2012-01-10 06:01 pm (UTC)
I had an Air Force parka in the 1970s, as did my father. They were far, far, less warm than the sorts of coats I have been talking about in the previous post on this. Around 1980 I got an Eddie Bauer top-of-the-line expedition parka; THAT is seriously warm (I walked a mile or so at -40 before wind-chill in it; could have used something heavier on my legs though).
I don't really know what level of warmth you actually need. I certainly found that standing around waiting for things takes a MUCH warmer coat than actively doing things, though.
I do like the Eddie Bauer, and it's popular with the journalists who stand out in front of the white house all winter waiting for things to happen, but I think they're all goose down. Another option may be something not as well rated plus an electric vest as one of the layers....
Check out ScottEVest, they make a really good jacket I can vouch for, I got it for my BF. It's got a million pockets, and plenty warm.
I think it was the Revolution Plus.
This may not be warm enough for you, but it generally is for me. It's a North End 3-in-1 Techno Performance jacket,
which has a warm zip-out fleece jacket that's all I wear most of the time, and a lightly insulated outer shell that zips over that when it's really cold. When it gets below about 20-25°, I wear the two together, or I wear my heavy leather jacket.
This has lots of pockets in both parts, and my smaller lenses fit happily in the fleece's pockets along with my gloves.
Of course, mine is red and says "Cornell Hockey" on it. I think you should get one that says "Breakfast with Roswell Road Crew." Make people wonder.
2012-01-10 06:39 pm (UTC)
I suspect there's some lack of communication on what kind of "cold" is being talked about, so I just brought that up directly in another comment a minute ago.
20-25 is fairly warm. "Pretty cold" is around 0. "Very cold" is around -15. I've been out at -40 (a temperature I especially like because it's the same in C and F).
I would say that $300 doesn't sound like a whole lot when considering that you might have this coat for the next 25 years. Given the way you hung onto your previous coat, if the one that's $300 is exactly what you want, maybe it's a totally justifiable expense.
Hmmm. ... this might be just the kind of sense that needs to be talked into me....
2012-01-10 06:35 pm (UTC)
Parka, Parka...who's got the Parka??
All for the Air Force Parka... WHY?? It has that "COOL" style to it that just fits. It's got that old timey (70's) look too.. I suppose warmth might need to be weighed as well, but knowing many other surplus items, they tend to do the trick... I had an army mummy bag that absolutely rocked as a young adult..and lets face it... if you were hanging out in Philly back in the day and you saw some cool dude walk by sporting the AF Parka, you'd be like "WOW, I wanna be like that guy"..Superstar.
2012-01-10 08:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Parka, Parka...who's got the Parka??
I had the exact same jacket, I wouldn't recommend it. It's horribly bulky and uncomfortable, and there are much better options out there. When it comes to cold weather outwear there have been major advances since that jacket came out. I'd suggest taking a trip to REI or other such outdoor supplier and look at brands like Northface, Helly Hanson, and Mountain Hardwear. Most of the best lightest jackets employ down feathers in them, but there are some other options in their lineups. They may even have synthetic options.
Buy the one from Wiggy's. Really. Stint yourself on a couple of things. A guaranteed-warm winter coat is worth giving up a few other things for.
Wow. I can be like "Well, Emma Freaking Bull told me to do it."
Am I seeing you guys this week???
Spend the extra money on the durable Wiggy's coat. Unless you think it's too warm for you. But standing around in cold? Worth it.
In your business, I would buy the $300.00 coat,
if it was the best fit for your requirements.
But you aren't me.
How many colds?
How much downtime?
Does it take to justify the cost?
How much would Kambriel want to make the coat of your dreams?
Oooh, the coat of my dreams would have bat wings.....
I'm going to also weigh in on the side of "it's an investment - go ahead and spend the dough." In mathing, if you have it for, say, three years, it'll be $100 per year; if you get a $100 coat and it only lasts you one year, well, it's the same value, innit? Besides, better to go with what you know you'll like. What if the one-of-a-kinds don't fit? Or aren't all they're cracked up to be?
I don't think I can help with the patch, but I'll happily make you a watch cap once you decide on your coat. ^__^
Mark me as another vote for the more expensive coat if it looks right for you. This is part of your work and you WILL wear it till it falls off you. So cost per wear will wind up as nothing and the coat as a bargain!
The Wiggy's parka is serious business -- 80 below? Is non-trivial cold. One thing you might want to ask is -- will it be too warm in more-normal-for-Philly-or-even-Central-Maine temperatures? I, for instance, (living in Central Maine as I do) have three winter coats:
a waist-length, fleece-lined water-resistant jacket for those days going into and coming out of winter when it might hit 40F or go down to 28F
a hip-length, fleece-lined gore-tex-reinforced, waterproof hooded parka for most winter days here -- 25F to 0F or even -5F
and a knee-length goose-down (sorry) coat that's sorta like a quilt with sleeves with a waterproof shell and a wide, thick fleece collar for those days when it's -20F and a windchill that takes it down into there-is-no-number-that-low.
