PDA

View Full Version : Ventile
















Dudleydoright
01-25-2010, 06:20 AM
Well, since so many threads get hijacked into talking about ventile, I thought it might be best to starts a thread dedicated to ventile.

I'm not going to start it with any long diatribes about it's history or uses etc, there's plenty of information available elsewhere here and on the 'net.

If you're into anoraks I can recomend this one from Hilltrek. Their quality is great, they will do modifications and tweak lengths etc and they are very friendly. Non UK enquirers just be aware that the lovely Highland twang that Bill has might be a little difficult to understand (Americans especially have never had the linguistic imagination to be cunning linguists :D ).

http://www.hilltrek.co.uk/acatalog/copy_of_Windshirt.html

The biggest problem with most modern made anoraks is that they are too short. You need them mid thigh at the least.

I have one of their cycling jackets and I think I may have posted some photos of it elsewhere on the Lounge. It is great and if you like the old Grenfell cloth 50's styled hiking jackets, this fits the bill less metal zippers. And I bet if you had the zippers that they'd put them in for you.

There are several other makers out there who all do good work. Sadly the one that made the British Antarctic Survey anoraks I've posted elsewhere are no longer doing them or anything in ventile. Word appears to be that BAS no longer use ventile. (Luckily I have three of them :o ) It would be easier for folk overseas to buy the material and then find or make a pattern and get any good seamstress or tailor to make what you want.

Snowsled also make a good, if short, anorak. I gather that they also do custom work but expect to pay big bucks for that service.

http://www.snowsled.com/clothing/clothing_classicsmock.htm

It would be great if people would post photos of their ventile clothing in action with info on who made it age and general thoughts on why they like to use ventile or feel it does the job for them.

Dave

pipvh
01-25-2010, 07:04 AM
Dave, thanks for starting a thread for those of us who don't want to take to the hills looking and sounding like a packet of Quavers.

Right then, here goes my most pressing Ventile question:

Does anyone have any experience wearing the Royal Navy Ventile smocks as walking gear, or are they just too big and heavy? They look a lot like the Westwinds BAS smock on a cursory glance basis, but possibly a lot cheaper and a bit more trad. On the other hand, it would be in my rucksack and I wouldn't want to be carrying the textile equivalent of a breezeblock: they look weighty.

Dudleydoright
01-25-2010, 07:16 AM
Hey Pip,

I've had several of these. The first back in the late 70's. They are HEAVY !!!! This is due to the complex features that the jackets has as well as the heavy cotton drill lining. They are made for radiomen on deck of HM's ships and not people who are active to any level at all. The have triple patches on elbows and knees(of the trousers). They are quite short and have elastic at the hem and cuffs which gathers up a lot of the excess material. They have little press studded pockets and runners for wireless cables and an impossibly complex hood that is made to go over a helmet and headphones. The throat flaps are many and you need a dergree to operate them all efficiently. Shed loads of buttons too.

From a practical point of view, the lining, being cotton, could kill you on the hills as it holds water/sweat and sucks the heat out of your like nothing on Earth.

For a bit of posing about town, yep fine but don't think of paying more than £30 for a good 'un as, judging by the amount on the market lately, the MoD have probably released a lot to surplus recently. I bought one several months ago mint for £20 and sold it for £140. I knew what was coming !!

The trousers are about 2 sizes to big and lined as per the anorak. No use whatsoever on the hills.

Hope that helps ??

Cheers, Dave

H.Johnson
01-25-2010, 07:18 AM
Dave,

Good idea on your part for a specialist Ventile(R) thread. Would it be hijacking it if we were to include oblique references to other traditional finely woven cotton fabrics?

I'm sure there is interest, for instance, in the relative history and comparative performance of Ventile(R) and Grenfell(R) fabrics.

Also, of course, there is 'non-proprietory' Ventile-type fabric [no (R)] such as used by the MOD for windproof smocks that is virtually identical in appearance, feel and performance to expensive proprietory Ventile(R).

I used to do research for a living and enjoy conducting tests of fabric performance. For instance, the recent cold spell enabled a back-to back comparison of my mate's Hilltrek Braemar windshirt against my army cadet surplus windproof smock. We walked out in our own gear, swapped and walking back. OK, Kinder Scout isn't the Hardangervidda, but we agreed to wear nothing but Smedley long undies and a Norge shirt. Hypothermia could have been a consequence of either garment not 'doing its stuff'.

The result? Both windproofs performed well, the difference in our perception was imperceptible, but mine is 50 years young, was 110GBP cheaper and (IMO) looks a lot cooler...

H.Johnson
01-25-2010, 07:24 AM
Dave and Pip,

Belstaff had at least one of the contracts for these when I worked there. Like Dave I wouldn't recommend them for active wear at all. Not hiking gear, for which purpose I recommend The Smocks, Windproof, Cadets in terms of lightness, packability and performance. Oh, and price at around 10GBP in unissued condition for a small size. I add parachute smock cuffs to mine out of preference.

I hope this helps.


Hey Pip,

I've had several of these. The first back in the late 70's. They are HEAVY !!!! This is due to the complex features that the jackets has as well as the heavy cotton drill lining. They are made for radiomen on deck of HM's ships and not people who are active to any level at all. The have triple patches on elbows and knees(of the trousers). They are quite short and have elastic at the hem and cuffs which gathers up a lot of the excess material. They have little press studded pockets and runners for wireless cables and an impossibly complex hood that is made to go over a helmet and headphones. The throat flaps are many and you need a dergree to operate them all efficiently. Shed loads of buttons too.

From a practical point of view, the lining, being cotton, could kill you on the hills as it holds water/sweat and sucks the heat out of your like nothing on Earth.

For a bit of posing about town, yep fine but don't think of paying more than £30 for a good 'un as, judging by the amount on the market lately, the MoD have probably released a lot to surplus recently. I bought one several months ago mint for £20 and sold it for £140. I knew what was coming !!

The trousers are about 2 sizes to big and lined as per the anorak. No use whatsoever on the hills.

Hope that helps ??

Cheers, Dave

Dudleydoright
01-25-2010, 07:25 AM
Mr J,
There's more than enough room on this thread for what you are asking !! It would be most welcome. I claim no real knowledge of any of this other than what I have experienced. I will only learn more by others contributing. I am a LONG way from being any sort of expert :o

Perhaps I should have named it the 'Natural fabrics outer layer' thread ;)

I think the point is to get as many different garments - both ancient and modern - posted, reviewed and preferably photographed as we can.

The current makers of these types of garments are usually small and would welcome all the custom they can get as well widening the choice of what we natural fabric afficianados have available to us.

It would also be nice to see what has been made in the past.

Thanks,
Dave

pipvh
01-25-2010, 07:45 AM
Dave and Mr J,

Thanks for saving me more than a few ££. The RN smocks really aren't cheap. I'm planning a trawl around the Friday Portobello market under the Westway in a couple of weeks - might turn up some treasures.

Meanwhile I think I'd be better off with the Snowsled. It does look a bit short, but then again I'm just under 5'10" so that might not be a problem.

norton
01-25-2010, 07:47 AM
I'm glad this thread came up. I buy almost all of my winter outdoor clothing from Wiggy's (http://wiggys.com/moreinfo.cfm?Product_ID=184) and I saw this jacket could be bought made of ventile cotton as an option. I had never heard of ventile and I avoid cotton for winter outdoor wear so I was curious why it was being offered and why the premium price.

On a separate note, I swear by Wiggy's. Their lamilite products are the warmest and driest clothing available for cold weather camping.

BellyTank
01-25-2010, 09:24 AM
Mr. H.Johnson, my question stands... now in the correct department...



...May I add that there are different grades and weights of Ventile(R)? Choosing the right grade for use to which the garment will be put is important and not all makers seem to do this...


Sooo...


Mr.Johnson-

which "grade" of Ventile(R) would you recommend for a simple Anorak,
for general use as a windproof layer?
And whom would you recommend as a supplier?


B
T



B
T

H.Johnson
01-25-2010, 10:17 AM
BT

I can do no better than refer us all to the specification section of the Ventile(R) website:

http://www.ventile.co.uk/specification.html

Given that the minimum hydrostatic head that can be called 'waterproof' is 1500mm, we can see that Ventile(R) is NOT officially waterproof, in spite of what vendors may say. Having said that, it can be argued that the hydrostatic head test isn't realistic.

At Belstaff we used to dress a lad up in the garment being tested, stand him in the yard and turn a hose on him. It can be argued that this type of test is more realistic... Leeds University Textile Research Centre has what it calls its 'Rain Room Test' that is a more sophisticated version of this. The people there have a mass of data on such tests and have been very helpful in the past.

In answer to your question, it is hard enough to obtain reasonable quantities of 'real' Ventile(R) cotton, so I would take what I could get, but in an ideal world for an average anorak I'd go for the L28, although (as I am sure Dave will point out) two layers of L34 would probably outperform a single layer of L28.

You know about Points North, of course...

BTW, there may be some exciting developments in the remanufacture of a traditional (and much older) alternative to Ventile(R) cotton...

I hope this helps!

Fletch
01-25-2010, 10:45 AM
I'm glad this thread came up. I buy almost all of my winter outdoor clothing from Wiggy's (http://wiggys.com/moreinfo.cfm?Product_ID=184) and I saw this jacket could be bought made of ventile cotton as an option. I had never heard of ventile and I avoid cotton for winter outdoor wear so I was curious why it was being offered and why the premium price.There must have been some disinformation coming from the synthetic fiber people here in the US that wasn't the case in the UK.

Associating this luxury good from a country known for mild weather and eccentric traditions with "cotton," that sucker-upper of clammy precip and persp, would have its benefits here in the rugged land of high tech and low temperatures.

Or maybe just word of mouth among outdoorsmen who had no experience with it but the hefty price tags would have done the job. We all know what they think of dudes in expensive kit, whatever it's made of.

Moderator please excise if this comes too close to the "diatribes" Dudley was talking about.

Dudleydoright
01-25-2010, 12:43 PM
Most outdoorsmen (and women) know the value of good kit and normally that quality doesn't come cheap. What most don't like is people spending big bucks to get Gucci kit to give themselves credibility.

Ventile has never been made in the sort of quantities that would enable enough garments to be made to satisfy the larger companies in the US who have many outlets. It would be more likely to make it's way to small outfitting type companies IMVHO.

Dave

norton
01-25-2010, 12:44 PM
There must have been some disinformation coming from the synthetic fiber people here in the US that wasn't the case in the UK.

Associating this luxury good from a country known for mild weather and eccentric traditions with "cotton," that sucker-upper of clammy precip and persp, would have its benefits here in the rugged land of high tech and low temperatures.

Or maybe just word of mouth among outdoorsmen who had no experience with it but the hefty price tags would have done the job. We all know what they think of dudes in expensive kit, whatever it's made of.

Moderator please excise if this comes too close to the "diatribes" Dudley was talking about.

I'm sorry, I don't understand if your saying that ventile is worth the extra cost or is not. Or if you're saying that it would not perform as well in climates colder than England or that it would not. Has anyone on the forum used ventile as a wind block layer in sub zero (F) temperatures and how well does it allow water vapor to pass?

norton
01-25-2010, 12:46 PM
Most outdoorsmen (and women) know the value of good kit and normally that quality doesn't come cheap. What most don't like is people spending big bucks to get Gucci kit to give themselves credibility.

Ventile has never been made in the sort of quantities that would enable enough garments to be made to satisfy the larger companies in the US who have many outlets. It would be more likely to make it's way to small outfitting type companies IMVHO.

Dave

+1

If you've ever really needed good equipment you don't mind paying the price.

Creeping Past
01-25-2010, 12:55 PM
Has anyone on the forum used ventile as a wind block layer in sub zero (F) temperatures and how well does it allow water vapor to pass?

Oh yes! See the Antarctic gear thread (http://www.thefedoralounge.com/showthread.php?t=46745) from which this thread emerged.

Dudleydoright
01-25-2010, 12:57 PM
Has anyone on the forum used ventile as a wind block layer in sub zero (F) temperatures and how well does it allow water vapor to pass?

If you look into the "Anorak Like Brad Pitt wears" & "Antarctic" threads, you'll see that I have used Ventile in VERY cold temps and never had a problem. And we're talking Arctic here not the moderate UK climate.

Just because it says "UK" where we are from doesn't mean we've only ever been here all along !! :)

In the old days when only those who really knew what good kit was and who used it so much and so hard that spending the money to get the best andmost durable kit were those out there. Nowadays every Tom & Dick with some spare cash wants to look like they know and spend a lot of time in the great outdoors......... :rage:

Cheers,
Dave

tjoek
01-25-2010, 01:39 PM
I have Lost Worlds ventile jacket and contrary to popular belief, ventile has the ability to absorb water to some degree (not totally waterproof). For light shower, the jacket will do fine however not under big rainy day as ventile will absorb the water as normal cotton.

Having said all that, I love the natural feeling when you touch the fabric unlike gore-tex with the plastic feeling.

Creeping Past
01-25-2010, 02:17 PM
As has been mentioned here and in other threads, this fabric absorbs water until the long staple fibres expand to form a barrier to further water penetration.

BellyTank
01-25-2010, 02:49 PM
I have Lost Worlds ventile jacket and contrary to popular belief, ventile has the ability to absorb water to some degree (not totally waterproof).


Yes, I don't think the "public belief" was ever that Ventile cloth was totally waterproof. It's gift is in being a natural, windproof, breathable layer but as Mr. Past says, it does indeed have a place, perhaps somewhat secondary in the "water resistant" category.


