How to buy the right rain gear

How to buy the right rain gear

Author: Canadian Living


How to buy the right rain gear

''Just because it's raining doesn't mean that you can't be fashionable and fabulous,'' says Natalie Jurcic, co-owner of Raindrops, a rainwear and rain gear shop based in Toronto. ''There are so many different options out there to suit your style and lifestyle.''

Here are some tips to help you achieve a chic rainy day look.

The trench connection

When it comes to picking out your perfect rain-ready jacket, it's important to consider the differences between water-resistant, water-repellant and waterproof materials. While your first inclination may be to opt for a jacket that is completely waterproof, that's not absolutely necessary unless you're going to be exposed to hours of precipitation.

''Water-resistant means a fabric with a tight weave or some type of coating on it that will temporarily resist water soaking through,'' says Jurcic. ''Water-repellant would be one step up -- typically a coating or fabric having a natural repellency to water, like nylon. Waterproof is the top [level] and the difference is that the seams [of waterproof garments] have been sealed.''

Your activity level -- whether you'll be sporting your jacket on a brisk walk to work or a day spent hiking and biking -- will steer you in the right direction.

Don't sweat it
Fabric breathability is another important factor for keeping your cool in wet weather. Rubbery textiles, like polyvinyl chloride (PVC), are a great guard against the elements, but they might not be as comfy against your skin.

When it comes to sporting a classic rain slicker, layering a breathable material underneath is best -- or look for one lined with cotton for added comfort, says Jurcic. Ultra-lightweight jackets are a versatile choice: cool enough for summer showers, while offering the option to wear additional outerwear layers underneath, as needed, without overheating.
Puddle jumpers
Fashionable rain boots have made a major splash and are available in a range of cute colours, eye-popping prints and stylish silhouettes. The latest designs are also extremely lightweight compared to their traditional clunky predecessors. There are even foldable options, like Packables by Baffin, which are ideal for travelling, says Jurcic.

To get the most bang for your buck, don't get too distracted by design. Comfort should always be the deciding factor when it comes to rain boots. To give your favourite rain boots multi-season mileage, Jurcic suggests picking up a pair of fleecy boot liners to keep your tootsies toasty when the temperatures dip.

Under your umbrella
With so many styles of umbrellas to choose from, how does one know where to begin?

''It's generally a choice of preference and convenience, but typically, over the long term, an automatic feature is one more thing that can go wrong,'' says Jurcic. ''And when you go to a compact umbrella you need to know that you're sacrificing a little bit of strength for the convenience of being able to put it in your bag.''

Most umbrellas are made of the same or similar fabric, but holding an open umbrella up to the light is one handy shopping trick that can lead you to finding a longer lasting product.

''If it looks really sheer, it's probably a cheaper material that's more likely to rip easily. The more opaque it is, the denser and a little stronger it will be,'' says Jurcic.

Finally, how you care for an umbrella will also affect its lifespan. For instance, it's important to give the water a chance to evaporate before you pack it up.

''Leaving an umbrella open to dry will prolong its life, since the frames underneath can get rusted if they're left wet for too long and some fabrics can get mildew,'' explains Jurcic.


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How to buy the right rain gear