Waterproof Ratings and Breathability
You - and your kids - want to play outdoors. But nothing cuts play short, especially for kids, like soggy pants and a chill. That's why we are so passionate about great all-weather gear - we know this is what we need to get out and stay out at play. It's what makes Forest Schools and outdoor programs (and unstructured play) work.
Waterproof breathable fabric is the key to being comfortable - so you can focus on play (and learning an awful lot too). You need these qualities for jackets and pants if you want to stay at play outdoors.
WHAT DOES WATERPROOF (5000MM) MEAN?
This number is the measurement or rating that is used to judge the level of waterproofness of a fabric. The test involves placing a long column on top of a sample of the garment's material, then filling it with water. The water level is increased until the fabric starts to leak. We also seek to balance feel and weight of outwear, cost, and chemical application (even yuck free waterproofing uses chemicals - just the most skin and earth friendly options!). Here's a chart with more info:
|Waterproof Rating (mm)
|What it can withstand
|Light to moderate resistance to moisture
|Light rain, dry snow, no pressure
|Packaway Jackets, Basic Rain Suits
|Rainproof and waterproof under light pressure
|Light rain, average snow, light pressure
|Softshell suits, Ducksday Suits
WHY WOULD I WANT SOMETHING WITH LESS WATERPROOF RATING? IS THIS ENOUGH?
The truth is that even lower rated waterproof gear is pretty darn tough. Eventually, gear will allow water through. Ask questions like: will we be moving or sitting in wet conditions? Will we have cover in an intense downpour? Do we prefer lightweight fabrics and low cost or a certain level of waterproofness?
If you're looking to stay dry while you play outdoors, in any weather, our gear can handle that - and it does. We put it to the test year round here in wild New Jersey, and you'll see our pictures throughout this site.
Extended time sitting in puddles (or the stream) will mean someone is likely getting wet. This does not mean your gear is failed or failing. You can check by spraying water at your gear or holding a section of the fabric in the sink under the running faucet. The water should easily repel. If not, your gear may be due for a tuneup. Spray on waterproofing is an option - look for one that is free of as much yuck as possible! We do not carry any spray on applications due to shipping restrictions.
Sometimes, it's worth a lower waterproof rating for a bit more portability, packability, decrease in weight, or breathability. And it's very important to us to choose raingear that is healthy for our kids and ourselves as well as our planet - so everything we carry is free from harmful substances such as PVC, fluorine substances, nickel, AZO dyes, and flame retardants.