B
T

BellyTank
01-25-2010, 03:28 PM
After reading more and more, I'm beginning to believe that there's
Ventile and Ventile...
...some folks believe/have experienced that, a) it's the wetting of the fibres, creating an eventual waterproof barrier and "waterproofness" and others believing that, b)cotton Ventile is a micro-porous (same benefit as the modern, synthetic high-tech cloths)cloth and actually "un-wettable", sheds water, duck's back style, yet allowing breathing.

Read on:

http://www.bushcraftuk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8187

So- perhaps both are true, dependent on the specific cloth.


B
T

H.Johnson
01-25-2010, 04:17 PM
Many people (including some manufacturers) treat Ventile(R) and other cotton fabrics with an extra proofer to enable them to shed surface water more readily. Some people say this inhibits the intended method of forming a barrier by expansion of the threads. I don't know, because I haven't carried out comparative tests of proofed and unproofed Ventile(R). I never believe any claim I haven't tested myself. Maybe the people at Leeds Uni. have done such a test.

I have a sample of cloth woven by a (very) traditional Lancashire weaver to a design more than fifty years older than Ventile(R) that is on the hydrostatic test rig at work as I type this. By tomorrow I should know if it outperforms Ventile(R) in the test. I suspect (owning a jacket made from it) that it will... typical Ventile isn't the best fabric for the British climate. Too wet and not cold enough for it, I think.

An interesting point - the family firm that wove the cloth mentioned above offered to produce windproof cloth for the Ministry of Supply in WW2, submitted samples and was made to shut down for the duration of the war 'due to the shortage of cotton!' Then the Shirley Institute just down the road came out with Ventile(R).

The same firm offered cloth for the 1952-3 Everest expedition, which was again rejected in favour of a man-made fibre mixture specified by the RAE, Farnborough. They thought the Government was against them...surely not???

One thing I've just found to ponder on... speaking to a friend who is a firefighter, he tells me that their hoses are made of some kind of natural woven cloth. Now THAT would have to be waterproof! I wonder what they are made of?

Peacoat
01-25-2010, 05:24 PM
Just because it says "UK" where we are from doesn't mean we've only ever been here all along !! :)



Dudley, I love it!

nobodyspecial
01-25-2010, 09:01 PM
Empire Canvas Works is currently experimenting with ventile for use in it's products, they just received fabric samples this past week and working on designs at the moment.

The gold standard for ventile coats made in the US was made by Synergy Works during the 1970's, very expensive $160.00 in 1978, but by all accounts a whale of a coat.

Ventile, being cotton, will eventually start to leak, especially when backpacking with pack straps pressing hard against the fabric. Adding a lining didn't help since you have wet fabric against wet fabric. What made Synergy Works coat unique was the upper third of the coat was made of mutiple layers; outer shell of ventile, layer of mesh, second layer of ventile, second layer of mesh and finally a nylon lining. Sweat can still pass through the various layers and yet rain will have a hard time penetrating all the way through even while carrying a pack. This was a quite a garment, made in eight sizes so you are guaranteed a good fit.

I would love to get my hands on one of these coats, but in a decade I have yet to see one on ebay.

The downside beyond the cost is the coat weighed 2.8 pounds. For rainwear you can easily find a coat weighing under one pound which will shed rain equally as well.

Dudleydoright
01-26-2010, 01:03 AM
As I understand things (and I stand to be corrected :eusa_doh: ) Ventile is always pre-proofed.

All of the garments I've had over the years had a sheen to them at first which shed water. The fibres also seemed to be thinner and more tightly woven at first than with use. My original vintage BAS suit eventually became much more flexible and the fibres almost seemed to become less tight giving the suit the appearance of a normal tightly-woven cotton. It also then started to absorb water until the fibres swelled. This meant that I got DAMP rather than soaked. As the suit got most use in Canada in winter, this was only a problem if I didn't brush the snow off myself when near the camping stove or fire. I could, of course have re-proofed it ! :p This suit was also (like my orange ones) the heaviest-weight Ventile, the L24.

The lighter-weight L19 garments I've had tend to get soft and do tend to transmit water a little more. To be perfectly honest, as I'm usually working hard physically when wearing it, I'm pretty wet from sweat anyways so accept that being damp is just one of those things I'm ok with. The trick is to have dry clothing or extra layers to put on when stopping or making camp. I cannot recommend wool enough as it packs smaller than fleece and several layers can be worn for the same thickness as fleece/Paramo type garments and it NEVER carries your body odour. Synthetics always end up smelling like you've worn them for weeks once your body heat gets them going - even as early as a couple of washes old.

I can't stress enough that Ventile's name was gained at a time when there weren't any real substitutes and certainly well before any synthetic, goretex type materials. Ventile has it's drawbacks but I accept them as part of the experience much as I accept my friends for their good and bad points and just deal with it.

There is no magic material for ALL climatic conditions :rolleyes:

Cheers,
Dave

number6
01-26-2010, 01:50 AM
Hope this is ok and not considered off topic , BAS jackets are short for one reason , the need to wear a safety harness when travelling in dangerous areas either on Skidoo or on foot.Long jackets get in the way of fitting the harness correctly.

H.Johnson
01-26-2010, 06:43 AM
Dave,

I don't think you need correction - the current trade mark holders for Ventile(R) recommend Granger's products for re-treatment.

I agree. In my experience, Ventile-type fabrics degrade over time and with use. I think that this is because of their plain weave. Tightly-woven drills and twills appear (based on using both types of fabric for 50-odd years) to be more durable with wear. This is inspite of vendors' statements about the durability of Ventile(R) garments. Grenfell cloth, for instance, holds its weave and 'crispness' better than Ventile(R), weight for weight. I can only say what I know.

I think that the desire among walkers (I'm talking UK here) to remain completely dry outdoors is a fairly recent thing. It used to be accepted that if it rained you became at least damp, and the ability of a garment to dry out after being wet was more important than keeping its wearer absolutely dry under all conditions. Maybe the recent artificial membrane fabrics have raised peoples' expectations. I like tradition.

As you point out, IMO you'll never be dry wearing Ventile(R) unless you have some 'system' underneath it. That's not what it's about. Wool under Ventile keeps the wearer warm when damp. That's OK for me.

Ventile's main 'waterproof' competitors (late 1940s and 1950s) were things like oilskin, Macintosh fabric, waxproof cotton and Grenfell cloth. PU-proofed nylon came in the 1960s. All these have their plus and minus points, I think, but IMO they would keep you as dry as Ventile(R) but not be so permeable. This is strange, as permeability (Ventile(R) is usually rated at around 95%) wasn't in the original specification!




As I understand things (and I stand to be corrected :eusa_doh: ) Ventile is always pre-proofed.

All of the garments I've had over the years had a sheen to them at first which shed water. The fibres also seemed to be thinner and more tightly woven at first than with use. My original vintage BAS suit eventually became much more flexible and the fibres almost seemed to become less tight giving the suit the appearance of a normal tightly-woven cotton. It also then started to absorb water until the fibres swelled. This meant that I got DAMP rather than soaked. As the suit got most use in Canada in winter, this was only a problem if I didn't brush the snow off myself when near the camping stove or fire. I could, of course have re-proofed it ! :p This suit was also (like my orange ones) the heaviest-weight Ventile, the L24.

The lighter-weight L19 garments I've had tend to get soft and do tend to transmit water a little more. To be perfectly honest, as I'm usually working hard physically when wearing it, I'm pretty wet from sweat anyways so accept that being damp is just one of those things I'm ok with. The trick is to have dry clothing or extra layers to put on when stopping or making camp. I cannot recommend wool enough as it packs smaller than fleece and several layers can be worn for the same thickness as fleece/Paramo type garments and it NEVER carries your body odour. Synthetics always end up smelling like you've worn them for weeks once your body heat gets them going - even as early as a couple of washes old.

I can't stress enough that Ventile's name was gained at a time when there weren't any real substitutes and certainly well before any synthetic, goretex type materials. Ventile has it's drawbacks but I accept them as part of the experience much as I accept my friends for their good and bad points and just deal with it.

There is no magic material for ALL climatic conditions :rolleyes:

Cheers,
Dave

BellyTank
01-26-2010, 07:05 AM
...In my experience, Ventile-type fabrics degrade over time and with use. I think that this is because of their plain weave. Tightly-woven drills and twills appear (based on using both types of fabric for 50-odd years) to be more durable with wear.

So- speaking of plain weave ventile...
...the so-called gaberdine "ventile"?
Very, very fine twill weave, of course,
reminiscent of the WW2 drab smock/trou, windproof.
Marketed as Ventile, so I guess it is Ventile..?
You know the one of which I speak.
Dark olive green- I had a sample a while back.
Nice.

What do you know, Mr. Johnson?


B
T

nobodyspecial
01-26-2010, 07:50 AM
There is no magic material for ALL climatic conditions

That is quite right, it's all a tradeoff. The marketing folks at gore and the like have convinced the masses that their products will be as waterproof and breathable as human skin. Not the case. Warm and a bit damp are just fine and that's about as well as you can do.

Last night I scanned a couple of Synergy Works catalog pages for Kevin at Empire Canvas, these describe the ventile coat and the develpment process. They scans are here.

http://s12.photobucket.com/albums/a249/meganandrusty/synergy%20works/

Dudleydoright
01-26-2010, 08:18 AM
Nobodyspecial,
Thanks for the scans. Interesting.
I've heard a lot about that Synergy parka. Having heard a little more here I have to say that whilst it might be some kind of holy grail jacket to many, I personally prefer much more simple designs. The idea of two layer ventile is bad enough for me as it becomes a much heavier garment and takes a LOT longer to dry, but adding in layers of mesh etc. A very fussy jacket indeed.

Two layers of ventile would be a good idea if the two layers were two seperate garments, say a windshirt over a wool baselayer and topped with a ventile jacket. And , of course, a two-layer jacket breathes a lot less.

I do think that Goretex had one hellova good marketing campaign and it does have it's place but I think also that most folk get tricked into the latest 'thang' and that outdoors gear is as much a victim of fashion and this years' model as any haute couture clothing on a catwalk. Shame.

I'm a simple guy. I like simple things. If it ain't broke - don't fix it. But that's just me and I'm not against any differing views. There's room for us all :)

Dave

H.Johnson
01-26-2010, 12:12 PM
Is that from Points North? Reminiscent of the LATE WW2 smock and trousers, yes. As an aside, I have an 1940s civilian anorak in Ventile-type cloth and it seems to be an even finer weave than, say, L19. I don't know whether this would be consistently the case. The only problem with a very fine weave is, of course, wear.

Ventile(R) looks like very a fine and crisp Oxford -weave shirting material with an approximate 3:1 warp to weft ratio and very long spun fibres. It can be a bit 'slubby' sometimes. Personally, although I have tried to examine as much of the cloth as I can, I couldn't swear to identify real Ventile(R) 'each time, every time', even under magnification. So I tend not to believe that something is made from Ventile unless it has the official label. You know, like Harris Tweed... I'm not sure about the Points North stuff, but it looks and feels good to me.

The current licence holder (Talbots in Chorley) uses the company style 'Ventile Fabrics', so I'm not sure if that means that any type of cloth they wove could be called 'Ventile(R)'.


So- speaking of plain weave ventile...
...the so-called gaberdine "ventile"?
Very, very fine twill weave, of course,
reminiscent of the WW2 drab smock/trou, windproof.
Marketed as Ventile, so I guess it is Ventile..?
You know the one of which I speak.
Dark olive green- I had a sample a while back.
Nice.

What do you know, Mr. Johnson?


B
T

H.Johnson
01-26-2010, 12:24 PM
Ha! Great minds think alike! I am currently working on a plain overhead windshirt in a Ventile-like fabric (see BTs posting below) that I intend to wear underneath my newly-created (and favourite) cadet windproof smock. With the knit cuffs (on the smock) snugged over the inner shirt and the neck zipped it should be as good as a two layer smock, but more versatile.

I'll let you know how it serves.


.
<SNIP>
Two layers of ventile would be a good idea if the two layers were two seperate garments, say a windshirt over a wool baselayer and topped with a ventile jacket. And , of course, a two-layer jacket breathes a lot less.
<SNIP>

norton
01-26-2010, 01:38 PM
After checking out the Antartic thread I've decided that ventile is the way to go when I can replace my Wiggy's parka shell. But now I need to come up with the $400.:cry:

nobodyspecial
01-26-2010, 02:02 PM
Better photos of the Synergy Works coat is at the bottom of this page from a Japanese collector.
http://monoblog.555nat.com/?cid=49248

What made that particular jacket so unusual was that nothing else was made with nearly that attention to detail which also explains the high cost. Nearly every other ventile jacket was simply two layers of fabric, made much the same was a standard mountain parka of the day using 60/40 cloth or 65/35 cloth. I've seen ventile parkas made by Snow Lion which had a layer of mesh in the shoulders similar to the Synergy Works product, but not redundant multiple layers.

As I said before, it's all a trade off. I prefer the feel and would rather wear natural fibers. Anything will soak through over time, the big advantage with gore tex, event and the like is that jackets are lighter weight and they will dry sooner after the rain stops. If I am out on a multi day backpacking trip I'd take my event jacket every time, a winter snowshoe trek- probably my empire canvas works anorak, a dayhike in on a cool, drizzly fall day probably one of my mountain parkas.

pipvh
01-26-2010, 04:01 PM
I think that the desire among walkers (I'm talking UK here) to remain completely dry outdoors is a fairly recent thing. It used to be accepted that if it rained you became at least damp

Yes, it's completely unrealistic. If you have to be dry you want a roof, not a jacket. The problem I've always had with modern fabrics is that, while they do keep out the rain to a great extent, you're soaked through with your own sweat anyway. I distinctly remember, even as a kid, much preferring the way heavy rain gradually soaked through my old German army parka to what happened when it found its way down the neck of a vile nylon Millets kagoule I briefly owned (ah, the horizontal Dartmoor rains of yesteryear...).

