In the previous post I wrote about the different fabrics and I prefer Gore-Tex. The fabric is only one part from protecting you against the elements. The design of the jacket will help you protect in some degree.
You could say, rain jackets are all the same! That might be true for standard rain jackets that you’ll be wearing on your bike to work (yes, I’m Dutch), but a good hardshell jacket has also a good design. For me the most important thing is a fully adjustable hood.
When you’re walking all day in the rain, you should be able to move your head in a normal way without a hood that’s holding you back. Or that when you move, more of your face is getting wet. The hood should be fully adjustable. This means that you can adjust the hood at 3 places. The hood should also have a cap on it so that water wouldn’t run in your face from the hood.
The next important thing are zips under your arms, pit zips. Yes, companies advertise with “breathable” material, but if you are hiking on a normal rainy day, the fabric is not breathable enough. Pit zips will take care of your body warmth. If it’s freezing, you won’t need it that much, but on a day in fall, you will love your pit zips!
There are a few things more that you should pay attention to. Your cuffs should be adjustable so you can limit the water that can blow up into your jacket. You will love it too on a cold day, trapping your body heat as much as possible. Another thing is the fit of your jacket. Now we are getting into personal preference, but I like it when the jacket has an alpine fit. This means basicly that when you have your pack on, the fabric doesn’t build up around your hips.
So here are my tips for the design of a hardshell jacket! I hope it will help you in choosing your jacket. In the next post I will talk a bit about the differents brands and what my preferences are.