Our garments and fabrics – this takes a bit of reading but stay with us… its actually quite important!
Most outerwear fabrics withstand at least some exposure to water and the garment or fabric you choose is dependant on the activity you are involved in. We have designed our products specifically for different purposes and activities. Many of our garments can be used for more than one function but if you are using your garment in a way for which it was not intended you may be disappointed in the performance.
Our original garments are made from a fabric that is waterproof and breathable to 600mm/24hrs and has a milky PU (Polyurethane) coating on the inside to prevent moisture getting through. This is a waterproof breathable fabric and is water repellent and water resistant to some degree. These garments are intended for general use in the backyard, on farms, at the playground, at preschool and anywhere you child will get wet and dirty. They are suitable for snow play, however we would recommend the fleece lined versions for extra protection against the cold. While these garments offer good protection in the wet they are not seam sealed and may not keep you child 100% dry if exposed to long periods of heavy rain or excessive moisture.
Our extreme range is made from a breathable, highly waterproof (3000mm/24hrs) and light weight nylon with a DWR coating. The Extreme garments are designed specifically for use in harsh conditions. They are waterproof, water resistant and water repellent. The seams on these garments are completely sealed or ‘taped’, and the garments feature storm flaps over the zipper to prevent moisture getting in. This range is suitable for skiing and snow play and other active outdoor activities such as biking, hiking and travel, along with any other outdoor activities you child may engage in.
So what does it all mean?
There are two types of waterproof fabrics – waterproof breathable and waterproof non-breathable.
Waterproof breathable – These fabrics have the ability to keep water droplets from passing through the pores of the fabric while allowing vapour from perspiration to evaporate and escape. This is because water droplets are much larger than water vapour molecules. When tested in a laboratory, the more effectively a fabric resists the entry of moisture, the higher its waterproof rating will be. Waterproof ratings are measured in mm/24 hours.
A “mm/24 hours” rating refers to the amount of rainfall a fabric can withstand in a single day. 1000mm/24hr waterproof rating means the garment can withstand 1000mm of rainfall in a 24 hour period without letting moisture in, the higher the number, the more waterproof the fabric will be. Tiny pinprick holes in the seams and stitching can compromise a garment’s level of waterproofing, to become completely waterproof garments must feature sealed seams that close up these holes so even a small amount of moisture won’t be able to penetrate
Waterproof non-breathable – This fabric is completely impermeable to water, the pores of the fabric are closed and completely sealed, however since the pores are completely closed to water these fabrics are also closed to air which means the wearer will become hot and clammy and eventually wet because moisture builds up on in the inside and bacteria can breed easily in this environment. The most common example of this is Polyvinyl chloride or PVC which is the same substance as what your garden hose is made from. Any garments that claim to be 100% waterproof will probably be made from PVC. We do not use PVC as we feel it is not safe for childrens clothing.
Water repellence measures the amount of water that soaks into the fabric, not the amount that soaks through. A water repellent fabric will allow water droplets to ‘bead’ and run off. Therefore some fabrics will be waterproof to some degree but not water repellent i.e. the water will not seep through, but the fabric will feel wet. Some fabrics have a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating, which is added to fabrics at the factory to make them water-repellent, often used in conjunction with waterproof breathable fabrics to prevent the outer layer of fabric from becoming saturated with water.
Water resistance is the ability to resist wetting and water penetration under pressure. Water resistance is measured by the amount of water which can be suspended above the fabric before water seeps through. The degree of pressure placed on the fabric is a factor since the added pressure significantly increases the permeability to outside moisture. Therefore in situations such as kneeling or sitting on wet ground for extended periods may allow moisture to seep through the fabric.