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Fladen Hip Waders and Chest Waders. Review and Comparison

Fladen Hip Waders
Fladen Chest Waders


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There are seven different types of waders available from Fladen as part of their Outdoor range, from the traditional PVC /Nylon waders to three-layer breathable waders with an associated price tag.

My focus in this article is on the Fladen Outdoor Hip Waders (SKU 23-6440 – 23-6447) and Fladen Outdoor Chest Waders (SKU23-6740 – 23-6747).

I have not covered safety in this article but it would be prudent for anyone to familiarise themselves with any water area prior to entering, and they should wear an appropriate buoyancy aid or life jacket if entering into the water or where there is a likelihood of them falling. 

These products are reasonably priced retailing at approximately £35.00 (Price as of May 2020) for the hip waders and £45 (Price as of May 2020) for the chest waders. See for our latest prices. The price should not detract from the fact that they are high-quality waders that would suit any angler, fisherman, or individual who works near water or may need to access shallow water, and require a dependable, well-made product as part of their outdoor equipment. 

It would be unfair to regard either of these products as entry-level waders, as new more modern fabrics and designs have been created in recent years which have pushed these into the lower end of the market, and without good justification. These waders are one of the originally designed waders of the past, and though they are basic in their design they would definitely be included in my equipment for outdoor activities such as fishing or any other river or pond activity where I needed greater access than a Wellington depth.

Description and Overview

The Hip and Chest Waders are made from the same 0.35mm Nylon/PVC with rubber boots with stitched and heat-sealed seams to the upper waterproof nylon PVC. Both types are available from Size 40-47 inclusively.

Fladen Hip and Chest Waders side by side

Both types are made from the same 0.35mm Nylon / PVC material and rubber boots.
The hip waders are cut to fit the wearer’s hips.

The hip waders are cut to fit the wearer’s hips and secured on the outer part of the leg with adjustable straps that loop around the wearer’s trouser belt. 

The angled cut on the hip waders make for more comfortable wearing
Adjustable straps on the hip waders with elastic webbing.
Strong buckles on the chest waders.

The chest waders are secured around the wearer’s shoulders with two adjustable shoulder straps and an additional draw string around the chest to stop the waders from slipping. Both types have the same rubber boot which has deep fissured grooves for added grip.

Both types have the same rubber boot which has deep fissured grooves for added grip.

The boots provide adequate foot support, much greater than neoprene sock boots but not as rugged a support as walking boots or work boots. That said the support is more than sufficient for walking through rivers and ponds and wet environments.

There is a square pocket located at the chest height, useful for holding keys, mobile phones , or a small fly box.

The Hip Waders

On first wearing the hip waders, I found that they fit well with the adjustable strap. The strap webbing is attached to elastic which means that the waders can be attached tightly without the fear of tearing the nylon on the top of the waders. 

The Fladen hip waders with their straps. The seams on the hip waders run up the inside leg.

The PVC boots are just under 30 cm in height and they are sealed to the Nylon wader. The boot soles of both waders are deeply fissured to avoid slipping on wet stones, grass or other hazards. Though the boots are strong and durable the waders are quite thin and not sufficiently strong enough to prevent a sharp object from penetrating or tearing the fabric.  This is true of all waders. Even the toughest drysuits can be punctured or torn so good care and appropriate use is of paramount importance to ensure longevity of the waders.

On wearing the hip waders I found that my legs and feet became damp during use. This is due to the non-breathable fabric, and one of the hazards of wearing protective clothing outdoors or in damp conditions. Fladen sell breathable waders and they retail at a price of about £110.00 which is significantly more than the PVC waders.

Both the hip and chest waders have stitched and heat-sealed seams to the upper waterproof nylon PVC for extra strength.

I have worn these on multiple occasions in water up to my thigh and I have been quite comfortable whilst wearing them once the straps have been adjusted to allow movement. They have never been a hindrance to me whilst I was involved in any activity.

I do have to be aware of the height limitation, and on occasion, my hip area became wet just from forgetting about the height of the water and becoming too involved in my activity.

They are extremely versatile and I have used them for fishing, for river clearance and for using in wet conditions where I needed to remain dry. I found it easy to climb up river banks whilst wearing them and though I had to readjust the straps it was easy to do. I wore these hip waders over my Fladen Authentic Wear Trousers and found them to be comfortable and practical.

The boot support is sufficient enough, and much more supportive than an equivalent neoprene boot sock. My socks do become damp when I wear them but this is a common result of wearing wellingtons, waders and dry suits. It would be wise to buy thermal socks for added comfort.

