I know I’ve thrown a lot at you so far, in terms of rainwear and what to look for when you’re purchasing a rain jacket. The truth is, though, that serious outdoorsmen will meticulously scan any potential purchase to make sure it’s perfect for their needs, especially something that keeps you dry in a downpour. Today we’ll continue by taking a look at a few of the extra bells and whistles one might find in a jacket, so you can see what they do and if they’re right for you.
Consider whether you really want that jacket with a trim athletic cut. Sure, they may look good, but if you buy one that’s too fitting, it will restrict your movement a bit and could make layering difficult.
Jackets that feature articulated sleeves or gusseted underarms will allow your sleeves to bend naturally without causing the cuffs to ride up your forearm. They also serve to keep your torso covered when you raise your arms.
This is a factor that many overlook. Some jacket fabrics actually create a swishing sound when you move, like the windbreaker clothes popular in the ‘90s. Nylon and polyester can be a little noisy, with the former being louder. Birdwatchers and photographers may want to stick with the quieter materials.
Features such as armpit vents and wrist adjustments that can be tightened or loosened to control air flow are handy for air circulation.
Many jackets feature soft material at the top of the front zipper channel so your skin touches fabric, not a zipper, when it’s fully zipped.
On some jacket models, the front zippers will sometimes have a draft flap, which stops wind from creeping through the teeth of the zipper, which can be a nice bonus.
On most jackets, the pockets are positioned to keep out of the way of backpack straps and hipbelts. More casual, urban models may include music pockets for an iPhone or MP3 player.
Often, you’ll see drawcords in a jacket's hem. These allow you to tighten the jacket’s fit to keep wind from sneaking in.
Seam tape serves to seal the tiny puncture holes created by sewing needles when the rain jackets are made. Most, if not all, quality garments offer seam taping, but if you notice “critical” taping on the label, it means that there are only seams in areas where there is more exposure to rain, to keep the cost low.
The features listed above are just a few of what you may find on a potential purchase. As you can tell, not all of them are necessary for everyone, but they do each bring a bonus to the table. Hopefully this series has helped you pick the best rain jacket for your outdoor needs during the rainy season.