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Thread: What IS the best bushcraft Jacket?

  1. #1
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    After Monk's post about Barbours, a few people commented "But it's not the best for bushcraft"

    So....in your opinion what IS the best Bushcraft jacket for this funny little changeable Island we live on??

    I think the SASS Gaberdine smock looks the business (although I don't own one) So what are your thoughts ?? :-)
    http://www.bushcraftuk.com/forum/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=2  66&dateline=1221166572

  2. #2
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    I like so many others thought Ventile was the bees knees mainly due to blindly following someone on the TV and at the time lacking experience or fore thought myself.

    While Ventile is without a doubt very good, being tough and windproof, I would question people who claim it to be waterproof.It becomes stiff when wet and takes an age to dry. And more importantly it doesnt come cheap. Having said all that it would still be my second choice for a jacket in most cases.

    Cotton Gaberdine as in SAS or Arctic smocks was and probably is still what most soldiers would opt for - preferring a quick drying material that is still windproof. However cotton gaberdine tends to tear if you just look at it. And being generally less active than squaddies we bushcraft must approach this with caution too.

    Poly/cotton, like the army lightwieghts are made of, would therefore seem the best of both worlds. Tough yet quick drying and usually available at a half decent price. But what jackets are there out there?

    I can name but two, although I am sure many more of you can name others. The first is a Norwegian army ski anorak - these seem to have the usual features of the classic windproof smock (and you can even look like a real Telemark hero) and the ones I've seen are around £30 but I dont like the over head features and so havent bought one. The other jacket, and my first choice these days, is the US M65 jacket. The pockets may not be as bulgy as the SAS smock but then I dont need to carry that much in them - cary less by ........ whats the saying? And I have a daysack which takes my bulky gear. But what I like most about the M65 is it drys really quick and is a fairly tough jacket that is still safe around the campfire. Plus - if you find the right retailer, you can also get the Liner included in the price (dont go to silvermans as they will rip you off on these) - so for about £50 you get a decent four season jacket. Oh and a by the by the green M65's are ideal for night work their shade becoming all invisible by moon light.

    Of course lets not forget swanndri - again made famous by the man on the box - but that aside a very good jacket or shirt and with the new Xtreme lining now made even better - only down side here, like Ventile, is the cost. Of course the ranger shirt is a must for any bushcrafter and is excellent as part of a layering system especially as it wont melt and turn you into mr crisp'n'dry if you catch an spat out of your camp fire by a snappy sweet chestnut log!

    Well you did ask mad dave! :-D

  3. #3
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    I'm quite surprised to hear an M65 described as being quick-drying.
    In my experience they usually take on the odour of damp dog and stay like that for quite a while.....
    Great coats, mind.
    Nick In Belfast.

  4. #4
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    The M65 jacket along with all US military clothing as far as I'm aware, can come in a few forms.

    Off the top of my head they make:
    50/50 Nylon / Cotton
    60/40 Polyester / Cotton
    100% Cotton

    They also make all of those in either a "winter" Twill, or a "summer" Ripstop. So lots to pick from!

  5. #5
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    Thats right Raz.

    As I said in the thread its the poly/cotton one I was describing not the cotton one.

    The cotton M65 is very similar in its properties to the British army's temperate jacket - hence why most soldiers opt for gaberdine as it is much quicker drying.

  6. Default

    I personally prefer the 100% cotton SAS smock made by Radar in Redcar, I've had three now, to keep them water proof/ resistant I spray them with stuff like TX10 or other brand name water proofing, I particularily like them because of the low rustle from them and the ease of repair.

    The rifleman. :-)

  7. #7
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    I would go for a ventile, not because I'm blindly following anyone, I've been using the fabric for about the same length of time as the said gentleman. In its modern carnation it was plugged by Survival Aids (when Freddy Markham was still at the helm) which is where I and no doubt Mr Mears first encountered it.
    The Double Jackets are slow to dry, granted, but the single layer dry fairly quickly, even compared to some synthetic shells.
    They are not completely waterproof (but are very breathable), and if you choose the right garments underneath you create a similar system to the Buffalo gear ( but fire resistant) ie - wind can't get in to chill the moisture in your clothing.
    Ventile is robust, leaves Goretex way behind on this one, and if it tears, you just stitch it up, the same goes if you want to alter it.
    I can use the ventile year-round, in summer worn as a shirt with nothing underneath, in winter it protects my insulating layers.
    Longevity, ventiles become old friends, we live in a "throw-away" society, most modern fabrics have a "shelf-life", we are all conned into having the latest (it what makes big business). So what happens to the "cast-offs"? they are either buried or burnt and thats crap for the planet and future generations.
    I have just made a new ventile, my old one has a new owner and I know it will still give years of good service, its twelve years old now, cost £149 then, now Goretex has a working life of three years, so if your shiny new goretex cost you £100, you still will have got thru 4 in the last twelve years (and you don't see many good waterproofs for £100) you do the maths! which fabric is expensive?
    Swanni's are good (also marketed by Survival Aids in the UK first), but a tad too warm for year round outer-wear.
    I think ventile is a good fabric investment for long-term bushcraft use, it won't suit everyone (a bit like Buffalo gear), its probably not perfect, but I,ve had thirty years doing outdoor stuff to think about it (no snap decisions here!) and its my choice.
    Neil1

