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I have great enthusiasm for Smocks. Every year as the weather turns cold, I search for the latest and best gear.

I love the outdoors and won't let it curtail my walks. I want something comfortable, as weatherproof as possible, warm and windproof but not sweaty, attractive and allows total freedom of movement. It must also be silent and not prone to catch fire and melt to my body in a ball of flame.

I have collected them to the point where I have (almost) more jackets than slingshots and they take up more space in my wardrobe than any other kinds of clothes. That's even after I weed out the weakest examples keeping only the best.

These days I have:

Cotton military smock with dropliner. This has great breathability, but the cover and pockets offer little protection from rain.

Paramo Analogy smock. This aces the dropliner, but it's baggy and sloppy looking.

Snowsled ventile closed front. A great jacket for autumn and to sleep in but only passable waterproof qualities, too tight for a heavy midlayer. Not enough pocket space.

SAS ventile smock. More pocket space and effective DPM pattern. Super comfortable. Limited waterproofing.

Westwinds Ventile jacket. This is smarter than the foregoing jackets, with an all woodland green colour, foldaway hood and zippers over internal pockets; it's a real gentleman's jacket. However, it's not as all-weather-capable as the Paramo and not as rugged and festooned with generous pockets as the SAS smock.

Howies Hand Me Down Ventile shell and Tweed liner. Super pricey, but the best watrproofing of all the Ventile. Smart, but no hood which I often find myself needing.

Howies Epic Jacket. Not totally silent. Thin but has space to add layers. Breathable.

Howies Long Road Home Jacket. Bonded C-membrane has magical waterproofing without getting sweaty because its permeability is temprature dependent. But it's loud. Not loud like a typical plastic jacket, but I wouldn't like to stalk in it.

Arcterix SPM Jacket. Somewhat sweaty and too tight but totally downpour proof.

Burton Thinsulate Snowboarding top. Waterproof and warm, but I look like a lost skier. Too visable in light blue. Great access to inside pockets.

Gitzo press jacket. Padded contact points. Total waterproofing. Very configurable. Long body with big side zip. Excellent for bird watching. I can carry a day sack's worth of gear, even a Hennessy Hammock in one pocket.

What's your favourity jacket(s)?
 

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My cowhide 'Bikers' jacket, my Barbour (Hoggs of Fife really) and the best of all, my military issue woolen blanket, which goes with me wrapped in paracord, whenever I go out .... there's nothing like it, it's without doubt the best piece of clothing I have ... I really do use it for everything I can think of, and I sewed a couple of pieces of cord to it, so I can wear it like a cloak ... it's a temperature regulating, fire proof, wind proof, water proof covering, which I use can use for anything my imagination can put it to ... I really love that blanket ... I should get a spare ... and it serves as excellent camouflage .... can be used as a stretcher ... a rudimentary water filter ... you can tear off a bit and use it for fire lighting ... it still regulates temperature whilst wet, as the individual hairs contain pockets of air ... it can be picked apart and spun into cord ... I can sleep on it or under it ... it can withstand the tough plants and rocks of hard terrain, being so densely packed ... it can be used as a towel ... a sunshade ... and many more ... I really love that blanket.
 

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I have great enthusiasm for Smocks. Every year as the weather turns cold, I search for the latest and best gear.

I love the outdoors and won't let it curtail my walks. I want something comfortable, as weatherproof as possible, warm and windproof but not sweaty, attractive and allows total freedom of movement. It must also be silent and not prone to catch fire and melt to my body in a ball of flame.

I have collected them to the point where I have (almost) more jackets than slingshots and they take up more space in my wardrobe than any other kinds of clothes. That's even after I weed out the weakest examples keeping only the best.

These days I have:

Cotton military smock with dropliner. This has great breathability, but the cover and pockets offer little protection from rain.

Paramo Analogy smock. This aces the dropliner, but it's baggy and sloppy looking.

Snowsled ventile closed front. A great jacket for autumn and to sleep in but only passable waterproof qualities, too tight for a heavy midlayer. Not enough pocket space.

SAS ventile smock. More pocket space and effective DPM pattern. Super comfortable. Limited waterproofing.

Howies Hand Me Down Ventile shell and Tweed liner. Super pricey, but the best watrproofing of all the Ventile. Smart, but no hood which I often find myself needing.

Howies Epic Jacket. Not totally silent. Thin but has space to add layers. Breathable.

Howies Long Road Home Jacket. Bonded C-membrane has magical waterproofing without getting sweaty because its permeability is temprature dependent. But it's loud. Not loud like a typical plastic jacket, but I wouldn't like to stalk in it.

