Thinking about getting a small packaway rain jacket to keep in the car for emergencies like this or this.

However, I'm slightly worried at the amount of bad weather they could withstand going by how much material is on them. Or lack of.

Does anyone have any experiences with these compared to a full on waterproof jackets?

  • What you mean with "how much material"? They are just a single layer meant to not make you get soaked by the rain. Layers and other clothing underneath make a difference. Jul 13, 2016 at 13:00

1 Answer 1


Both jackets are nylon shell with a waterproof coating. Which will keep the rain out but is reliant on the coating being intact (not worn out, etc.). By this I mean it has no physical barrier. Goretex (for example) is combination of a physicla waterproof barrier (the Goretex layer) and a chemical coating to prevent the moisture blocking the "pores". Essentially this is what your paying for.

You will likely need to reproof it occasionally.

That said, it should be adequate for emergency use. The first coat states how waterproof it is:

Waterproof coating (2000mm)

the second states:

waterproof to 5000mm material

The mm value is it's rating from a hydrostatic head test:

Hydrostatic Head is the measure of how water resistant your tent(Jacket) material is.

It’s measures how tall a column of water the fabric can hold before water starts to seep through the weave.

A Hydrostatic Head of 5000mm means that a tent fabric could hold column of water 5000mm.

5000mm of water exerts more pressure on the fabric than a 3000mm of water, so a more accurate description of Hydrostatic Head is the measure of water pressure equivalent to 5000mm of water.

The higher the Hydrostatic Head value, the more water resistant a fabric is, and the more water pressure it can withstand before it leaks.

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to give you an idea of the comparision GoreTex has a minimum hydorstatic head test rating of 20,000mm (when new). So that jacket is 10x less waterproof than GoreTex.

Is this an issue? For occasional use in normal conditions, no. If your planing on hiking up a Scotish Munroe in autumn (literally the wettest place on earth from my experience), I would want something better.

  • 1
    I see you edited your answer. BTW: How can you tell they're nylon jackets with coating? How would you tell when one has a barrier?
    – Roflo
    Jul 13, 2016 at 14:43
  • 6
    can withstand 2,000mm of rainfall in a single day this is not what hydrostatic head means. It means that if there is a column of 2000mm (that's 2m, or about 0.2 atm), it will not get through. Nowhere on the planet does it fall 2m of rain in one day.
    – njzk2
    Jul 13, 2016 at 14:46
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    hold on, no that's saying @njzk2 ; the test is observed over a single day. So it withstood a column of 2,000mm for a single day (in the test). This isn't (as you point out) the same as withstanding 2m of rainfall
    – user2766
    Jul 13, 2016 at 14:49
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    The second is made of polyamide (nylon) @Roflo. The first doesn't state, but by the looks of it, this is also a loose nylon weave. Nylon isn't waterproof. You couldn't get a breathable physical barrier jacket for that price either. They are typically more expensive
    – user2766
    Jul 13, 2016 at 14:53
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    @Liam, the formulation in the quote is misleading, I find. Nonetheless, 2000mm for a jacket is very little and 5000mm is barely enough.
    – njzk2
    Jul 13, 2016 at 15:07

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