The Caped Crusader Part II - Reproofing waxed cotton



It's been about 18 months since I wrote my original review of the Carradice Duxback rain cape and about 2 1/2 years since I bought it new.  It's become an indispensable part of my cycling equipment which gives me the capability to cycle anytime despite the weather, well that is short of a hurricane or blizzard.  However in recent months I've noticed that the waterproofness of the cape has been a little lacklustre.  Noticeably, the most exposed parts of the cape, such as the arms, shoulders and collar tend to soak through to my clothes in a downpour.  I went ahead and ordered some reproofing wax from Carradice, at only £4 a pop it's quite cheap if you only have to do it every few years.


The wax itself is another brand which Carradice sticks their own sticker over, it comes in a nice little tin full of what appears to be paraffin wax.  Carradice puts their own set of instructions on how to reproof which I mostly followed, here's my how-to guide:

What you'll need:
- Reproofing wax or similar
- Clean cotton rags
- Ironing board
- Hot water or candles to heat the wax
- Hairdryer
- Coathanger

1. Heat the wax & clean the cape
Let it sit in some boiling water for a few minutes to liquify and soften the wax a bit.  Alternately perch it over some candles and come back in about 5-10 minutes, this option is better because it keeps it warm while you are reproofing.  Whilst you are waiting for the wax to heat up, go over the cape with a brush or a rag and clean off any dirt or debris from the surface of the cape.


With the wax nice and soft we are ready to go!  Be careful around hot wax as it can burn or spill onto other objects if you aren't careful.  If you are heating the wax in hot water, be sure not to get the water mixed up into the tin, another reason to perch it over candles.



2. Apply the wax
With the wax hot and the cape cleaned of debris, lay the cape onto a nice flat surface, something like an ironing board is ideal.  Get a decent smudge of wax onto your rag (I used a cutoff from an old pair of jeans) and rub it into the surface, making sure you try to get a nice even layer.  You should be able to get a reasonably even finish that makes the cotton look like it's damp.



3. Heat it up and rub
Once you have rubbed it in as evenly as you can, use the hairdryer to heat up the wax over a large area whilst rubbing it in again.  The heat should make the wax melt a bit and shine like it's wet, give it a rub in a broad motion to distribute the wax evenly and deeply into the cotton. Repeat the application and hairdrying steps to the entire cape, give priority to the most exposed parts.  Namely the front of the cape, shoulders, arms and upper back as these are the parts that get most wet typically.  Try not to overdo any particular area the first time around so you'll have enough for the whole cape.  The 40ml tin I had was enough for my super sized Duxback cape.


4. Wax the seams
Make sure you apply a little extra wax to the seams, try to rub it into the crevices of the seams, use the hairdryer again to melt it into the seams and rub it over to distribute.



5. Hairdry and rub
Once the whole cape has had the wax, heat and rub routine done to it, go over it again bit by bit with the hairdryer and rub in the wax again to make sure it is evenly spread over the whole cape.


6. All done
After these steps you should have a nicely reproofed cape ready for many more rainy rides.  Hang up the cape, have a look for any spots you have missed.  After that is done hang it up to air for a bit and get ready for the next rainy day.  Thanks for reading and happy riding.


2 comments:

  1. Hey mate, i know this is an old post but hows the cape holding up and for 170cm tall person should i go with the standard size

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  2. Hey there, I actually stopped using it a while ago as I couldn't ever really get it to completely waterproof. Also the size and weight of it became a bugbear, I now use an agu track http://www.agu.com/poncho%12s

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