My waterproofs keep the rain out, but cause an uncomfortable build-up of sweat on the inside whenever I do any physical work. What would you suggest?

Sally Drury offers advice on selecting the most suitable lightweight, breathable waterproof clothing.

A: Stay indoors? Seriously though, the build-up of perspiration inside waterproof clothing is a problem suffered by many outdoor workers.

Clearly you need clothing that provides a barrier to the rain but it needs to be breathable material to let your body heat escape. A build-up of heat can cause condensation to form on the inside of the waterproofs. I remember in the past my waterproofs have been wetter inside than out.

Materials technology has come a long way in recent years and there are now a wide range of breathable fabrics on the market. But there are other factors to take into account before you choose new waterproofs.

For starters, hard, physical work demands easy movement. Garments worn for such work need to be lightweight and pliable or your muscles will quickly tire simply from trying to move.

Clothing should also be selected for a good fit. Items that are too loose are in danger of becoming caught in machinery or in vegetation. On the other hand, clothing that is too tight will cause discomfort and fatigue - conditions that increase the risk of accidents.

You also need to consider the job you are doing and where it is being done. If you are working around roses or other thorny vegetation, you need to look for thorn-proof fabrics. Easy-wash garments are desirable if you are engaged in work that is especially dirty.

So, what to wear? I find waxed cotton jackets too heavy, too restrictive for easy arm movement and far too hot in warm, wet weather.

Instead I opt for a Lyngsoe Microflex breathable jacket from Severnside Safety of Cheltenham (www.sevsafe.co.uk). Its lack of weight verges on the extraordinary and I can wear it all day without overheating, drowning in perspiration or becoming tired. And it sheds water like a duck - so much so that I need waterproof trousers.

The jacket has a hood with drawstring and fastens with a zip and press-studs. The two patch pockets are useful for notebook and pencil.

Not everyone would like the colour - it is Saturn yellow Hi Vis with retro-reflective body and shoulder bands (EN471 Class 3). I can be seen a mile away.

I admit I gulped at the price of nearly £50 + VAT, but it offers everything I need. Matching trousers are priced £29 + VAT.

Sally Drury has been reporting on product developments and testing kit for 29 years. The advice given in this helpline is independent.

Email your questions to sally.drury@haymarket.com


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