It depends, the Barbour offers waxed, quilted, casual wool, and waterproof specific jackets. If you want a Barbour jacket that performs best in the rainy conditions, then you should go with their waxed cotton or Polyurethane coated jackets.
Their quilted, casual & wool jackets are not waterproof but yes they do provide some amount of water resistance.
Also, not all of their waxed or PU jacket offers the same amount of waterproofing.
The history itself is a beholder of Barbour’s proofing priority in their jackets. In 1894, John Barbour started this company in England (Though, he was born in Scotland). Here’s hard proof – During world war 2 it was the Barbour that used to produce the waterproof suits for the British Submarine Services.
And even after that Barbour is still continuously producing their main weatherproof characteristics jackets for all those who enjoy being outdoors.
We can look at its popularity by observing that most of us refer to any waxed cotton jacket as a ‘Barbour Jacket’ regardless of its manufacturer.
But that’s what Wikipedia tells us, so what we are going to do is to look at the Barbour jackets and all their technical details so that we can clearly distinguish which Barbour jacket is best waterproof and which is not.
Read Also: How Warm Are Barbour Jackets?
Are Barbour Wax Jackets Waterproof?
Regardless of using different types of wax, all Barbour waxed cotton jackets are waterproof. However, the amount of waterproofing varies significantly from jacket to jacket.
The cotton that is not even water-resistant, Barbour makes it nearly waterproof – how? It is quite simply the paraffin wax that is obtained from petroleum by dewaxing light lubricating oil stocks[source]. And the wax was the go-to material hundreds of years ago when it comes to waterproofing sail garments.
The only reason why the Barbour jacket is waterproof is by using wax. They made different types of wax for different purposes, but the basic quality of wax is its hydrophobic nature, which does not allow it to dissolve in water.
Now, to make cotton waterproof, wax is applied to it, and don’t mistake it as a coating because it is used to fill the fibers of tightly woven cotton fabric, which further reduces the size of pores to make it windproof yet breathable. And as a side effect, the cotton also becomes highly water-resistant to the point where it is referred to as waterproof.
Now whenever you or nature pour the water over it, it repels it by forming the beads thanks to the wax hydrophobicity.
Ok now as you know, not all Barbour jackets are waxed cotton, and you should know all waxed cotton jackets from this company perform similarly.
Because Barbour currently uses different types of waxed cotton in their range of jackets and they are different to the point where they are not the same in look, touch, and above all, performance.
Let’s look at and differentiate some expensive and cheaper Barbour wax cotton jackets and see whether they all provide the same level of waterproofing.
Barbour x C.P Company Thousand Wax Jacket
This is one of the most expensive waxed jackets that the Barbour has, which cost more than a thousand dollars.
In terms of weather performance, the jacket is a 6oz wax design by having a 100% waxed cotton layer on the outside, 100% cotton on the inner for a soft-to-skin touch, and a Drip strip made out of 100% polyester.
So if we take all that into account, then yes, the jacket is good for moderate rain. IMO, it is not an outperformer to justify $1000+ because you can get the highest-end rain jacket from other brands in less than half of its price.
Barbour Classic Beaufort Wax Jacket
It is also a waxed cotton jacket that is coated with 100% cotton but because of having the oiled wax layer on the outside; the piece seemed to perform well in normal situations.
However, I’ll claim it to be a jacket that has its place when it comes to style, but I don’t feel like it justifies the price, though.
Another similar piece is Bedale, which does perform similarly in terms of waterproofing. However, there’s a difference in how it looks and feels.
Are Barbour Wax Dog Coats Waterproof?
Yes, the Barbour wax dog coats are waterproof. however, because it does not cover the entire body there are chances of rainwater sweeping in.
But as far as the coat goes, it is waterproof and won’t allow the water to penetrate until the wax coating is not damaged, it has been damaged, you need to rewax it for sure.
Are Barbour Quilted Coats Waterproof?
No, Barbour quilted coats are not waterproof but they do offer a certain amount of water resistance because of fastenings and tight seams.
So, they can protect you from sudden showers where you need to get out from the car to the store or run into the car without stopping in between.
The main reason behind this is, they are not treated with wax or any other waterproofing technology.
The same goes for Barbour quilted dog coats, but frankly, after referring to friends who have a dog and a Barbour coat, they say that it is warm but not waterproof at all.
That being said all Barbour quilted jackets are windproof so you don’t have to worry about wind chill.
How To Choose The Best Barbour Waterproof Jackets?
For a company, it is good that its name is synonymous with waxed cotton jackets but it does not tell the people that the company offers more than just wax jackets.
Yes, it is the case with Barbour, they offer quilted, casual, and waterproof jackets that are not waxed at all.
However, if you want a Barbour jacket that is supposed to perform outstandingly in the rain then leave their quilted and casual sections aside and just hop into either their waxed jacket or waterproof jacket.
Though, one thing is quite sure their waterproof jacket range provides competitive rain protection compared to their wax ranges because of using Polyurethane (PU) membrane in the majority of styles. You can go with the Barbour Climate Jacket if you want PU waterproofing without sacrificing breathability.
It’s a misconception that I cannot wear a waterproof specific jacket in winter. They can be worn, for example, Barbour Brookstone and Ashby (waterproof version) come with quilted lining and their Hallington features fleece lining which does provide great rain protection and at the same time can be worn in winter.
However, they may not perform ‘the best in colder temperatures.
How To Re-Waterproof Barbour Jacket?
The only way to re-waterproof Barbour jackets is to re-wax them. But, first of all why re-waxing or re-waterproofing is needed, and when you should do it?
To get the best out of your Barbour every coming year it is best to reproof your jacket once a year. You can either do this by handling it at your nearest Orvis Retail Store or the Official Barbour Store.
By reproofing it every year not only you’re making it look new again, but you’re also making it more durable and above all re-waxing will revive the waterproofing quality of the cotton in the Barbour.
Here’s a video if you want to Re-wax/Re-proof your Barbour Jacket on your own.
How Do You Clean A Barbour Waterproof Jacket?
If you want your Barbour jacket to remain waterproof you need to make sure it is washed properly according to the method provided by the company itself.
According to them, the wax jacket should be cleaned using cold water and a sponge to wipe down the outside of the jacket, never use hot water, tumble drying, or any kind of soap, and never put the waxed jacket in the washing machine.
Doing this will permanently remove the wax coating from the jacket and cannot be re-waxed, yielding ultimate loss in waterproofing.
I hope now you have an idea of whether Barbour jackets are waterproof or not. And which type will be the best when it comes to rain protection especially. If you are still on the fence then here’s the conclusion of the whole article in a few lines.
Yes, Barbour jackets are waterproof and can keep you dry in rain or any type of wet conditions only if you’re going either for their waxed cotton jackets or PU-coated jackets.
Other than this, none of their jackets are waterproof and yes they do have other types like wool and casual. Also, most of their quilted jackets are not waterproof at all but they do have some water resistance only because of polyester on the outer and the fastenings.
So the only fully waterproof options that are available in Barbour jackets are Waxed jackets and the jackets available in their waterproof jacket categories where you’ll find most jackets being coated with PU which has waterproofing qualities.
Read Also: How Warm Are Barbour Jackets?