The Chest Waders

The chest waders are extremely comfortable and once worn it was is easy to forget I was wearing waders due to the design and attachment around the shoulders.

The Fladen chest waders. Note the draw chord around the chest for added support to the shoulder straps.

There is not the discomfort that I felt from hip waders attached to my belt. Wearing chest waders can feel bulky, but despite their size I found it easy to manoeuvre and remain flexible in my movement; they are designed with fishing in mind, so climbing up and down river banks was not a problem with the chest waders. As the chest waders are waterproof up to the chest I could relax more when I was in a river, by not having to worry about whether I would have water ingress above the top of the leg. I did sweat more in the chest waders and found that all my clothes were quite damp after wearing them on a warm day, whereas only the lower legs were damp from wearing the hip waders.

The boots on the chest waders are identical to those on the hip waders and I have worn them with confidence knowing that the rigid soles give me the protection I need when walking in deeper water.

It is worth noting that the seams on the hip waders are on the inside leg whereas the seams on the chest waders are on the outside leg, and also run between the crotch area. Seams can rub together and become uncomfortable though I have not found this to be the case with the hip waders.


Both the hip and chest waders would be an ideal first purchase or for someone who is buying on a budget. But one should not be so quick to dismiss these waders for more expensive designs as they are more than adequate whether they will be worn occasionally or on a regular basis.

Even if the intention is to purchase a more expensive breathable set of waders in the future, either of these would be an excellent second pair to be carried in the boot of your car to use as the need arises or in case your primary pair becomes damaged, or for a second person who may be with you who have not got the correct equipment.

The hip waders and the chest waders have pros and cons and ultimately it is down to the environment you intend to wear these that determine the eventual purchase. The benefit of wearing hip waders is that over a long period of time only the lower leg will become damp. Additionally, there is the practicality of comfort breaks and for quick removal, if required. The limitations, of course, are that one could become wet quite easily if the water happened to splash over the upper leg height, and the wearer is limited to how deep they can wade,  but for any shallow water the hip waders are more than adequate.

The chest waders’ greatest limitation is that the whole body becomes damp over time and this can make the wearer become cool or even cold over a long period of time. That said, it is reassuring to wear waterproof clothing at chest height even if the depth of water is only at leg height as you will not have water ingress. The waders seem more a part of the body as they are secured by the shoulders, so you are not as aware of them as you are of hip waders. Also, they don’t slip down your body whereas hip waders do pull on your trouser belt or loops and do require regular readjusting.

Wearing them in mid May 2020 I found the water still to be cold and neither the hip nor chest waders offered any thermal protection, so it would be prudent to invest in a pair of thermal leggings and clothing such as the Fladen Authentic Wear Jacket and Trousers, the trousers having a warm inner fleece, which would bring added comfort to the wearer.

Both these types of waders should be worn with other associated equipment such as a wading jacket a wading staff gloves, and thermal socks.

The hip waders and the chest leaders should last for many years if they are well maintained and used with care. Areas of potential weakness are the strap connections which could become frayed and could tear over time.

These waders come delivered with a small repair set with a patch measuring approximately 18 cm x 12 cm (7 x 5 in) and a small tube of glue in order to stick the patch onto any tear there are instructions enclosed with the repair set.

The waders are excellent products and I would thoroughly recommend either for anyone who participates in activities that require venturing into shallow water.

Meuryn Hughes

May 2020

The hip waders in use. The author looks the part in his Fladen waders, and Fladen Authentic Wear Jacket and Trousers.

Technical Information

Fladen Hip Waders – SKU 23-6640-SKU-23-6647. Khaki. Sizes 40-47. 0.35mm Nylon/PVC

Fladen Chest Waders – SKU 23-6740-SKU-23-6747. Green. Sizes 40-47. 0.35mm Nylon/PVC

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Fladen Classic Buoyancy Aid 50N


Fladen ‘s Classic Buoyancy Aid is an entry level buoyancy aid created for the leisure market, designed for a wide range of water activities, including dinghy sailing, kayaking, canoeing or any activity where the wearer may find themselves in the water.

The Classic is a straightforward no frills buoyancy aid and will suit the novice and expert enthusiast. This is an example of a simple piece of equipment, if properly maintained, that will last many years.

The Fladen Classic Buoyancy Aid is rated from 40 Newtons to 50 Newtons depending on size. For more information on Newtons and ratings see our Technical Information at the end of this article.

