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Everyone should have "waterproofs" for wet outdoor conditions and we now expect modern waterproof outdoor clothing to be "breathable". Waterproof breathability can be achieved during garment manufacture in one of two ways:
A polyurethane coating is applied to the fabric. This will allow water vapour to be transmitted through the molecular chain to the outside edge where external water, such as rain, is repelled. This is referred to as a "hydrophilic" coated fabric.
Hydrophilic means that the coated side of the fabric draws water through the coating. Hydrophilic = water-loving.
Some hydrophilic-coated fabrics are also fluorocarbon proofed to enable water droplets to bead on the outside edge, and then literally run off. This will prevent the fabric from "wetting out".
If a garment wets-out, it will appear as though the water is soaking or saturating the fabric.This can block the path of escaping water vapour.Fluorocarbon is known as "hydrophobic", or water-hating.
2. Waterproof membranes
Gore-Tex is the most widely used and globally recognised breathable, waterproof membrane.
However this doesn't suit all types of outdoor clothing so there are waterproofing agents that can be applied to garments to give them or help maintain waterproofing and breathability.