BellyTank
01-27-2010, 06:03 AM
(Hi-jacking?)
So-
-we know a little about Ventile(R) and I guess, ventile-like cloths
and their advantages and shortcomings...

Now- to design an Anorak, for, shall we say, "normal use"- for hillwalking,
hiking, etc.- nothing too demanding, or specialized- where a garment that is definitely windproof and "occasionally" shower-proof is desired, in this traditional, cotton cloth...

Where to start- what features to include? what to omit?

I'm a fan of the WW2 Windproof Smock, the Cadet Smock, the WW2
Gebirgsjäger windbluse(anorak) and the older Swedish Army Anoraks-
I have examples of all of these.

They all have differing features, pocket configurations, fastenings, drawstrings, armpit gussets, etc. The Gebirgs anorak being the most complex in design, with a lace-up throat. This Anorak has a proper pivot-sleeve type
armpit gusset, which works well, the Swedish anorak has a very useful gusset
in the armpit.

To my mind, the armpit gusset concept is a very necessary feature, allowing full arm movement, without pulling upward and perhaps disturbing the layers of clothing beneath.

But what of throat closures and other features?

Aesthetically, which may not be so important, the Gebirgs and the WW2 Windproof do it for me.

Practically, the Swedish anorak seems to be the front runner, being generous in size and length and allowing a good range of movement.

I have also seen anoraks with "skirt adjustment by way of side-lacing",
which may, or may not be so practical.

So, with the idea of making an anorak in mind, shall we discuss the design
of a simple, ultimately functional anorak?

I know Messrs. H.Johnson, D.Doright and C.Past have definite ideas...


B
T

BellyTank
01-27-2010, 06:16 AM
For Dave, the French Anorak.
(Hi-jacking? again?)
Go on, start a design an Anorak thread!

Sorry for the bad photos, bad light and blizzard here.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v357/zaphobeeblebrox/French_1.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v357/zaphobeeblebrox/French_2.jpg


The interior marking is:
Albert Gill
1942
(broad arrow)

"Albert Gill" could almost be a French name...

It came from France and has a French(Eclair)zip at the throat.
It is made from the rubberised/laminated cloth.
Colour is more khaki than in the photos, which were taken in very bad light.


B
T

Dudleydoright
01-27-2010, 06:58 AM
There is also a post WW2 French Chasseur Alpin anorak in olive green with 4 pockets on the front. I recall the chest ones are angled towards teh opposite side and the lower ones towards the side the are on. Quite long too with drawcords at waist and hem.

They are to be found fairly cheap.

Been a whiles since I last had one but they weren't a bad bit of kit.

Dave

BellyTank
01-27-2010, 07:05 AM
I had one of those French ones, once.


B
T

Dudleydoright
01-27-2010, 07:57 AM
And so did a LOT of French Alpine soldiers !!

Dave

BellyTank
01-27-2010, 07:58 AM
Just did some water(proof) testing...

The WW2 British Windproof smocks, which are not the actual speckled beige cloth but a cotton gaberdine(I have previously referred to it as cotton twill), one khaki, one OD/green- both suck the water up instantly.

The repro Gebirgs anorak sucks too.

The old pattern Swedish anorak wets eventually but doesn't soak through.
This cloth is dense and tightly woven.

The later model Swedish anorak and button-through parka, which looks and feels like cotton but actually seems to be poly/cotton, sheds water, shed-loads- haven't been able to soak it.

The Swedish forces were surely aware of the benefits of tight/finely woven cloths in this climate, so I imagine in designing these anoraks and such,
there would be some in built shower-proofness, or at least resistance to
soaking.

I imagine all of these anoraks I have are quite effective as windproofs but some tolerance to water is surely an advantage.

Wet cloth will mean extra weight and cling and will surely hinder
movement and definitely reduce comfort.

Now I need to make a Ventile Anorak!

We have a new blizzard here in Stockholm, maybe some further testing,
in the field is in my near future.


B
T

BellyTank
01-27-2010, 08:00 AM
Dudleydoright-
I mentioned that French Anorak because someone, somwhere,
spoke of a French/British/special forces anorak connection.
Now what was it?


B
T

Dudleydoright
01-27-2010, 08:14 AM
I appreciate that BT. Just wondering in what way saying that you had one contributed to that discussion ?

You know, : thoughts and experiences on them ..... opinions etc....

Other than telling us you have had or have EVERY type of anorak ever made ;)

Dave

Dudleydoright
01-27-2010, 08:22 AM
Just did some water(proof) testing...

The WW2 British Windproof smocks, which are not the actual speckled beige cloth but a cotton gaberdine(I have previously referred to it as cotton twill), one khaki, one OD/green- both suck the water up instantly.

Are you implying that the peppered ones are not WW2 or that you don't have one to test BT ?

Thinks to oneself that this could get 'interesting' ....:D

Any vintage untreated cotton garment will suck up water like a sponge. That's why the drill material ones were superceded by the 'peppered' & camo ones ones so quickly as they weighed less when wet.

Dave

BellyTank
01-27-2010, 09:08 AM
I was just wondering how they would cope with water...
No, I was not trying to say that the "peppered" ones were not WW2-
bad grammar, maybe that was:) and referring, I think, to my prior poste, where I mentioned my WW2 examples.

Re- the French, post-war anorak: I had one, wore it quite a bit and I liked it.
It did smell quite rubbery, though.

I have and have had quite a few different anoraks but I'm sure you have
more :)

But when I mentioned "mentioning" the French anorak, I was referring to the one I supplied photos of,
not the post-war type- and wondering what the connection was that was hinted at.
I think we were posting at the same time and some sense was lost.

Confused?

Sorry for not contributing with more anorak experiences...


B
T

nobodyspecial
01-27-2010, 09:46 AM
From a design standpoint, I think these are near perfect, though I would get rid of the velcro in favor of brass snaps.
http://www.wintergreennorthernwear.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=ilvm_fly_admirable.tpl&product_id=944&category_id=114&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=22107

Wintergreen makes a half zip version as well which is my preference. Some years ago they made these in natural fibers as well, cotton canvas similar to Empire Canvas anoraks. A ventile version would be perfect, but too much to dream about.

Fletch
01-27-2010, 09:52 AM
Now I need to make a Ventile Anorak!Why? You already are (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anorak_(slang)) one. lol

BellyTank
01-27-2010, 09:55 AM
1)You think we're not familiar with that term..?
2)I'm(R) not made of Ventile(R).

B
T(R)

BellyTank
01-27-2010, 09:59 AM
From a design standpoint, I think these are near perfect, though I would get rid of the velcro in favor of brass snaps.
http://www.wintergreennorthernwear.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=ilvm_fly_admirable.tpl&product_id=944&category_id=114&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=22107

Wintergreen makes a half zip version as well which is my preference. Some years ago they made these in natural fibers as well, cotton canvas similar to Empire Canvas anoraks. A ventile version would be perfect, but too much to dream about.

Dream?
Ventile cloth is freely available- you could make your own design for
less than the cost of a "proprietary" one.

I will make one soon.
There are some good products out there, which probably perform well
but I don't like any of them.


B
T

nobodyspecial
01-27-2010, 10:30 AM
I've thought of sewing my own anorak from time to time, but can't seem to make the time. I've got a few labor-of-love restoration projects which I should complete before starting something new.

pipvh
01-27-2010, 10:32 AM
My ideal anorak is basically this one, as already posted on the Pitt/Tibet thread by Mr Johnson. Bobby Sportswear:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-M-VENTILE-CLOTH-ENGLISH-MOUNTAIN-PARKA-ANORAK_W0QQitemZ390145036329QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_ DefaultDomain_0?hash=item5ad674d029

It's dead simple, classic - I even like the colour. Not sure that it's worth $350, however. But this is the one I will get someone to copy for me at some point. In Ventile(R), of course. Though if it will have the panache of the original 'Bobby,' only time will tell...

Dudleydoright
01-27-2010, 11:20 AM
I wondered when Wintergreen would crop up :) They are good - if a little expensive for what is basically a supplex jacket. I suppose that the sewing on of the brading must contribute to that. Certainly they work fine in sub-zero temperatures.
They were used on the Schurke / Steger North Pole Exp'n back in the early-mid 80's. Mrs Steger made the mukluks (as she did for the Transantarctic Expedition of '89/'90). North Face made the clothing for that Expd and, Mr BT, I have had two of the anoraks and two of the sold-to-the-public zip fronted jackets :p :p The anorak was perhaps the best design I've ever come across but in goretex ? No sir, they had to go ;)

That ventile oneon Ebay was sweet. I suppose the buyer could, if he were the enterprising type, get patterns made and market it. Certainly the price was no more than a modern-made ventile jacket with much more exclusivity. We'll be sure to know him if we see him wearing it LOL

I have often thought about doing a sewing class and learning how to make my own anoraks. I used to make and sell kids walking harnesses made out of nylon climbing webbing when I was in Canada. Sold a couple of dozen and could have sold loads more but I got scared once I started selling to friends of friends about litigation if something broke. I'm no 'Oshkosh' or 'Mothercare'. Clothing demands different skills though.

And, yes, ventile cloth is reasonably available. But expensive. Where you can win is making the garment yourself. 'Keep it simple stupid!' as Kelly Johnson once said.

Dave

nobodyspecial
01-27-2010, 11:21 AM
Was the brand Bobby well known in England or was this a run of the mill piece?

Dudleydoright
01-27-2010, 12:21 PM
'Fraid I can't answer that one as being only a 'mere' 46 years of age and having spent a good part of my childhood as a £10 pom in Australia, I can only say that I have never, personally, come across the name before.

I do have an old 1970's Blacks Outdoor catalogue. I'll scan that and post that as they have ventile anoraks I'm sure.

Mr Johnson ????

Dave

nobodyspecial
01-27-2010, 02:16 PM
I've got one of the Wintergreen wool coats, but not the nylon anorak. You are correct that the nylon anoraks are too expensive for what you are getting. All the garments are still made locally in Ely so in addition to the trim work you are paying US wages rather than third world wages.

Years ago when I was into making fleece garments I made an oversized anorak from windproof fleece. The garment turned out very well and I added similar trim to the Wintergreen jackets. Sewing the trim is a pain in the assets.

gfirob
01-27-2010, 06:53 PM
At the risk of sounding stupid, I have been following this discussion about Ventile with some interest, since I have never heard of it and I like the sound of a natural fiber with these properties. But I am surprised that the fact that the fabric seems not actually to be waterproof and is terribly expensive besides doesn’t seem to alter its popularity here. 265 British pounds for a jacket used for bird watching? $430?

If I understand these posts, one should just live with being damp. In our work we often have to stand around in the rain or work in the rain. Everybody I know carefully selects rain suits that will keep them dry, really dry and yet breath enough so they don’t sweat. That includes waterproof boot covers and gloves that don’t soak up water. Why put up with being damp? Who wants to be damp? Damp wool can surely keep you warm, but its still damp.

A big lesson that Amundsen learned from the Eskimos was “Don’t get damp.” Its one of the reasons he beat Scott to the pole (though not a very big reason).

I wonder if this fits into a theory I have about English people being comfort-averse. I first came upon this theory after spending two weeks banging around east Africa in an old Landrover and thinking “who designed these seats anyway?”

I think someone on this forum made the comment regarding people who tried to break in their Aero jackets through artificial means, that one should simply wear them and be uncomfortable in them until they were broken in (however long that might take). Stiff upper lip and all that. Keep calm and carry on…

It maybe that it is just that Americans are comfort obsessed (give me a truck with big comfortable seats if I have to drive around on bad roads). We do have big butts and like our seats comfortable (just like the Germans).

What am I missing here? Help me out.

Rob

Dudleydoright
01-28-2010, 12:48 AM
Hey Rob,

Funny post lol

Where to start - especially as I'm part Brit, part Aussie and part Cannuck :eusa_doh:

When I talk about being damp, I'm talking about climate and activity levels. You are bang on about not getting damp in very cold conditions. It will kill. But in very cold temps, ventile doesn't let water in as there is no free water. It does let body moisture out. But in the Arctic / Antarctic, you need to be very careful you pace yourself such that you don't get sweaty. You do that by changing your layers and watching how hard you are working. Of course you can work much harder in freezing temps than in the relatively warm British climate so you can actually work a lot harder physically in the cold than in the warm. But of course, I'm saying this to the general public as you are already aware of this. You also no doubt know that goretex doesn't work in very cold temps as the moisture it is trying to let out through the membrane pores actually freezes before it gets out and freezes to the inside of the jacket.

The acceptance of being damp is a reference to more moderate conditions. In the UK for example, it is relatively warm, frequently wet and if hoofing about the hills with a pack on, nothing is going to keep you dry from sweat. My personal opinion is that some level of 'discomfort' is part of the outdoor experience. If you don't want to sweat - stay on the couch ! But there is a grain of truth in that we Brits don't mind a little pain. :o Perhaps also the psyche of those in the Colonies has always been one of working to improve your lot and so this is carried on now in trying to make everything perfect. Having been a soldier many years ago, I can tell you that I have a VERY wide comfort range and am comfortable in conditions or situations that make others very uncomfortable or stressed. I don't even notice the damp LOL

Ventile is expensive but will keep you dry in wet conditions if it is proofed and if your level of acticity is that of birdwatching or hanging about trying to get a scoop :) then you aren't going to work up a sweat. It has no rustle noise to speak of. And like the Wintergreen garments, it is made and assembled in a First World country (the UK) by small companies. The ventile isn't much more expensive than the supplex kit of Wintergreen really. All your Goretex kit is made in the Far East with cheap labour and high production numbers. The relatively simple Transantarctic Expd anoraks cost over $600 each to make back in 1987 as they were made in small numbers in the States.

