric can become saturated if the rain soaks in instead of rolling off and beading up. This causes the fabric to become saturated and blocks any water vapour that has evaporated from sweat. You might feel like your garment is no more waterproof.
What is taped seam?
Waterproof tape is often used to seal the seams of garments. This prevents water from getting through tiny needle holes created by sewing.
What are the key features to look for when buying waterproof trousers?
It would be best if you tried many pairs of waterproof trousers before you make a final decision. There will be something that fits your body and is within your budget.
For most occasions, a simple, lightweight pair of jeans will suffice. You can keep the worst weather at bay by wearing soft-shell trousers underneath.
Goretex or Goretex Pro are the best fabrics, but some people prefer Paramo – check out this blog post for the pros and cons.
Long zips are best.
A belt system works better than elastic if you don’t have curves.
Avoid flapping fabric at the ankles, and don’t wear elastic around your bottom. The trousers can bunch up and become stuck on crampons.
Winter climbing: Reinforced areas on the inner side of the lower legs can protect against crampon injury.
Articulated knees provide more comfort and reduce stress on the fabric at your knees, which can be prone to damage.
How to prolong the life of your waterproofs
They will last a lifetime if you know how to maintain your waterproofs properly.
Could you make sure they are dry and clean?
They should be dried thoroughly after they get wet. Mould can cause problems for waterproofs. You can wash them with special products such as Nikwax Techwash if they get dirty. After washing, refresh the DWR and use Nikwax Texas to dry. To bake the DWR onto fabric, place them in the dryer or iron afterwards.