by: James Sherard
You're cruising down your favorite country road on what started out to be a text-book-perfect
day for riding. Without warning, the sky turns an ominous shade of grey. A huge menacing cloud
, swollen and black, suddenly releases a torrent of rain. In a matter of moments you're drenched
and shivering from the cold....
Like most seasoned bikers, I've been searching in vain for the the ideal rain-gear to protect
myself from the elements without having to compromise on freedom of movement. Luckily a
few months back, a friend, who is an avid horseback rider, turned me on to the perfect solution.
The oilskin coat:
From it's humble beginning as the monsoon cape worn hundreds of years ago by sailors
worldwide, Australian oilskin coats, jackets and pants have evolved into the emblem of those
looking for the ultimate in harsh weather protection.
It all began in 1890 when a Scottish sailor by the name of Edward LeRoy discovered that torn
sails from his ship could be recycled into long coats by treating the canvas material with a
mixture of various oils. This transformed them into superb wet weather gear.
Word spread land-side about the effectiveness of LeRoy's coats in rain and cold, and settlers of
the outback acquired this legendary waterproof material to protect themselves from the severe
weather of the Australian Bush.
The oilskin coat was further adapted to life inland by adding an extension in the back of the
garment to protect the seat of the horse rider's saddle, in addition to leg straps to keep the coat
securely in place during strong wind, and sleeves that were extra long to protect the arms while
Continuing on with this tradition, modern oilskin clothing is designed with the same wet
weather-proofing techniques in mind.
Made of tightly woven 100% cotton that is infused with a unique natural oil based formula,
oilskin apparel offers maximum defense against snow, wind, and rain. Oilskin coats, jackets and
pants provide an impenetrable water barrier that keeps you bone dry and able to keep riding,
even through the heaviest rain.
Unlike many synthetics this material also has a very natural feel, and offers excellent breath-
ability, allowing body moisture to escape, ensuring the driest ride possible.
The drawstring waist and gusseted rear vent enables you to slip the jacket over the back so water
runs off the bike, leaving your seat dry. Snap together straps also secures the coat around your
legs when the wind kicks up.
And since the oil blend is not water soluble, any incidence of water touching the fabric simply
runs off, ensuring total weather protection for motorcyclists who need to stay warm and dry,
even under the most challenging conditions.
This article was posted on October 03, 2006