Having expensive things that are not common is something people all over the world do - if they can afford it. If you are wealthy, do you buy a KIA car made in Korea or a Porsche. If you are a reporter, do you put your camera kit in a plastic bag or a Billingham Bag ? Do you go cheap and replace frequently or expensive and get quality and durability. These are all personal choices - there is no right way. Is that cool or what ?

Knowing what you want to use kit for and knowing what is out there and how it performs is the key. It's a bit of a minefield.

Does that explain where I was coming from adequately ??

Oh, you're right about Land Rovers - they're Shi'ite ;)

Cheers,
Dave

pipvh
01-28-2010, 01:33 AM
Another explanation for the British penchant for putting up with discomfort is that most people of my generation (I'm 46) had dads who did National Service and never forgot hiking up Snowdon in winter dressed in fatigues. Asking for hi-tech hiking gear (such as it was in the 70s) from such a dad would get you a raised eyebrow and a trip to the army surplus shop.

Most of my aversion to modern fabrics wasn't won on the front lines of British birdwatching, though, but in Vermont winters, where it does get bloody cold. When I first arrived I bought into the whole Thinsulate/Goretex/etc thing - all the glossy labels that festoon new gear, basically - but after my first winter I ditched it all and used layers of natural fiber, because I couldn't stand being soaked from the inside, and reeking of sweat. Johnson Woolen Mills and Filson - what everyone wore up until 20 years ago - still performed better than the modern stuff. All those glossy labels do help sell clothes, of course...

I'm not talking life and death here, though, or survival inside the Arctic Circle or the South Pole, of which I have absolutely NO experience.

Hal
01-28-2010, 02:08 AM
...I'm talking about climate and activity levels...Knowing what you want to use kit for and knowing what is out there and how it performs is the key.
Absolutely right - also, the length of time one is outside needs consideration when choosing outdoor clothing.

In the UK for example, it is relatively warm, frequently wet and if hoofing about the hills with a pack on, nothing is going to keep you dry from sweat. My personal opinion is that some level of 'discomfort' is part of the outdoor experience...there is a grain of truth in that we Brits don't mind a little pain.

Another explanation for the British penchant for putting up with discomfort is that most people of my generation (I'm 46) had dads who did National Service and never forgot hiking up Snowdon in winter dressed in fatigues. Asking for hi-tech hiking gear (such as it was in the 70s) from such a dad would get you a raised eyebrow and a trip to the army surplus shop.

I am of the National Service generation (though it was abolished while I was at university, so I escaped) and can remember, when I first started hill-walking more than 50 years ago, being recommended NOT to wear completely waterproof gear because of the sweating problem. Waterproof nylon "cagoules" and overtrousers appeared around 1961. The deaths of several Scouts on the British mountains in the early 1960s was the occasion when the need for fully waterproof clothing became "officially" recommended. Before then, "showerproof" cotton fabrics such as the fatigues mentioned above were standard outer gear, Grenfell cloth and Ventile being the "top-of-the-range" versions of that cloth.

BellyTank
01-28-2010, 02:10 AM
And of course- this forum is vintage/traditional biased.
So- any potential minor discomfort in outdoor pursuits, is,
perhaps balanced by the enjoyment of the natural cloths, traditional,
simple design- the satisfaction of the "old school" aesthetic.

This "Ventile" thread is a relative of the "Historic Hillwalking" thread-
maybe a read-through of that thread would make things seem slightly more sensible.


B
T

H.Johnson
01-28-2010, 02:58 AM
Should we be surprised that protective fabrics developed in the 1970s and later with huge R&D budgets can outperform a fabric developed in 1942 to be produced under wartime conditions with a commonly available material?

As an aside, I have just examined the results of the hydrostatic head experiment I mentioned further up the thread, where I was testing a sample of a gabardine cotton (originally developed in 1924) against a sample of Ventile(R) developed in 1942. I messed up the experiment by leaving the 1924 material in the rig twice as long as the Ventile(R). I blame Baron Kurtz for dragging me around the vintage cloth-pots of Brick Lane.

The 1924 cloth (begins with G) still outperformed the Ventile(R) in terms of water resistance. Interesting, as I understand that there are plans to replicate this cloth again.

I agree with Hal (who posts too rarely) having shared his some of his experiences. 'Received wisdom' about outdoor gear (both military and leisure) in the 1960s and before was that it was OK to be wet, provided you were warm - which you invariably are in a mild climate when exerting yourself. Those PU-proofed nylon anoraks and cagoules of the 1960s were awful. A definite 'step back' from proofed cottons in terms of vapour permeability.

I still remember (and repeat) my father's rebuke when as a lad I would complain about being soaked on top of some rain-swept peak, ' You won't melt, you're not made of sugar!'. The echoes of this rebuke make it impossible for me (and, I suspect a lot of other British walkers of my generation) to complain about being damp outdoors.

H.Johnson
01-28-2010, 03:08 AM
Rob,

That was I, and you are misquoting me, or maybe misunderstanding what I said. What I said (look it up) was that I had bought a number of Aero FQHH jackets over the years and, while they were stiff at first, I didn't find them that uncomfortable to wear. That's very different from what you say below.

Please be careful not to let your personal prejudices about national characteristics influence the sense of what you are reading...




<Snip>
I think someone on this forum made the comment regarding people who tried to break in their Aero jackets through artificial means, that one should simply wear them and be uncomfortable in them until they were broken in (however long that might take). Stiff upper lip and all that. Keep calm and carry on…

Rob

Creeping Past
01-28-2010, 03:34 AM
265 British pounds for a jacket used for bird watching? $430?

Have you seen what other FL people are paying for
engineer boots?!


If I understand these posts, one should just live with being damp. In our work we often have to stand around in the rain or work in the rain. Everybody I know carefully selects rain suits that will keep them dry, really dry and yet breath enough so they don’t sweat. That includes waterproof boot covers and gloves that don’t soak up water. Why put up with being damp? Who wants to be damp? Damp wool can surely keep you warm, but its still damp.

As BT suggested, most of the people posting here are more or less carrying on previous discussions from matters that have come up on other threads... and we're very keen on old kit and old materials.

As DDR said, we're also getting into the finer points of using the right materials for different weather conditions and climates and degrees of activity. If I was going to be out in heavy rain not moving much, I'd want to wear the thickest outer layer possible and probably wouldn't be thinking to hard about its breathability. If I was moving a lot, I'd want the worst of the rain kept off me, but would want to be able to move freely and would want maximum fabric breathability.

If you're out in the wet you're going to get damp, either from the inside or the outside. There's no material that gives a perfect balance on that score, except human skin under ideal conditions and even that'll get critically waterlogged after a while.

Using natural fibres for field clothing is not limited to the UK. Woolrich and Filson, based in rainier parts of the US, make a lot of money from selling wool and waxed cotton garments. A wool Mackinaw cruiser will keep you warm, if damp, in heavy rain. A tin cloth coat will keep you dry from rain, but it would have me sweating in a matter of minutes.

The trademarked cloth known as Ventile is best for immersion suits and sub-zero conditions, as we know. But in the temperate climate of the UK it's a good breathable alternative to unnatural fibres.

BellyTank
01-28-2010, 04:25 AM
This thread is brilliant indeed- it is creating a very useful discussion;
asking and answering important questions.
Even though we are all participating in this thread about "Ventile",
we have quite diverse viewpoints- mine is obviously somewhat lighter
on the practicalities than Dudleydoright's and Mr.Johnson's and heavier on the aesthetic angle. I, for one, am enjoying the learning.:)


B
T

pipvh
01-28-2010, 04:32 AM
Not to mention the fact that birdwatching in the British climate often amounts to a pretty rigorous hydrostatic-head test in and of itself!

Dudleydoright
01-28-2010, 06:23 AM
This thread is brilliant indeed- it is creating a very useful discussion;
asking and answering important questions.
Even though we are all participating in this thread about "Ventile",
we have quite diverse viewpoints- mine is obviously somewhat lighter
on the practicalities than Dudleydoright's and Mr.Johnson's and heavier on the aesthetic angle. I, for one, am enjoying the learning.:)
B
T

I too am enjoying this immensely and learning lots to boot. It is suprising how subjective this subject of outdoor kit is. And I thought the flight jacket lot were barmy ;)

I'd like to think I am being objective in my ratioanle for choosing what I wear and when and why but the truth is that I am affected by the non quantifiable things that make me up as an individual. I like the idea of natural fabrics. I like the idea of the simple Innuit anorak and am very interested in the ethnic aspects of thos who made their home the North. I have small carvings, a Pang hat or two and CDs of the nasal singing the Innu do. I like their general air and friendliness. I feel sorry for how we madde them live in artificial communities and take up Christianity. I, BT, also have an aesthetic dimension :o

We are all influenced by our own preferences.

It is interesting too that most of us who favour the old fashioned things remember them as kids and went through teh man-made stuff before coming back to the natural............

Rob, I know you you have been leg pulling us Brits and I'm laughing at your humourous perceptions and stereotypes as much as laughing at some of the little grains of truth in it. Keep it coming !!

I also like the way our thread is evolving and what it is covering.

Cheers,
Dave

BellyTank
01-28-2010, 07:12 AM
The simple clothing angle-
2 years ago, I photographed some pages from a book entitled,
"Making Simple Clothing"(now out of print),all the Anorak pages.
which outlines many different, traditional indigenous clothing types,
one of which is the Anorak(Greenland, etc). It seems pertinent now,
more than ever, to extract these photos and present them.
Not quite yet, I'll need to find the camera and charge it up.

But until I do, here's the book information:

ISBN 071362051x
Making Simple Clothes
(Ida Hamre and Hanne Meedom)

This book turns up now and again but gets expensive.

Please stand by...

B
T

nobodyspecial
01-28-2010, 11:51 AM
The Rainshed sells a pattern for a cagoule which, if shortened, would make a servicable anorak pattern. Click on the pattens tab, then rainshed patterns at top and scroll down.
http://www.therainshed.com/

In regard to modern fabrics, I do believe they perform better as far as being breathable in a less humid enviornment such as the western US mountains versus the more humid midwestern US. The greater the difference in humidity between inside the jacket and the outside air seem to help the water vapor escape. That's been my experience in any event.

gfirob
01-28-2010, 06:44 PM
Mr. Johnson
Sorry to have ruffled your (well dressed) feathers, but I thought I was being light hearted. And it seems that I did understand what you said, you just didn't think the jackets were uncomfortable, provably because you are British.

(Only kidding).

Keep calm and carry on.

I think this is a great thread and I like to learn about the style and material of older gear. I mentioned Amundsen's learning from the eskimos because he wore traditional eskimo anoraks (without the traditional tail) in raindeer skin and he by-God stayed warm. Scott and Shackletons men all wore separate hats or knit helmets or similar headgear rather than hoods for the most part and rarely fur.

But I wonder if we are talking about nostalgia here or genuinely effective garments. In a fully modern sense, are they effective? It seems to me that if you are damp, you are damp. I might be a particularly bad contributor to this since I have never worn Ventile garments, but happily, ignorance has never kept me silent before...

I am very glad that there are so many here that really do know this stuff. Great to learn.

Anyway, great thread. Keep it coming.

Again, Mr. Johnson, sorry to have misquoted or misunderstood you.

Rob

Creeping Past
01-29-2010, 01:43 AM
I mentioned Amundsen's learning from the eskimos because he wore traditional eskimo anoraks (without the traditional tail) in raindeer skin and he by-God stayed warm. Scott and Shackletons men all wore separate hats or knit helmets or similar headgear rather than hoods for the most part and rarely fur.

That was a lesson learnt by the early polar explorers, Brits and otherwise, that seems to have passed by Scott and his expedition. Then again, if you're mounting a fully equipped self-contained expedition from the British Isles, you'll probably forego kit made from caribou or reindeer for obvious reasons. ;) We've got plenty of seals, though, but no traditional garb that I know of that uses their skins, which is a shame and an oversight in my view. I'll cut this bit short because we're wandering into the territory of the Antarctic gear thread (http://www.thefedoralounge.com/showthread.php?t=46745).


But I wonder if we are talking about nostalgia here or genuinely effective garments. In a fully modern sense, are they effective?

Both, as many contributors have stated quite fully throughout this and other related threads. And yes to answer the second part of that question, which is a loaded question, if not a straw man. I sense you're presupposing that modern equates to what you find acceptable and what's generally regarded as acceptable, with no specifics. Please define "fully modern" with regard to clothing.

BellyTank
01-29-2010, 07:49 AM
Then again, if you're mounting a fully equipped self-contained expedition from the British Isles, you'll probably forgo kit made from caribou or reindeer for obvious reasons. ;) We've got plenty of seals, though, but no traditional garb that I know of that uses their skins, which is a shame and an oversight in my view.

Slightly OT from the thread but just to comment on this-
When I was living in Denmark, a couple of years ago sealskin Anoraks/Parkas
were very popular winter-wear but they were at the fashion end and ladies-wear. I really wonder now, how warm they are-
the sealskin garments. Denmark has a relationship with Greenland, so this is why I have seen them in DK but not here in Sweden.
So- at least, sealskin "traditional-stlye" clothing can be found in the European market.


B
T

Creeping Past
01-29-2010, 09:02 AM
Slightly OT from the thread but just to comment on this-
When I was living in Denmark, a couple of years ago sealskin Anoraks/Parkas
were very popular winter-wear but they were at the fashion end and ladies-wear. I really wonder now, how warm they are-
the sealskin garments. Denmark has a relationship with Greenland, so this is why I have seen them in DK but not here in Sweden.
So- at least, sealskin "traditional-stlye" clothing can be found in the European market.

