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Choosing a Waterproof Smock

Posted by Bethan on Sep 13, 2023

What To Look For When Choosing a Waterproof Smock

Understand the main features of a smock

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Main Features of Waterproof Smocks

When choosing a waterproof smock, we can sometimes be quite confused by all the information given in various product descriptions that are out there. To make sure you are getting the right smock for your needs, here are a few key points to consider:

  1. Waterproofing: Make sure to check the waterproof rating of the smock and see if it meets your needs. The higher the rating, the better the smock will be at keeping you dry.
  2. Breathability: Look for a smock that is breathable so that you don’t end up feeling too hot and uncomfortable when you are wearing it.
  3. Fit: Ensure that the smock fits you properly and is comfortable to wear.
  4. Durability: Check the construction of the smock and make sure that it is well made and will last for a long time.
  5. Price: Don’t forget to look at the price tag of the smock and make sure it fits within your budget.

By considering these points, you should be able to find the perfect waterproof smock for your needs

To simplify this, we are going to explore the different features and characteristics of both mens waterproof smocks and womens waterproof smocks.

The information below will provide an overview of the main features to consider before purchasing your smock. 


mens smock fabrics

The outer shell of many smocks will be produced using 90% polyester and 10% nylon. Depending on the brand and the smock's overall purpose, you may find that some styles will be made from various other fabrics such as the thick 340 Pro Southern Star Fleece, used by Ridgeline to offer warmth and protection even when out in the most extreme weather conditions. Similarly, the RL-TEX Pro Fabric offers a three layered material again offering excellent protection in harsh conditions.

Another fabric to consider is a nylon reinforced canvas outer layer that has a mesh lining. This lining wicks moisture away when your body heats up. For complete protection why not consider a smock that is part softshell for high breathability and part fleece for comfort and warmth.

It really is worth spending a bit of time to find a smock that's made from a fabric that will suit your own outdoor needs. There are lightweight styles which weigh just 395 grams and the great thing about lightweight smocks is that they can be easily packed away in a rucksack until needed.

Many of Hoggs of Fife smocks are made from a Ripstop fabric. This is where fabrics are woven in a way that creates a reinforced outer that is resistant to tearing and ripping. As well as being tough, it looks stylish too!

Waterproof and Breathable Membrane

When choosing a waterproof smock, it is worth considering how waterproof you need the fabric. Many smock jackets now come with a waterproof and breathable membrane. These membranes offer better protection than waterproof fabrics. The waterproofness is measured by the amount of water that the membrane can withstand before penetrating the fabric. This is called Hydrostatic Head (HH).

Membranes can offer a waterproof protection from 3,000mm, with  Stoney Creek membranes withstanding up to 33,860mm of water.

Smocks now have the added protection of a Teflon coating. This protects the fabric from rain and stains making them perfect for working in.

Other styles are 100% windproof and others will be breathable. Breathability is measured by the MVP (Moisture Vapour Perspiration). This is the total amount of water vapour that can pass through a metre square of the fabric over a 24 hour period. For example, up to 3000 MVP (Moisture Vapour Perspiration).  Ridgeline waterproof smocks have a MVP of 5000.

There are smocks that will be water resistant, offering up to a few hours protection in wet weather rather than being fully waterproof. These are great for wearing under a waterproof jacket as an added layer.


The nature of the outdoor activity will help you to choose a waterproof smock with pockets that will prove useful for you.

Some smocks will have a large front pouch which often have a waterproof zip and covering flap, which are ideal for keeping valuables secure. There are also designs which include an inner PVC lined, game bag too. Many will have side pockets with waterproof zips whilst others will also have zipped hand warmer pockets which are simply a fantastic feature for those colder, crisp days.

As an added feature, some smocks have a two-way side zips within their design. These offer access to pockets of the garments you are wearing underneath and provide extra ventilation when it is needed.

There are different lengths of smocks available. The three quarter length smock jackets with a scooped hem are ideal for added protection depending upon what you are doing, such as working on the farm or out stalking.