Arcterix SPM Jacket. Somewhat sweaty and too tight but totally downpour proof.

Burton Thinsulate Snowboarding top. Waterproof and warm, but I look like a lost skier. Too visable in light blue. Great access to inside pockets.

Gitzo press jacket. Padded contact points. Total waterproofing. Very configurable. Long body with big side zip. Excellent for bird watching. I can carry a day sack's worth of gear, even a Hennessy Hammock in one pocket.

What's your favourity jacket(s)?
So is the Gitzo press jacket your current favorite?
 

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interesting topic.

i have an old carhart jacket that has been worn so much it just the most comfortable jackeet i have. unfortunatly, now that the duck cloth is getting nicely broke in, the cuffs are starting to fray. admitedly, it isn't the most funtional jacket but i still love it.

more and more I am not wearing a single jacket, even in a Minnesota winter. layering with wool keeps me warm even when sitting while bowhunting. One of my favorite articles of clothing is a filson wool vest. It is a dense wool like the blanket whipcrack descibed but not bulky like a down vest. if i wear a long sleeve shirt then my Filson vest, then a wool sweater, topped off with a thin outer shell for wind and water i will be warm in the coldest weather Minnesota has to offer.

Another cold weather favorite of mine is a Stormy Kromer hat, i just love the look, tradition, versatility, and warmth of a Kromer.

see a theme? I love wool.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have no absolute favourite, Louis, or I would have given up the rest. Each one is specialised in some way. When I'm on a shoot, the Gitzo is fantastic. It does away with the need for a camera bag and makes my work process much more convenient. It's uselss for sneaking up on wildlife though. For birds, you just take up a fixed position and accept whatever weather comes.
On the whole, I'm not keen on synthetics. I've mentioned the clever C-Membrane. It's breathable, but loud. The dropliner is breathable and quiet but the shell gets soaked. The others are not really breathable, loud and not always waterproof. The best synthetic is Analogy, but it's scruffy looking like a Korean War era flight jacket and it costs a fortune in special detergents to clean.

Like most outdoorsy people, I prefer natural fibres. Cotton is comfortable, breathable and quiet, but it soaks up water and loses its insulating properties. There are three ways clever textile designers have tackled this. The first is the dropliner, which can be retrofit, and keeps you dry inside, if cold. Ventile is a special cotton Garbardine weave that soaks water at first but then clogs. It has to be specially lauindered and then sprayed with a proofing liquid. Then there's Epic, which is cotton fibres impregnated with waterproofing fluid so the coating can't wash or wear off. It's a strange hybrid that is waterproof like plastic, but not as breathable and quiet as cotton. Besides the jacket, I have a pair of jeans made from Epic that is so waterproof, it needs holes in the back pockets because they litrally fill with water. OTOH, you can't sleep in them or wear them in Hong Kong in any season but winter. I've tried waxed cotton too. I've a Drizabone pull over smock that is likewise only for deep winter in HK, but it's not as waterproof or breathable or light as Epic and it occasionally need re-waxing. Back to Ventile, I have a Ventile poncho. It's not much use as a poncho. It's heavy; heavier yet when wet. It doesn't keep me dry and it has no liner. The only reason I still have it (besides having spent a king's randsom on it) is it's an excellent lean-to tarp for a shelter with an open woodfire. A regular poncho would risk burning or melting, but Ventile is pretty close to flame proof, especially when damp or wet. If you can get cotton to char, you've been extremely silly. I have never seen cotton fabric burn by accident. I once had a polyprolylene shell catch fire. Thankfully it was hung over the back of a chair, not on my back when it ignited. It went up like napalm. It stuck to the chair and burned like a heatwave in hades. That's why I don't camp alone in synthetics. No, Ventile is your buddy. I'd rather be wet at a barbeque than toasty and barbecued.

The combination of a Ventile shell over wool is excellent. My Hand Me Down jacket seemed at first to be silly; I normally associate tweed with outer layers. Tweed is the Englishman's traditional outdoors jackt cloth. It is hard wearing, not particularly absorbent and warm when wet. That's the advantage of wool. I mostly wear woolen midlayers. It's more expensive than acrylic, but a blessing when you're cold and wet with no dry clothes and you won't stink quite so bad after a week as you would in synthetics. I've always had a problem with wool being 'scratchy' until I found Merino. Now, I wear woolen merino midlayers and even underlayers, though silk is still king as an underlayer.

