Waterproof Vs Water resistant – What’s the difference?
Why are we writing this post?
Quite simply because it’s a question we get asked a lot, but also not enough. Why do we say that? Well when people ask us we can tell them the answer, when they don’t and they damage their watches, clothing, torch etc people complain to us saying that it was supposed to be water-resistant or waterproof.
We don’t like this situation, so hopefully this will go some way to rectifying it!
What does water resistant mean?
“able to resist the penetration of water to some degree but not entirely.” This essentially means that the longer the item is exposed to water (or other liquid) the increased chances of it letting the liquid in are.
What does waterproof mean?
Waterproof means the bag, watch, or product can be submerged completely underwater for long periods of time, and there won’t be one single drop of water that enters the interior.
Does that mean waterproofing costs more?
General rule of thumb is yes. When a factory producing waterproof garments or products sells something called ‘waterproof’, it has to be waterproof. As you can imagine, the techniques used to make these products is expensive, the technicians that run them are also more expensive than an employee at a sewing machine, and the material itself is more expensive than your traditional synthetic or natural fabrics. So if you really want 100% waterproof, be prepared to pay for it.
So water resistant products are more commonplace?
Yes they are cheaper to make, cheaper to purchase and yet still offer a good enough protection for the vast majority of the population. If you’re planning on walking for miles and miles across mountains and hill tops in monsoon style rain, then water resistant products won’t cut it.
However, for the average Joe or Jane Bloggs you are a few feet from shelter of some description or another. Your gear is expensive and let’s be honest no one really wants to be out in the rain if you don’t have to, so go inside, don’t stand in the middle of a street in a rainstorm by yourself, it’s not cool!
Can you make your water resistant stuff waterproof?
Simply, no. Well not the products themselves. Sure you can put your phone, tablet and technology in ‘waterproof’ bags, and dry-sacks or you can put a waterproof cover over your bag. Sometimes the fabrics used in the construction of a water resistant bag are absolutely 100% waterproof. But, if they’re not joined together with a waterproof method of construction, the entire bag, or item of clothing won’t be waterproof. Therefore, realistically it’s either waterproof or it’s not.
What about those sprays you can buy to protect your shoes?
Those sprays usually contain a small bit of PU (polyurethane coating), PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) or some sort of soft TPE (thermoplastic elastomers) to help prevent water from sneaking through the holes between the fibres that make up anything fabric, including bags and clothes. Occasionally a Teflon coating will be applied to the front of the surface of the fabric to help water bead up and roll off the surface.
We hope this gives you a clear guidance on what waterproof and water resistant means, and give you some idea of what you can and can’t do with water resistant goods, whether its bags, clothing or everyday items.
If you liked this post, please feel free to leave a comment or ask any questions we haven’t answered.