Waterproof? Breathable?

There are so many materials and so many brands on the market that offer waterproof (or water repellent) and breathable fabrics. The first one that usually comes to mind is GORE-TEX.

Whether you're buying a jacket or soft-shell or boots, you want them to be waterproof, right? But what does it really mean? There are so many standards of "waterproofness" and they're monitored by different organisations. What they all have in common is that they measure waterproofness of fabric based on water pressure on fabric.

The question is, do you need your jacket or soft shell to be completely waterproof? The point is most people don't spend all day walking in the rain (especially a heavy one). In most situations even a light waterproof fabric will be fine. Besides, your skin is 100% waterproof and breathable ;-) So what if you get a little bit wet? You will dry pretty quickly. As long as your jacket is waterproof, that's what counts.

You don't need to spend hundreds of pounds (or Euros) on the latest most fashionable piece of garment when any waterproof jacket will do, especially if you don't have these hundreds of pounds (Euros).

Breathability is important. You don't want to sweat when climbing mountains. You want your jacket to be highly breathable.

Soft shells are great, I have used them for years and they're highly breathable and waterproof. They make you stay comfortable in mountains (or on a walk in the park). You can buy a 100% waterproof soft shell that's also weighs very little. They often come with hoods and some great pockets with waterproof seams.