What is "Waterproof" - Definition & Explanation
Last Updated on: 23-Apr-2023 (7 months, 6 days ago)
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Waterproof Textiles: Types, Tips, and Top Brands Revealed

Waterproof textiles play a vital role in protecting us from the elements. Whether it's a rainy day or a water-based activity, having waterproof clothing and accessories ensures that we stay dry and comfortable. In the world of textiles, waterproof refers to a fabric or material that has the ability to resist the penetration of water to a certain extent.

Origin and History:

The concept of waterproof textiles dates back centuries, with early civilizations using natural materials such as animal skins and plant fibers to create water-resistant garments. However, the development of modern waterproof textiles began in the mid-20th century with the advent of synthetic materials and innovative manufacturing techniques.

Types of Waterproof Textiles:

There are several types of waterproof textiles available today, each with its own unique characteristics and applications:

  • 1. Polyurethane Laminate (PUL): PUL is a popular waterproof fabric made by laminating a layer of polyurethane to a base fabric. It is flexible, breathable, and widely used in diapers, outdoor gear, and medical textiles.
  • 2. Gore-Tex: Gore-Tex is a high-performance waterproof and breathable fabric. It uses a membrane with microscopic pores that allow vapor to escape while preventing water from entering. Gore-Tex is commonly used in outdoor apparel and sportswear.
  • 3. PVC-Coated Fabrics: PVC-coated fabrics are made by coating a layer of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) onto a base fabric. They are highly durable and resistant to water and chemicals, making them suitable for industrial applications and rainwear.
  • 4. Oilcloth: Oilcloth is a traditional waterproof fabric that is treated with linseed oil or other waterproofing agents. It is often used for tablecloths, bags, and aprons.
  • 5. Nano-coated Fabrics: Nano-coated fabrics are treated with microscopic particles that create a barrier against water molecules. They are lightweight, breathable, and commonly used in sportswear and outdoor equipment.

Tips for Handling Waterproof Textiles:

To maintain the waterproof properties and extend the lifespan of your waterproof textiles, consider the following tips:

  • Follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer.
  • Avoid using harsh detergents or fabric softeners, as they can degrade the waterproof coating.
  • When washing, close all zippers and Velcro fasteners to prevent damage to the fabric.
  • Avoid excessive heat when drying, as it can affect the waterproof membrane or coating.
  • Store your waterproof garments in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

Top International Users and Manufacturers:

  • 1. The North Face: A well-known outdoor apparel brand, The North Face offers a range of waterproof jackets, pants, and accessories. They are committed to producing high-quality, durable products for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • 2. Arc'teryx: Arc'teryx is a Canadian company specializing in technical outdoor gear, including waterproof jackets, pants, and backpacks. They focus on innovation and performance, using advanced materials and construction techniques.
  • 3. Patagonia: Patagonia is a renowned manufacturer of sustainable outdoor clothing and gear. They offer a variety of waterproof products, including jackets, waders, and bags, while prioritizing environmental responsibility.
  • 4. Columbia Sportswear: Columbia Sportswear is a leading global brand in outdoor apparel and equipment. They produce a wide range of waterproof clothing and accessories suitable for various outdoor activities.
  • 5. Helly Hansen: Helly Hansen is a Norwegian brand known for its waterproof and weather-resistant clothing. They offer a diverse range of products, from sailing gear to skiwear, designed to withstand harsh conditions.


Waterproof textiles have come a long way from their humble origins, and they continue to evolve with advancements in technology and materials. Whether you're exploring the great outdoors or simply navigating a rainy city street, having reliable waterproof clothing and accessories can make a significant difference in your comfort and well-being.

The ability of a fabric to prevent water penetration.
A term applied to fabrics whose pores have been closed, and therefore, will not allow water or air to pass through them.
A fabric that withstands penetration by water. Waterproof fabrics are generally coated with chemicals or laminated with a film that closes the pores.
Refers to fabrics that have been coated, laminated, or otherwise treated to prevent the penetration of water.
Materials that are impermeable by water.
The use of the term in relation to treated cotton ducks is prohibited by the "Fair Trade Practices Act" unless :the product shall be impervious to the passage of any water so long as the fabric may endure". "Water Resistant" is the proper designation for cloths treated to resist water penetration and leakage.
Describes fabric that is completely resistant to water and does not breathe.

Some other terms

Some more terms:

Bombazine usually has silk or rayon warp and worsted filling. Imitations are made in cotton. Plain or twill. Very fine English fabric. Name comes from Latin "bombycinum" which means a silk in...
Ixtle 87
Made from linen or cotton with a dobby or basket weave. It is strong. Rough in the surface finish but finer, shinier than cotton huckaback. Has variation in weaves but most have small squares on the...
A chemical reaction that changes cellulose linters (cotton) into cellulose acetate. This reaction improves the heat and rot resistance of the fiber yet does not adversely affect the other good...
Dart 219
A tuck in the fabric that is sewn. It is used to define the shape of a garment making a two dimensional piece of fabric into a three-dimensional garment. Darts are usually seen where the body curves:...
It is a finished cloth produced by passing the fabric between heated rollers under pressure. This results in a fabric having a smooth, glossy surface and is normally applied to cotton and linen...

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