Whitewater Rafting, SUP, Torrential Downpours, Excessive Happy Crying and Hot Yoga Sweat. Just A Few Things That Require Further Inquiry Into The Well-Designed World of Water-Repellent Bags.
Friday Greetings, Pumpkinheads. While everyone around us is frantically gathering Halloween decorations, touching up their zombie makeup and honing their focus on lollies (both giving and receiving), we here on Sydney Road are thinking about more practical matters. Namely, staying dry when you're surrounded by water. Rain, Ocean, Harbour. Lake. What can we say? You ponder it when you live on a Peninsular.
Staying Dry. It’s a Thing.
The origins of waterproofing run deep. Paranomasia! But how the heck did waterproofing come about in the world? Hold tight, and lemme spill the tea. The first uses of waterproofing can be traced back to the American Indians, who used natural latex (a fancy word for rubber) extracted from trees, which they would slather all over the things they wanted to keep dry. It's weird imagery, but that’s supposedly how the story went.
Then Charles Macintosh Entered The Chat.
Charlie Macintosh was a Scotsman and a Chemist and somewhat of an inventor. Amongst various things, he came up with the useful idea of a waterproof raincoat. (Begone Umbrellas! But don’t. We might still need them. Blunt umbrellas are too beautiful to say no to.) But we digress. Macintosh experimented with a chemical called Naphtha, ultimately leading to his invention of a waterproof, rubberised fabric. Handy stuff, Charlie.
AKA waterproof cloth garments. They were used/worn by sailors and anyone who worked in areas exposed to water. Think of a raincape covered in linseed oil and paint. This might not conjure the most romantic imagery (who knows, it might!), but bear with us. The modern oilskin fabric we know and love today was invented by a Kiwi named Edward Le Roy in 1898. This invention conceived an idea that developed into synthetic materials being custom-made for water-proofing and repelling. So modern!
The Science Behind the Duck’s Back
As many modern things are, the inspiration behind this ‘oil tech’ is in nature. Duck Nature, to be precise. There is documented research showing how water slides off a duck’s back. Amazing. (When I read back over that, all that comes to mind is the image of a duck in a lab coat.) But don’t mind me; let an expert from The Missouri Department of Conservation explain:
“A gland near their tail, known as the uropygial or preen gland, has a wax-like, oily substance. Ducks dip their bills into it and spread it over their feathers from head to tail. This makes water literally roll off their backs, keeping them dry, warm, and afloat.”
The oily sheen also helps male ducks (drakes) attract females for mating. Brings a whole new meaning to the slickback. It's a bit like having styling gel tucked under your armpit at all times. And Fun Fact: the official term for a slick-back from a hairdresser is called a “ducktail”. The visual identity of disaffected males works in mysterious ways. What happened to their coiffure when it rained, though? Not a lot probably! Which is -of course- the point.
Pluviophiles Take Note.
Quite aside from keeping your oily hairdo dry, if you enjoy watching a light drizzle in situ but don’t want to get your valuables wet, Pulp has some choices. Cue checklist:
These super-friendly pouches, bags and carry-alls can be used to tote e-devices, slick back combs, in fact anything you’d like to protect from the wild worldly ways of wet weather.
That’s it. That’s all she wrote. xx