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Waterproof-Breathable Jacket

Whether you're travelling fast and light on a high ridge top, or low and wet in a brush-filled gully, or merely strolling along a city street on a blustery day, there's a waterproof-breathable jacket that will fit the bill.

At MEC we reserve the word "waterproof" for garments that keep you dry in rain, snow, sleet, and just about any other airborne sogginess. To be considered waterproof at a jacket must have:

  • a waterproof-breathable membrane or laminate or a non-breathable polyurethane coating.
  • a factory applied, water-shedding, durable water repellency (DWR) surface treatment to cause rain and water to bead and roll off
  • full seam taping

Face Fabrics

A garment's outside fabric affects performance as much as design and features do. Polyester and nylon differ in their inherent waterproofness and abrasion resistance, so choose an external fabric that suits your intended use.


Polyester is inherently quick drying and water-repellent. It absorbs only a tenth as much water as nylon, keeping the inside surface of the garment warmer and reducing interior condensation. Unlike water repellent DWR finishes applied to a fabric, polyester's low absorbency is integral and will not wear or wash off. However, polyester is less abrasion resistant than nylon, so for high-abrasion pursuits, such as bushwacking, choose a more durable nylon garment.


With its high abrasion resistance, nylon is the preferred face fabric for garments meant for rugged uses such as climbing and mountaineering. Although not as water repellent as polyester, good-quality nylons offer excellent durable water repellency. New lightweight nylon fabrics are supple and compressible, but still offer tough protection. Innovations such as false-twist yarns add durability in high-wear areas and improve rain and snow shedding ability.


You may have found that two different styles of MEC jackets fit very differently even though they're the same size. That's because the fit of any garment directly affects how well it will (or won't) function for a particular activity. That's why we fine-tune the fit of every item of MEC clothing to its intended use.

Every MEC men's medium jacket is sized for a 33in. waist and 40in. chest. But the fit, or cut, varies according to its purpose. Generally speaking a jacket made for ice-climbing or light and fast mountaineering is cut just big enough to slip over a low-profile soft shell garment, so that both can slide under a climbing harness without bunching up. On the other hand, our more casual, all-around jackets have a slightly looser/relaxed fit that is comfortable to wear over bulkier insulating layers.

Read between the layers: Technical Fabrics