A 3 in 1 jacket is a key piece to your winter wardrobe, but there's so many out there to choose from, what makes them all different and which one is best for you? We understand that this can be quite a difficult decision, and they don't come with the cheapest price tag either, that's why we've put together this buying guide to help you get a better understanding of what 3 in 1 jackets are, their purpose and which one suits what you're looking for best.
What is a 3 in 1 Jacket?
When the winter months roll in, layering up is absolutely essential. Multiple layers trap air near your skin, keeping heat close to you which keeps you warm. A 3 in 1 jacket combines two key layers; the waterproof outer layer and the insulating mid-layer. Both of these layers can be worn separately, or they can be zipped together to create the ultimate winter-ready shield.
Though they may sometimes seem a little pricier, 3 in 1 waterproof jackets are excellent value for money as they can be worn all year round. Just because they're ideal for winter conditions, doesn't mean you can't simply unzip the two layers from each other and use them for a wide variety of activities such as wearing the mid-layer fleece on autumn strolls. Sometimes you'll even find that 2 jackets bought separately can be zipped together to form a 3 in 1-style jacket, these are known as 'interactive' or 'IA' jackets.
The Outer Layer
As your first layer of defence against the elements, the shell layer of a 3 in 1 should always offer waterproof protection. Waterproofing can be achieved by either a waterproof coating over the jacket or with a membrane. Membranes are more durable, breathable and will usually offer superior waterproof protection to a coating, whereas coatings are cheaper for those on a budget but lose effectiveness a lot quicker. GORE-TEX® and eVent® are common manufacturers but you'll find a lot of brands use their own technologies such as DryVent® from The North Face and AquaDry by Craghoppers.
Tip – Overtime the effectiveness of the waterproof coating will diminish. In order to extend the lifespan of the jacket you'll need to reproof it. To find out more about how to reproof your jacket, take a look at our handy guide.
While protecting you against the elements, the jacket should also allow your skin to breathe. The best waterproof membranes have microscopic pores that allow moisture vapour to escape from the jacket but are tiny enough to stop rain getting in, allowing for a reliable breathable performance.
The Inner Layer
The inner layer of your 3 in 1 jacket is the insulating layer that keeps you toasty warm. It acts as the mid-layer to your layering system and is zipped into the outer shell. More often than not the inner layer of a 3 in 1 jacket is a fleece, however softshell jackets are also used from time to time.
- Fleece – Fleece is a soft and warm fabric which keeps you feeling cosy in the chilly winter weather. They're usually lightweight so it doesn't weight you down, making it a wise choice.
- Softshell – Softshell isn't as warm as fleece, however it is more effective in wet weather situations when worn alone. They're more versatile than fleeces as they provide wind and water resistance, as well as offering a good amount of stretch for unrestricted movement. They're also lightweight, making them ideal for more challenging outdoor activities.
Now that you know the ins and outs of 3 in 1 jackets it's time to go and find the perfect one for you! Here at Millets we have an impressive collection of both men's and women's 3 in 1 jackets, we also have a few for the little ones! We also stock some of the biggest brands on the market, so why not treat yourself to a new North Face 3 in 1 jacket this winter? No matter what purpose you need it for, we guarantee to have the right product for you, so don't waste anymore time, go find your deal over at our store now!