  8. #8
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    I am using a black SAS waterproof Smock by Arktis and its superb! Breathable and very tough. It has done me proud. However, as with all such garments, care is needed by the fire.
    Wayne
    http://www.britishblades.com/
    Vade mecum Sebenza
    "To strive to seek to find and not to yield"
    Tennyson (Ranger motto)

  9. #9
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    I've been using a Keela Falkland which is single layer ventile, getting it on eBay for £40 helped solve the price worries (although I take Neil's point). I've not used it for more than overnighters though so not had to deal with the problems of it getting wet and staying like that.

    It's got two biggish pockets for carrying stuff, two chest handwarmer pockets and two zipped fleecy handwarmers behind the main pockets. Zipped internal pocket for valuables, and a poachers pocket too (GB min slips in there easily). I'm not keen on the removable hood but otherwise it's great jacket. However I've found that I'm going to be just hill-walking on the Brecon Beacons I tend to take my Artkis waterproof because I know how well it works in those conditions. I suppose I sholuld try the Keela up there to make a comparison.
    Cheers

    Andrew
    aka Justin Time

  10. #10
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    A couple of people have mentioned Arktis waterproofs.... can you tell me the fabric used in these please.

    Thanks
    :-)
    Ed

  11. #11
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    Keela do make good jackets Andy I have one of their ventiles when god were a lad it lasted years.

    And that is one thing I forgot to mention - ventile does give you longevity and in that sense value for money. The two jackets I have sold to members here have both been long serving friends.

    Will my new M65 last as long? I doubt it very much but then thats ok too as a year or two down the line I'll probably want something different again.

    One last thought - personal preferrence, no matter how wonderful a jacket is if you dont like it, if its cut isnt right or whatever then you simply wont wear it so whats good for the goose doesnt necessarily suit the gander!

  12. #12
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    Norwegian army ski anorak - these seem to have the usual features of the classic windproof smock (and you can even look like a real Telemark hero) and the ones I've seen are around £30
    got any links gary?

    cheers, and.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by sargey
    Norwegian army ski anorak - these seem to have the usual features of the classic windproof smock (and you can even look like a real Telemark hero) and the ones I've seen are around £30
    got any links gary? cheers, and.
    Not the exact army issue one, but you may want to try this one http://www.norrona.com/web/products....256b4f007e4465 from the Norwegian company Norrøna http://www.norrona.com
    Norrøna makes several items for the Norwegian army, and some other Scandinavian special forces units.
    The anojakke comes in green, red, white and navy. I have used the green one for years and it's the best I have ever used :-D
    Gerd...

  14. #14

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    Forgot to mention that the standard army issue one is of thin cotton and not very durable. It is mainly used over the standard smock for snow camouflage use only. The Norrøna one is very durable.
    Gerd...

  15. #15
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    Soldier 95 Jacket with a Dutch Goretex liner. !00% waterproof, light, quick drying, loads of pockets, safe round fire and CHEAP. The fact it is camo is handy for my interest in wildlife photography as well.

    Of course as others have said the jacket you like is the best for you.

  16. #16
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    It depends on conditions dunnit :-)

    If you are "bramble bashing" in an evil bit of wood,or if it is cold and the rain is horizontal and continuous,then I would vote for a Barbour.

    On the other hand,if you're in a more civilised bit of woodland and the weather is warm but showery then the Barbour is way too much.

    I sweat like a pig when walking/playing in the outdoors and even a light waterproof is unbearable.

    Would a single layer ventile shirt,with hood,be suitable for a showery British summer?
    Mike

    If a man is talking in the woods and there is no woman to hear him, is he still wrong?

