Garments made from technical fabrics are designed to provide protection and warmth in a range of environments. They work to keep you dry from the inside out, increasing your personal comfort and enjoyment in the outdoors.
Waterproof/ breathable fabrics are designed to keep water out while allowing moisture from sweat to escape, leaving you dry and warm. How well these fabrics works varies in both the passage of water vapour and the durability of the waterproofing process.
Waterproof/breathable fabrics are only as good as their weakest point: the seams. When fabrics are sewn, the needles create multiple holes which can allow water entry. Seam sealing tapes up these holes. It is applied to the garment at the time of production and varies vastly in quality.
Zips are usually not even considered until they fail. However, the zips on waterproof/breathable outerwear vary greatly in both quality and their ability to perform consistently without hiccups. Look for functional zipper assemblies which can be easily operated with gloved hands.
Hoods and wrist closures
A well-structured hood can be a fortress in foul weather. Look for generously-sized hoods so they can be worn over layers, ideally with wire used in the peak brim to shed heavy rain.
Wrist closures affect how the jacket sits whilst on the move. Look for closures which can be cinched to create a secure seal around the wrist, keeping warmth in and water out.
Fleece comes in many guises, weights and finishes. High-quality fleece garments will not pill after extended use and multiple wash cycles, nor will they get stiff or loose fibres like our furry friends! Some fleece is woven so that it slows or blocks wind extending its use so it can be used as an outer garment or a layering piece.