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Stormy Weather Wear

When the rains come, the latest in police outerwear will keep you warm and dry.

November 01, 2003  |  by Albert Neal

"Our jackets can be rolled into a small pack to fit into our saddle bags, so you don't have to wear them all the time," White says. "But when you get stuck out there, you just pull it out. It takes you about a minute to put everything on and you're immediately dry. It has saved us many times."

Whether it's a jacket with detachable sleeves or a reversible that breathes, whether it's windproof or waterproof, there is a raincoat or jacket out there for almost every officer.

Blauer, for example, offers its Defender series, a line of raincoats that feature the durable, waterproof, and breathable B.Dry fabric lining. The coats are trimmed in Scotchlite high-contrast reflective material and are sized from 30 inches to 49 inches. The Defender series comes in a variety of colors, including black, fluorescent yellow, black with fluorescent orange, and black with fluorescent yellow. Pit and side zippers provide ventilation and access to equipment, while convenient tabs allow officers to attach badges to the fronts of their coats.


Blauer also makes lightweight rain jackets that are ideal for motorcycle officers.

The Enforcer jacket by Watershed is also great for rainy days. It features side vents for weapon access, YKK waterproof zippers, hood snaps for optional hoods, fleece-lined collars, and high-angle sleeves for ease of movement. Enforcer jackets are available in two-tone or camouflage and come in nine different colors.

High-Tech Fabrics

With all the technological advances in electronics, weaponry, and surveillance, it shouldn't come as a surprise to find raingear with high-tech features. Here is what the experts say you should consider when shopping for technologically advanced outerwear.

Once upon a time, the best materials for raincoats were heavy and rubberized. Now, fortunately, there are a variety of lightweight materials that add all-weather function to quality outerwear. For example, Gore-Tex is a water- and windproof, breathable fabric that's featured in raingear produced by Blauer, Watershed, and other popular makers of police jackets.

Gore-Tex is the best known of the high-tech all-weather materials in today's raingear, but there are other fabrics that offer similar protection and more warmth. For example, Gerber Outerwear lines its coats with Polartec Fleece and Elbeco's outerwear is lined with Thinsulate, a type of thermal insulation that provides warmth but without the unnecessary bulk of heavy coats.

For water repellency and overall comfort, Gerber combines cotton-soft Supplex, Supplex Supreme, Cordura, and Hammock Cloth materials to create durable water-repellent rainwear.

Also, for police gear, fashion and even comfort take a back seat to function. That's why some police jackets feature fabrics like Scotchlight that reflect light back to its source and help to increase an officer's night visibility. It's also why some police raingear such as jackets by Pacific Safety Products have liners constructed of flame-resistant Nomex.

Look for these high-tech fabrics in your outerwear and you're almost guaranteed the best in comfort, durability, and all-weather performance. They're not a cup of strong coffee or a warm fireplace, but they can be the next best thing when dealing with stormy weather. 

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Tags: Outerwear

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