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Flexothane vs. PVC – How to choose the right waterproofs

Flexothane vs. PVC

One of the age-old debates in waterproof fishing gear is flexothane vs. PVC.

Made from polyurethane, flexothane is a fairly established waterproof material that’s been used in fishing and industry for a number of years now. It’s stretchy, noise-free and particularly popular in agricultural farming – and for good reason.

Similarly, PVC waterproofs have earned a reputation for being extremely durable and maintained consistent popularity throughout the years, as new trends have come and gone.

These two materials each have their own merits – as you’ll soon see – but we’re a firm believer in choosing the right overalls for the right job.

Best for being lightweight

Winner: PVC

One of the biggest obstacles in getting the right waterproof clothing is finding something that’s lightweight, but also doesn’t become sweaty or uncomfortable when the going gets tough.

Flexothane, for example, is great at repelling water on the surface. It’s soft and malleable too. However, it tends to collect moisture from the skin and can leave your jacket or trousers feeling pretty damp at the end of the day. Which is less than ideal.

That’s where PVC waterproofs emerge as the surprising victor. You probably associate this material with either industrial processing or Rocky Horror, but when treated it’s incredibly lightweight. And if it has a nylon-backing (did we mention our bib and brace pants?) then you don’t need to worry about moisture or sweat building either.

Best for being durable

Winner: PVC

The next category on our check list is durability.

In order for your waterproofs to work properly, it’s better they’re made from a material that isn’t going to snag or tear when you’re on the job. That’s when water seeps through and suddenly the fresh sea air doesn’t seem so appealing anymore.

PVC is generally a thicker, more resilient material that’s better suited to being reinforced with things like kneepads and thermal padding. Flexothane, on the other hand, is up to 50% thinner than traditional fishing oilskins. It’s great for lightweight fishing and farming waterproofs, but it can struggle against the harsh conditions of being out at sea. Throw machinery, wires and raw materials into the mix and suddenly you could have a problem.

That’s why we prefer PVC waterproofs for commercial fishing. It has a longer lifespan and performs well under pressure, so you’re less likely to get damp and grumpy on the job.

Best for being noise-free

Winner: Flexothane

It might not be the first thing on your mind. But if you’re spending hours at sea, wearing the same overalls day after day, you probably want a material that’s a silent partner.

We’re not saying all PVC is squeaky. However, flexothane is made from polyurethane and is incredibly noise-free. For this reason, it’s widely popular in the agriculture industry – especially for those who work with animals.

At Stormline, we make sure all our PVC-based clothing is backed with polyester and nylon to ensure it’s as quiet as possible.

Some of our lightweight PVC clothing even has polyurethane built into its fabric, so you get that supple feel and the best of both worlds. We also have adjustable straps on the on the legs to keep the material secure and in place (so it’s less likely to flap around and be noisy too).

Flexothane vs. PVC

Here at Stormline, we spend a lot of our time researching the best materials for commercial fishing and farming waterproofs. There’s always new and exciting inventions available on the market (have a look our recent blog on hydrophobic spray), but sometimes the tried and tested is still the best.

If you want to learn more about our heavyweight PVC clothing, we have a range of bibs, braces and foul weather jackets you might find interesting.

In the mean time, follow us on Twitter and share your thoughts.

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