From hats to bags to coats, oilskin has become a staple garment for many outdoor workers and adventure seekers. It is a popular choice of material not just today but throughout history—and for a good reason. 

Typically worn by sailors, fishermen, and others in wet areas, oilskin is basically a heavy cotton cloth waterproofed with oil. It was developed to address the need for something heavy-duty and protective amid the kind of natural elements sailors and others needed to endure. Today, oilskin has the ability to keep wearers dry amidst heavy rain and thunderstorms and withstand daily use on land. 

Needless to say, the iconic material is a common favorite because it provides comfort and style without sacrificing quality. Garments made with oilskin can last a lifetime, thanks to its sturdiness and waterproof functionality.

Let’s dive deeper and find out exactly why oilskin is getting a lot of love from those who value quality and durability. 

Oilskin was traditionally for sailors and fishermen.

Back in the day, it was the traditional attire of sailors and fishermen for venturing out at sea. New Zealander sailor Edward Le Roy developed the garment in 1898 by painting fabric with linseed oil and wax. Wet weather clothing was a necessity for their line of work because sailors and fishermen often faced extreme weather conditions.

Oilskin made waterproof clothing possible.

Waterproof clothing has been in use since the late 1700s and various methods have been used to make them. Staying dry is essential for comfort, and Le Roy knew it. Oilskin attire successfully provided them protection from the cold and endless ocean spray. The invention is highly effective and suitable for coats, hats, jackets, and trousers as well. Nowadays, water-resistant clothing is advantageous for any situation. You never know when you’ll need wet weather gear at any given moment!

Anyone can wear oilskin now.

Today, modern oilskins are more than just fishing apparel and workwear clothing. Anyone can choose to wear them depending on the need. There are plenty of options to choose from in addition to waterproof jackets or oilskin coats. For instance, you can find bucket hats to complete your attire, like the Buckleys Oilskin Bucket Hat in Brown. Not only will it keep you dry from the rain, but it will also shield you from the sun’s rays. There are even mesh ventilation eyelets to ensure that it remains breathable for long periods.

Buckleys Oilskin Bucket Hat in Brown

Oilskin material is secure and easy to clean.

Oilskin production is different now with rubberised or plastic-coated fabric, making it durable and very easy to clean. You can easily brush mud away or wipe down dirt with a wet cloth. For long travels and exciting adventures, Biker's Oilskin Jacket Bag in Black is your best bet. Keep your belongings safe and secure with a tight woven cotton canvas material made with Kakadu Microwax. To have more room for other necessities, you can easily roll up bucket hats when packing.

Biker's Oilskin Jacket Bag in Black

Oilskin can be reproofed.

It is natural for the water repellent agent in the oilskin to begin to diminish. Or perhaps, over time, the oil and wax coating may start to evaporate. But the good news is, you can simply reproof it. The process will involve cleaning, waxing, and other steps that are actually easy to do. Reproofing your oilskin will not only extend the waterproofing agent but also make it feel like you are wearing a brand-new piece of clothing. 


For best results, use the Microwax Reproofing Creme. This perfect tool for touch-up jobs can make your oilskin item look and feel good as new again, proving how reliable oilskin is.

Oilskin comes in different colors.

Originally, oilskin always had a yellow color due to the linseed oil. The garment would be soaked in boiled linseed oil for days before hanging it to dry. Afterward, it would be brushed with more linseed oil, making it very flammable. A black set of oilskin attire required you to add lamp soot. At present, however, it’s not as complicated anymore and there is a variety of colors to choose from. You can even sport the Pilbara Jacket in Tobacco paired with the Dalston Oilskin Bucket Hat in Olive to stay functional and stylish at the same time. 


December 17, 2020 — Silva Digital