Land Rover and Otter Wax
We recently started importing a range of products called ‘Otter Wax’ from the United States. Their core offering is a solid bar of blended waxes that can be applied to most fabrics to give a water proof finish. The Otter Wax Fabric Wax bar has just been featured in the September issue of Land Rover Owner International magazine as they felt it would appeal to their readers. As a subscriber to the magazine for many years I started to think about the link between Land Rover ownership and a love of the outdoors – and specifically in the UK that means attempting to stay dry.
I was recently told that young children playing with toy cars fall into two camps – those that choose the sports car and just want to go fast and those that gravitate to the trucks and just want to go through stuff. I was firmly in the truck camp – anything with big wheels. Lorries, tractors and anything 4x4 so I guess Land Rover ownership was only a matter of time. We are now on our third (Series III 109, early 110 and now a 1992 Defender 110) and can’t really see a time when we won’t have one in our lives. That bias also extends to two wheels with mountain bikes and MX being far more appealing than road cycling or sports bikes.
I’m also an outdoorsmen and struggle with spending long periods of time in cities. I think that’s the end result of that childhood obsession with trucks – leading to an adult lifestyle that can justify their ownership. Every Land Rover Defender owner knows deep down that they are not the most refined driving experience and have many a design ‘qwerk’ – banging elbows on doors and ineffective heaters etc. However they get under your skin like very few other vehicles. There’s an honesty to their design and function - they mostly just get on with the job at hand. So how does this all link to a bar of fabric wax. Modern waterproof fabrics are usually made of a nylon breathable membrane that then relys on a hydrophobic outer coating to work. There are various ‘flavours’ but they all roughly work in the same way and go under various ‘tex’ labels. They are certainly lightweight and usually breathable, when clean and new. That’s the issue though – these fabrics don’t function well when dirty and worn and that’s why I don’t think they really appeal to the majority of Land Rover drivers.
The alternative is a waxed cotton fabric – think Barbour or Belstaff etc. Not as technical as waterproof membrane but completely bullet proof. They just work whenever and whatever the weather is doing. They might be heavier and not as breathable but they’ll always keep you dry. The Otter Wax Fabric wax allows you to make your own waterproof jacket from a basic cotton coat. All you have to do is spend some time rubbing the bar on the surface of the fabric to build up a coating. It works best on natural fibres but you can try it on virtually anything.
There you have it – a durable waterproof jacket that can be restored whenever you choose and will keep going indefinitely ..... a bit like your Land Rover.