View Full Version : Waterproof cotton material?

14th Jan 2009, 23:33
Hi folks,
A few months ago on here I read a post which included something about what I remember to be a cotton-based waterproof material starting I think with V. It was an English invention/company and the shirts I found cost nearly £100 but I didn't bookmark the site and have spent an hour trying to find the thread or material. Google is obviously not my best friend right now.

Can anyone help?
Does anyone have any clothing of the type mentioned?
Is it good stuff in the rain forest?

Thanks, in advance.

15th Jan 2009, 00:12

Google it...

15th Jan 2009, 07:58
That's the one. Many thanks.

15th Jan 2009, 08:14
So my oiled Australian paddock jacket is obsolete? Damn fine jacket, served me well for a long long time. Smells a bit what with the oiling but does it's job admirably.

15th Jan 2009, 11:04
Not sure but don't think so. Really heavy cotton, layered then oiled. Nothing gets through even in a driving gale.

15th Jan 2009, 11:09
I believe that Mr Draper has a pile of ladies' waterproof canvas knickers that he's keen to offload. :E

15th Jan 2009, 11:20
Ms SIN, *SNAP* :)

15th Jan 2009, 12:38
Sorry to divert the thread away from a possibly rich seam of material........

Ventile it is. I'm a big fan for wet weather jackets and trousers. It makes a fine rustle free, soft and effective waterproof outer garment, but next to your sweaty torso it is not pleasant. If you wear a cotton t-shirt under it then its fine, but don't buy a shirt for wearing next to the skin.
It is extremely finely woven cotton which does indeed swell when wet to create an reasonably waterproof barrier. Probably just as good as gore-tex. It was commissioned by the British Army, I think, for its quietness compared to other waterproof materials. It is good, but its not widely available. My pride and joy is a well worn Barbour 'Arctic extreme' jacket made of the stuff. Barbour used it briefly a decade of so ago for a couple of jackets, but I don't think they do now.There used to be a small company called 'Westwind' I think, that made a wide range of clothes in Ventile too. Not sure if they still exist. I think that in the mainstream, maybe 'Howies' still use it for one or two items. They did the last time I looked a year or so ago. It isn't cheap stuff though!

Ventile knickers. Hmmm.

15th Jan 2009, 14:51
Yip, Ventile it is.

Been around since WW2.

Excellent stuff.

Ventile clothes here:-

Outdoor Clothing: birdwatching, walking, countrywear, Ventile, RSPB - Country Innovation (http://www.countryinnovation.com/)

Good company to deal with, too.

15th Jan 2009, 15:26
And there's an aviation content to it as well

The History of http://www.ventile.co.uk/ventile100.jpg
The long pedigree of the fabric goes back as far as the late 1930's. With war looming, the British government thought that there would be a shortage of flax that was used in those days for fire hoses and water buckets. An alternative was required and research was commenced into the use of cottons, woven in such a way as to keep water in ! And it worked.

The requirements for research though changed during World War II. Britain depended upon convoys carrying vital supplies, but our Russian convoys across the Arctic Ocean were particularly susceptible to attack from submarines and long - range bombers. Home based RAF fighter escort cover was impossible because of distance.
http://www.ventile.co.uk/spitfire.jpgSo, Winston Churchill promoted the concept of catapulting expendable Hurricane aircraft from the decks of merchant ships to provide local cover. There was no means of landing back on the deck. The pilot had the choice of ditching the aircraft or bailing out into the sea. There was no problem in spotting the pilots who had signals and lights, but the water was so cold that life expectancy was only a few minutes. Most died from exposure.

There was an urgent need for a new, protective clothing fabric that would be comfortable in the cockpit under combat conditions and that would also keep a pilot warm and dry in the sea.

After many trials, the scientists at the Shirley Institute in Manchester U.K. developed the fabric called 'Ventile'. When made into finished garments, life expectancy in the sea was extended from a few minutes to 20 minutes and rescue was now a real possibility. 80% of anti-submarine pilots who fell into the sea now survived.

Ventile® fabrics for RAF clothing went into mass production in 1943 and the military association still remains today. Garment designs have changed over the years but you will still find Ventile® suits in modern Tornado jets with the RAF and other NATO airforces.