With the winter season upon us and the weather getting colder by the day. You may be thinking about buying a new outdoor jacket to stay warm. However, buying a quality outdoor jacket isn’t as open-and-shut of a case as you may think. There’s a lot to consider, a lot to look out for, and a lot of options to choose from. To help you out, we’ve put together a bit of basic information on outdoor jackets. How to pick one, so keep reading to learn everything you need to know!
Why Having an Outdoor Jacket Is Important
Depending on where you live, winter can be anything from slightly chillier weather to outright dangerously low temperatures. If you’re living in the latter, it goes without saying that your standard hoodie or windbreaker just isn’t going to cut it. You’ll need something significantly heavier, warmer, and better-insulated. That’s where outdoor jackets come in. Outdoor jackets are designed to keep you warm in much chillier temperatures. They allow you to enjoy outdoor winter activities warmly and safely.
Features to Look For
Whether you’re shopping for a lightweight rain jacket or a heavy winter coat. It’s important to know what features to look for. In the case of rain jackets, for example, be sure to purchase a jacket with a high hydrostatic head, (expanded on below) to keep yourself dry during heavy rain. For heavier outdoor coats, ensure that your coat of choice is well-insulated so that it can keep you warm even at extremely low temperatures. By confirming these features are present before deciding which jacket you’re going to purchase, you’ll ensure that your jacket does exactly what you need it to.
Understanding Hydrostatic Head
If you’re searching for a waterproof jacket, you’ll notice that each jacket’s waterproofing is marked with an mm rating. Often referred to as its hydrostatic head. While having the rating for reference is all well and good. It’s not much use to you if you don’t know how to interpret it, but fortunately, it’s simple enough to figure out.
The rating determined through a hydrostatic head test, in which a piece of fabric is stretched tightly over a small vessel. The vessel has water pumped through it at a gradually increasing pressure. When the water finally forces its way through the fabric, the pressure recorded. This level of pressure is the hydrostatic head, or the number of millimeters of water a piece of fabric can withstand in 24 hours without leaking. Jackets generally need a hydrostatic head of 5,000 millimeters or greater to be considered waterproof. So be sure to keep an eye out while shopping!
Types of Outdoor Jackets
Within the broader umbrella of outdoor jackets, there are also many subcategories to pay attention to. First of all, there are softshell and hardshell jackets. Neither are intended to protect you from extremely low temperatures. But they designe to be a stylish piece of outerwear that’s great for protecting you from rain, snow, wind, and other weather conditions. If you’re planning on some light hiking. Both are excellent options, but they probably aren’t going to do well as mountaineering jackets by themselves.
If a mountaineering jacket is what you’re after, though, consider a heavier option like a fleece coat or a puffer jacket. Both of these design to keep you as warm as possible in extremely low temperature. Preventing your body heat from escaping to ensure you’re comfortable throughout your hike. If you’re planning on going into an extremely cold area where the temperatures could be a legitimate hazard. Be sure your outdoor jacket is heavy enough for the job. Paired with a waterproof softshell or hardshell as outerwear. You can use your heavy jacket to stay warm, dry, and safe from the start of your climb to the summit.
How Much Should You Spend on an Outdoor Jacket?
As with most outdoor equipment, the ideal price point of an outdoor jacket varies largely on what you need it to do. If you’re just looking for a casual jacket to keep you warm during a chilly day. You won’t have to spend much. If you’re looking for the jacket that’ll get you through your next winter expedition. Though, you should come ready to shell out a fair chunk of change. While some of the price tags on higher-quality outdoor jackets are certain to raise a few eyebrows. You’re ultimately paying for quality, functionality, and most importantly, longevity. So you’ll get plenty of value no matter how much you spend. Ultimately, though, the choice is up to you, so feel free to spend as much or as little as you need for your ideal jacket.
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