What is the Difference Between Oilskin and Waxed Cotton?

by melissa whillas May 07, 2023

Oilskin and waxed cotton garments are two types of clothing that have been used for centuries to provide protection against harsh weather conditions. Both are made from natural materials and have been used in different parts of the world to keep people dry and warm. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between oilskin and waxed cotton garments, and how to choose which one is best for you.

Oilskin Cloth

Oilskin is a type of fabric that is treated with oil and paraffins to make it waterproof. The oil is applied to the fabric in a process called "dressing," which involves soaking the fabric in oil and then hanging it to dry. This process gives the fabric a distinctive smell and texture. Oilskin garments are typically made from heavy-duty cotton or canvas, and are commonly used by sailors, fishermen, and other outdoor enthusiasts.

Waxed Cotton

Waxed cotton, on the other hand, is a type of fabric that is treated with wax to make it waterproof. The wax is applied to the fabric using heat and pressure, which causes it to penetrate the fibers and create a barrier against moisture. Waxed cotton garments have a smooth, glossy finish and are often used in outdoor clothing such as jackets, hats, and bags.

Differences Between Oilskin and Waxed Cotton Garments

The main difference between oilskin and waxed cotton garments is the way they are treated to make them waterproof. Oilskin garments are treated with oil and paraffins, while waxed cotton garments are treated with wax. This difference in treatment also affects the way the garments look and feel. Oilskin garments have a rougher texture and a distinctive smell, while waxed cotton garments have a smooth, glossy finish.

Another difference between the two types of garments is their durability. Oilskin garments are typically more durable than waxed cotton garments, as the oil treatment helps to protect the fabric from wear and tear. However, oilskin garments can be more difficult to maintain and may require re-dressing over time. Waxed cotton garments, on the other hand, are easier to maintain and can last for many years with proper care.

Oilskin or Waxed Cotton. Which One Should You Choose?

When it comes to choosing between oilskin and waxed cotton garments, it really depends on your needs and preferences. If you are looking for a heavy-duty, durable garment that can withstand harsh weather conditions, then oilskin may be the best option for you. However, if you are looking for a garment that is easier to maintain and has a smoother, more polished look, then waxed cotton may be a better choice.

In conclusion, both oilskin and waxed cotton garments have their own unique characteristics and benefits. Understanding the differences between the two can help you make an informed decision when choosing the right garment for your needs. Whether you are a sailor, fisherman, or just someone who enjoys spending time outdoors, there is a type of waterproof garment that will meet your needs and keep you dry and comfortable in any weather. Check out our full range of oilskin gear here.

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melissa whillas
melissa whillas

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On average, women should order one size smaller for unisex sized garments (if you size to a 3XL in women's, order a XXL for unisex).

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Kakadu hats - or Mates as we often call them - come in all shapes and sizes so you're sure to find a Mate that suits you.   

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Kakadu hats - how to measure your head