The Fladen Classic Buoyancy Aid in detail

The classic is a waist coat style buoyancy aid with a full zipper front. There are two large plastic safety clips with adjustable webbing straps. The upper strap is stitched to the front sides, whereas the lower strap has stitched loops that keep the webbing strap firmly in place around the midriff.

The sides are elasticated which allow for a snug fit without affecting the ability to move freely.

The inner part of the buoyancy aid has four separate foam flotation panels.

The buoyancy aid has a drawstring at the bottom which should be pulled tightly and tied when used. This further enhances the snug fit.

On the right front there is a plastic D-ring attached and stitched with webbing which could hold keys, a lanyard, camera or mobile, or anything similar. On the middle top there is a handy loop for drying or storing the buoyancy aid.

The safety label is large and clear and outlines that this garment is a buoyancy aid and not a lifejacket.

Also, the label states the following:

  • Make sure your buoyancy aid is the right size. The zipper and buckles should be closed and the ribbons be tied before use.
  • Do not use as a cushion.
  • Train yourself in the use of the device.
  • Teach the child [sic] to float in this buoyancy aid.
  • Full performance may not be achieved using waterproof clothing or in other circumstances
  • May not be suitable for persons with physical disabilities.
  • This buoyancy aid is intended for use by those who are competent swimmers and who are near to bank [sic] or shore, or who have help and means of rescue close at hand.
  • Not a lifejacket.

The classic comes in 4 sizes:

  • Small – Chest width 66-76cm – Weight 30-50kg – Buoyancy : 40 Newton
  • Medium – Chest width 76-99cm – Weight 50-70kg – Buoyancy : 45 Newton
  • Large – Chest width 99-112cm – Weight 70-90kg – Buoyancy : 50 Newton
  • Extra Large – Chest width > 112 cm – Weight > 90kg – Buoyancy : 50 Newton

From the size chart above the classic is a buoyancy aid that would suit a child or an adult, but as the label states it is imperative that the aid is the correct size for the wearer.

The Fladen Classic Buoyancy Aid in Use

This is a fantastic entry level buoyancy aid suitable for a multitude of water sports where the wearer is likely to be submerged or immersed in the water. The price point should not deter the buyer: there are many many buoyancy aids on the market with identical certification that are three or four times the price, yet they conform to the same rigorous standards as this Fladen buoyancy aid.

The no frills, straightforward design with no pockets, extra colours, stitching or other additions makes for a fuss-free floatation device which will be attractive to novices and experts alike who do not need the extra non essential items. And it is available at a great price.

Its simplicity means that once the one central zipper is closed and the two plastic webbing straps are clasped, the lower drawstring tied the wearer is ready for fun, action and sport!

The whole purpose of a buoyancy aid is to keep the wearer buoyant. It is not designed to right a downward facing person in the water. It is designed for someone who is in and out of the water and who would benefit from a flotation device when undertaking their activity.

With its simplicity comes ease of maintenance – once used wash down with clean water and dry thoroughly. Store in a dry place.

Using the buoyancy aid was and continues to be a pleasure for me purely as a result of its simplicity. Easy to don with no added straps this buoyancy aid is a favourite in my watersports kit.


There is little to criticise about this product – if you want pockets, or adjustable shoulder straps then Fladen do have a range of other flotation devices that fit this criteria, but if you are looking for a certificated piece of equipment that will serve you for many seasons at an unbeatable price then the Classic is the buoyancy aid to buy.

The Classic comes in a variety of colours and are all priced the same.

Buy now at

Technical Details

Fladen Classic Buoyancy Aid 50N – Black – SKU: 22-721. Sizes: S M L XL

Fladen Classic Buoyancy Aid 50N – Lime – SKU: 22-741. Sizes: S M L XL

Fladen Classic Buoyancy Aid 50N – Lime – SKU: 22-761. Sizes: S M L XL

Newtons. Buoyancy force = weight of object in empty space − weight of object immersed in fluid. The final result would be measured in Newtons. A Newton is a unit in which buoyancy is measured. Therefore : 150 N (Newton) is approx 15 kg or approx 15 Litres.

The Fladen Classic Buoyancy Aid conforms to 89/686/EEC, EN ISO – 12402-5:2006, EN ISO 12402-5/A1:2010, and CE (Cert NO. DK-0200-PPE-03202)

It is important that you pick the correct CE Category to suit your type of activity and experience.
Lifejackets and Buoyancy Aids are tested and rated to specific European Standards and split into CE categories. These are the universal criteria that define each product and the environment they are suitable for. These are split into four CE categories: 275N, 150N, 100N and 50N.