B
T

That's interesting. but I bet they're not as good as this one (http://www.spri.cam.ac.uk/museum/catalogue/article/n226/).

I wonder if seal garments made it here to the UK during the time of the Danelaw. Vikings used seal.

I'd wear seal.

BellyTank
01-29-2010, 09:25 AM
And the rest! (http://www.spri.cam.ac.uk/museum/catalogue/armc/categories/parkas/)

B
T

Inusuit
01-29-2010, 09:29 AM
I'm a wool and canvas sort of guy. My go-to wet weather parka is a Filson waxed cotton rain coat. I'm intrigued by this garment from Duluth Pack, but probably not something I'd use much.

http://duluthpack.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=Anorak

norton
01-29-2010, 10:15 AM
I'm a wool and canvas sort of guy. My go-to wet weather parka is a Filson waxed cotton rain coat. I'm intrigued by this garment from Duluth Pack, but probably not something I'd use much.

http://duluthpack.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=Anorak

Duluth pack makes great packs so I'm sure its well made. I have one of their canoe packs and a briefcase. It looks like it would be a perfect outer layer as long as temperatures were sure to stay below freezing. I wouldn't want it rely on it in a freezing rain though.

Fletch
01-29-2010, 10:32 AM
I've learned quite a bit too - among other things the answer to my original question, albeit indirectly:
q. Why isn't Ventile better known in the US?
a. Because it was never military issue here.

gfirob
01-29-2010, 09:03 PM
Creeping past, you make a good point in that I might be setting up a strawman with this comment, though actually it comes from my own ignorance as someone who has no experience wearing or even knowing anything about this fabric prior to reading this thread. And I think there is some nostalgia in this discussion to which I am immune because of the aforementioned ignorance—but of course nostalgia is the engine that drives much of the Fedora Lounge anyway so there is nothing wrong with that at all.

I am not a champion of “modern” fabric any more than the next guy (or I would not spend all this money on heavy, expensive Scottish jackets that are so uncomfortable to wear when you take them out of the box) but I just thought that a lot of imprecise information seemed to be presented here about Ventile. Its weather proof, except when its not, and so forth. It seems as if it would be ideal except in conditions of pouring rain.

A lot of the commentary here seems to refer to testing and scientific assement of the fabric, but I’m having a hard time really understanding just what its characteristics are that would make it preferable to goretex (in purely functional terms, nostalgia or just fondness aside).

But again, I appreciate and respect the experience and knowledge of the posters here on the subject and I apologize if my life-long nature as a smart ass has obscured that.

As a side note, my wife bought a seal-skin parka in Copenhagen a few years ago (they are illegal in the States) and it is tremendously warm, so warm that it can only be warn in serious winter weather. She has never tried wearing it in a kayak while hinting polar bears though, and it might have dampness issues in that case.

Finally, it is true that if Ventile had been issued by the US military, it would probably be more widely known here, though I suspect it is more likely that its cost and limited production meant that it was never going to be effectively distributed in this huge market. That, and the relative shortage of bird watchers here…

Rob

Dudleydoright
01-30-2010, 01:58 PM
Fletch, Rob,
Milissue ventile might be but the only items that it has ever been used in are immersion suits and the inner lining material in the RAF Mk 3 cold weather jacket and trousers plus a cold weather cap and a couple of amazing parkas that were VERY limited issue and too heavy and warm of general active use. Ventile is Hardly common or even well known even in the military in the UK !! It is better known amongst those of us who recall it's use back in the day or came across is due to it's use by the British Antarctic Survey. It is still not generally known by most outdoors people (although the Internet & sites like this have made it better known though more misunderstood !).
The patents made to the manufacturer in WW2 ensured that it wasn't copied and as a limited use material, one mill always cooed with demand even if at times the demands of either the military or BAS meant that regular availability could be too patchy / 'unreliable' for larger- scale use.
Rob, re-read some of the earlier posts. I have clearly stated ventiles' limitations and to say 'weatherproof except when it's not' is an unfair jibe at those of us who have posted that weatherproof ventile might be but WATERPROOF it sure isn't. Let's not confuse terms here buddy :)
I keep saying that there's no one outer for all occassions. Man made or natural .cheers
Dave

gfirob
01-30-2010, 07:38 PM
Dave
I did re-read the thread and I also read the Vintile section in the Dan Robertson Workshop book that someone suggested and I think I am gaining an understanding the whole thing . You were pretty clear in your post, thanks.

The description in Robertson’s book pretty much agrees with most of what is being written by those of you who have actually used this stuff, and it sounds pretty attractive.

I guess initially it seem inconceivable to me that such an extraordinary fabric would not have been in wide use here in the States, if it was so effective. In fact, if Americans didn’t invent it, how good could it be?

Well, it may be that I had my head up my a** in this case (not the first time). Robertson is very demanding in his estimation of the fabric and its ability to breath and remain waterproof and his description of its history is very interesting. He also says (in 1989):

“Ventile is the most under exploited fabric for outdoor clothing (and other items). It is so typical of Britain to produce a wonder fabric and then not to develop and exploit it.”

Now, I won’t comment on Mr. Robertson’s obvious personal problem with the British, but that aside, perhaps it is not so surprising that this wonder fabric never made a mark over here where we all sweat under synthetics and are proud of it...

So I’m going to keep my eye out for a Ventile garment I can afford to try it out. I think perhaps the British aversion to comfort (as I described it in good humor) is not that different from that of my own father—who grew up camping in the west, in the Sierra Nevada mountains. He and his enthusiastic embracing of the damp and cold may be one of the reasons I prefer comfort in the out of doors…

I did work in Antarctica in parallel to a British unit and their producer’s idea of the care and feeding of their crew was quite different than mine (but that is a story from another thread).

Thanks again for introducing me to this interesting fabric.

rob

Fletch
01-30-2010, 10:06 PM
The description in Robertson’s book pretty much agrees with most of what is being written by those of you who have actually used this stuff, and it sounds pretty attractive.

I guess initially it seem inconceivable to me that such an extraordinary fabric would not have been in wide use here in the States, if it was so effective. In fact, if Americans didn’t invent it, how good could it be?

Well, it may be that I had my head up my a** in this case (not the first time). Robertson is very demanding in his estimation of the fabric and its ability to breath and remain waterproof and his description of its history is very interesting. He also says (in 1989):

“Ventile is the most under exploited fabric for outdoor clothing (and other items). It is so typical of Britain to produce a wonder fabric and then not to develop and exploit it.”

Now, I won’t comment on Mr. Robertson’s obvious personal problem with the British, but that aside, perhaps it is not so surprising that this wonder fabric never made a mark over here where we all sweat under synthetics and are proud of it...That and it's cotton. And cotton can kill you.

Dudleydoright
01-31-2010, 12:47 AM
Fletch,
We've already covered that 'cotton kills' stuff and we all pretty much agreed that that depends a lot on climate , activity level and where in the layering system it is. Read up the thread a ways ........
Dave

Creeping Past
01-31-2010, 01:50 AM
That and it's cotton. And cotton can kill you.

Also covered extensively in this thread, the Historical Hillwalking thread and, as I recall, in the Adventurer's Gear Thread. I think I also mentioned this in my first reply to you in this thread! :rolleyes:

As is the case with guns, it's not the firearms that kill you...

Dudleydoright
01-31-2010, 09:30 AM
Here's an anorak I picked up recently for $24. It's old. Probably US Mil as it has a military label with 'Nuttick' on it. NOT NATTICK as in the clothing research lab' though. It's a VERY simple with drawcords at hood, hem and each cuff. Classic Innuit/Eskimo chest pockets and very long with a flaring to the shape from the mid-chest to hem . Material seems to be a cotton linen rough woven ..............

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y167/pilgrim632000/Anoraks/IMG_1952.jpg

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y167/pilgrim632000/Anoraks/IMG_1953.jpg

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y167/pilgrim632000/Anoraks/IMG_1955.jpg

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y167/pilgrim632000/Anoraks/IMG_1956.jpg

It's in better shape than it looks !!

Or maybe we should start an Anorak Design thread ..............??

Cheers,
Dave

Creeping Past
01-31-2010, 09:35 AM
Here's an anorak I picked up recently for $24. It's old. Probably US Mil as it has a military label with 'Nuttick' on it. NOT NATTICK as in the clothing research lab' though. It's a VERY simple with drawcords at hood, hem and each cuff. Classic Innuit/Eskimo chest pockets and very long with a flaring to the shape from the mid-chest to hem . Material seems to be a cotton linen rough woven ..............

[...]

Or maybe we should start an Anorak Design thread ..............??

Cheers,
Dave

What a nice find.

For me, the simpler the better. The less there is to fiddle with and get caught on gear or bits of the terrain, the better it looks to me.

As for design, I reckon this is the starting point for a basic, classic Anorak.

gfirob
01-31-2010, 10:12 AM
What a great piece. What is really nice about it is the length. I'm not sure why they got so much shorter over the years, but the original tribal garments (unless you were in a kayak) were down about to the knees (I think).

Whether or not there is a big difference between garments made of fur to protect you from the cold or garments made of cotton (which, incidentally kills thousands of innocent people every year) to protect you from the wind, I don't know, but Eskimo designs are based on centuries (if not more) of social evolution.

I hope someone can identify its military origins. If it is military then it does suggest that at some point in time the US military was perfectly comfortable that soldiers could survive in cotton. Do you think the flared bottom has to do with making room for equipment? Does that make sense, or just freedom of movement?

If I can say so without appearing to support that trouble-maker, Fletch, I was always under the impression that cotton does kill. And it is for sure that it rains in Seattle where this was made. All the time. More even than in England. And yet they made this garment of cotton (murderous bastards).

I think one of the things that is so interesting about this Ventile thread is that suggests that there was a superior product, made of traditional material that have been in use since before the time of the Pharaohs, which languished in relative obscurity because it was never really marketed properly. Or something.

Anyway, Dave great find and thanks for posting.

Rob

Dudleydoright
01-31-2010, 10:24 AM
Hey Rob,
Checked your pm's lately ? :rolleyes:

I think that this anorak was around WW2. The first issue anorak used by the US Army was a reversible garment , long with fur around the hood and cuffs and a similar pocket arrangement. The second pattern was shorter with no fur at the cuffs - just buttons closing. Both had a couple of buttons at the neck too to make the opening more ventable. The one I've posted looks like it might pre-date those. Shelby Stanton's book on US Army clothing in WW2 is a great reference to what the Army was using in winter at that time. (His other books on uniforms of the Korean War and Vietnam War are also great).

I think the flaring is to allow movement.....

As to this cotton kills mularky guys. Boy have you two been brainwashed !! Cotton kills when next to the skin. You could wear a cotton windproof material with fleece or wool layers under it and you wouldn't die. Honest !! lol It's wet cotton next to the skin that saps the heat outta you. Perhaps the American Govt, realising the intellect and threshold of boredom of the average 'Yank', decided that the rest of the message after the first two words would be wasted lol lol . People die when wearing the wrong things in the wrong places. Hey, we call it Evolution and survival of the smartest ......... looks like the population of America is gonna decline
....
Yours - tongue firmly in cheek,
Dave

Fletch
01-31-2010, 12:06 PM
We like our thinking simple here in the trackless wastes of the new world, Dave. We're also particularly fond of black-and-white, life-or-death pronouncements, especially if they can be circulated as lore and used to sell product.

On a brighter note...
I wonder if any of you WW2 raincoat freaks (excuse the expression) have ever come across a US Army raincoat or poncho made by Collegiate Manufacturing, Inc.
They were the only clothing maker or military contractor in my hometown of Ames, Iowa (actually they made pennants and stuffed animals in peacetime). They earned the "E" award for their work in 1944.
http://www.ames.lib.ia.us/farwell/Publication/1769.jpg

BellyTank
01-31-2010, 02:23 PM
http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y167/pilgrim632000/Anoraks/IMG_1952.jpg



This is a US WW2(pretty sure, WW2 Stock no. on label) "Ski Parka",
the "Field Parka" was the shorter one.
The ski parka is wider to allow.... well, skiing and meant for wearing with the pile liner.
You won't find this exact model in Shelby Stanton's book.

A good find.

B
T

gfirob
01-31-2010, 04:41 PM
BT, thanks for the information. Not to want to appear stupid, but why wouldn’t’ a ski parka be white? Wouldn’t a soldier in an olive-drab parka stand out in the snow like a great big target? This is not to question your identification, but just as a point of curiosity.

And Dave, I might point out that you are only hearing from the guys who wore wool under cotton, got wet and survived because the ones that wore wool under the cotton, got wet and died didn’t report in, because they were dead. So your sample is skewed, making you believe this dangerous British myth.

I rest my case…

nobodyspecial
01-31-2010, 08:40 PM
Wearing cotton long underwear in the bush is a great way to earn a Darwin Award.

Dudleydoright
02-01-2010, 12:44 AM
BT, thanks for the information. Not to want to appear stupid, but why wouldn’t’ a ski parka be white? Wouldn’t a soldier in an olive-drab parka stand out in the snow like a great big target? This is not to question your identification, but just as a point of curiosity.

And Dave, I might point out that you are only hearing from the guys who wore wool under cotton, got wet and survived because the ones that wore wool under the cotton, got wet and died didn’t report in, because they were dead. So your sample is skewed, making you believe this dangerous British myth.

I rest my case…

lol lol lol
Can't fault that American logic !! Cotton kills folks - but only stupid ones !

