Are duffle coats waterproof? Find out here

soho waterproof duffle coat uk

Our Soho contrast duffle coats are the most waterproof duffle coats we offer

One of our most-asked questions is whether our woollen duffle coats are waterproof or not. And coming a close second are questions about whether you can wear a duffle coat in the rain and, ‘will my duffle coat smell when it’s wet?’

So we decided to put all the questions and answers about waterproofing and duffle coats in one easy-to-read blog. And if you have any other questions about wool and waterproofing? Either leave a comment below, get in touch, or come and chat with us on Facebook.

Is wool waterproof?

The quick answer to this is no. It is not completely waterproof in the way that plastic is waterproof, but it IS water resistant. That’s because sheep naturally secrete a water resistant waxy substance called lanolin which coats their wool and helps repel the rain. Although a percentage of the lanolin is removed when sheep wool is prepared for use in clothing, some of it remains, giving your woollen clothes a degree of water resistance.

Can you wear a duffle coat in the rain?

Yes, a duffle coat that has a high percentage of wool, can be worn in the rain. Ideally, you would not wear a woollen coat in prolonged, heavy rain, but if it’s more of a light British drizzle, then it will be fine.

In fact, one of the remarkable qualities of wool is that not only is it water resistant (see above) it is hydrophilic. This technical sounding term simply means that wool is highly absorbent, able to absorb up to 35% of its own weight. So if you do end up getting a soaking while wearing your duffle coat, you’ll be spared the unpleasant feeling of water seeping through your clothes because the wool will absorb most of it. Which means that your duffle coat will be a lot heavier when wet, that’s a small price to pay for staying dry, right?

One other point to remember is that duffle coats were originally commissioned for use in the Royal Navy. Worn by officers and deck hands, the wool-rich duffle coats (and pea coats) would definitely have received a soaking. And yet the coat remained the garment of choice through two world wars and was even adopted by the land troops, most memorably by Lord Monty himself. If a duffle coat can survive years of hard service in the British Armed Forces, it will definitely come out of an April shower unscathed.

My duffle coat has got soaked, what should I do?

If your wool coat is very wet, leave it to drip dry in a warm place. We don’t advise hanging it over a radiator or heater as this could cause it to shrink.

Can I put my woollen coat in the tumble dryer?

Although some manufacturers may recommend this, we absolutely do not. Even on a low setting, the combination of direct heat and friction will cause your duffle coat to shrink.

My duffle coat has a strange smell to it, how can I get rid of it?

Can we just say that the smell of a damp duffle coat is one of our FAVOURITE smells? But we also understand that it’s not to everyone’s taste. The smell comes from a very natural place; sheep. Your woollen coat first started life on the back of a sheep and so if it gets very wet, it will give off a slightly ‘animal’ smell. It’s worth remembering that the smell isn’t just confined to duffle coats; any coat that is majority wool will smell similar when wet.

Once your duffle coat is dry the smell will usually dissipate, but if not, dry cleaning it will remove any lingering odour. (We always recommend that you dry clean your duffle coats.)

One final point to remember about woollen duffle coats is that over time they will mould to your body shape. It becomes ‘your’ duffle coat. And if your coat gets wet, this process is accelerated. So rather than being concerned if your duffle coat gets slightly wet, it’s almost a cause for celebration. The short-term dampness leads to long-term comfort.

Over to you

Any questions about wool, waterproofing and wearing duffle coats in the rain? Get in touch if you do.

Looking for a waterproof duffle coat?

Our Soho Contrast duffle coats have waterproof panels on the shoulders making them the most waterproof duffle coat that we offer.