Selecting the right coat for outdoor activities is a process, and often times a rather large purchase. Some people may think that buying a walking jacket can be a simple matter of finding a sale item in a tolerable colour but the fact of the matter is that good, reliable and fashionable outdoor apparel is an investment.
It’s important to take the time to do the research and compare the products, so that you end up with the jacket you want, not just the first one you find.
A Few Things to Consider
Know the difference between waterproof and water resistant
Many coats use this language in a somewhat tricky manner. For walking jackets and other garments that will undoubtedly be used extensively outdoors, it’s important to get something that can withstand the elements. This means understanding the difference between water-resistant and water-proof items.
A waterproof membrane is a thin layer with microscopic pores which are large enough to allow water vapour (sweat) out and keep precipitation (rain) from getting in. This membrane may cost a bit more but it is also what makes a jacket breathable, so it’s well worth the added expense.
Find a jacket that suits your lifestyle
If you’re an avid outdoor explorer but also need something to possibly wear to work, a more versatile and stylish garment may be the right choice. Finding a jacket that you feel comfortable in is key, as well as ensuring that it works with your other clothes, boots, rucksacks etc.
Get the right fit to flatter your shape
Trends can be helpful when informing decisions of style and colour, but don’t select something that doesn’t look good or feel right just because it’s popular. Find something that can be worn comfortably both open and closed, so that it’s as versatile as possible.
Work with layers in mind
Coats and jackets are often worn over several layers of clothes, even thermals. Walking expeditions and other outdoor pursuits are often subject to the elements where weather conditions can change quickly and drastically so it’s important to be flexible and find a coat that can be worn over several layers or none at all.
Have an idea of budget
The entire shopping process will be made much easier if approached with an idea of how much you’re willing and able to spend on a new jacket. It’s important to find something you can afford, but maybe set aside a little extra to source a high quality coat as this will likely last quite a while, and be worth the investment over time.
Pick and colour, any colour
Jackets come in all variety of bright and bold colours and patterns as well as the more muted earth tones. Choosing the right colour is a very personal thing, so be sure to try lots of options and to pick a colour that looks good and will work with other pieces of a wardrobe. For people who often head out into the wild alone, a brighter colour might be a good choice so that you’re easy to spot.
Look for versatility
Coats and jackets can come with all sorts of things like detachable hoods, carrying bags and zip out layers. Find a jacket that can work in many situations from light drizzle, to full sun, to blizzard conditions; that will still pack away nicely and neatly, and not be a burden to pack, unpack or store.
Shopping for the perfect outdoor jacket may require a bit of time and research, but it’s worth it to find the product that’s right for you. Having a budget in mind, reading a few customer reviews and trying on different styles will all help to make an informed decision that will, with any luck, result in a purchase that will last for years to come and accompany you on some truly great adventures!