And yes, ski parkas can be green as well as white. All white only works in flat open areas where there is little change in light - and even then, if your kit is off-white you'll stand out. In wooded areas a mix of white and green works well. The Germans go for a reversible snow suit that goes from all white to white with large starbursts of green on it. We Brits (being cheap minded) tend to wear white overtrousers trousers with the DPM smock as the legs get lost in the ground snow but the camo upper body goes well with the trees.

In WW2 the US Army used reversible anoraks and trousers.

Dave

BellyTank
02-01-2010, 05:48 AM
Some Googling will unearth Anorak/Ventile information on other, more
specialist message boards. Of particular interest are those message boards about winter trekking, snow-shoeing, etc-

Here's an interesting article about cold weather clothing, with some
information about cotton Anoraks and what makes Hi-Tech fabrics useless
in cold:

http://wintertrekking.com/index.php?action=article_view&a_id=28

-and a thread about "Inuit Anoraks" from the same board:

http://wintertrekking.com/index.php?topic=672.0

There's quite a lot out there-

B
T

H.Johnson
02-01-2010, 09:05 AM
And there is a family of similarly-designed US Navy anoraks but with lace-up necks and different pockets, in a Macintosh-like rubberised canvas.


This is a US WW2(pretty sure, WW2 Stock no. on label) "Ski Parka",
the "Field Parka" was the shorter one.
The ski parka is wider to allow.... well, skiing and meant for wearing with the pile liner.
You won't find this exact model in Shelby Stanton's book.

A good find.

B
T

Dudleydoright
02-01-2010, 09:10 AM
There is indeed Mr J. I've had a couple but by God are they sweaty inside !! I even had Steve at Pegasus make me up a paddling anorak like the WW2 ones in an original vintage rubberized cotton. Very stiff and WAY too hot so I let it go on Ebay. They also tended to be a bit too short in the back as they were meant to be worn in conjunction with high waisted / braced 'dungarees' in the same material. Best left for waterborne activities ....

Dave

H.Johnson
02-01-2010, 09:24 AM
Dave

Same reason I let go my first pattern Smock, Canoeist (a.k.a. 'SBS Smock' in BS language).


There is indeed Mr J. I've had a couple but by God are they sweaty inside !! I even had Steve at Pegasus make me up a paddling anorak like the WW2 ones in an original vintage rubberized cotton. Very stiff and WAY too hot so I let it go on Ebay. They also tended to be a bit too short in the back as they were meant to be worn in conjunction with high waisted / braced 'dungarees' in the same material. Best left for waterborne activities ....

Dave

gfirob
02-01-2010, 07:29 PM
OK, after reading BT’s excellent links and all the rest of the British information here, it looks like the “Cotton Kills” idea (which every American Boy Scout knows to be true”) is a tissue of lies. Hard to believe that we could be so wrong headed, but we also believe that world history began in 1776.

BT, I think the unlined Empire Canvas Arctic Anorak really looks great (even at $425 for the version with Coyote fur hood ruff) and the various northern Canadian lined anoraks (like the Skoocum) at $895 Canadian look great. There was also this nice comment about fur anoraks in one of the posts you linked to:

“The absolute best clothing for deep cold is, in my opinion, made of fall-killed caribou skin. There is just nothing like it. It seems to somehow adjust to your level of activity so that you are at a perfect temperature over a wide range of activity level. There is no doubt in my mind that the Arctic would have been basically uninhabitable without this material. It is still fairly widely used but of course less so than it used to be. It is all hand sewn and requires a fair bit of maintenance. I made a pair of pants once and it was a lot of work. Another thing: if you wear caribou skin you get caribou hair in absolutely everything you eat or drink. Just have to accept it...”

These would have been the kind of thing Amundsen and his boys wore.

I wonder if Empire Canvas would make a parka with Ventile, if you could find some? That would be a serious garment. I like their pattern.

The guy writing the Canadian site wintertrekking.com had heard of Ventile but never seen any. But his feeling was that unlined cotton anoraks would do fine in the serious cold they have up there in the way snowy north (though the inuit seem to prefer to make them lined, if I read that correctly).

So I certainly stand corrected and thanks to you all for the fascinating thread.

Rob

BellyTank
02-02-2010, 02:22 AM
You're welcome-
Empire Canvas, et al-
$425 and $895 is a lot of money for a cotton Anorak.
$20, or less should get you an old Swedish Army Anorak, which is basically
a long, simple, heavy cotton anorak, with pockets and a large hood- basically what the new/traditional Anoraks are but at a fraction of the cost.
I don't think the Empire one claims to be made from any kind of miracle cotton cloth.

The Swedish Anoraks are available(hopefully, still) as a proper "pullover" but there is an earlier and later model- m40 and m60, both vitually the same but the earlier one sometimes lacks a waist draw-cord and the later one "may" sometimes be a blend, or is actually quite waterproof, whether it is treated, or not. The earlier one, in my experience, is not so water resistant. There is also (watch out) the m62, which is different- a button-through coat, in a similar style but it is not such a useful garment in my experience, due to it being quite voluminous and having difficult, low-slung armpits, without any gusseting, or allowance for movement. The cloth, however, seems quite water repellent!

Now my descriptions of these garments, especially the first two "Anoraks",
m40 and m60, could be incorrect- maybe it is not a clear-cut case, as to which is made from cotton, or which has a more water repellent cloth.

Although I live in Sweden and am aware of most surplus store offerings,
I haven't seen so many of these Anoraks around recently- gone to Europe and the US, it seems.

These Swedish Anoraks do lend themselves well to modification and over-dyeing.

Some links to other Bushcraft and Wintery message board threads
where the Swedish Anoraks are mentioned, with positive comments:

http://www.bushcraftliving.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3168

http://www.bushcraftuk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2721&highlight=swedish+snow+smock

There are more to be found...

...and look at the price of this offering, as an inexpensive Anorak!
http://www.titanproducts.co.uk/new-titan--retro-hooded-ultra-heavyweight-cotton-smock-153-p.asp

An interesting contribution on dressing for cold weather (down to -30C)
and layering with traditional clothing:

http://www.bushcraftuk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=50528


B
T

Creeping Past
02-02-2010, 02:28 AM
You're welcome-
Empire Canvas, et al-
$425 and $895 is a lot of money for a cotton Anorak.
$20, or less should get you an old Swedish Army Anorak, which is basically
a long, simple, heavy cotton anorak, with pockets and a large hood- basically what the new/traditional Anoraks are but at a fraction of the cost.


As you say, there's quite a bit of internet talk about this subject. For instance, some Canadians here (http://www.myccr.com/SectionForums/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=26925) like the Swedish anoraks.

BellyTank
02-02-2010, 02:52 AM
Ah, yes, the one I neglected to link to...
Thanks, Creeping.

You have one(maybe 2?)of the Swedish, no?
If so, seen any use?

We have a balmy -10C here this morning and a little breeze,
I'm off to the forest with mine.



B
T

Creeping Past
02-02-2010, 03:11 AM
Ah, yes, the one I neglected to link to...
Thanks, Creeping.

You have one(maybe 2?)of the Swedish, no?
If so, seen any use?

We have a balmy -10C here this morning and a little breeze,
I'm off to the forest with mine.

B
T

A forest trip sounds just perfect. It's damp and foggy in London and I had a dream of hills and fresh air last night...

I've a couple of those Swedish änoraks/smöcks. The older one's heavily used, more cottoney and less canvasy (if you get my drift) and less tight woven than the newer one, which looks unissued. The latter has khaki canvas epaulettes. Both are very fine garments. I've used both and they get soaked through in heavy rain, but leave only a light dew on a sweater worn underneath.

Edit: I forgot to mention that I've worn them in snow and biting wind and they work well.

H.Johnson
02-02-2010, 03:45 AM
I was in London with BK last week and in Spitalfields market we examined a private purchase (labelled) version of the Swedish Army anorak in a much finer fabric than the surplus versions I have examined - without a magnifying glass it would have passed for one of the Ventile-type cottons.

The only problem (for me) with the Swedish Army anoraks is the size. I know they are supposed to be loose fitting, but I haven't seen one less than an XXXXL!

As an aside, my latest Ventile-type clothing experiment (a removable Ventile-type drop liner under a Ventile-type British Army wind smock) proved itself this weekend in ideal conditions - day-long rain at one or two degrees above freezing. Just the sort of thing that Ventile(R) doesn't handle well.

I can report that the undershirt improved the performance of the smock noticeably. I would estimate that it now rivals the wet-weather performance of a proprietary double-layer Ventile smock and has the advantage that the two garments can be worn separately and packed into two pockets or belt pouches when not being worn. There was still some leak-through by absorption but not much compared to the outer layer on its own. And I still haven't spent 20 GBP. And it's all vintage...

A friend who was with me suggested that the leak-through by transfer between the two layers of cotton could be improved even more by wearing another layer between the two water resistant layers. This is the principle of a mesh layer between two layers of Ventile(R) that Synergy and others used to use. OK, but that's another thing to pack away. Nevertheless, I'm going to try it next week-end, using a WW2 string vest as the intermediate layer.

I'll keep you posted.

BellyTank
02-02-2010, 04:47 AM
Good stuff, HJ!

Is the "ventile liner" the "windshirt" of previous posts?
Could you describe it?

Let's see if the string vest, under your "shell" doesn't suck up the water like
a wick...;)

String T-shirt style undershirts- Swedish and Danish, are available here as surplus and are a great skin/under-layer. They are, of course, quite stretchable and conform to a range of sizes. I have worn mine beneath my Swedish Army woolen undershirt, which is of the non-itching variety,
by virtue of being knitted from fine, worsted yarns. (I have seen these being marketed on a specialist, outdoor website for the grand price of £60!)The string vest probably helps by keeping the wool off the skin. Very warm but not sweaty.

Actually, these Swedish woolen undershirts are very, very good-
plenty long, with a buttoning, cotton placquet, rib knit cuffs and thumb straps.

We await your next installment...

Re- the size of the Swedish Anoraks- I have 2, which seem like a useful size,
for a longer, looser Anorak but, as I mentioned, their relative cheapness
and generous size lends them well to becoming sewing machine fodder, if a smaller, shorter example is required. Enough cloth left over to make a hat, perhaps... I need to make one of them smaller,
more akin to the Cadet Smock size.

I guess, re: size/length of Anoraks, there are different requirements for a windproof shell-climbing activities, for example, could use a smaller, shorter, snugger variant and walking, or general cold weather, outdoor pursuits, could benefit from a larger/longer one, with more layering room and flexibility of use.


B
T

norton
02-02-2010, 12:14 PM
This has been a very interesting and educational discussion, but it looks like there will soon be a product that will allow any cotton to compete with the water proof/breathable properties of ventile - liquid glass (http://www.physorg.com/news184310039.html).

H.Johnson
02-02-2010, 12:54 PM
Yes. Note how the humble shirt has now become a sophisticated drop-liner. That's how 'hype' begins...

I suspect you might be right about the capillary action, but there's only one way to find out...

I'm 'pushing the envelope' here in terms of the amount of insulation I'm wearing compared to lightness and packability. I want to see if I can get down to one woollen layer under the windshirt/dropliner rather than two. Don't ask me why - it's that crazy pursuit of lightness.

You know you have it bad when you start using one of those toothbrush heads that clips to the end of your finger to save the weight of a handle and you collect those little tubes of toothpaste from hotels to use on mountains...


Good stuff, HJ!

Is the "ventile liner" the "windshirt" of previous posts?
Could you describe it?

Let's see if the string vest, under your "shell" doesn't suck up the water like
a wick...;)

String T-shirt style undershirts- Swedish and Danish, are available here as surplus and are a great skin/under-layer. They are, of course, quite stretchable and conform to a range of sizes. I have worn mine beneath my Swedish Army woolen undershirt, which is of the non-itching variety,
by virtue of being knitted from fine, worsted yarns. (I have seen these being marketed on a specialist, outdoor website for the grand price of £60!)The string vest probably helps by keeping the wool off the skin. Very warm but not sweaty.

Actually, these Swedish woolen undershirts are very, very good-
plenty long, with a buttoning, cotton placquet, rib knit cuffs and thumb straps.

We await your next installment...

B
T

H.Johnson
02-02-2010, 12:56 PM
Don't you just love reading stuff by people who know what they're about?




An interesting contribution on dressing for cold weather (down to -30C)
and layering with traditional clothing:

http://www.bushcraftuk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=50528


B
T

BellyTank
02-02-2010, 02:08 PM
I'm 'pushing the envelope' here in terms of the amount of insulation I'm wearing compared to lightness and packability. I want to see if I can get down to one woollen layer under the windshirt/dropliner rather than two. Don't ask me why - it's that crazy pursuit of lightness.

You know you have it bad when you start using one of those toothbrush heads that clips to the end of your finger to save the weight of a handle and you collect those little tubes of toothpaste from hotels to use on mountains...

Minimum of base and middle layers-

Interesting- I pushed that same envelope today in the cold (about -8c and dry)with the meagre combination of: the string T-shirt and Swedish army wool undershirt, (this combination really is a winner)under "the cadet smock"(not the Swedish Anorak). Long socks and (vintage as you like)a pair of lightweight Edwardian wool trousers (very high waist)and hiking boots complete my outfit. Warm enough. A thin woolen head-over/toque, thin woolen gloves and (not that I wore it) a woolen bobble hat were my temperature control devices.
This was my least bulky winter outdoor ensemble ever.
I might have suffered if it was windy, as I was in quite an exposed area,
above a frozen body of water.

I will add, that I was very close to home.



Don't you just love reading stuff by people who know what they're about?



Yes!


B
T

H.Johnson
02-02-2010, 03:48 PM
We think alike...
Swiss trousers in my case and Smedley's merino undies with a Brynje vest, but a similar set of ideas.

