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Is shellwear and rainwear same-same?

Is shellwear and rainwear same-same? We often get asked this question at Bergans. The answer is quite simple, but as ever, some explanation is required. Let’s take a quick look.

Before we tell you, we need to define the terms "shellwear" and "rainwear".

At Bergans, we define shell clothing as clothing with a membrane – a technical material that is laminated onto the back of the outer fabric of the garment. The membrane works by preventing water molecules from getting in, but letting air molecules out. This ensures moisture is transported out of the garment and means we can say that a shell garment is breathable.

We define rainwear as clothing that is made of waterproof materials with a rubbery outer surface, often 100% polyester. These materials offer excellent protection against water from the outside, but do not allow air inside to escape. Consequently, they are not breathable.

Suitable for an active outdoor life

The answer then is that shellwear and rainwear are not the same. Shellwear is both waterproof and breathable, while rainwear is only waterproof and so not suitable for intense activity and layered clothing. Because Bergans makes clothing which is designed for the active person, we don’t sell garments that aren’t breathable. As a result, you won’t find any rainwear in our range. We do have lots of shellwear though!

Some of our favorite shell clothes