Choosing the right rain gear for the job – where do you start?

While there has been a proliferation in the number of comfortable service industry jobs in the past few decades, the hard jobs haven’t gone anywhere. There are still plenty of industries where it’s of paramount concern that you’re able to work with a high degree of protection from the elements.

Choosing the right gear, particularly for extreme wet weather conditions, is not a process that should be overlooked. To get that process right, you need to know where to start – let’s dive in.

Assess the job requirements

rain gear

The first thing you need to do is to assess the precise requirements of the job at hand. Different jobs will require very different levels of protection – for example, a work environment in the tropics will require pretty much zero insulation, while one in the Arctic Circle will require significant quantities of down to ensure the wellbeing of the worker in question.

Think about all the different kinds of environments and conditions that the workers in question might find themselves in, and then work backward from there to work out how best they can be protected.

Identify a specialist supplier

It’s important to realize that not all rain gear is born equal. While generic raincoats can be great for wearing in the city, they simply aren’t built to withstand long-term wear in often treacherous environments. 

In many cases, you’ll need to look for a specialist rain gear supplier such as Stormline. These kinds of companies make rain gear that’s made to last in the toughest of conditions, providing comfort when it’s needed the most.

Brand reliability

With workwear, it’s important that the items you’re wearing are highly reliable. In some cases, having a piece of equipment malfunction can be incredibly serious, especially in storms and other serious weather events.

It’s important to go with a brand that tests their gear to stand up to these conditions in a reliable manner so that you know you can trust the gear you buy from them. Look at reviews from others who have used their raingear out in the field, and see what they have to say about it.

Budget

When it comes to budgeting for rain gear, there’s definitely a balance. While you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg – especially relevant if you need to buy wet weather gear for a large crew – you also need to protect whoever’s going to be wearing the rain gear.

Getting cold can be serious business, especially if there’s nowhere close by to warm up again. Even if there is somewhere to dry off, it’s important to think about how much money you could stand to lose if the worker in question is unable to work due to malfunctioning clothing. 

Consider various materials

You’ll also need to think about which material you want to go with. There are a plethora of different options on the market nowadays, and each is aimed at a slightly different purpose.

PVC coated

For jobs that require a really heavy-duty garment, you’ll likely want to go with a double-coated PVC item. This won’t breathe at all, but it will put up with a hell of a lot of rough use, and it won’t get waterlogged. These kinds of items can be pretty heavy, but if the job requires that kind of jacket, you’ll just have to be happy that it keeps you dry. 

Gore-Tex

For more active uses (more on that later), you might want to consider a highly breathable waterproof fabric. The most well-known manufacturer of these kinds of fabrics at the moment is Gore-Tex; their fabrics definitely come at a premium, but as most wearers will confirm, it’s worth it if you need to be out in the elements for any prolonged period of time.

And all the other brands

There are countless other brands that make waterproof fabrics nowadays, so it can be difficult to keep up. If the jacket has good industry reviews, then ultimately it doesn’t matter what fabric logo it has on it. Gore-Tex will be best in certain scenarios, but if the job leads to a lot of wear and tear, the jacket won’t last long at all. 

Visibility

If you’re doing a job outside in the pouring rain, then you’ll also want to think about whether you need to be highly visible or not. If you’re doing work on the roads, for example, you’ll ideally want something in a bright color, potentially with reflective strips on it as well.

Likewise, if you’re out in a wilderness environment where you might potentially need to be rescued, you’ll want anyone who’s sent out to find you to be able to identify where you are as quickly as possible.

Consider how active they’ll be

Another important consideration is how active the wearer will be. Even in the same climate, someone who’s sitting or standing still for long periods of time, such as a security guard, will need very different kinds of rain gear compared to someone who’s constantly active and moving things. 

If the jacket is too warm and unable to provide any level of breathability, it could be a terrible option for someone in that latter category of worker.

Don’t forget mobility

Lastly, if the worker is going to be carrying out physical work, you need to ensure that the garment you choose allows sufficient levels of mobility.

Thicker waterproof fabrics can be highly restrictive, making it very difficult to carry out certain jobs. Sometimes the only way to actually find out is to try the jacket out – you might end up with some unusable items, but once you’ve found the right one for the job, you can stock up for years to come.

The right rain gear for the job will obviously differ throughout the year even for the same activities, depending on the season and multiple other factors. 

Getting the right rain gear isn’t just some luxury for workers in these kinds of conditions – it can literally be the difference between life and death. Take your time to do thorough research, and it’ll pay dividends in the long run.