WRT wind, don't underestimate the cadet smock...

alden405
02-02-2010, 05:57 PM
Ive just got my mits on a BAS ventile smock from Snugpak
It will be my winter push bike windshirt
im very happy with it

number6
02-03-2010, 01:43 AM
In the 1980's there were two ventile jackets issued by BAS .
A single layer 'Base anorak' for general use plus a 'Sledging Anorak' for field work , this latter anorak had a two layer back which had a diamond pattern of stitching to keep the two layers together.
The modern BAS ventile anorak was a development of the base anorak, better pockets were seen as essential so the old style kangaroo pocket was ditched in favour of four bellows pockets.

Dudleydoright
02-03-2010, 03:06 AM
And what wouldn't I give to get either of the old BAS smocks? Especially the sledging one !!

I prefer the kangaroo pocket myself.

Dave

pipvh
02-03-2010, 03:38 AM
I think it does have to be a kangaroo pocket. The Westwinds BAS smock is just too... pockety.

From a non-Antarctic surveyor point of view, that is.

Creeping Past
02-03-2010, 03:43 AM
I think it does have to be a kangaroo pocket. The Westwinds BAS smock is just too... pockety.

From a non-Antarctic surveyor point of view, that is.

I think we need to get weaving on BT's suggestion and start an ideal anorak thread. I'm stuck at work and pressed for time otherwise I'd be right on it. ;)

Dudleydoright
02-03-2010, 04:30 AM
Leave it with me ..........

Although there might be multiple phots posts as we have this and the Antarctic gear thread and teh 'Anorak Brad Pitt blah, blah , blah.....

Dave

nobodyspecial
02-03-2010, 07:39 AM
Just want to second the notion of the Brynje mesh base layers - that stuff is fabulous. I'm only aware of one source in the US, Reliable Racing Supply, but well worth the money.

norton
02-03-2010, 07:47 AM
Just want to second the notion of the Brynje mesh base layers - that stuff is fabulous. I'm only aware of one source in the US, Reliable Racing Supply, but well worth the money.

Is this (http://wiggys.com/moreinfo.cfm?Product_ID=35) what you're talking about? I wear the shirt under a wool long underwear shirt.

Dudleydoright
02-03-2010, 07:48 AM
I know what you're saying but I have to say that I like the idea of using the old style kit in the old style. I'll take the so-called discomforts and enjoy them as I'm looking to have a vintage experience and want it warts and all. It's a kind of experimental archaeology I suppose .....:rolleyes:

Interliners etc are all modern things and that's cool but if you're REALLY into vintage kit, well, use vintage kit.

Once I get my clothes making skills up to speed, i'll start making anoraks in a couple of materials, made the old way to the old, simple designs. Watch this space but don't hold your breath !

Oh,
I've seen the Titan smocks. They are a great design and cut. I've bought one with the idea of getting it dis-assembled and used as a pattern for making one in ventile .......

Dave

nobodyspecial
02-03-2010, 08:13 AM
Here are the Brynje products (the Reliable Racing Supply website is down at the moment).
http://www.brynje.no/public/index.php?set_language=en&cccpage=webshop_l1&set_z_qm_product_grp1=6

I have Brynje mesh bottoms and they are great. I have merino wool mesh tops which I think were made by Devold and both are excellent base layers.

I've not used the Wiggy's fishnet base layers. I had a Wiggy's sleeping bag once, but eventually sold it on ebay.

norton
02-03-2010, 08:26 AM
They look to be very similar, although Brynje has much more variety.

Creeping Past
02-03-2010, 08:36 AM
All this talk of polypropylene is veering quite some way from Ventile...

In case you missed it, gents, we're digging the natural fibres here ;)

pipvh
02-03-2010, 08:44 AM
To get us back on track to some other cotton wonder-fabrics:

I've come across plenty of references to Grenfell (presumably Mr Johnson's mysterious 'G' cloth) when researching vintage outerwear, but also occasional ones to 'Oxford cloth.' What is said Oxford cloth - a specific creature like Ventile, or a broader and now defunct term for something along those lines?

BellyTank
02-03-2010, 08:45 AM
From their web site-

BRYNJE SUPER THERMO NET

* Designed for Fall, Winter and Spring.

* The insulating factor of Super Thermo is greatly enhanced when
combined with a fairly snug fitting mid layer. While excess moisture
escapes through the net matrix the mid layer covers the net keeping
a regulated warm cushion of air next to the skin.

* For full wind protection wear a loose windproof shell over the mid
layer garment.

This was exactly what I wore yesterday, in -9C.
I was thinking right! But it wasn't Brynje, it was inexpensive, Scandinavian surplus.
Cotton.


B
T

Creeping Past
02-03-2010, 08:51 AM
Wool undershirt, string vest, wool/cotton shirt and anorak has served me well in biting wind down to zero in the past year. Kind of similar. I admit to wearing a sweater beneath the top layer.

Creeping Past
02-03-2010, 08:56 AM
To get us back on track to some other cotton wonder-fabrics:

I've come across plenty of references to Grenfell (presumably Mr Johnson's mysterious 'G' cloth) when researching vintage outerwear, but also occasional ones to 'Oxford cloth.' What is said Oxford cloth - a specific creature like Ventile, or a broader and now defunct term for something along those lines?

Yes, where are the textile historians? I've not been able to find out anything definite about the fabrics you mention - or different grades of canvas for windproof clothing - in a couple of years of searching. I've collected some useful info but nothing that pins down a precise definition or manufacturer's specification. So much of this information, which was once presumably so commonplace that it didn't merit recording, has disappeared.

I was looking into all this so that I could get an approximate match to the old fabrics in the nearest modern alternatives, but no dice.

BellyTank
02-03-2010, 09:13 AM
What is said Oxford cloth - a specific creature like Ventile, or a broader and now defunct term for something along those lines?

If you were to GooGlpedia it, you would no doubt find out a lot about Oxford weave shirts and the basket-weave texture of the Cloth.

But I think there is another "Oxford" termed cloth, perhaps not older
but definitely a different cloth (I could be wrong).
I'm thinking of a heavy, outer cloth, like Bedford Cord, Jungle Cloth, etc.
I think it may be something like Bedford Cord but with the "cord", or wale "horizontal", rather than "vertical" in the cloth. Something like that.
I want to know for sure, now.

B
T

BellyTank
02-03-2010, 09:43 AM
Yes, where are the textile historians?

Yes, indeed- I remember when we were both trying to get to the bottom of the heavy cotton/Canvas/Duck conundrum. It seems that terms come and go, get picked up again and used for a different thing.

Now, what was that heavy, plain-weave cloth, that doesn't look like what we know to be canvas..?

Remember? We were looking for Anorak cloth! Is that 2 years ago?

I'm very interested that there seems to be a plain AND a twill/Gab weave VENTILE cloth. Intrigued.


B
T

Creeping Past
02-03-2010, 09:49 AM
Yes, indeed- I remember when we were both trying to get to the bottom of the heavy cotton/Canvas/Duck conundrum. It seems that terms come and go, get picked up again and used for a different thing.

Now, what was that heavy, plain-weave cloth, that doesn't look like what we know to be canvas..?

Remember? We were looking for Anorak cloth! Is that 2 years ago?

I'm very interested that there seems to be a plain AND a twill/Gab weave VENTILE cloth. Intrigued.

B
T

Yep, that was quite an adventure! And we've still not had the medal struck.

I particularly like that we're not the only ones...

pipvh
02-03-2010, 09:51 AM
Right - in fact Ventile is an Oxford-weave cloth. I wonder if Grenfell is as well: the only info I've found so far is that it's Egyptian cotton with a 600 threads per inch count. There must be other proprietary and non-proprietary materials out there - Burberry? Aquascutum? - that are essentially the same thing. Burberry invented Gabardine, but the Gabardine clothing worn by explorers was wool, I believe, and in any case it's a twill weave, so cotton Gabardine wouldn't strictly speaking be similar to Ventile.

Now we really need Mr Johnson...

pipvh
02-03-2010, 09:53 AM
Posted the above before I'd read the preceeding posts - apologies for chewing over old material...

BellyTank
02-03-2010, 10:33 AM
Well- I have had samples of VENTILE in plain weave and Gab.
I believe "cotton gab" was used by explorers, both in the tropics and up
high mountains and other cold places. I have a vintage trench coat, which is
a cotton gab but is it Grenfell...? no label.
Also, the Grenfell "name" has been stuck on all manner of clothing and textiles, you occasionally see a tweed jacket with the Grenfell label but I presume that's Haythornthwaites using their legacy to sell.

What is "waterproof cotton"?


B
T

Creeping Past
02-03-2010, 11:26 AM
What is "waterproof cotton"?

Last year Hackett in London were selling a raincoat made of 100% cotton, which they said was waterproof. It was made from an Italian fabric not unlike the V-fabric. I couldn't get any more out of Hackett on whether it was naturally waterproof or treated. Of course, I was trying to get them to tell me about their fabric supplier, but nothing doing.

Interesting that the Italians have moved on to making more classic formerly British fabrics...

number6
02-03-2010, 11:56 AM
BAS anoraks are made from L19 Ventile , BAS tents from L28 Ventile, the former is a slightly lighter form . The L28 is a military spec material, If I recall only BAS and the MOD use it .

pipvh
02-03-2010, 12:00 PM
And now that Grenfell is back in UK ownership and with a new (non-functioning) online shop, perhaps we'll see some interesting things from them. The rest of their website is definitely playing up the exploration legacy quite heavily.

Creeping Past
02-03-2010, 12:11 PM
And now that Grenfell is back in UK ownership and with a new (non-functioning) online shop, perhaps we'll see some interesting things from them. The rest of their website is definitely playing up the exploration legacy quite heavily.

This link to Grenfell stuff (http://www.suitsmen.co.uk/brands.php?brand=grenfell) works.

Interesting that the safari jacket is made from Italian cotton fabric (see my post below).

Here's Grenfell: http://www.grenfelluk.com/history.html

Further edit: may I suggest that either this thread is renamed "Ventile and other water-resistant cotton", or something, or a new "Cotton outdoors clothing" thread? Thoughts?

Dudleydoright
02-04-2010, 12:40 AM
Can't see any reason to change the title myself.

If people want to deviate / hijack a thread ....................:rolleyes:

Anyone can feel free to start another one .....

Dave

BellyTank
02-07-2010, 01:43 PM
Today-
String T-shirt, Swedish army worsted wool undershirt and the NZ classic; black, wool bush/shearers singlet(no gents, I didn't say bush shearer's singlet)
...and the cadet smock-

Too hot on today's walk, at -4c (no wind)and I only had on underwear and an Anorak (no hat, either)! I think I'm off to get my thyroid checked out.

I can easily see the difference between "cold"(-C) and "wet"(rain + cold)
now. In the last 10 days, I have been out and about with woolen underwear and an Anorak at temps down to -14c and not got cold at all- most times,
I have been a bit too warm at a good walking pace.

The "you lose 40% of your body heat through yer heed" myth is a myth now.
I read so.

B
T

pipvh
02-09-2010, 10:17 AM
Here's a bona fide Ventile question:

Can you dye the stuff? I'm thinking about snagging one of the old Banana Republic Ventile safari jackets that come up on the 'bay every now and then, but I'd want it to be olive green or khaki. Given the inherently water-repellent nature of the weave, would it even absorb dye?

H.Johnson
02-09-2010, 10:44 AM
I have experienced problems in dying Ventile(R) and ventile-type fabrics, I surmise that this is not because of the cloth itself, but because many examples are coated with some preparation or other that inhibits the absorption of water.

I think we have discussed why this may be, when the way in which Ventile(R) is supposed to work is by absorbing water to swell the threads and created a barrier to further absorption. This would suggest that it possible to dye the fabric effectively, which experience suggests it isn't always so.

Manufacturers don't seem to have this problem as they almost certainly dye the thread or fabric before it is coated. I can only suggest that you try a small sample with the dye before doing the whole garment.

Since Dave was good enough to start this thread I have been examining Ventile(R) and similar fabrics under a microscope, and I have picked some apart to see how it is made (you need a very thin, sharp point...). Various samples from various weavers over the years (Ventile as a trade mark has passed through a number of hands) and I really don't know what to make of it. All of the samples are slightly different. They seem to be made of different cottons, different 'tightness' of spinning and different thread patterns (Ventile(R) is supposed to be 3-to-1, but some of it isn't). I know there are different grades or types of Ventile(R) but I'm beginning to wonder if there is any standard fabric that defines 'Ventile(R)'.

Dudleydoright
02-17-2010, 09:53 AM
Here's one of my favourite everday use ventile jackets.

Double layered, lightweight, in the style of the older Grenfell cloth hiking jackets of the 50's & 60's.
http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y167/pilgrim632000/ventile%20anoraks/hike1.jpg

The two rear pockets are very useful.....
http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y167/pilgrim632000/ventile%20anoraks/hike2.jpg

I get the feeling that , judging by the complete lack of other peoples' photos of their own ventile garments, that I'm the only person in the world who is actually using ventile !!

Cheers,
Dave

nobodyspecial
02-17-2010, 12:58 PM
I have a Snow Lion ventile mountain parka in a medium picked up at a thrift store, sadly I need a large so the ventile version resides in my collection. That's as close as I've come to finding one.

Dudleydoright
02-17-2010, 02:28 PM
I have a Snow Lion ventile mountain parka in a medium picked up at a thrift store, sadly I need a large so the ventile version resides in my collection. That's as close as I've come to finding one.


