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What is the waterproof rating?
When you see a rating on a garment i.e. 20,000mm/15,000g the waterproof rating is always the first figure, in this case 20,000mm. This rating tells you at what point the garment will allow water to penetrate the fabric to the layers below. Waterproof ratings are measured in millimetres and will be found either on the swing tag or on the internal tag of the garment. The larger the figure the better the garment is at keeping water out.

How do you rate the material?
You first pull a section of the material to ensure it is laid flat and has nothing underneath, you then place a tube with inner dimensions of 1” x 1” over the fabric. The tube with millimetre measurements along the side is then filled with water. The water builds up inside the tube and creates a downward force. Once the moisture starts to penetrate the material the water level within the tube is measured. This measurement is known as the waterproof rating.

For a garment to be classed as waterproof it must only achieve a rating of 1,500mm so always be careful of garments that do not state a numerical rating. As the rating goes up you will often find that so does the price of the garment.

Waterproof testing

WATERPROOFING
BREATHABILITY
BEYOND THE NUMBERS