James's guide to waterproofs for Duke of Edinburgh Awards, Ten Tors and the Exmoor Challenge.
Activities like DofE, Ten Tors and the Exmoor Challenge are great for young people in the South West as they teach them important skills like team building, leadership and navigation. It gets them outside and lets them enjoy the beauty of the British countryside. As well as this, it looks great on their CV and is an exciting adventure for them to experience with their friends. It is unsurprising that these activities get more traction every year with more young explorers signing up to take part.
I have completed all of these events and have a good insight into what kit is on the market; so I have compiled a list of the core pieces of kit, which I believe are at a good price point and will keep the young explorer comfortable and dry.
This is part of a series of kit lists for outdoor expedition challenges. The other blog posts in this series are:
- Guide to Footwear
- Guide to Rucksacks
- Guide to Sleeping bags
To meet the right standards for these activities you need to have a clean waterproof jacket which has a permanently attached hood and taped seams. There are hundreds of waterproof jackets on the market and it can be very confusing while shopping for one. From my experience, I would always concentrate on how well the hood fits, where the pockets sit in relation to your rucksack hip straps and the overall length. I would then start looking at the individual stats and prices for the jackets you have left. Low weight, small pack size and high durability are very useful on jackets designed for these activities, good ventilation is also helpful.
Rab Downpour Jacket
The Rab Downpour range is great for its high breathability and a small pack size. They tend to come out longer on the body, which is great for getting more coverage out of the jacket. It has a low price point and very low weight, it also has a small pack size, which is great, when it is not being worn. The hood is adjustable and it has underarm vents to help with ventilation. If you like the fit of this jacket but would like more durability the Rab Downpour Plus is definitely worth looking into.
Rab Arc Jacket
The Rab Arc Jacket is an upgrade from the Rab Downpour and there is a jump in price. While it shares the same waterproof membrane it has a stronger outer fabric and has an internal backer which makes it feel more comfortable next to skin. It also has waterproof zips, which is a great extra. These upgrades make it heavier and mean it does not pack down as small as the Downpour. This jacket is better suited if you are taking part in one of the longer variants of the activities such as the 55 mile Ten Tors or Gold DofE.
The Berghaus Hillwalker is a solid, all round waterproof jacket, which has a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane. It has an adjustable hood, which can be stored in the jacket collar when not in use. Its outer fabric is very strong allowing it to cope with extended use and it also features a drop lining inside. This makes the jacket feel more comfortable next to the skin. The Hillwalker is also part of the Berghaus interactive range which means that you can zip another Berghaus fleece, down jacket or soft-shell into the jacket. The Berghaus Activity PT Jacket works well as a zip in lining for this.
Berghaus Deluge Overtrousers
The Berghaus Deluge Overtrousers are Taunton Leisure’s go to waterproof trousers due to the low weight, low price and have been tried and tested over many years. They have an adjustable waist to help keep them in place. They also have zips and a storm flap that goes up the outside of each leg up to the mid thigh, to help get the trouser on while wearing boots as well as to help with venting. They have a strong outer fabric and have a drop-lining helping to keep them comfortable while being worn for long periods of time.
Rab Downpour Trousers
These waterproof trousers are lighter than the Deluge Overtrousers and will pack smaller. They are more breathable and have fully waterproof zips which helps to keep you dry but also comfortable while walking. They have a slimmer fit, which makes them look more fitted but they are slightly more expensive than the Berghaus overtrousers.
These will be new in Spring 2019.
James from our Taunton store has completed the Ten Tors Event multiple times, as well as the National Three Peaks Challenge and the Gold level in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme. He is a keen walker, skier and runner and gets out as much as he can.