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How tough and warm are the 32oz Pea coats / Reefers

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by JLStorm, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. JLStorm

    JLStorm Practically Family

    In my continuing search for a tough as nails very warm and somewhat weatherproof heavy winter coat I have started to consider having a custom Pea coat made so that it was about the length of an overcoat but still that heavy 32oz wool they used.

    Anyway, I was initially thinking of horsehide or steerhide, but Mark Moye of Aero USA talked me out of leather...Are these pea coats warm enough and tough enough for extremely cold weather (-20F or colder) and somewhat weather resistant? Do they tear easily?
  2. Kodiak

    Kodiak A-List Customer

    My pea coat is vintage Korean War-era Navy. Issued to my Grandfather when he joined up in about '53 or so. He wore it through a winter in Adak, Alaska, when the only heat available was your wool blanket and fires in empty oil drums. Apparently, it worked like a charm.

    I don't know what weight mine is, but I'm assuming it's about 32 ounces. If it is, then you won't be disappointed. Of course, I can't speak for newly woven fabric, but mine has kept me warm through several very very cold winters, not quite to -20 but at least a little past 0. Mine has survived 50+ years without a bit of fraying, even on the stitching. That is a testament in itself, when you consider how hard-worn it would've been on-base/ship. The lining has worn one very very small hole, but there is no damage on the coat itself and the lining could be easily repaired. It has survived snow, rain and lots of sleet since it was passed down to me.

    I'm probably starting to ramble a bit here, but seriously - if you can get your hands on a coat made out of that stuff, you won't be disappointed.

    (Another short point: if you can get the pockets lined with corduroy, do it. It'll really keep your hands warmer.)
  3. JLStorm

    JLStorm Practically Family

    Thanks for the tip. The coat I was thinking of getting the coat from a manufacturer that made the navy pea coats prior to 1970, they still make to the same spec as they did then.
  4. Kodiak

    Kodiak A-List Customer

    Then you won't be disappointed.
  5. JLStorm

    JLStorm Practically Family

    The thing that confuses me, is that the company I am going thinking of going with to make the custom length coat I want uses 320z melton wool. They had a navy contract in WWII to produce peacoats and still make the the same spec. They stated that Kersey wool was not used during WWII in their coats as it was not military spec.

    Everyone knowledgable on this forum seems to like the kersey wool pea coats better, but also seems to state that they switched from Kersey to Melton wool in the 1970s or 1980's, but this company (Schott) seems to disagree...so now I am confused.

    From the Schott website:
    "Our 32" Classic 32 oz. Melton Wool Naval Pea Coat, military anchor buttons, hand warmer pockets, vented back and nylon quilted lining. Our wool is 75 percent reprocessed wool, 25 percent nylon and other fibers. The contents are interlocked and pressed together befor the wool is cut to ensure maximum protection against the elements."
  6. Kodiak

    Kodiak A-List Customer

    Can't help you there.

    My coat is somewhere buried deep in my closet (a little hot for pea coats here, considering the temperature's been in the 90s) but I'll dig it out and see if I can find any more info for you.
  7. JLStorm

    JLStorm Practically Family

    Thanks, any info would be appreciated.
  8. mwelch8404

    mwelch8404 Familiar Face

    Yea - I gave up and got a Filson Double Mac a few years back. MMMMM good.
  9. JLStorm

    JLStorm Practically Family

    I think I found my answer!

    The current issue pea coats by sterling are:

    U.S. Government Specification styling
    traditional US Navy model
    double breasted overcoat
    24 oz. 80/20 melton wool shell
    full fleece lining with satin yoke and sleeves

    While the Schott pea coats made to their old specs are:
    Classic 32 oz. Melton Wool Naval Pea Coat
    vented back and nylon quilted lining.
    Wool Is 75% Reprocessed Wool, 20% Nylon and 5% Other Fibers
    The contents are interlocked and pressed together befor the wool is cut to ensure maximum protection against the elements.

    So that would make the WWII style pea coats 25% heavier then the current issue, which would make sense as to the lighter feel and lack of wind resistance!
  10. Kodiak

    Kodiak A-List Customer

    Well, glad you were able to find that.

    I checked the label on my coat and only found out that it's a size 36 manufactured by the Naval Clothing Factory. lol

    (and of course, my grandfather's name and serial number on every available surface ;) )
  11. JLStorm

    JLStorm Practically Family

    That is just so cool. I am shorter with broader shoulders than anyone else in my family, so something like that would never fit me...that is very cool that you have your grandfathers coat.
  12. lairddouglas

    lairddouglas Familiar Face

    Hmmm ... OverCoat Length

    Sounds just like a Naval Bridge Coat. Have been trying to find one in a heavier material for years. Army/Navy in Milwaukee says the material in the coats produced after 1970's is junk. Vintage Coats are too small for me ... 48R.
  13. JLStorm

    JLStorm Practically Family

    Vintage is hard when you are above a 42 it seems. My issue isnt so much the size (50 - 52), its that my waist much smaller than the size coat my upper body requires that it often looks like I just cant afford a coat that fits right. I figure if Schott can make the length I want, they can also cut to my measurements so it fits right. I also have short arms for the size coat I need which is always an issue.

    I spoke to them already, I am just waiting to hear back from them about pricing. A traditional overcoat would be nice, but they just dont make themy heavy and warm enough for me. I am aiming for a coat that weighs around 10 pounds, if not more.
  14. jgilbert

    jgilbert One of the Regulars

    I keep looking at the Schott site and I can not tell a difference between the navy blue and the black.
    So how dark is the navy? And is that the correct color?

  15. Kodiak

    Kodiak A-List Customer

    I can't tell you what the actual in-person difference between the black and navy is, but I can see a perceptible difference in the pics. The navy looks pretty close to correct to me - my coat is really quite dark. (midnight camouflage :D )
  16. JLStorm

    JLStorm Practically Family

    Kodiak has it right. The Navy blue of the Pea Coats were so dark many people thought they were black. It is blue, just a very dark blue. However, it doesnt help that the navy photo on the website is the poorest quality photo of them all...its very low resolution and doesnt portray the shadowing correctly.
  17. Bridge Coats

    If you really just want a peacoat that is longer, a bridge coat (also call an overcoat) is probably a better and cheaper option than having one made. Bridge coats are still made and available through the usual military uniform stores but when I was commissioned I bought mine from a private military tailor called Abbotts. Some of the best money I've spent and it kept me warm through a Groton, Connecticut winter. I can't vouch for the weight of the wool, but the quality was definitely better than the version you can buy from the Navy Exchange.

    Oh yeah, and it looks incredible.

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