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Waterproof Clothing Shower Test

with Ooli, our rainwear specialist

Are your clothes really waterproof, or do they leak?

Find out how we test showerproof or waterproof clothes during our reviews. We simulate a tropical downpour in the shower for one minute, then check if any water leaked through. All clothes we review go through this test. Often we get surprising results.

Try It Yourself

Find out if your poncho or rainwear is waterproof and avoid disappointment later. Your shower is a great place to simulate a massive downpour. A hose pipe in the garden can simulate wind blown rain from the side.

Our Volunteer

Our rainwear specialist Ooli usually wears anoraks or ponchos, even indoors. He often volunteers for our rainwear tests, knowing quite well what will happen. Needless to say he always gets completely soaked in the end, but he enjoys this a lot as you can see form the photos.

For the purpose of this test we've asked him to step under the shower in a Swiss Army snow white poncho. Jeans and a thin hoodie underneath made leaks more visible. So get ready for some interesting fun.

Waterproofing Test Sequence

Repeat this test sequence for all your rainwear so you know how waterproof it is. This avoids later surprises.

Start with dry clothes underneath each time, like a long sleeve hooded T-shirt and jeans so you can spot where your rain suit or poncho leaks.

For each of the following tests step under the shower for a minute. Keep the water temperature a bit lower than usual (but still comfortable) so you can feel any leaks.

After one minute come out and take your anorak or poncho off to check for any wet spots on your clothes. Then move on to the next test.

Test 1: Poncho with Hood Up

Begin with your rainwear tightly closed for maximum protection. Put your poncho on with the hood up and tie it so you can still see where you go. Make sure it is comfortable, not too tight or too lose. See if the hood moves as you turn your head, or if it hinders you. In windy conditions the hood may flap about if you don't tie it well.

Your jeans will get wet below the hemline of your poncho. Most of the the water runs off the poncho into your lower jeans and shoes. You can avoid that with rain pants and/or gaiters, and a longer poncho.

Shower test
Wear the rain clothes you want to test if they are waterproof.
Shower test
Go under the shower for a minute, then come out and take the poncho off. You may find only a few wet spots on your clothes, where water ran into your collar.
Poncho Test
The clothes are mostly dry even after a minute under the shower, thanks to the hood.

Test 2: Hood Down and Neck Closely Tied

Next put the poncho back on, but keep the hood down. Tie the draw cord of the poncho hood so it makes a good seal around your neck. Make sure it fits well and doesn't chafe.

Shower test
Now go back under the shower for a minute. Let the water run over your head.
Shower test
You will notice that even when you tie the hood around your neck some water will seep in.
Poncho Test After this test there will be a few larger wet spots on your clothes, mainly around your neck, back and front. Your sides should be fairly dry. Any rainwear without hood will give you this result.

Test 3: Hood Down and Loose Collar

Finally put the poncho back on but leave the hood down and don't use the drawcord, with the collar comfortably open as you would when hiking. Step back under the shower for a minute.

shower test
A fair amount of water flows from your head into your poncho.
Shower test
The hood fills up with water which gushes out when you bend forward.
shower test
You probably get soaking wet in the middle where the water ran down. Most dry spots are on the sides.

Comparison and Summary

For comparison, step into the shower without the poncho. Feel the cool water flow through your clothes and chill you more than with the poncho. You'll notice that you're warmer in a poncho than without, even when your clothes are soaking wet. By now you should have a good idea how waterproof your kit is.

A poncho or rainsuit keeps you warmer because it reduces cooling from evaporation and wind chill, or any water flow which could cool you quickly. Find the right balance between ventilation and staying dry.

Now turn up the heat and relax in the bath tub. Relaxing after poncho test

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