What is a Waterproof Jacket?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

A waterproof jacket is an outerwear garment that is intended to be worn in wet weather or in wet conditions. Some waterproof jackets are designed for use by the general population. These are tailored to adhere to current fashion trends and to fit well over both business clothing and sportswear. Other waterproof garments are intended for industrial use and are designed for function rather than for style.

A waterproof jacket is worn in wet weather to help keep people dry.
A waterproof jacket is worn in wet weather to help keep people dry.

A waterproof jacket designed for industrial use may be part of an entire waterproof uniform. These garments may be worn by any number of professionals whose jobs require them to spend time outdoors, especially in rainy weather. Many police departments outfit their officers with waterproof garments for use during outdoor patrol. It is also common for transportation professionals who work at airports, train stations, and boat docks to wear waterproof clothing as part of their uniforms.

It should be noted that a waterproof jacket and a raincoat are not exactly the same thing. A raincoat may be made of a material that resists water and dampness but is not entirely waterproof. The reason for this is that materials that are completely waterproof are often more stiff than those that are simply resistant to water. The stiffness of waterproof materials is unappealing and uncomfortable for some people.

Many raincoats, if submerged in water, would retain a certain amount of water within their fibers. A waterproof jacket, on the other hand, would dry quite quickly as long as it was not lined with a natural fiber or insulation. This ability to resist even large amounts of water is especially important for people who work at sea either in fishing or shipping. The conditions on the decks of a boat can become very wet and it is important for workers to be able to remain dry, especially in cold temperatures.

Often, people who work in very wet conditions will wear a waterproof jacket along with waterproof trousers and waterproof shoes. The jacket generally extends well beyond the waist to the mid-thigh. The boots usually reach mid-calf. Depending on the type of work, the wearer may also don a helmet. However, if protective headgear is not necessary, the hood of the waterproof jacket may be worn. Most of these kinds of jackets come with a hood that can be tightly fitted about the neck and face either with snaps or with a drawstring.

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


You always see online stores classify waterproof jackets as raincoats. Is there a reason for this if the two are different?

I use waterproof jackets when it rains. To me, 100 percent waterproof clothing is not that stiff.


Though Ive never had an industrial job before, my dad used to work in that field, and it was a very wet job. Thank goodness for waterproof gear.


Though waterproof jackets are very useful I think that sometimes, you have to be careful as to which kind you buy. Some are way more effective, while others are a lot cheaper, and you may even feel like you're being ripped off.

That doesn't mean the best brands are always the most expensive, but it's still something to take into consideration. However, on a different note, whether one is cheaply made or not, you could see if there are any sales on waterproof jackets, and compare the prices.


In my opinion, it's always good to get a waterproof jacket. One of the reasons why is because even thought is nothing more than water, any equipment can become vulnerable to the wear and tear of stormy weather.

In the article, I also like how the writer makes a clear distinction between a waterproof jacket and a raincoat, which definitely aren't the same thing. Overall, these kinds of jackets are very essential, especially if you live in an area where it's constantly raining.

Post your comments
Forgot password?