What is a Wax Jacket?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 20 December 2019
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A wax jacket is a popular garment in the United Kingdom (UK). It's often worn for outdoor activities such as fishing and hunting. Wax jackets are typically hip or thigh length and have many pockets and a detachable hood. Versions of wax jackets are made by various companies in the UK and in other countries. The wax jacket gets its name from its waxed coating, which is designed to make the cotton coat water-resistant.

Mostly available in darker colors such as black, brown and olive, the detachable lining in a wax jacket is usually made from the Scottish plaid fabric called tartan. The soft tartan lining adds warmth in chillier weather and snaps out when only the waxed cotton shell is needed. The hoods of waxed jackets usually detach with snaps and also have a drawstring so that it can be pulled tight around the chin to help keep body heat in and protect the ears from wind. The collars of these jackets almost always have snaps so the collar may stay flat or be worn up to offer extra wind protection on the neck. Wax jacket collars are typically made from corduroy, which is a rugged fabric with textured lines.


The front of wax jackets typically has a flap of the waxed cotton fabric covering snap closures on the left side. This is the British convention of garment making. North American garments usually snap or button on the right. Wax jackets usually have a double zipper which means that it works from the top or bottom to allow the wearer to adjust the fit when sitting or standing. A wax jacket's sleeves tend to fit quite long and some of these jackets feature elasticized sleeves so the wearer can wear them pulled down to partially cover the hands or push them up on the wrists.

Wax jackets are known for having many pockets of all different sizes. Most of the pockets are outer ones, but many wax jackets include at least one inner pocket. The pockets allow storage for hunting and fishing tools and accessories. A wax jacket may even have a large pouch designed for carrying game birds.

Cleaning instructions are included with each jacket and should be followed to avoid ruining the coat. A wax jacket cannot be dry cleaned or washed using detergents. The most commonly suggested method for washing wax jackets at home is to hand wash them or place them in the gentle cycle of a washing machine. Once cleaned, the waxed surface is removed and needs to be replaced. Containers of wax dressing are sold for this purpose, or a wax jacket may be sent to a company specializing in recoating, or reproofing these jackets.


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Post 4

Never put a wax jacket in a washing machine or immerse in a tub for hand washing -- never. Spot washing with a sponge, inside and out is the only recommended way to clean. They are not easy to clean and that is their downside, along with being heavy.

Post 3

If you have a normal jacket, is it possible to turn it into an oilskin or waxed jacket on your own?

I have this cotton jacket that I'd really like to use as a waterproof wax jacket, but I'm not sure if it's possible for me to do it myself or if I need to just buy a wax jacket.

So can you tell me how to wax a jacket, or it it's even possible to do this on your own? I can send you more of a description of the jacket if need be, just let me know.


Post 2

My grandparents live in England, and neither one of them ever goes out without their Drizabone jacket in the trunk of the car (or boot, as they call it).

They love wearing those jackets because it so often randomly rains where they live that it's just better to have a general jacket than can repel water instead of a specific rain jacket that you pull out on specific days, like a lot of people do in America.

They're actually pretty fashionable too, so I'm thinking about getting one the next time I'm over to visit them -- their ladies wax jackets are actually quite nice. Of course for me it will probably end up being more of a rain jacket than a general jacket, but that's OK -- they work equally well for both purposes!

Post 1

Wax jackets make fantastic barn jackets, for those of you with horses or livestock. The British wax jackets are the best, since they're the most waterproof wax jackets that I've found.

These jackets are just great for outdoor work because besides being waterproof, they're really strong as well, and having the 8,000 pockets helps a lot too. Of course if you're like me then you end up forgetting which pocket you put stuff in, but eventually you'll find it.

Besides, the wax covering on the outside of the jacket also helps keep it from getting too smelly, which can also be a concern with barn jackets if you're fastidious about that sort of thing.

So if you work a lot outdoors or with animals, you should really consider getting a wax cotton jacket -- they may be a little expensive, but I've never regretted the investment.

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