The difference between water-resistant and waterproof

Water-resistant clothing is essential for wet weather. However, the difference between waterproof and water-resistant clothing can be confusing. In this guide, we aim to equip you to choose the best clothing for your unique needs. Plus, get trusted recommendations from our range of water-resistant jackets to get ready for your next adventure.

What does waterproof mean?

Waterproof clothing is clothing that’s designed to keep you completely dry regardless of how heavy the showers are or how long you are out in them. Often made from synthetic materials and sometimes with a membrane lining, waterproof clothing such as waterproof jackets come in a variety of different designs. 

It’s important to note that there isn’t a universal standard for waterproofness in clothes. Rather, waterproof ratings are determined independently by clothing manufacturers or fabric producers. So while a garment may be labelled as fully waterproof, its performance may still vary. 

One thing to note is that often to achieve a high level of performance, waterproof clothing such as waterproof jackets can be heavy and also lack breathability. So, if you are going to be active you may want to look for a lighter, water-resistant jacket.

What does water-resistant mean? 

You’ll often see water resistance defined as the amount of water that can rest on the surface of a fabric without seeping through. Practically, the level of a garment’s water resistance refers to the severity of the weather it can keep you dry from and for how long. 

A water-repellent jacket, for example, can usually only protect you from brief, light showers. A highly water-resistant jacket meanwhile may stand up well to more severe cloudbursts, performing similarly to one rated as waterproof.

Water-resistant clothing is achieved in two main ways. Firstly, water-resistant fabrics can be used to make the garment. Secondly, a water-resistant coating can be added to the fabric after the garment has been made. Water-resistant fabrics are tightly woven, so that the gaps between fibres are smaller than water droplets. The ideal fabric has holes small enough to keep water out but large enough to let water vapour through. Seams may also be taped to prevent water from getting in.

The longer that water rests on the surface of a jacket, the more likely it is to soak in. Water-resistant coatings cause raindrops to gather together and run off the fabric. This prevents absorption.

What is the difference between waterproof and water-resistant?

In short, the difference between waterproof and water-resistant is how much water the material can withstand, and for how long. In general, waterproof refers to a higher level of protection in comparison to water-resistant. However, as mentioned, truly waterproof clothing can often have problems with breathability. This makes it crucial to think through your specific needs when choosing wet-weather gear.

Napapijri water-resistance ratings

When looking for a water-resistant jacket there are a variety of things to consider to ensure you are getting the best jacket for your needs. In the chart below, we have summarised the criteria used to assign different water-resistance ratings to our products




Minimum water Column

Seam Tape

Weather Condition





Low Intensity and very short time exposure



2000 mm


Low to medium intensity limited time  exposure



3000 mm

Critically seamed tapes

Medium to High Intensity, short to medium time exposure



5000 mm

Seamed Tape

Medium to High-intensity medium / long  time exposure 



If you are doing a lot of exercise and are likely to build up a sweat you will want to look for a jacket made from breathable fabric. This will mean the jacket will allow water vapour to escape meaning it won't trap sweat.


If you are going to be testing your jacket to the limits you will want to look for those made from durable tough fabrics. Many Napapijri jackets are made with CORDURA® fabric which is extremely durable but lightweight as well. You won’t need to sacrifice comfort for a jacket with great endurance.


Functionality does not need to limit style. Whether you are out exploring or in the heart of the urban jungle, there is a range of Napapijri jackets that combine functionality and fashion. Try pairing a Napapijri Skidoo jacket with your favourite jeans and trainers for a casual, effortless urban look.

Napapijri water-resistant jackets

When looking for a water-resistant jacket there are a variety of things to consider to ensure you are getting the best jacket for your needs.

Napapijri Skidoo jacket

The classic Napapijri Skidoo jacket is a perfect choice for winter exploration. It’s an iconic anorak style with Thermo-Fibre insulation and water-resistant fabric. You’ll understand why the Skidoo has stood the test of time. 

Napapijri Rainforest jacket

Our icon, The Rainforest Jacket combines functionality with the instantly recognisable Napapijri style. With critically taped seams to its unmistakable kangaroo pocket and fixed hood, two side pockets for extra space, the Rainforest jacket is the ultimate companion for outdoors.

At Napapijri, our pursuit of performance combines with a passion for Sustainability. When you’re looking for a water-resistant jacket, you can rest assured that our goal is to achieve a positive environmental impact. From ethical fabric choices to recyclable materials, such as our Circular Series, help us shape the future of fashion.

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