Smock with kangaroo pouch

Other general design features include:

  • Lined and unlined hoods with fleece or other materials
  • Detachable or fixed hood
  • Open cuff and adjustable cuff system
  • Adjustable drawcord at the waist to prevent body heat from escaping
  • Shoulder grips to prevent bag straps slipping off. Perfect when out and about in active mode
  • Waterproof zips at the hip area for freedom of movement
  • Reinforced elbow areas

Washing and Drying

Read the care instructions that are located on the label either in the collar or elsewhere inside your smock. General washing instructions include:

  • Hand wash in lukewarm water (many manufacturers state no more than 30 degrees centigrade)
  • Do not wash your smock in your washing machine or have it dry cleaned as this can damage the waterproof seams and membrane
  • Do not use everyday detergents, bleach or fabric conditioner (Or any product that contains fabric conditioner)
  • Do not dry the garment next to an open fire, a radiator or airing cupboard. This can dry the seams too quickly causing them to peel
  • Do not tumble dry
  • Hang up the smock to allow it to air dry naturally

As every manufacturer guidance is different please read the manufacturer's washing and drying instructions on the label inside your own smock.

Choosing Men's Smocks

When choosing a man's smock, it's worth considering when you are likely to wear your smock and for what purpose. The nature of your outdoor work or activity is likely to dictate whether you choose a long or short smock. You may be glad of the added protection for your clothing that a longer smock can give.

When outdoors in the elements as a farmer or a gamekeeper the more protection you have the better. One aim is to keep your upper leg areas as dry as possible.

Different Types of Men's Smocks

There are many different types of men's smocks available. These include:

  • Hoggs of Fife Struther smocks available in ¾ length and shorter lengths
  • Ridgeline smocks available in waterproof fabrics and fleece
  • Game smocks are longer in style with shoulder grips to prevent
  • Stoney Creek smocks are available in various weights and durability

Also think about how a mesh lining can help to wick away moisture when your body heats up at those busy times, and consider, too, the benefit of zipped pockets to keep your valuables secure when being active. Choosing a waterproof smock that has a large zipped front pocket allowing easy access to essential kit during the day.

Hoggs of Fife Struther Trilaminate Smock

Choosing Women's Smock

You might be hiking, dog walking, horse riding, gamekeeping, beating, farming, or perhaps working outdoors and enjoying nature in all its guises. You might want a smock that will pull on and off easily, to keep dirt off your everyday clothes at active times or perhaps because there is a change of temperature. A lightweight smock is useful during warmer months and it can be taken off and packed away in a bag until you next need it. Some designs do come with side vents to get air in when the temperature heats up.

Alternatively you might choose a smock because it simply looks smart and, in some cases, you might match it up with a pair of trousers from the same collection. Some are designed with an elegant cut and will have a waist cinch drawcord too.

You may decide to opt for a scooped hem or a straight hem and it's worth considering hip zips which are useful for giving extra freedom of movement.

In terms of keeping valuables safe when out and about, as well as zipped pockets in general, some smocks also have large front zipped pockets which are very useful and give easy access.

Hand warmer pockets are always a useful feature too, whenever the weather might turn! Do also consider whether you want a hood that is detachable. Similarly, adjustable cuffs are handy for keeping the elements away from your sleeves, whilst choosing a smock with mesh lining can be very useful for wicking away sweat when you start to heat up.

Shop our range of womens smocks here

Complete the Outfit

From matching waterproof trousers to waterproof flat caps, we have plenty of clothing and accessories that will compliment the smock jacket.

So, whether you are choosing a waterproof smock that is lightweight for the warmer days, or perhaps one made from a thicker fabric to give you extra protection from the harsher elements, there are quite a lot to consider before making your purchase.

Waterproof smocks are available in a range of colours including Green, Olive, Brown and Navy.

Related ArticleOur Top Picks of Men's Smocks