275 Newton
150 Newton
Inflatable/Air Foam 
100 Newton
FOAM Buoyancy Aid
50 Newton
FOAM Buoyancy Aid
(including RIBs)
(including RIBs)
Dinghy Sailing
(including RIBs)
Mainly used for active surface watersports eg:
Dinghy Sailing
Kite Surfing
Swimmers and Non-swimmers in Inshore & Coastal watersOnly suitable for competent swimmers
A high performance device for offshore and severe conditions, when maximum protection is required or where heavy waterproof clothing is worn.For use in all but the most severe conditionsThey give a reasonable assurance of safety from drowning in relatively calm watersSheltered water use where help is close at hand.
They give improved assurance of safety from drowning to people who are not capable of helping themselves.They give reasonable assurance of safety from drowning, to people not fully capable of helping themselves.They give a reasonable assurance of safety from drowning in relatively calm watersSheltered water use where help is close at hand.
While they cannot be guaranteed to self-right an unconscious user wearing heavy waterproofs, the buoyancy they provide should ensure they will, in the great majority of cases.May not immediately self-right an unconscious user wearing heavy waterproof clothing. Equivalent performance to previous BSI Approved Lifejackets. Not guaranteed to self-right an unconscious user wearing waterproof clothing and should not be expected to protect the airway of an unconscious person in rough water.Only provides support to conscious people who can help themselves.
 EN 399 (ISO 12402-2) EN 396 (ISO 1240-3) EN 395 (ISO 12402-4) EN 393 (ISO 12402-5)
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Fladen Authentic Wear Jacket and Trousers

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The Fladen Authentic Wear Jacket and Trousers are part of Fladen’s range of outdoor clothing designed for fishing, hunting, hiking and other activities and sports that demand clothing of the highest calibre and standards, and for the rigours of outdoor pursuits.

The two-piece outfit, which comes in two colour options of green and black or grey and black are made for the outdoors. Straightforward in their design, the jacket and trousers shell are made of 100% Polyester with taped seams and a Microfibre PVC Coating (+10,000mm waterproof),
and the lining is 100% Polyester.

The garments are PFOA free and have a REACH Certificate. Technical information are found at the end of the article.

Jacket and Trousers Description and Overview

The Jacket
The ruggedly designed jacket consists of five outer pockets that are rubber covered zipped to prevent water ingress; there are two at the waist, two at the chest and a handy pocket on the left upper arm that could easily hold a mobile phone, PLB, keys or a notebook. Each outer zip has a zipper pull which is useful for cold and wet conditions and for easier access when the wearer may be wearing gloves. There is a further zipped pocket on the inside of the jacket located at the left chest.

There are underarm vents with rubber covered zips on both sides that allow for extra ventilation without compromising waterproof integrity.

The inside of the jacket is lined with soft polyester fabric to increase comfort. This fabric covers the entire inner jacket except for the pocket and the neck areas. The sleeves are made of shiny, silky polyester which makes putting on the jacket easier than if it were made of the lining. The collar measures 90mm (3.5 inches) in height and is fleece covered for extra comfort and warmth.

The hood is removable, and is removed by unzipping the zip, which is located under a fabric lip.

Once removed the exposed zipper can be tucked under the lip and secured with a velcro attachment so that the zipper is hidden from view.

At both ends there are adjustable plastic spring toggles to hold the elastic at the desired tension. The inside of the hood is black and made of shiny polyester, for comfort and for making wearing a hat under the hood easier, and as the hood area is likely to encounter greater exposure to water.

The depth of the hood can be adjusted by an elastic cord located at the back of the hood. This is secured with a plastic spring toggle which is itself attached to the hood.

The jacket is zipped up the front with a rubber covered two-way zip and can be unzipped from the top or bottom. The sleeve cuffs have double velcro straps to ensure a snug fit around the wrists to prevent water and wind ingress. The jacket has a hang tag on the inside located by the neck and there is another located on the outside for drying.

The sleeve cuffs have double velcro straps to ensure a snug fit around the wrists to prevent water and wind ingress.

The jacket has a hang tag on the inside located by the neck and there is another located on the outside for drying.

The Trousers
The trousers are made of the same material as the jacket, consisting of the outer polyester material and the inner is lined with soft polyester fabric to increase comfort. This fabric covers the entire inner garment.