Right now, I'm wearing a traditional Chinese Meen Lap. It's crushed raw silk with a fluffy cotton inner layer. It's fantastic as long as there's no risk of rain or abrasive surfaces; more of a housecoat or gentleman's jacket, but super comfortable.
I didn't mention leather as I wouldn't ever wear it on the hills. It's no more waterproof than Ventile and weight for weight far inferior to wool for insulation.

Not that all skins are so. When it's so cold that your breath freezes on your whiskers you can't beat fur. Reindeer or seal skin. Not that I have any, living in the tropics and being mildly allergic to fur!

I'm also mildly allergic to feathers, but that doesn't keep me from down. It's worth spending money on decent 100% goose down. It has a super-high insulation value too. Down seems to expand to fill every available space, so it can fill out a large shell smock without much weight. It compresses well which means you can pack it away when you're over heating. I can be a problem though, when you sit or lie on the ground, it just sucks the heat out of you, through a nasty combination of loft compression, conduction and damp. Wool is a little better than some materials in this respect, but nothing beats closed cell foam. My Gitzo jacket and SAS Ventile Smock both have fanny pockets for this. Sometimes I use a sheet of thin campmat with a reflective liner and sometimes I use neoprene.
 

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Nice thread. Beeing a long time long range motoryclist most ofl my outdoor jackets have to deal with this sport. I naturally swear for leather, particulliary thick horsehide. So I wear classic Aerolether Cafè Racer jacket, or a Perfecto jacket made in Italy by Bitlis wich is a wellknown craftmn, in horse skinn, or other havvy steer hide jackets some I have from more that 20 yearse and are still funcionals as famed Dainese motor's Jackets. I have also a cotton waxed Belstaff 4 pockets (hot in summer, cold in winter and with wax that pollute every one near you and your's own dressees) and a similar one with removable linning and interely made with brethable textures such Goretex or similar. Have also climbing jacket made By deutch Saleva bit use it only when cycling.
Ps some military jackets like the worldwide famous Us M65 have a place in my hart and in my wardrobe just because so functional an clever
 

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I use my military poncho in a similar way, when the weather is warm. And I'd love to try Horse-hide! I don't think I've ever seen horse leather ... does anyone have a Barbour?
You can find the best horse hide motor-jackets from.... U.K. Aeroleather, they are known worlwide, andcan vant along experience in Pilot Vesting. Horse front quarter skin is suppose to be more durable, more waterprof and scatterproof thand steer hide (but I don't even know if it rearly worth the difference in price). have a look here aeroleather and here italian horse perfecto
clicking to the first dot on the left with written in the word giubbotti and then on the right low arrow untill the third jacket (just the copy of the one famed from Marlon Brando with red linning) you willfeel the difference in shinig and texuters of the hide from the first two (both steer) and this one (thick horse leather)
Ps in both place (Uk and Italy) horses are supposed to be dead naturally and not killed to make you a jacket.
Yes I have ad a Barbour in the past, but not any more. As said it was cold in winter and hot in spring and fall. An needed long care re-waxing after any wash. And my hands were always waxed too, when I had it on
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
When I used to ride bikes, leather was the material. I had a Fieldsheer jacket and that hide saved my hide a few times. One time I was taken out by an orange mini who accelerated to overtake and came in so close that he knocked my front wheel sideways. The only impact points were the clocks and the top of my helmet. There was plenty of sliding though, and the leather saved me from all but a bruise and a friction burn on my hip from my briefs, not the road. I still have a Schott Perfecto Brando replica, with red lining and on the back a big painting of Salvador Dali's Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening (link; mild nudity) by Lynn Owens of English Warlords. It was a daily user for years and is now laid down for my daughter when she grows into it. I wouldn't consider it weather-proof, though.

The bike jacket I would most like to own nowadays is a Belstaff Trialmaster; the iconic jacket worn by Che Guevara on his legendary trans-American ride and worn by him in the famous photo Guerrillero Heroico by Alberto Korda. Politics aside, it's a gorgeous jacket.
 

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you are right Dan. No leather is waterprof. But It happens to take a shower while riding and get whet before you can stop. Here is where the difference between hides, and treatmentes, come in play. Some get deeply soacked. Someothers can stand also a good amount of whater. When You can stop and drop in a protective gear youll find how bad is a long travel into a sauna.here are my loved bike, am am not still young (except in my head) but still ride an amount af 30k kilometers a year, at least
 

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Philly
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I am with the Gopher, C. C. Filson makes some of the best wool garments around, 26 oz pure wool. Thier Macinaws and vests are very warm and wear like iron. The only reason to buy a replacememt is not for wear but change in size over the years. I too like Carharrt, very tough garments.
Philly
 
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