breathable fabric

The essential feature for hiking cloth

Know about Waterproof breathable fabric

More and more people engage in and enjoy outdoor activities, such as fishing hiking, or climbing. Protection from the elements while you act is essential. Since both the environmental conditions and the moisture vapour generated by activities are beyond the control of the wearer, it’s important to provide people with reliable and functionally performing apparel ready to meet the challenges from various weather.

waterproof fabric for skier
waterproof fabric with durable water repellent treatment

What is waterproof breathable fabric?

Waterproofness is defined as the ability of a fabric to prevent penetration through its construction by water. A fabric labelled waterproof must provide sustained water protection in very wet conditions and is usually a tightly woven material which has been either coated or laminated with a “coating/membrane” to prevent water droplets from penetrating the fabric and thereby wetting out the wearer.

Breathability (moisture vapor permeability = MVP), is important for comfort and is defined as the amount of moisture generated by the body that may move through said fabric to help keep the wearer dry and comfortable.

A key ingredient for waterproof breathable fabrics is DWR which is a durable water repellent that allows water droplets to be repelled.

The level of waterproof breathable fabric.

On a scale, the lower the WP Rating has less protection directly from the water. Example a 10,000mm WP garment will have better capability in protecting the wearer then 5,000mm WP garment.

Appropriate activities
Waterproof Rating (mm H2O)
What it can withstand
Rating (g/m2/per day)


Waterproof Rating (mm H2O)0-5,000 mm
What it can withstandMinimum rating for a jacket to be called rainproof, it can withstand drizzle only
Rating (g/m2/per day)Up to 5,000


Waterproof Rating (mm H2O)5,000-10,000 mm
What it can withstandShower with some pressure
Rating (g/m2/per day)5,000-10,000


Waterproof Rating (mm H2O)10,000-20,000 mm
What it can withstandWill withstand most downpours and heavy snow, but will soak through over time if subjected to pressure
Rating (g/m2/per day)10,000-20,000


Waterproof Rating (mm H2O)Over 20,000 mm
What it can withstandIf you’ll stay outside in all conditions carrying a heavy load, you should select this level
Rating (g/m2/per day)Over 20,000

Conversely, a higher breathability rating helps to avoid quick wet-outs on the interior of the garment, caused by the wearers own physical exertion.

As you consider weather protection choices, there are different types of shells which help including hard shell, soft shell, hybrid shell and insulated shell.

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