Peter Dumigan, MD of the Hultafors Group UK, explores the features you should be looking for if you require garments that keep you comfortable on cold and wet workdays.
It’s said that rain can have a negative impact on your health and wellbeing and, if you haven’t got particularly effective rainwear, your mid-and base-layer clothes could get damp and uncomfortable which will affect your body’s own in-built climate control system.
Rain can be a pain
Apart from wet clothes getting heavy, it’s also possible that you could get a rash from simple irritation through friction and then, moving around becomes much more tiring. Your body can also lose heat – probably faster than you can generate it to dry your clothes out. That’s fine if you’ve been drenched by a sun shower when it’s warm, but if it’s cooler or even cold on-site, your body temperature is going to drop. Not only can stewing in your wet clothes chafe and irritate your skin, if you’re wearing damp or wet clothes for too long, bacteria and fungus from the air can multiply and then run rampant on your skin, causing rashes and irritation. Having the ability to stay dry and comfortable on-site is all about choosing the right type of rainwear for the job. Your choice depends on a variety of factors – from the type of rainfall to how intensely you’re working and how many hours you spend outside.
It also depends on whether or not the clothing you wear can to combine to create its own climate control system for your comfort and wellbeing. For high intensity work, make sure your base-layer clothes are made of breathable fibres and fabrics that keep you dry and ventilated by wicking moisture away from your body. For optimum comfort and performance, you’ll then need a mid-layer fleece or gilet made from knitted or quilted materials to provide comfortable insulation by creating a pocket of air around your body. Then top it off with a third and final outer layer jacket to protect you from the elements like rain, hail, snow, wind, or cold. What’s most important is that layering your working clothes properly will ensure that your energy and performance levels are as weatherproofed as you are.
The difference between ‘waterproof’ and ‘water-repellent’
When it comes to ‘water protected’ workwear it’s important to know what’s behind each of the terms. They are different. A waterproof garment, like our GORE-TEX jackets, offers the most effective protection in rainy weather. This kind of waterproof fabric consists of an outer layer called ‘the face fabric’, usually made of polyester with a laminated membrane or a coating that prevents water penetration. It’s achieved by sealing the internal fabrics completely from external conditions. All seams and cut lines are taped or sealed to stop the water coming through the stitched areas of the fabric.
Water-repellent garments only offer basic protection against the effects of water, but at the same time can provide great breathability to ventilate your body when you’re active. Water-repellent protection is achieved by using a hydrophobic fabric, which means that the water is repelled on contact. The fabric is treated with a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish that causes the water to form drops on the surface of the fabric that run off or can be brushed off easily. For longer exposure or, if you need 100% protection on-site in the rain, our GORE-TEX jackets are extremely durable with a membrane that has over 1.4 billion pores per square cm. They’re waterproof to keep you dry, windproof to keep you warm, and breathable to keep you comfortable.
For quick and reliable protection when its raining or if your work is less active, choose our PU garments which, along with our other rainwear clothing, have EN 343 certification for Protection against Foul Weather. This accreditation validates the garment’s performance in the rain through independent testing. Also, don’t forget about ventilation. Your clothes’ breathability is as crucial for your comfort as the outer-layer protection against water, especially when you’re working really hard. So, make a habit of checking the breathability features of the garments you buy in future. Breathability comes in two forms: a) the breathability of the fabric itself, such as our 37.5 sports fabric, or b) built-in ventilation functionality, such as zippers or meshed fabric areas at the sides and back of the garments.
To browse the Snickers weatherproof range of professional workwear click here