Waterproof or Water Repellent?
Waterproof clothing is designed to prevent water from entering the fabric even when exposed to heavy rainfall or submersion in water for extended periods of time. Typically, waterproof fabrics are made with specialized coatings, laminates, or membranes that are impermeable to water.
Waterproof Materials are:
- Gore-Tex: a popular waterproof and breathable fabric that uses a membrane to repel water and allow moisture to escape.
- PVC: a heavy-duty plastic material that is often used for rainwear and outdoor gear.
- Polyurethane (PU) coating: a common waterproofing treatment for fabrics that creates a barrier to water.
- Nylon taffeta: a lightweight and durable fabric that is often used for rain jackets and windbreakers.
Water-repellent clothing, on the other hand, is designed to resist water penetration to a certain degree. Water-repellent fabrics are often treated with a durable water-repellent (DWR) coating that causes water to bead up and roll off the surface of the fabric. While water-repellent clothing can resist light rain and moisture, it is not completely waterproof and may eventually become saturated if exposed to prolonged or heavy rain.
Water-Repellent Materials are:
- Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating: a treatment applied to fabrics that causes water to bead up and roll off the surface of the fabric.
- Wax coating: a traditional method of waterproofing fabrics by applying wax to the surface.
- Silicone coating: a water-resistant coating that is often used on camping and outdoor gear.
In summary, waterproof clothing offers complete protection against water penetration, while water-repellent clothing offers some protection against water but is not completely waterproof.