Somebody suggested one of the Scott eVest coats, which might be worth looking into. You can always fit a fleece vest into one of the pockets, for emergencies.
These are all very good points. I do have a whole bunch of coats for various temperatures. the one that's dead now is the serious cold weather one.
I voted for the Air Force one on style/looks alone, but I think $300 is entirely fair to pay for a GOOD winter coat that will last. Seriously. It's not that much spread over the years you'll be using it, and a serious winter coat is definitely an article of clothing where you need to make sure you get quality.
2012-01-10 10:01 pm (UTC)
That's right about what I paid for the Eddie Bauer Expedition Parka -- in the late 1970s, at employee discount. They've actually held their price pretty much, resisting inflation.
Staying warm in that kind of weather is NOT cheap, no. Priceless, though.
If you love your coat, perhaps you can get a seamstress or tailor to repair it? I know how hard it is to let go of something that's exactly what you need, and sometimes you can get a few more years out of something with the right expert repairs.
2012-01-10 09:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Another option...
I second this. And the vintage AF coat is a bad idea - they're not warm enough and are uncomfortable.
You may do well, however, to go to a good military surplus store; my BF has purchased two of their newer layered parkas and been very happy with them. One was army, the other I'm unsure about; they start with a gore-tex type shell, then have removable inside layers of fleece or quilted fabric then fleece. And loads of big pockets, hoods (one folding the other not), etc.
From the choices you picture, I think both would serve, but the vintage Air Force parka has the edge on looking just that much cooler, so I voted for that one. If you really want the waist and hem cinches, ignore all of us and get the Primaloft one.
Since I've yet to find anything that will keep me warm enough, I have no other recommendations, though I will say that the kind of coat/parka that has zip linings for extra insulation might be something to look at . Mountaineering stores have that kind of thing.
IIRC the AF parka is available in a variety of conditions.
The one I wore in Korea was marked, "EXTREMELY COLD WEATHER"
It was rather toasty and I've often wished I'd had chosen the option to buy it for its depreciated value when I left. While the Wiggy's is nice looking, I love how the parka manages to say "fashion aware" without implication of survivalist.
Nothing says "I have escaped from the BLOB" like an old Air Force parka!
There's a pretty awesome military surplus store on Chestnut, same block as Blick. Their selection is pretty vast.
Thanks for the goose-plucking video. I've been looking for documentary evidence of that.
I have a parka very much like the Air Force one... and I don't think I'd recommend it. Its best features are its length and the copious pockets (the biggest can hold a _small_ notebook). If it had a big, external belt, I'd be very happy with it.
But given your travel habits and work requirements, I'd give some thought to that Antarctic jacket. It's a work expense. And think of it this way. If you wear the coat over twenty years, then that's what, fifteen bucks a year?
2012-01-11 01:58 pm (UTC)
Yep. I actually had written an addendum to my earlier comment, but forgot to log in prior to sending into the abyss. So it apparently didn't make it... BUT I shall re-write the impo-tent stuff.. I too suggested LL Bean if the AF Parka's warmth is a concern. I live in Maine and do have the benefit of walking into the store to shop, but you will never get better service regarding questions via phone than these guys. The quality is unmatched, but you do pay for it.. The real benefit to LL Bean stuff is it is guanteed for life. If it falls off of you 20 years from now due to normal wear and tear, you can return it for a brand spanking new one..I don't know of any other company that does this... You might also look online for $$$ off coupons/specials. They are out there. I still vote for the AF Parka, but certainly LL Bean is a good place for other options.
Primaloft is available by the yard so perhaps having kambriel
stitch up a primaloft lined victorian 3/4 coat with shoulder cape and detachable hood is an option. An Australian Drover coat is a good design, too. Folkwear patterns has a pattern for the latter http://folkwear.com/137.html
--MadelineEdited at 2012-01-11 02:51 am (UTC)
oh wow. that would be dreamy wouldn't it? a custom kambriel parka???
be still my heart.
2012-01-11 03:24 am (UTC)
Hit up the Army Surplus stores...
Those coats look a lot like the standard issue ones for the snow regions.
I think I'm with those saying to get the $300 coat. Unless, of course, it's going to be TOO warm.
My biggest concern in buying a vintage/pre-owned coat is that sometimes they have odors that just do not come out. If you can't be there in person to inspect it with both eyes and nose, there's no telling what might happen...
My sister got a wonderful looking wool coat at the Army Navy Surplus one year (I think she was maybe 15), only to get it home and find it smelled really badly in the underarm area and no amount of cleaning ever made it less reeksome.
I would really advise you to get something you can try on first (and slip equipment in its pockets too).