Are Polyester Jackets Waterproof?

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During the summer months, no one even thinks about the possibility of rain. But there is one unfortunate fact and that is that the weather is quite unpredictable.  Unless you are a psychic and you know for certain that it is going to be dry out there, it is wise to be prepared. No one says that rain has to be unpleasant – on the contrary, it can sometimes be rather refreshing. But that doesn’t mean that you need to get all damp and wet.

Thus, in order to prevent that from happening, you will need nothing more than a proper umbrella and a rain jacket/coat.

Owning suitable clothing for rainy weather is a must, especially if you live in an area that is well known for its high percentage of rainfall, during any or all seasons. Luckily, there are tons of choices on the market, so you will have an easy time finding the one that fits your preference and budget.

It seems that, most are made out of polyester, and while it is the most adequate material for such a clothing item, the question still remains – are polyester jackets really waterproof?

A negative answer would be quite underwhelming, while the positive one is still not proof that the material really is waterproof. In order to come up with a final verdict and actually debunk if the polyester material is going to protect you from water and rain, we need to get into the specifics of it. Are you ready to rumble? Yes, you can bet that we are.

Waterproof vs. Water-Resistant: The Battle of Two Terms

Before we get into the specifics of the polyester material, however, we have to get something clear – waterproof and water-resistant are not the same. We get it, it is not your fault as numerous brands represent their products by equating these two terms, however that should be taken with a pinch of salt.

While it is a fact that the majority of the products intended for the autumn and winter seasons, as well as for occasions such as hiking or camping, are water-resistant that does not equal waterproof. What this really means is that the material itself will resist damage from water as long as you follow the maintenance instructions and spray a protective coating over it.

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On the other hand, if an item is indeed waterproof, it means that it does not allow any water to pass through the material at all, and prevents a negative effect on you or your skin. This technique is much harder to get perfect, as waterproofing footwear or clothing is done through a complicated process called ultrasonic welding. This process requires more effort and increases the cost of the final result.

Polyester Material and Fabric

Still, this does not leave us with a concrete answer on the question of whether a polyester jacket is really waterproof. In order to do so, we have to start with the specifics of the material. The thing is, polyester fiber does not absorb water and as such, should be perfect for protection from the rain and damp environments because it has a continuous structure that does not allow the water molecules to pass through.

However, this is not always the case as in a more humid environment you can expect it to absorb water but at a much slower rate than would a cheaper material. But are the specifics of the polyester material and the polyester fabric the same? Unfortunately not.

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In most of the cases, a polyester jacket is made out of the mix of the material itself and gaps of air. The problem with that is the air gaps create avenues for water to get through which compromises it’s ability to be truly waterproof. Still, this can be fixed by adding a continuous coating or a membrane that will fill in these air gaps and thus prevent the water from entering it. This is the case with more expensive polyester jackets, while those that are less expensive are merely water repellent.


While polyester is quite a good fabric when it comes to rain protection, not every polyester coat features the continuous membrane that is essential to make it truly waterproof. Thus, if you are looking to get the best rain protection, don’t shy away from paying a somewhat higher price, as it will be a worthy investment.

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