The Trousers have four pockets on the outer garment, two on both side, the lower on the thighs being deep pockets with velcro covers. Two hip pockets have rubber covered zipped pockets with zipper pulls. There is an inside pocket with a velcro seal, on the left thigh, suitable for a small mobile phone.

The Trousers have four pockets on the outer garment, two on both side, the lower on the thighs being deep pockets with velcro covers.

The trouser fly is a cloth zipper. The trouser button is a robust metal popper. The adjustable belt that comes with the trousers is made of webbing with a small plastic clip and fits through seven belt loops. There are velcro ankle straps on the lower part of the trousers to stop water ingress and for use in windy conditions.

There are velcro ankle straps on the lower part of the trousers to stop water ingress and for use in windy conditions.

The Jacket and Trousers in Use

With all the storms that have battered the UK recently I have had plenty of opportunity to wear the jacket and trousers. I fit a standard LARGE when it comes to clothing. On wearing the jacket for the first time I felt that the LARGE was a little tight across my back and that was without many layers on underneath, so I opted for the XL size and found that there was more arm and shoulder movement by going up one size. When I added extra layers (thermal layer, Mid layer, Outer layer fleece) there was plenty of room to move freely when wearing the jacket without feeling that I was wearing an oversized jacket. I continue to wear the XL as standard without a second thought.

With all the storms that have battered the UK recently I have had plenty of opportunity to wear the jacket and trousers.

On first wearing the jacket I immediately felt I was wearing a garment designed for the outdoors, for rugged environments that required a tough jacket. The rubber covered front zipper zips up to the top of the collar and makes for a snug fit. This gave me immediate confidence in wearing it in rain and it proved to be the case. On multiple occasions when I wore the jacket and trousers in persistent and substantial rain there was never once any water ingress.

The jacket does get wet, the fabric does not repel water. Even though the garments were saturated I was still dry within the clothing.

The double velcro wrist straps give extra protection from water ingress and I found these worked without fail every time I used them, with or without gloves.

All the pockets remained dry whilst they were closed. Open them and water will get in, so it is important to make sure pockets are closed before venturing out.

I particularly like the two chest pockets and left forearm pocket – placing car keys, mobile and other essential items close to hand was a bonus in torrid conditions.

The hood took some getting used to. Hoods on outdoor clothing are often their weak point. Designers try to combine practicality, style and function and rarely get it right. This hood however is excellent, with a no fuss elasticated draw cord on both sides, the hood fitted to my head. It took some adjusting to get the fit right so that I could see properly, so I would advise this is done before venturing out in to rainy conditions as adjusting the hood in the rain will result in you getting wet. The rear hood adjuster decreases the depth of the hood, aids fitting around the head and increases visibility from within the hood. Once adjusted the hood does its job very well.

Removing the hood was easy and the fabric lip which is secured by velcro is a nice touch. The jacket remains practical whilst being stylish.

The hood can be rolled down and packed away within the fabric lip and secured with velcro. It needs to be rolled very tightly in order for it to fit, but it is worth doing as the jacket would be more liable to have water ingress via the neck area if the hood was removed and it rained.

It is important to stress that the wearer must wear appropriate layers underneath the jacket and trousers. They are not designed to keep you warm on their own, therefore depending on the season and activity it is imperative to wear layers. If your activity requires long periods of inactivity a thermal layer, inner, mid and outer layer would be the minimum to ensure reduction of heat loss. Fladen do make a 3 in 1 jacket and trousers which is an alternative, but this jacket worn with the appropriate number of layers will keep the wearer warm.

The trousers are a LARGE size and I can wear a thermal layer and a pair of chinos or jeans under the trousers with ease, and there is still plenty of freedom of movement to be had.

My first thoughts when I saw the trousers was that I was uncertain about the belt clip. It looked flimsy and I thought I would be replacing it. However, on wearing the trousers I realised why the clip was small: it is so that it does not impede movement, and get in the wearer’s way. When wearing clothing in demanding conditions, any equipment that is large and bulky causes discomfort, and so the clip on the trouser belt is small and discrete. It does the job but also I was not aware of it when I was moving around. I was impressed with this seemingly insubstantial but crucial foresight on the part of the designers. Additionally, the wearer would be wearing some under trousers which would have its own belt, so to wear two belts could impede movement, therefore this clip is a winner.

I realised why the belt clip was small: it is so that it does not impede movement, and get in the wearer’s way.

I was impressed with this seemingly insubstantial but crucial foresight on the part of the designers.

