We’ve all been there – you step outside the door into the sunshine in the morning only to be greeted by lashing rain the very same afternoon. Sometimes, you need to go from a light jacket to a waterproof coat in a matter of minutes!
While we can’t do much to change the unpredictable British weather, we can be prepared for whatever it throws at us. Versatile clothing that can easily adapt is key, which is why a 3-in-1 jacket is a lifesaver for many of us. Versatile enough for all seasons, read our updated guide for 2019/2020 to find out how one could keep you covered all year round…
What is a 3-in-1 jacket?
A 3-in-1 jacket, also known as an ‘interactive’ or ‘IA’ jacket, consists of a waterproof outer shell and a detachable inner fleece – making it the ideal choice for an all-year-round jacket that can tackle changeable weather conditions head-on. With a 3-in-1 jacket, you can…
Wear the waterproof outer layer
The outer layer of a 3-in-1 jacket should be made from a waterproof, breathable synthetic material. It should also have been treated with a water repellent finish, which will allow rain or water to roll off the surface. The outer layer can be worn on its own in mild or wet weather when you just need some quick protection against the elements.
Related: Waterproof Jacket Buying Guide
Wear the insulating inner layer
The inner jacket is the insulating layer. This is made up of a warm material such as fleece or a synthetic, polyester filling. This layer can be worn alone when you just want to stay warm.
Wear them both together
A good 3-in-1 jacket can provide you with all the protection you’ll ever need from the elements. However, when the weather gets particularly bad you can wear both the fleece and the outer layer together for ultimate protection. The inner layer and outer shell are usually zipped together, however, they are sometimes attached using buttons or hooks.
And then it all comes together in one lovely package, like this…
Key features of a 3-in-1 jacket
As you’d expect, the most important thing about the outer layer of a 3-in-1 jacket is that it should always offer waterproof protection. This is achieved through either a waterproof coating or membrane. Membranes are more durable and breathable, whereas coatings are cheaper but will lose effectiveness much quicker.
The type of waterproofing depends on the brand you buy. GORE-TEX® and eVent® are used widely, but some manufacturers use their own type – IsoTex (Regatta), Texapore (Jack Wolfskin), AQ2 (Berghaus).
Top Tip: Over time, the waterproof repellent on your jacket will start to wear off and become less effective. Therefore, it’s important that you reproof it to ensure you stay dry.
It’s also important that your skin is allowed to breathe while also staying waterproof. If your clothing isn’t breathable then you’re going to sweat a lot more. Breathability is largely down to the fabric used, and it’s all very clever – the best waterproof membranes having microscopic pores small enough to prevent rain from getting in but large enough to allow moisture to escape.
Insulation is achieved through the inner layer of a 3-in-1 jacket. More often than not, the inner layer is a fleece, but it can also be a softshell jacket. Softshells aren’t generally as warm as fleeces, but they do offer their own water and wind resistance. They’re lightweight and flexible, making them ideal for wearing on their own when out and about.
Other features to look out for:
Multiple pockets and zips
Multiple internal and external pockets give you somewhere to stash your belongings when you’re out and about in the great outdoors. Waterproof zips are also a useful feature for preventing any water from entering pocket areas.
For a jacket to be 100% waterproof it should have taped seams. Taped seams are heat-sealed seams that prevent water from coming through the stitching. It is particularly important that you choose a jacket with taped seams if you will be in heavy, prolonged rain.
A decent hood, preferably detachable, should completely cover your head and ears to protect you from the elements. A peaked hood is particularly good for directing rain away from your face.
What is the best 3-in-1 Jacket? Winfields recommends…
Men’s 3-in-1 Jackets
Women’s 3-in-1 Jackets
Kids’ 3-in-1 Jackets
Take a look at our full range of outdoor jackets.
Last modified: November 13, 2019