Kitting Out Your Dog for the Outdoors with Ruffwear: What’s the Difference Between Waterproof and Water-Resistant? Kitting Out Your Dog for the Outdoors with Ruffwear: What’s the Difference Between Waterproof and Water-Resistant?

Posted by Emma Oldroyd, on

Kitting Out Your Dog for the Outdoors with Ruffwear: What’s the Difference Between Waterproof and Water-Resistant?

Here in the UK the weather can never be predicted, so it’s always best to be prepared when adventuring with your best friend. Nobody wants a soggy dog, so we got the dog clothing specialists Ruffwear in to help put together a short guide on what to look for when you’re buying outdoor gear for your dog.  

The terms "waterproof" and "water-resistant" appear often in the world of outdoor gear - for both dogs and humans. Ruffwear design gear in both those categories because protection from the elements can be beneficial for dogs and humans looking to extend their outdoor pursuits into inclement conditions. And, as we all know, dogs are really good at getting wet, muddy, and dirty.

But, what's the difference between the "waterproof" and "water-resistant"?


Waterproof, for the most part, means no water in, no water out. To be entirely waterproof, the surface must be completely impervious to water and provide a high level of sustained water protection during harsh conditions and extended exposure.

Waterproof fabrics are tested using the water column test. The water column test is a standard test used across many industries to measure how waterproof a piece of fabric is. You'll notice it in the outdoor industry as a measurement of weather performance for things like outerwear and tents.

The fabric being tested is placed at one end of a tall tube that's 1 inch in diameter. The tube is filled with water, and the height of the water in the tube when the fabric begins to leak becomes the rating, expressed in millimetres of water.

The taller the column of water before the fabric leaks, the more waterproof the material (e.g. 10,000 mm fabric is more waterproof than 3,000 mm fabric).

For a point of reference: Wind-driven rain comes down with a force equal to the pressure of about 1,400 mm. A 1,000 mm - 5,000 mm rating performs well in moderate rain, and 5,000 mm - 10,000 mm is generally considered waterproof unless subjected to considerable pressure (great for serious downpours or constant rain exposure).

The Ruffwear Sun Shower™ Jacket (2,000 mm) and Vert™ Jacket (10,000 mm) are both waterproof options to keep your dog dry in wet conditions. No water can get in through the fabric, seams, or flaps because not only is the fabric waterproof, but the seams are sealed, and buckles are covered.

Certain waterproof fabrics are sometimes described as breathable. They help regulate heat and release moisture, performing particularly well with high-energy activities. The Cloud Chaser™ Jacket features a breathable, waterproof (rated at 10,000 mm) softshell upper panel.

Water- Resistant

Water-resistant fabric is coated with a finish such as DWR (Durable Water Repellent). It's resistant but not impervious to penetration by water. Sometimes stated as "weather-resistant," these fabrics will often bead up rainwater or snow as it melts, forming drops on the surface. You get protection from limited precipitation, but water will eventually saturate the fabric with extended exposure.

Wherever you’re adventuring this year, investing in the right level of protection for your dog will help keep them happy and healthy. You can shop our full range of Ruffwear dog gear online or in your local store.

Not sure how to measure for your dog’s coat/harness? Our stores offer a free, no appointment needed measuring service so you can kit your dog out comfortably with the help of our pet experts.