The pockets are a good size, and the thigh pockets secured by velcro means access is easy without compromising integrity. They could easily accommodate a map, compass, knife or mobile without affecting the trouser shape.

The velcro ankle straps were essential in the torrential weather we have experienced recently. I wore walking boots, calf high boots and winter work boots and they all remained dry above the trouser hem thanks to the straps.

The velcro ankle straps were essential in the torrential weather we have experienced recently.

I must highlight, however, that if I wore these to walk through a river or stream then the trousers would get wet. They are for surface use – i.e. for use when above the water and not IN the water. Different clothing would be required for total immersion activities. This is an important consideration when choosing clothing and equipment.

I have worn the combined jacket and trousers in some of the worst weather the UK has experienced in years: Storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge; and during these conditions the Fladen Authentic Wear Jacket and Trousers have been my clothing of choice when venturing out. I have worn them when out walking, and hiking in rough terrain. I have worn them to meetings, sports activities, and general activities. On every occasion I have found the clothing to be lightweight, rugged, warm, waterproof and windproof and they have offered protection to me when the elements have been at their most demanding.

The jacket and trousers would be ideal for hiking, walking, hunting, fishing and even for general activities when conditions are unpleasant.

The rubber zippers are of note, so too the hood. Often areas of weakness, the Fladen designers have not only addressed these but delivered a solution that not only works practically but is stylish too.

Particularly, I like the comfort. Wearing waterproof trousers is often a chore and a last resort for many when conditions get so wet as they are uncomfortable and hinder movement. The Fladen trousers are a pleasure to wear: comfortable, light weight, not bulky to wear, and most importantly keeps the wearer dry.

These are four season clothing: I would wear these in the depths of winter with plenty of layers beneath. I would also wear these in a June squall when the humidity is high and I need to keep dry.

Rarely have I found clothing that would be my choice in any season, but Fladen Authentic Wear Jacket and Trousers tick all the boxes and surpass all my expectations.

Meuryn Hughes
March 2020

Technical Information

Fladen Authentic Wear Jacket and Trousers
Green/Black Jacket SKU 22-82951, Sizes: S,M,L,XL,XXL
Grey/Black Jacket SKU 22-82952, Sizes: M,L,XL,XXL
Green/Black Trousers SKU 22-82961, Sizes: S,M,L,XL,XXL
Grey/Black Trousers SKU 22-82962, Sizes: M,L,XL,XXL
PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic Acid) is a chemical that is used in the process of making PTFE. So when you see a product advertising ‘PFOA’ free, it usually means the PTFE was made without the use of the chemical PFOA in the manufacturing process.
REACH stands for the Regulation for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals. The REACH Regulation entered into force on 1st June 2007 to streamline and improve the former legislative framework for chemicals of the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) countries.
10,000mm – 15,000mm: A jacket in this range will withstand most downpours, but will soak through over time if subjected to pressure, such as kneeling or sitting down, or wearing a heavy pack.

Waterproof rating
In the case of 10,000 mm fabric this refers how waterproof the fabric is when this test is carried out: If you put a square tube with inner dimensions of 1-inch over a piece of fabric, you could fill it with water to a height of 10,000mm (before water would begin to leak through. The higher the number, therefore the more waterproof the fabric. HH is short for Hydrostatic Head.

The balance of waterproof and breathable
If you want full waterproofing, you need a jacket that is like a drysuit, However, this would make you sweat and the inside of the jacket would end up wet, as happens when wearing a drysuit. At the other end of the scale is a jacket made of fabric that is very breathable but this would not keep you dry in rain.

Most people want jackets that offer both waterproofing and breathability and there is a balance to be struck. It also depends on how hard you will be exercising in the jacket. Runners for example will want a jacket to be more breathable than, say, sailors.

So there is a balance to be found and in the end the chances are you will have jackets with different levels of waterproof/breathability for different activities.

Chart of Waterproof Rating
0-5,000 mm No resistance to some resistance to moisture. Conditions: Light rain, dry snow.
6,000-10,000 mm Rainproof and waterproof under light pressure. Conditions: Light rain, average snow.
11,000-15,000 mm Rainproof and waterproof except under high pressure. Conditions: Moderate rain, average snow.
16,000-20,000 mm Rainproof and waterproof under high pressure. Conditions r: Heavy rain, wet snow.
20,000 mm+ Rainproof and waterproof under very high pressure. Conditions: Heavy rain, wet snow.