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B3 vs Irvin

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by dmdmorris, May 5, 2012.

  1. dmdmorris

    dmdmorris One of the Regulars

    I apologize in advance if this has been asked and answered before, but I could not find it.

    I am new to this genre of jacket and am contemplating purchasing a fleece jacket, obviously for winter wear. I was wondering what are the primary differences, advantages, disadvantages, likes, dislikes, etc... between the Irvin and the B3. As of now I am leaning towards Aero Leather.

    Thanks in advance for any and all responses,

    Last edited: May 5, 2012
  2. aswatland

    aswatland My Mail is Forwarded Here

    There are many threads here about Irvin and B-3 jackets. I would suggest you read through them and then decide which you prefer.
  3. nevadapd

    nevadapd Familiar Face

    I'm in the same boat. I'm thinking about getting a fleece jacket too, so I'll be interested to learn what people's thoughts on the matter are. I'm leaning towards a Cirrus - either their B3 Gunners Jacket or their True Bomber Jacket. If anyone knows about those jackets in particular or Cirrus in general, I'd greatly appreciate your advice.
  4. aswatland

    aswatland My Mail is Forwarded Here

    If you want an accurate repro sheepskin jacket Cirrus would not be the way to go. Their jackets are well made but are not accurate repros of Irvins or B-3s.
  5. dmdmorris

    dmdmorris One of the Regulars

    I tried to do a search on the B3 but came up short. If you know of a thread I would appreciate it if you could point me to it. As for the Irvin, yes you are correct, there is plenty in that. I was actually looking for a comparison of the two jackets.

    Thank you.
  6. nevadapd

    nevadapd Familiar Face

    Thanks, Andrew. From the Cirrus web site, it does look like the jackets do not match original Irvins or B-3s on several details. Still, it's good to know they're well made if I decide not to go with as exact a replica as I can find or afford. I do think their offerings look pretty good.
  7. Aerojoe

    Aerojoe Practically Family

    Main differences are in pockets, belts, buckles, straps, zippers and seams. Irvin's fur used to be yellow and B-3 white but both are quite thick. There are some differences between the size of the panels used. Pre-war Irvins are supposed to be bigger with less seams and war Irvins smaller. I think larger panels are more desirable.

    For me disadvantages, likes and dislikes between both of them is basically a matter of personal preferences. Since I don't like having belts and straps hanging around, I prefer the D-1. Aero's version of this jacket is a beauty;

  8. aswatland

    aswatland My Mail is Forwarded Here

    I have just searched the previous 35 pages of this section and found at least 8 threads about B-3s! This thread may help you if you are after a repro B-3.

    BTW. Please edit the title of your first post with the correct spelling of "IRVIN".
  9. I currently own an Aero Irvin and an Eastman "own contract" B3. I find the B3 has a shorter fleece length than the Irvin. The wrists on the B3 are much closer fit than the Irvin and of course it has zips to allow you a bit more freedom of movement. The B-3 I have has a finish which is meant to protect the sheepskin as applied to the original jackets whereas the Irvin has a softer more natural finnish. If I was buying the Eastman again I would splash out and pay more for the Roughwear version or a redskin. If I had to replace both, then I would go for an ANJ-4.

    If you stalk ebay, the can both be found at reasonable secondhand prices at the moment, I think the warm weather has somthing to do with it!
  10. pauleway

    pauleway Practically Family

    If you are interested in the Irvin and B-3, I would also check out the B-6. It is a little less warm than the other two and has a Bi-Swing back for shoulder movement.
    You might get more use out of it with the Fleece lining being a little thinner and it is a great looking jacket!
  11. dmdmorris

    dmdmorris One of the Regulars

    Yes! I just noticed the B6 and it looks awesome. I particularly liked the Eastman Roughwear version. Any thoughts on this particular jacket?
  12. dmdmorris

    dmdmorris One of the Regulars

    Thanks Andrew you have been most helpful. I take it from your posts that you prefer the Eastman to the Aero?
  13. aswatland

    aswatland My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Yes I do prefer Eastman's B-3 and Irvins on the grounds of accuracy.
  14. rocketeer

    rocketeer Call Me a Cab

    I have had an Eastman Roughwear for around 10 years, I have worn it till the cuffs and wear points have bald spots.
    100% for Eastmans accuracy but the finish is nowhere near like an original would be, maybe its because the jacket does not go through battle damage etc but `i seriously think it is simply because the manufacturing process cannot be duplicated despite what any of the jacket sellers claim. Saying that, a guy I knew did have one of Gary Eastmans very early Roughwear jackets and the finish was similar to an original jacket, though I have never seen another like it.
    One of the most well known is Aviation Leathercraft's Irvin, it is the only jacket maker that is entitled to call his jackets Irvins, but in no way do they represent a reproduction of a wartime jacket other than it is made of sheepskin. The fact is they own the trademark and so if they made it in pink sheepskin with a zip off hood that would be an Irvin. Aviation Leathercrafts B3 is a similar misrepresentation of a wartime jacket, the fleece is way to thick and their Irvin, has slash pockets which I have never seen on a wartime jacket, though to be honest they do not boast that they make an accurate representation of wartime jackets.
  15. archbury918

    archbury918 One of the Regulars

    I'm fortunate enough to own an example of each of these jackets. I have seen or had in my collection a model from each of the major repro players.
    Each has its own merits and drawbacks. I can get into detail if you have a specific question. I don't want to prattle on here with pros and cons for info not interested in.
    My first question to you, and one you should consider your primary thought in getting a fleece, is where and how do you plan to wear it?
    I'm in Wisconsin. We have some fierce winters here and I get good use of my B-3 and Irvin during those months. They are heavy jackets, and if your climate doesn't warrant it, you may find yourself with "too much jacket".

  16. dmdmorris

    dmdmorris One of the Regulars

    Good point. I live in NJ and while it's not as cold as where you are, it can get cold so I'm not too worried. I was thinking of a B6 though.
  17. archbury918

    archbury918 One of the Regulars

    This past winter I found myself wearing my Aero B-6 more often. In fact, wore it yesterday in heavy overcast mid 40's temp. I love that jacket. The snaps at wrist and waist zips allow for adjustment for the temperature. Add to it, my EVO fits nicely in rt pocket, with keys and moneyclip in left!

  18. dmdmorris

    dmdmorris One of the Regulars


    Did you look at Eastman?
  19. Aerojoe

    Aerojoe Practically Family

    Words of wisdom here :) When we go for our first shearling jacket, we want the real thing, a b-3 or an Irvin. Then, some of us, we find ourselves with no b-3 time at all and we wished we had purchased any other lighter version, B-6, D-1, ANJ-4...

    When I was living in the north of England, I took the mess of having with me my b-3 on the plane, which is a big bulk, and I actually could wear this jacket only a couple of days in winter after a whole year there. The weather was disgusting, thermometers hit -10C (14F), ice was stuck to the pavement but I was sweating with only a t-shirt and the b-3 on.
  20. archbury918

    archbury918 One of the Regulars

    Yes, I did. I like the look of the jacket very much. Especially the russet trim.
    My decision on going with Aero was based on better "off the rack" fit and price.
    While I'm lucky to have several jackets, I'm not without limits to what I can spend. ;)

    I must add that the photos of a B-6 on the Aero site don't do it justice. It's not that dark and the fleece is slightly "yellower", and doesn't have that "fluffy boa" look to it.

    Here is a link to their "sale page". This D-1 is much closer to actual:
    Last edited: May 6, 2012

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