Working outdoors requires the best industrial rain gear to ensure you can work effectively and safely. Working in cold and wet conditions is not never enjoyable and can reduce your ability to work effectively. It can also reduce your situational awareness which is dangerous. There are several areas to consider when choosing the right industrial rain gear. This includes the weight of rain gear and the materials used.
Selecting the right weight for your rain gear
Depending on the industry you work in and the type of work you do, the weight of your industrial rain gear will make a big difference. If you are operating equipment, climbing or fairly active then you will probably want to consider lightweight rain gear. You will be able to layer underneath lightweight gear even in warmer months. You will also need to consider durability, especially if you experience a lot of abrasion.
A good option for those needing something that can withstand abrasion is choosing a midweight rain gear. Midweight rain gear is single layer and designed to withstand heavier volumes of water pressure. It is used for pressure washing, farming, sports fishing and some commercial fishing. The midweight can be comfortable to wear for extended periods without causing discomfort or fatigue.
For those that really need heavy duty industrial rain gear then there is the heavyweight option. This will often consist of two layers of material or a very heavy duty material such as 600+ gsm PVC. It is essential when choosing a heavy duty rain gear that it is comfortable to wear and well built. Often heavyduty rain gear bibs will have additional features such as knee pads and double layer fronts as used for commercial fishing and industrial cleaning.
Some industries have specific safety requirements that will require hi-viz colours and reflective tape. The US Department of Labor has information on personal protective equipment by industry here.
What is the best material?
There are many types of materials to choose with industrial rain gear. The most common are Polyester or Nylon, PU, PVC and Gortex/technical fabrics. All of them have their advantages and disadvantages.
The most common type of lightweight rain gear is polyester or nylon. They will have good abrasion resistance, but are unlikely to provide a high degree of waterproofing. In sustained rain they are likely to become damp.
PU is very lightweight and provides a higher degree of waterproofing than nylon or polyester and it can have limited breathability. It will however have lower abrasion resistance.
PVC is 100% waterproof when the seams are electronically welded. It is not breathable though, so keep that in mind, but will be quite durable depending on the weight and industry it is being used.
Lastly there are many technical fabrics that can be very good such as Gortex. These will be a lot more expensive and when you’re working they can tear.