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Dog jackets: water-resistant, water-repellant, waterproof: what is the difference?

Marketing jargon can be confusing, especially when it is intentionally deceptive. We’ve all heard the terms water-resistant, water-repellant, and waterproof – but what is the difference? Water-resistant usually means that the fabric has a relatively tight weave. This prevents light moisture, like a mist, from reaching your skin…. but not for long. The next step up is water-repellant.

Typically, this adds a coating to the fabric, either before or after the manufacturing process, that makes it harder for the water to penetrate. Think of a windbreaker – it might keep you dry as the sprinkles start, but if they continue, your skin will be as wet as the jacket. Finally, there is waterproof. True waterproof is solid plastic or rubber, like an angler’s waders or the jackets on Alaskan boat fishermen. These keep ALL water out, but they also keep all water in. They do not allow sweat or body heat to escape and become quite hot and uncomfortable to wear. Science has solved this problem by creating high-tech fabrics that prevent water from entering, while allowing heat and perspiration to escape. This requires multi-layer construction, usually consisting of an outer woven fabric and an inner membrane. Unfortunately, there are still wide variations in the waterproof category. Some fabrics are not treated and will allow water to saturate in heavier rain showers. Certain membranes focus on keeping you cool rather than dry and will allow water to migrate in both directions when things get too wet. And if the seams are not taped, then all the technology goes out the window because water will find its way through the tiny holes used to stitch the fabric together.

Rovercoat uses a 4-way stretching fabric of the tightest weave. It is protected by DWR (Durable Water Resistant) coating, the best in the industry, applied prior to construction so that it is ingrained in the fabric itself, rather than sprayed on later. The interior membrane is rated to a 15k standard, which means that any single point on the jacket will withstand the pressure of 15,000 millimeters of water, or a column of more than 40 feet. Finally, all the seams are taped. Rovercoats are lightweight, breathable, 4-way stretching, and waterproof…because dogs are family, and they deserve the best.

Photos by Sam Slater | Instagram @samslatersam

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