A photo would be nice whether you wear it or not ;)

Dave

H.Johnson
02-17-2010, 03:41 PM
Dave,

You ate not alone. I wear Ventile(R) and ventile-like fabrics on a regular basis (and make clothing from the stuff). I just don't do photographs.



I get the feeling that , judging by the complete lack of other peoples' photos of their own ventile garments, that I'm the only person in the world who is actually using ventile !!

Cheers,
Dave

Hal
02-17-2010, 04:43 PM
The "you lose 40% of your body heat through yer heed" myth is a myth now.
I read so.
Indeed it is. Bone is a bad insulator, but the surface area of the head is not more than 11% of that of the whole body.

Dudleydoright
02-18-2010, 12:34 AM
Indeed it is. Bone is a bad insulator, but the surface area of the head is not more than 11% of that of the whole body.

I always thought that what it meant was that you would lose 40% of your total bodyheat loss through your head assuming that the rest of you was suitably covered up. i.e. that you still lose 60% of your heat through your clothed body.

That to me seems logical.

Dave

BellyTank
02-18-2010, 02:03 AM
Well- I think what the article was getting at was that the "myth" is
about wearing a hat, or not and that there's nothing so special about yer heed
when talking heat loss. If you had holes in your trousers, you might lose 40% of your heat through yer knees.
I think the "myth" made folks assume that you lose proportionately MORE heat through the head.

I rarely wear a hat when I'm out in the cold and snow- maybe I should wear less layers and a hat. It's -7 now and has been minus since Christmas- everyone but me seems to be wearing a hat.


B
T

H.Johnson
02-18-2010, 02:28 AM
I have just finshed the (very boring) task of examining a number of samples of Ventile(R) cotton and ventile-like fabrics under high magnification. Where possible I took a small piece apart to examine the thread to see how it had been woven and from what.

The conclusion? There were as many differences in weave and appearance between different samples of 'real' Ventile(R) [i.e. labelled fabric] as there was between ventile-type [i.e. unlabelled] fabric. According to specification, Ventile(R) should have an unusual Oxford weave in that the 'warp to weft' is 3:1 ('normal' Oxford shirting, for instance, is 2:1) and the warp thread is not tightly spun.

The new Ventile(R) samples appear to have been treated with a water resistant substance, whereas the older ones (the oldest sample was the 1950s) appear not to be. Whether this is because the DWR has deteriorated or whether it was not used on the older samples, I wouldn't like to speculate. Anyway, I think I now understand a little more about how Ventile(R) works and what it looks like.

Someone above likened Ventile(R) to Grenfell cloth. One is a plain weave (same both sides) and the other is a twill (fifferent on each side). My observation is that the two cloths work in very different ways to more or less the same effect. To me, Grenfell cloth 'feels' much nicer, but ventile puts me in the mood for serious hiking....

BellyTank
02-18-2010, 04:47 AM
I had a "Ventile(?)" swatch from PointNorth which was a very, very fine twill.
It was being sold as Ventile...


B
T

H.Johnson
02-18-2010, 09:52 AM
Exactly. I obtained a length of said material from the same source in orde rto know up a copy of a vintage 'rak. It was this that started me dissecting different fabrics that are claimed (or assumed) to be 'ventile'. In many cases I think we only have the vendor's word that the fabric is Ventile(R).

A classic case is the Royal Navy 'ventile' (sic) windproof smock that sells (for lots) at Internet auctions. I worked (in purchasing) for a company that had the contract some years ago. My memory may fail me sometimes, but I'm rather sure that if we had to order Ventile(R) to the specification I would remember it. Very few military garments say 'Ventile(R)' on the label, yet they look, feel and act like Ventile(R). Lots of civilian fabrics don't look, feel or act like Ventile(R) but claim to be it. Go figure, as I believe they say...

Creeping Past
02-18-2010, 10:19 AM
Very few military garments say 'Ventile(R)' on the label, yet they look, feel and act like Ventile(R). Lots of civilian fabrics don't look, feel or act like Ventile(R) but claim to be it. Go figure, as I believe they say...

And, as has been mentioned previously, some cotton fabrics that definitely R not Ventile work to the same effect when used on hikes. Think breathability, windproofness and acting as a barrier to water incursion when wet.

nobodyspecial
02-18-2010, 11:32 AM
I forgot I had taken these photos of a Snow Lion mountain parka some time ago, since sold to a friend. The shell is 100% cotton and the lining is 65/35 fabric. The label does not say Ventile, but I am certain the parka would have been advertised as such. Ventile may have been used generically here for any similar 100% cotton fabric. This particular parka would have been a bit spendy in it's day relative to other similar style mountain paraks made of more common 60/40 or 65/35 fabric.

Front
http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a249/meganandrusty/mountain%20parkas/20070204picturedownload062.jpg

Back
http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a249/meganandrusty/mountain%20parkas/20070204picturedownload067.jpg

Rear zipper pocket opening
http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a249/meganandrusty/mountain%20parkas/20070204picturedownload068.jpg

Mesh lining in the shoulder cape, accessible through the rear zippered pocket.
http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a249/meganandrusty/mountain%20parkas/20070204picturedownload069.jpg

Label
http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a249/meganandrusty/mountain%20parkas/20070204picturedownload070.jpg

More photos of the above plus various other mountain parkas here.
http://s12.photobucket.com/albums/a249/meganandrusty/mountain%20parkas/

pipvh
03-12-2010, 02:50 AM
What are the identifying characteristics of Ventile(R)? Handle? Appearance?

The reason I'm asking is that I think I may have been in possession of a Ventile(R) garment for years without knowing it. It's somewhat improbable: a Banana Republic interpretation of the US M-1951 fishtail parka. I bought it in New York in 1992 (when BR were still making interesting outdoor stuff) and have worn it in many a New York and London rainstorm. I dug it out the other day (with the lining in, it makes a good snow-coat and we did have a little bit of that down in Devon), and then decided to check its reaction to water. Which is: initially, water pools on the surface like mercury. After about a minute it begins to wet, but the cloth doesn't wick: only the area directly covered by the water wets. I made a little pool, and it was still a pool a few minutes later - droplets on the other side, but no drips. I haven't experimented any further so far, but we're never short of rain around here...

Structure-wise, it's a very, very fine 100% cotton (the only clue on the label) twill, with definite diagonal lines and a faint up/down grid visible, especially on the reverse.

Could I throw this over to the experts?

pipvh
03-12-2010, 07:53 AM
And a couple of pictures:

http://lh5.ggpht.com/_UvIG39LQAkg/S5pTTBKydhI/AAAAAAAAADc/YKSjEgOYVDg/s512/parka1.jpg
http://lh3.ggpht.com/_UvIG39LQAkg/S5pTS5q1T1I/AAAAAAAAADY/uELx_qTeFd4/parka.jpg

It's actually olive green, not khaki...

Creeping Past
03-12-2010, 08:31 AM
Can't tell. Some kind of canvas duck? Not soft to the touch, then?

pipvh
03-12-2010, 08:36 AM
No, very soft to the touch - not quite like viscose, but almost...

Creeping Past
03-12-2010, 08:58 AM
No, very soft to the touch - not quite like viscose, but almost...

Could be. Or might not be...

pipvh
03-12-2010, 09:11 AM
Only reason I even thought it might be was that Banana Republic used to make some things out of Ventile(R). I doubt I'll ever know - unless, that is, I send it to Mr Johnson for dissection!

nobodyspecial
10-15-2010, 12:16 PM
Empire Canvas Works field coat now available in ventile.
http://www.empirecanvasworks.com/fieldcoat.htm

Stephen.B
03-14-2014, 10:41 AM
Hi All, A bit late to the party, but thought I would bring this excellent thread back up to date. Like many I am really fond of Ventile, I bought one of the Royal Navy smocks seen here on a very windy day up on Wrynose Pass. Could not fault it's performance, but as has been mentioned they are a tad heavy.
http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b306/lacarroll78/405841_10150463711152286_978712860_n_zps598e5e0d.j pg (http://s22.photobucket.com/user/lacarroll78/media/405841_10150463711152286_978712860_n_zps598e5e0d.j pg.html)

Talbot-Weaving supply to a local mill in my Lancashire hometown, so I decided to make my own:) Here is the end result which has just come back from a weekend jaunt in Finland. A double-lined Heroes Of Telemark inspired Ventile smock.
http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b306/lacarroll78/BiS_zYnCEAE8BkR_zpsa09a6251.jpg (http://s22.photobucket.com/user/lacarroll78/media/BiS_zYnCEAE8BkR_zpsa09a6251.jpg.html)

imoldfashioned
03-14-2014, 10:48 AM
What a clever man! It looks great!! What pattern did you use? And where did you source the fabric as I'd love to make one!!!

Stephen.B
03-14-2014, 11:20 AM
Hiya, I took my idea to http://www.beaver-of-bolton.co.uk/ with the help of the owner and using photos of the Telemark smocks we had the pattern made. He uses Ventile, and is on very good terms with the owner of Talbot Weaving who supply Ventile in the UK. It's been slow going but I am very happy with the end result, I even managed to source the identical swing-ball zip puller that can be seen on the Telemark smocks. These pullers were also used on smocks from the 1940's.
http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b306/lacarroll78/camosmock_zps3377684a.jpg (http://s22.photobucket.com/user/lacarroll78/media/camosmock_zps3377684a.jpg.html)
At the moment I have 2 more being made up in Stone and Royal Blue, as seen here.
http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b306/lacarroll78/1965-kirk17_2078004i_zps86531757.jpg (http://s22.photobucket.com/user/lacarroll78/media/1965-kirk17_2078004i_zps86531757.jpg.html)
I'm hoping in the near future to be able to sell them on a bespoke basis.
Cheers.

Stephen.B
03-14-2014, 11:29 AM
A full frontal, Ooh er:D
http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b306/lacarroll78/IMG_2769_zpsf7b4613c.jpg (http://s22.photobucket.com/user/lacarroll78/media/IMG_2769_zpsf7b4613c.jpg.html)

PADDY
03-14-2014, 11:47 AM
Great job..! The sand coloured one should look outstanding ! But the navy is impressive. I'm a long time lover of Ventile Fabric (& the similar Grenfell fabric). I had a jacket from Survival Aids in Cumbria for many years from the early 80s! Now have a Barbour ventile coat (not making them anymore due to the expense and low profit margins on them. Built like a tank!). See pics of the Barbour.
11419
11420

Stephen.B
03-14-2014, 12:27 PM
Great jacket Paddy, sad that everything comes down to profit margins. Ventile is expensive, add the labour of making them in the UK which also bumps the cost up. I think there might be a sea change in the near future due to the rising costs of garments manufactured overseas, the dark satanic mills could be making a comeback!

Ernest P Shackleton
03-14-2014, 12:51 PM
Very cool, and I was wondering about making patterns from photos. Nice to see it can be done well.

Stephen.B
03-14-2014, 01:19 PM
Very cool, and I was wondering about making patterns from photos. Nice to see it can be done well.

Thanks, the pattern making costs were quite reasonable. Add the grading(sizes) cost of each one and it can be done without breaking the bank.
Cheers Stephen.

Otter
03-14-2014, 01:41 PM
Great job..! The sand coloured one should look outstanding ! But the navy is impressive. I'm a long time lover of Ventile Fabric (& the similar Grenfell fabric). I had a jacket from Survival Aids in Cumbria for many years from the early 80s! Now have a Barbour ventile coat (not making them anymore due to the expense and low profit margins on them. Built like a tank!). See pics of the Barbour.
11419
11420

Not often you run into someone who had one of the Survival Aids jackets! I used one for UK climbing back in the 1980's. Problem with gentile is it absorbed water and became heavy and stiffer, especially as it froze as you got to higher altitudes. Less of a problem in the cool dry Alps. One time I managed to split a pair of Karrimor wax cotton mittens across the palm by doing that. The SA jacket survived well, but I have to say the performance is not a patch on modern goretex like fabrics, but very good for its time.

wdw
03-14-2014, 02:43 PM
I hear you, Otter. I had a navy Survival Aids double layer ventile jacket in the late 80s. I'll never forget one winter walking up the Cairngorms in rain to above the snow line, then having it freeze like a board on me. That was a horrible, miserable day and the jacket took days to dry out.

Another poor aspect was the arm material splitting along the glued seams. I've now been using Paramo for years for winter walks and that's a revelation in comparison, being everything ventile should have been.

Graemsay
03-14-2014, 04:38 PM
I've got a Nigel Cabourn Ventile smock that I picked up in a sale last year. It's been my go-to jacket for the last few months.

11423

That's not my hat. :D

Otter
03-15-2014, 03:25 AM
WDW, interesting go know that, I have to replace my technical waterproof as something small and squeaky gnawed its way through the collar and out the hood. I was leaning towards one of the Berghaus XCR jackets, but any recommendations on the paramo? I have one of their reversible smocks for warmth and it can be quite useful.

wdw
03-15-2014, 04:45 AM
Otter, I'm a complete Paramo fan. After ventile, I used goretex for years, sweating like a pig, until I discovered Paramo. It's in a different league entirely, hugely more breathable, versatile and much quicker drying, albeit heavier.

The theory is you wear a layer less and wear all day, so don't carry in your pack. I wouldn't wear anything else in the hills in wet climates like Scotland.

My main recommendation would definitely be to buy their waterproof trousers as well as a jacket, as you'll feel completely bulletproof in heavy wind and rain. I couldn't believe the difference the first time I used it in anger. I've had a lot of their gear, from standard weight to the newer lighter weight, and am back to standard now, as it's more robust.

For those who don't know, Paramo's claim to fame is that you could fill their waterproof gear full of pinholes and you'd still stay dry. It's like magic. Try doing that with goretex.

Otter
03-15-2014, 05:19 AM
Thanks, will give that a go!