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  • Leslie MolinStop buying crappy rain gear: here are three features to look for instead

    man wearing rainwearBeing wet from head to toe is the worst feeling. Having to work while being drenched is even worse. A lot of times workers (or their employers) opt for lesser-quality rainwear in order to save money – it seems like a great deal! That is until they get a huge rip while they’re in the middle of the job, leaving the rain to seep in for the rest of the shift. That’s when most people figure out, crappy or cheap rain gear is NOT a good deal.

    If you want to be sure you’ll actually be protected from the rain, pay particular attention to the following three features.

    Quality Material

    First, it’s important to identify the difference between “water resistant” and “waterproof”. Water-resistant material can handle rain for a brief time, but won’t stand up to a long shift during a downpour. Waterproof, on the other hand, keeps water from getting through the material completely.

    Here are some questions to ask yourself when selecting your fabric:

    • How lightweight is it? The heavier it is, the more challenging it will be to work in for a long period of time.
    • How does it fit? You’ll want your rainwear to fit generously. This way you can layer clothing underneath (depending on the weather).
    • How breathable is it? The more breathable the fabric is, the easier it is to let steam and perspiration out. Working in warm environments while wearing heavy-duty rainwear will get you in a hot situation quickly.
    • Does the fabric have “ripstop” technology? As I mentioned in the introduction, getting a big tear in your rainwear isn’t fun. Look for material that boasts the term “ripstop” to ensure your garment is durable and long-lasting. This material is so tough that hot air balloons are made from it!

    Strong Seams

    When it comes to stitching, it’s important to avoid “overcast” patterns which consist of one continuous thread. If the thread breaks, the whole seam will quickly unravel. Instead, look for rainwear garments that use “hemstitching” where the fabric is folded over the edge and its layers are stitched together. This provides a clean, hemmed edge that stands up to leakage. Extra bonus if your rainwear has “bar-tracking” – the repetitive stitching found at critical tear points including the pockets, cuffs, button holes and other stress areas.

    Types of rainwear stitching

    For zippers, there are two popular options: tooth or coil. Always opt for tooth as it provides the highest level of durability and lasts much longer.

    Types of zippers on rainwear

    Visibility

    I’d be amiss to not mention the safety component of rainwear. When working in areas with low light or poor visibility, it’s important that your rainwear reflects light with high-visibility materials. In order to comply with the CSA Z96-15 standard, the rainwear should meet the following criteria:*

    • A waist-level horizontal stripe/band that goes completely around the garment.
    • Two vertical stripes on the front, passing over the shoulders and down to the waist.
    • A symmetric “X” on the back, extending from the shoulders to the waist.
    • For Class 3 apparel, stripes/bands encircling both arms and both legs are added.

    Recommendations

    Open Road rainwearIf at this point you’re looking at your rainwear thinking, “I’ve got to get something better quality than this,” here are a few of our top-recommended garments:

    Open Road®

    This one is a top seller when it comes to cost-effective, high-visibility rainwear. It features ripstop material that provides resistance against punctures, rips and snags while providing a lightweight feeling for ultimate comfort.

    • Class 2 compliant with CSA Z96
      • Class 3 compliant when you add the matching pants
    • Available in orange or lime green
    • Has double-sewn, taped and heat-sealed seams
    • Is completely water and windproof
    • Provides generous sizing and a mesh lining for added comfort
    • The set’s attached bib pants feature an elasticized waist, hook and loop fly access, elastic suspenders with a quick release buckle and adjustable boot cuffs

    Viking Professional Journeyman rainwearViking® Professional Journeyman

    This garment’s seams are triple stitched, taped and heat sealed, providing ultimate protection from wind and rain. It features ripstop material and superior resistance against abrasions, punctures, rips and snags. The Professional Journeyman is also fully lined for great comfort.

    • Class 2 compliant with CSA Z96
      • Class 3 compliant when you add the matching pants
    • Available in orange or lime green
    • Is completely water and windproof
    • Provides front and back multi-vents to keep you cool while working
    • Comes with dual chest straps for ID Badge/Cell/Radio and a detachable hood
    • The fully-lined, heavy-duty pants come with suspenders that have a quick-release buckle, an elasticized waist with zipper access and a Velcro flap, and an adjustable boot cuff for easy access

    Viking Journeyman PVC rainwearViking® Journeyman PVC

    The Journeyman PVC is the most popular PVC suit. It provides good protection against bad weather and wind, and also works for medium to heavy risk chemical splash protection, acids, animal fats and motor oil. Here are some of its features:

    • Available in yellow or dark green
    • Has welded and stitched seams for durability
    • Contains multiple cooling vents and heavy-duty, chrome-plated brass snaps and a dual-button snap closure system
    • Features a cotton corduroy collar for comfort
    • The pants come with a zippered pocket and pen holder, and can adjust at the waist

    As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into quality rainwear. Whether you work in construction, chemical processing, commercial fishing, trucking, waste management or transit, upgrading on the material, seams and visibility of your rainwear will help keep you much dryer and safer.


    TAGS

    rain coat rain gear rainwear weather working outdoors

    Leslie Molin | Market Segment Manager - Personal Safety