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Guide to buying rainwear


Buying rainwear can be difficult. What does PVC and PU rainwear mean? Which hydrostatic head should I choose to stay dry? What does breathable rainwear mean? - These are some of our customers’ most frequently asked questions. Below, you will find a guide, making it easier for you, choosing the right rainwear, according to your specific needs.

Hydrostatic head 2.000 to 5.000
When rainwear is listed with a hydrostatic head between 2.000 and 5.000 mm, it is usually PU rainwear or breathable rainwear. At this level, the rainwear is suitable for everyday use by all family members, but, as our Poratex and Poratex Premium membranes ensure that the water is kept out while the sweat is expelled through the lining, Ocean's breathable rainwear is also suitable for professional use.

Hydrostatic head 5.000 to 20.000
PU rainwear is suitable for the worker or farmer who wants to stay dry all day, while still emphasizing high comfort. Our rainwear with a hydrostatic head of 5,000 to 20,000 mm suits a need to stay dry in the rain over longer time spans, where ability to move effortlessly, is essential too.

Hydrostatic head 20,000 – There is a saying, that rainwear can never be 100% waterproof, but if you choose a set of rainwear with a hydrostatic head over 20,000 mm you can feel assured to stay dry in even the most extreme weather and work situations you can imagine. Ocean's PVC rainwear is suitable for industrial use or for everyday life at sea, where the clothes must be able to withstand the sea and the hard working environment to which fishermen are exposed daily. Our waders also have a hydrostatic head of 20,000, ensuring you to stay dry, even after many hours in the water.

But what is the difference between breathable rainwear and PU and PVC rainwear?

Breathable rainwear is made of polyester and is very breathable, but usually, it does not have a particularly high hydrostatic head. If you are very active, we recommend using breathable rainwear, which allows the body to breathe through the rainwear. Breathable raincoats and trousers can range from being water repellent to waterproof, which is defined by the announced hydrostatic head of the garments.

Breathability is measured in MVP = moisture vapour permeability. MVP indicates how much moisture can be transported out per unit m²/sq. per. 24 hours. 5,000 MVP indicates that 5 litres of water vapour can be transported per square meter per. 24 hours. The higher the number, the more comfortable it will feel to wear. Therefore, many of our products will be listed, i.e. 5,000 mm / 5,000 mvp, which then indicates, that the product can withstand 5 meters of hydrostatic head and transport 5 litres of moisture per 24 hours per square meter.

PVC rainwear is rubber rainwear that feels 100% waterproof, but remember, no fabric is ever 100% waterproof. Our PVC products have a backing made of either cotton or polyester. Our cotton/polyester/PVC is the thickest fabric with the highest resistance to water. It can withstand a hydrostatic pressure between 15-20,000 mm and, as mentioned, will often be perceived as 100% waterproof.

PU rainwear has a PU (polyurethane) rubber surface, which means that the clothes have a higher hydrostatic head, and the higher the hydrostatic head a rain set has, the more water it can keep out. Our PU products have polyester backing.

Polyester/PU is a little thinner and stretchable, and therefore, it feels more comfortable. At Ocean Textile we use a product that can resist a hydrostatic pressure of 8,000 mm, which is very high for this type of material. Many in our industry use up to just 5,000 mm, some even down to 3,000 mm. But with a hydrostatic head below 10,000 mm, water can squeeze through the fabric, i.e. if you place yourself on a wet bike saddle. Also, if you are on the sea and hit by a big wave, there may be a risk that the water can break through the fabric. PU / polyester is slightly breathable and will therefore often feel more comfortable to wear than PVC rainwear.


What is hydrostatic head?

The figure stated by hydrostatic head, for example, 8,000, describes the amount of water in millimetres, which 1 square centimetre on the rain jacket or trousers can keep out per hour, before the water breaks through the fabric.

No fabric is 100% waterproof. The greater the hydrostatic pressure you expose to the fabric, the more water will permeate through it. This applies to all textiles. In practice, a product that can resist a hydrostatic head of 15-20,000 mm feels like 100% waterproof, since only in very extreme cases, you will experience a hydrostatic pressure exceeding this number. On the contrary, clothes with a hydrostatic head below 10,000 mm, if for example you sit on a wet tractor seat, will, due to the pressure, allow water to permeate through the fabric.

If you are still not sure about your choice of Ocean rainwear, please, do not hesitate to contact our customer service here

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