  17. #17
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    A single layer Ventile shirt (or better a smock) would be great for summer, back it up with the dutch goretex liner and it will see you year thru.
    As a matter of interest who else uses these brilliant little liners?
    Neil1

  18. #18
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    Neil,
    Where do you get these liners?
    Cheers

    Andrew
    aka Justin Time

  19. #19
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    There's quite a few jackets/smocks on this web site - may be of interest
    http://www.clearlake-designs.com/fel...egory=Clothing

    BTW has anyone tried the Swanndri Xtreme Range ?

  20. #20
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    Sargey, I was talking out my bum, (who said as usual?) the smock wasnt Norwegian its with Swedish or Swiss, anyway its on exarmy.co.uk if your still interested.

  21. #21
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    Justin

    I got mine from SASS but my local Army Surplus shop stocks them. From memory I think it cost me about £17. I got the idea from Barbour as their modern jackets use a GoreTex liner protected from the outside world by a cotton outer.

  22. #22
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    This is very much like the 'What is the best knife for bushcraft?' question. Everyone has their own favourite and I guess there isn't a single right answer for all conditions and all terrains.

    I quite like the idea of putting together my own jacket (there have been some excellent threads going on home-made kit) and trying to add all of my favourite features. I'll let yu know how I get on with my poor sewing skills! Unfortunately, it's always a compromise as - in my opinion - I don't think you can have a jacket that works just as well and keeps you comfortable in wet summer conditions as in dry cold winter conditions, that resists abrasion and ripping, and can carry all the stuff you want to.

    Maybe we should split the thread into best options for winter and summer?
    Cheers,

    Mike

    It's Adventure In A Bowl...

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikey P
    This is very much like the 'What is the best knife for bushcraft?' question. Everyone has their own favourite and I guess there isn't a single right answer for all conditions and all terrains.
    Of course there is a simple answer. It is the Alan Blade Bushcrafter. Now back to jackets.

  24. #24
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    :-D Hi all, new to your site and enjoying what I've been reading so far. Kind of lost on some of your words for different things, but I'll learn.

    For those that find their waterproof jacket letting some wetness in, try campdry, if available. It washes out after a couple of times in the washer and from all I've experienced, as well as read and heard from others that use it, it doesn't affect the fabric and does a good job of stopping the wet from getting through. However, I've only used it on my US issue M65 and German issue moleskin cargo pants, for other materials you may want to test it in a non conspicuous spot.
    All life is subject to the laws of Nature, or to be more precise, the laws of our CREATOR.

  25. #25
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    I live in mountainous bit of Scotland and it rains a lot, so this may colour my opinion, but I'm not sure if either ventile or the field coat would be ideal in driving rain with a cold wind. After all, these are the conditions that cause fatalities from exposure.

    Almost all hillwalkers and mountaineers use gore tex or similar breathable waterproof shell jackets. They have a proper visored hood. In bad conditions, they are very very good. I prefer the single layer of laminated gore tex (?Taslan) to the drop liner type.

    However, they rustle, they burn/melt, they are not brilliantly abrasion-resistant and it's difficult to get them in non-conspicuous colours. Also they are essentially unrepairable.

    Barbours new breathable jackets are made of olive cordura with a drop liner and detachable hood. It is a good comfortable design with lots of pockets but still heavy and bulky compared to a mountain jacket. It is very low rustle.

    I don't think the ideal jacket exists, but I'd like something like:

    Olive cordura with goretex membrane
    Treated to be flame resistant
    Proper mountain hood, which folds into collar for when wearing a hat.
    Mountain design with map pocket, double zip, storm flap, adjustable cuffs, etc.

    Some places like
    http://www.slioch.co.uk/index.html
    do some custom stuff. But expensive!

  26. #26
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    If anyone is considering a Barbour or simular waxed jacket it is worth remembering that they come in different weights. The Border I use is relatively light weight, others such as the Solway are very much heavier.

    Dave
    So many look, so few see.

    I'm not tight! I'm frugal!

  27. #27

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    If I was going for a Gore Tex jacket I would go for something like this. It is reinforced with cordura on shoulders and shoulders. This is the same model that is being used by swedish special forces officers. These clothes are not made for the outdoors person but for people that work in the forest. But still it´s Gore Tex and don´t work so good around a fire.

    I also have some pics of the army version, if anyone is interested.



    And the trousers

    -The Gateway to Nordic Bushcraft -

  28. #28
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    Do you have a picture of your willing blonde wearing them too?

  29. #29
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    Has anyone tried the Swanndri Xtreme Range - just wondering how good the hydrotex lining is at keeping out the elements?

  30. #30

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    Sorry Gary, blondes dont wear clothes like this (they don´t wear any clothes)
    -The Gateway to Nordic Bushcraft -

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