The outdoor industry is worth an estimated £1.5 billion and is growing.
And amongst the breathable base layers, thermal insulated socks and lightweight performance gear that is sold in this vast retail market, there is waterproof clothing that is designed to keep the wearer dry and protected from the rain.
But how does an outdoor waterproof piece of clothing work?
Firstly, a water resistant jacket is not a waterproof jacket. The reason this is important is that the difference between a water resistant jacket and waterproof jacket comes down to its construction. Water resistant jacket will usually have a DWR (durable water repellent) finish to the fabric that will repel rain water/moisture to keep the wearer dry in light rain. A waterproof jacket will feature a breathable membrane, laminate or similar waterproof technology AND have its seams taped with heat seal tape. Also know as seam sealing tape.
What are sealed seams?
While the fabric of your outdoor clothing will fend off the bulk of the rain, for an outdoor waterproof jacket or pair of trousers to be truly waterproof, it must have its seams sealed shut to prevent moisture from entering at this vulnerable point.
Stitched seams are a key part of what makes outdoor waterproof clothing complete. Stitched seams without them are a weak point because the tiny holes that are punched into the fabric to create the seam would otherwise provide an ideal entry point for rain water.
Outdoor waterproof clothing should be critically or fully seam sealed. Critically seam sealed means that the more pressing seam areas of a piece of clothing are seam sealed but some of the lower and ‘less risked’ seams are not. Fully seam sealed is exactly as it sounds and is the ideal solution for creating a maximum water barrier for an outdoor clothing item.
How do sealed seam tape work?
Seams are taped with an adhesive single, 2 layer or 3 layer seam sealing tape. Seam Sealing Tape is simply an adhesive tape that is used on seams of clothing and other manufactured products to prevent humidity and water penetration whilst adding strength to the products seam joint.
You can find out more about how to apply seam sealing tape by clicking the button below.