As many of you know I make a lot of my own equipment as I very often struggle to get kit that exactly fits my needs.
It was a pleasant surprise then to find a Mackinaw coat, that seemed almost perfect for my needs, in an outdoor store that I visit from time to time. The only problem... Not my size.
I looked at the label and it was a company I hadn’t heard of before, Stormy Kromer.
I soon found out that they have a good reputation on the other side of the pond for making hats and this is a lesser known part of their range.
I have to say the coat was not cheap but then real quality rarely is.
Recently I bit the bullet, sold an air rifle that I hadn't used for a while and ordered a coat and vest combination in olive green.
It’s made of heavy wool, 26oz. apparently, but this is much smoother than Swanndri or some of the other wool coats I have seen and used. The vest zips into the coat or can be zipped closed at the front. A loop at the neck line allows it to be buttoned into the coat there too.
Other than the vest there is no lining which I see as an advantage which I’ll talk about later.
One thing I may change is the buttons, they are plastic and although they are decent quality, I just think I would prefer some good wooden ones in their place. That's just me I guess.
The pockets are well thought out. On the jacket there are button down pockets for security with open pockets above for things you want easier access to. I would have liked a gusset in the button down pockets but I always stuff too much junk into my pockets so this might stop me doing that a bit.
Behind the bottom pockets there is a space you can slip your hands into to keep them warm, although these couldn’t really be called pockets because they lack any sort of lip to stop things falling out.
The waistcoat has open pockets like the jacket and small vertical open pockets above.
Again, I may modify these smaller pocket on one side by putting a couple of vertical lines of stitching to make pencil or pen slots leaving the other side open for a notepad.
So, enough about the design, what is it like?
As mentioned it is good and thick without being itchy. I wore it out on the moor today in the tail end of ex-Hurricane Katia with just a T-shirt under it and it was definitely windproof.
Around the fire in the evening as the temperature dropped it was also warm and cosy.
The label says dry clean only although I can’t see that being a regular job as the lack of a liner means there is no synthetic filling to get stinky as it is worn. I often find that coat liners tend to wear out faster than the main material so I’m quite happy for it to be unlined.
It all appears well made as I’d expect from such a high quality jacket and the lack of lining means all the seams are easily accessible for repair should it ever need it.
The combinations of vest and coat, fastened up or left open gives a range of options when it comes to layering. Part of the reason I wanted this coat was to go under my Snow Parka for the Arctic Trip next year. I think it will fit the bill nicely for that.
I’m expecting this to work well for the Northern forests as Mackinaw coats such as this and the Filson Cruiser have evolved from the sort of clothing worn in that sort of environment across Canada and North America.
Obviously I will have to update you about performance as we get some proper Winter conditions, so watch this space.