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kids waterproof clothing – technical terms explained

Posted on January 19th, 2012

Confused by the technicalities of childrens waterproof clothing? Here are a few explanations which may help.

Why is waterpoof fabric waterpoof?

Fabric is made waterproof by either coating it with a waterpoof layer or by bonding it to a waterproof membrane. Either way has it’s benefits. A coated fabric is usually cheaper that a laminate.

Is there any difference in performance between and coated and laminated fabrics?

Generally speaking a coating can break down and your waterpoof clothing may need to be reproofed sooner than a laminated fabric (reproofing can be done easily at home using a standard reproofing treatment). A waterpoof membrane usually needs a lining to protect it from wear and tear, so you can end up with a more bulky item.

What do manufacturers mean by breathable?

A breathable fabric has miniscule holes in it to allow water vapour (from sweat) to pass through, keeping the wearer more comfortable. Don’t worry – the tiny holes are smaller than a droplet of water so you won’t get rain coming tin from the outside.

Do I need childrens waterpoof clothing that is breathable?

It depends how active they are and how sweaty they are going to get! If they are running around playing fottball or on a pretty strenuous walk then it would be advisable. For general play they would probably be Ok in a waterproof clothing that is non breathable

I’ve read about ‘taped seams’ what does it mean?

When a waterproof garment is made, a special tape is heat sealed to the seam. This prevents water getting through the stitching when it gets wet.

What does hydrostatic head mean?

Hydrostatic head is a way of measuring how waterproof fabric is. A special testing machine applies water at pressure to a piece of fabric to see if it can be forced through. The measurement is usually given in mm. A HH measurement of 5000mm indicates that if a 5000mm column of water was placed on the fabric it would still be waterproof.

What is the difference between waterproof and water / shower resistant?

Waterproof is what it says – waterproof and shouldn’t let any water in. Childrens waterproof clothing may be labelled as water / shower resistant because although the fabric is waterpoof the seams haven’t been sealed or because the fabric is waterproof to a lower degree. Some manufacturers will seam seal ‘critical’ seams, ie those on shoulders but not on a pocket.

 

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