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Bush Jackets

Discussion in 'The Great Outdoors' started by Matt Deckard, Nov 26, 2005.

  1. Lone_Ranger

    Lone_Ranger Practically Family

    I just got done watching, Omega Man with Charlton Heston, and I'm on a bush jacket kick. I like the Lost Worlds Australian bush jacket, and the WPG British bush jacket. I can't figure out why there is such a significant price difference. One is $50 the other is $500.

    I've heard an Indian made jacket. What is the difference between the Indian and British version?
  2. Aside from the fact that all of Lost Worlds prices are stratospheric, I can't provide any guidance. No comment on the Indian vs. British issue either.

    I've got one of those WPG jackets, and I think it's great for the price. The only hiccup with mine was that I had to send my first one back to exchange for a Long model. I am not tall (5'8", 210 lbs.), but I needed the Long to compensate for my wide middle: the regular was too short, it was more like a shirt than a jacket. Anyway, I've found it to be great for warm weather hiking and such - here I am on the Appalachian Trail in CT a couple of years ago (hat: Akubra Cattleman):

    Edward and greatestescaper like this.
  3. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Call Me a Cab

    Bush jackets were on issue in the British Army in the late 1940s through probably into the 1980s when DPM tropical uniforms began to be made available. The post-war bush jackets had an attached belt and a rather fashionably wide collar. It seems to have been common to remove both the belt and the lower pockets and to wear them tucked in. They were made in both khaki and jungle green. There was also a shirt that was eventually made available, too.

    Gurkha units in the British Army apparently made their own arrangements for drill clothing, which was a little different from British manufactured clothing. Officers, of course, usually bought their own clothing and untold variations in tropical clothing exists. I keep meaning to buy a proper bush jacket but I probably wouldn't wear it enough to justify buying one. As it is, I buy every surplus khaki shirt I can find and I do try to wear them all.
  4. greatestescaper

    greatestescaper One of the Regulars

    Thank you for the share. It's keen to see one from WPG in action. I've thought of getting one myself.
  5. I can't speak to the question of Indian made bush jackets but the ones made by TAG Safari in Africa seem very nice. Certainly the price point is reasonable. My only quibble is that I prefer one without the belt but that's just personal preference.
  6. fireman

    fireman Familiar Face

    British vs Indian pattern. IIRC it has to do with pocket flaps. One has straight flaps and one has scalloped flaps. At least original WW2 era ones....or so I have been told.
  7. Doctor Damage

    Doctor Damage Call Me a Cab

    Safari jackets are odd things: some people like them and look good in them, others the complete opposite. Get an affordable one first, used of the bay or someplace, or one of those TAG ones, to see if you like it and look good in it. Then you can get a posh one. But to be honest, they're just heavy cotton unlined jackets. You don't need to spend $500 on one. I have an old Tilley and an old Banana Republic which I bought used for a song and both are as good as any expensive one.
  8. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Call Me a Cab

    Bush jackets, sometimes called bush shirts, have been around at least since WWI, perhaps earlier. I've never read anything about how they originated but they look like an evolution of military jackets for wear in hot climates from the late 19th century. There were earlier hot weather uniforms but they looked nothing like the later jackets. It was a long time before a shirt was considered anything but an undergarment, so a jacket was an essential part of the outfit, military or civilian. It was probably in the 1920s that bush jackets took on the form as we think of them today. Being a hot weather garment, they were usually rather lightweight, either in drill or some other cotton fabric.

    They were originally for use in the field, both civilian and military. These days they tend to be more of a dress outfit, insofar as we dress up anymore. The British still wear them, I think termed No. 6 dress. The Australians, who seem to have a surprising variety of uniforms, have one they call a safari suit but that may have only been true yesterday. The U.S. Army even issued them in the C.B.I. theater in WWII. The Italians had one in WWII that was popular also with the Germans. I think it was called a Sahariana jacket. Since in addition to being used in several armed forces as well as being a popular civilian garment for so many decades, there are endless variations.

    During the time bush jackets were chiefly for field use, meaning a functional garment for use when hunting and so on, the proper dress outfit would have been a linen suit and Panama hat. And even though the U.S. Army was still issuing pith helmets as late as the Vietnam war, the felt had had long been the preferred headdress to go with a bush jacket.
    totallyfrozen likes this.
  9. Tiki Tom

    Tiki Tom Practically Family

    I gotta say: that is a classic image and you wear it well. There is something iconic about a seasoned veteran with a grey beard and a bush jacket; vitality and hard earned wisdom, all rolled into one.
  10. Eric P

    Eric P Familiar Face

    totallyfrozen likes this.
  11. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Call Me a Cab

    When I was in college, I had a couple of ex-USAF bush jackets that I did wear but I always felt a little self-conscious wearing them among the bell-bottom, tie-dyed crowd. Still, I keep looking at them where I find them (never in person) but never make the leap of faith to actually buy one. But once I do, it'll be too late, I'm sure. WPG's model looks the best but fit is always an issue. I'm currently considered a Gurkha type felt hat on e-bay, all the way from Nepal, but I'm worried about the sizing.
  12. fireman

    fireman Familiar Face


    I have found WPG sizing to run a bit small. My last suit was a 44l and fits well. I need a 46 long from WPG to get the same fit. The 44 reg was tight even for a shirt and too short for me. I am a bit under 6'2" but long in the body.

    Hope that helps.
  13. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Call Me a Cab

    I'm about 6'1" and weight just at 180 on the scale at the loading dock at work, which I hope is accurate.

    I often notice that comments about surplus clothing on places like the Sportsman's Guide invariably say that shirts run small. Some do, to be sure, but mostly I think it's because military dress shirts are made to fit closer than civilian shirts, current fashions for young men notwithstanding. None seem to have pleats on the shoulders, for instance. Some will fit tighter than others. Another cause of confusion is sizing. European army shirts, at least the British and several others, size the shirts by collar size in centimeters. Thus a size 42 is the neck size (about 16 1/2), not the chest size. There are other sizing systems in use, too, and the British used to use a different system.

    There is also the matter of the way men in their fifties like to imagine they're the same size they were when they got out of the army. I'm 70 myself and only just recently managed to gain enough weight to keep from looking skinny, the way I was in high school and for decades thereafter.
  14. CSG

    CSG Familiar Face


    I bought one of these from LL Bean last year. I bought both the khaki and olive drab (kelp green on their site) and, surprisingly, returned the khaki one. But I wear khaki pants most of the time so it was a bit too uniform looking for me.

    These are based on the old army field jackets that a lot of us picked up surplus back in the 60's. Mine gets a thumbs up and fits as it should. Oh, and last year, they called it the Explorer jacket instead of the far more bland Travel jacket they're calling it this season.
  15. Eric P

    Eric P Familiar Face

    It does resemble the old M 65 field jacket. I like it.
  16. CSG

    CSG Familiar Face

    The thing that it's got over the old M65 is lots of extra pockets and a hood (although I have yet to use the hood).
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2017
  17. I still have (and occasionally wear) the one I was issued in '69. Makes a great shooting jacket . . .
    Mason Rudesheim likes this.
  18. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Call Me a Cab

    I was issued an M52 field jacket when I was in the army at the same time others were issued the M65 model. I thought the M65 had a built-in hood.
  19. Eric P

    Eric P Familiar Face

    The M 65 does have the hood.

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