Despite it’s cinematic qualities and romantic depictions, deep down we can all agree on one simple fact—rain sucks. No matter how good your umbrella, when gale force winds descend and the torrential downpour commences, none of us our safe. That’s why everyone needs a great raincoat. While some climates are more forgiving than others, eventually even the most arid landscape experience some precipitation which is precisely why a great rain jacket is a closet essential. Unfortunately, figuring out exactly what to buy is tough. Not only is there a huge variety of styles, but the technology alone can be overwhelming. Thankfully, we have quite literally got you covered. From breaking down exactly what defines a “waterproof” jacket to the best rain jackets to buy right now, Grailed is the go-to source for some of the best rainwear out there.

What is waterproofing?

In regards to clothing, the terms “water resistant,” “water repellent” and “waterproof” do not have strict definitions. In general, they refer to a garments ability to actively stop water from penetrating its shell, from least to most effective, respectively. That said, there are no hard and fast rules about the specific hydrostatic head (or HH)—the measurement for water resistance—for any of the aforementioned labels.

In general, a water-resistant jacket will boast a HH of approximately 1500 whereas a true waterproof jacket will range somewhere closer to 20,000. In order to reach those higher numbers, special coatings, treatments, design techniques and membranes are added to fabrics ranging from taped seams to Gore-Tex. Although the actual HH is often not advertised, usually it’s stated on the liner of care label, so with some careful inspection you can know exactly the level of protection you’re signing up for.

All illustrations courtesy of Anya Sapozhnikov.

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