Walking and Nordic walking are two of the most effective and enjoyable exercises you can do, so it’s important you don’t let the weather put you off your stride. As it rains around 100 days a year in the UK we can’t avoid wet days and it’s wise 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 classed as waterproof. Avoid those that state they 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. A lot of retailers promise the world but fail to live up to the hype, so make sure you don’t waste your hard earned cash and end up with uncomfortable damp patches.
Here are a few of the best women's waterproof jackets on the market today...
If you want to wear your jacket all year round consider a hardshell jacket. They are the most waterproof jackets on the market and as they’re thin you can add layers as required. Hardshells are tough, packable and versatile and here’s a handy video from Mammut who sell a variety of excellent hardshells on how to care properly for this great piece of kit. The good ones are also breathable. We recommend the Berghaus Women's Paclite 2.0 Gore-Tex Waterproof Shell Jacket which uses Berghaus's own waterproof technology.
The Berghaus UK Women's 3-in-1 Jacket can be used multi ways with their special InterActive zip, plus Berghaus guarantee this jacket will stay waterproof with its Gore-Tex outer and adjustable hood. And if you get cold fingers there’s a hand-warmer inner to keep hands toasty. It’s a good all-rounder with a money back guarantee.
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 Resolve.
If you’re going out for short walks and prefer a warmer, longer style of jacket the Berydale Women's Wind and Waterproof Parka Jacket is lightly insulated, has a generous hood, deep lined pockets and covers the bum to give you that bit more protection. 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 can 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.
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.
The Bristol & Bath Nordic Walking Team