Nordic walking is one of the most effective and enjoyable total body workouts you can do, so don’t let the weather put you off your stride! As it rains around 100 days a year in the UK we literally can’t avoid wet days, so it’s vital to invest in a good quality, reliable and attractive waterproof coat.
The phrase ‘you get what you pay for‘ is never truer than for waterproof jackets. This is because you’ll need material that is completely weatherproof over a sustained period, you’ll want it to be breathable (otherwise you’ll boil in the bag) and it should be made of modern technology material such as Gore-Tex.
One of the most important things to check for is that the jacket is called waterproof on the label.
Avoid those that are either water resistant, water repellant or showerproof, and if you want to go further you’ll often see jackets rated for how much water they can withstand.
Our advice on waterproof jackets
If you want your jacket to withstand any amount of rain you’ll want a hardshell or softshell jacket. They are the most waterproof jackets on the market and as they’re thin you can add layers underneath as required.
Shells are tough, packable and versatile and here’s a handy video from Mammut (who sell a variety of excellent jackets) on how to care properly for this great piece of kit. The good ones are also breathable.
We recommend the Berghaus Women’s Hillwalker 2.0 Gore-Tex Interactive Waterproof Shell Jacket which uses Berghaus’s own waterproof technology.
The Berghaus Women’s Highland Storm 3L Jacket is a fully waterproof and breathable jacket.The Highland features a fully adjustable pre-tensioned hood with reinforced wired peak and glove friendly toggles and pit zips to allow excess heat to escape through fast venting, plus Berghaus guarantee this jacket will stay waterproof with its Gore-Tex outer and adjustable hood. This jacket is waterproof, lightweight and breathable.
If you’re on a budget the North Face Resolve Jacket with it’s Dry-Vent technology gets great reviews. It has a mesh lining which gives it good breathability, it’s attractive, sporty and lightweight, but you will need to re-waterproof this at regular intervals depending on usage. There’s lots of colours to choose from too, it’s a good buy and we also like that they do a plus size Antora Jacket.
If you’re going out for short walks and prefer a warmer, longer style of jacket the Patagonia Womens Tres 3 in 1 Jacket is designed for fickle weather, the Tres 3-in-1 Parka from Patagonia has a 2-layer H2NO Performance Standard waterproof, breathable shell made of a part-recycled, windproof polyester stretch twill with super-soft lining. In addition to this, there’s also a zip-out, quilted, insulated interior jacket – for superb on-the-go warmth when you need that extra boost.
It won’t be as waterproof as the hardshell so we’d suggest it’s only for lighter showers, but with its fitted style you’ll look great as you sashay by.
Waterproofing your jacket will considerably extend its lifespan. If rain stays in droplets and rolls off the surface of the fabric it’s still holding it’s integrity, but if water starts to be absorbed you need to re-waterproof your jacket by treating it with a wash such as Nikwax Tech Wash.
(Check the specific details of your jacket as some need washing and tumble drying to regain their former glory.)
So as they say, life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain. Just wear a good rain coat!
The Bristol & Bath Nordic Walking Team
You can find our favourite Nordic walking poles here, plus if you’re looking for our advice on other walking kit here’s our recommendations on the best:
walking socks (socks are an important but forgotten factor!).
We hope that helps with your choice and you won’t ever regret paying that bit extra for a good waterproof coat. It may just change your life.