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Let's talk about wool coats, jackets, and vests

TLW '90

One of the Regulars
Messages
190
Does Johnson woolen mills still make good stuff ?
I really want one of their cruisers in either spruce green or the green and black buffalo " small stag " as they call it.
I'm just not sure however if I wanna pay $289 when I might be better off looking on Ebay.

Their green and black plaid just doesn't seem to pop up on Ebay in my size very often and it always costs more.

I don't want to pay more for the same condition just to get a particular color, and I'm starting to think It might be nice to get something new for once.
 

Cornelius

Practically Family
Messages
715
Location
Great Lakes
Perhaps of interest to this thread: Recently on Etsy I came across a well-reviewed maker based in the northern USA state of New Hampshire who makes custom wool Capotes for $200. Various fur trim options can be added to the hood at extra cost. The catch is you must send him a Hudson Bay 4-point blanket from which to make them (as used to be the practice for a few centuries around the Great Lakes). HBC blankets are not easy to come by in the USA these days, and quite expensive anywhere else (e.g., usd$323 in Canada here).

A 4-point blanket is 6-foot by 7-1/2 feet [183 x 229cm], or the size of a Double Bed cover. I haven't inquired myself, but the maker’s page says he would be willing to make a Capote out of any wool blanket of roughly those dimensions.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/905605...1&variation0=1634068754&variation1=1697573666
 

TLW '90

One of the Regulars
Messages
190
Perhaps of interest to this thread: Recently on Etsy I came across a well-reviewed maker based in the northern USA state of New Hampshire who makes custom wool Capotes for $200. Various fur trim options can be added to the hood at extra cost. The catch is you must send him a Hudson Bay 4-point blanket from which to make them (as used to be the practice for a few centuries around the Great Lakes). HBC blankets are not easy to come by in the USA these days, and quite expensive anywhere else (e.g., usd$323 in Canada here).

A 4-point blanket is 6-foot by 7-1/2 feet [183 x 229cm], or the size of a Double Bed cover. I haven't inquired myself, but the maker’s page says he would be willing to make a Capote out of any wool blanket of roughly those dimensions.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/905605...1&variation0=1634068754&variation1=1697573666
Interesting.
 

Ernest P Shackleton

One Too Many
Messages
1,180
Location
Midwest
I believe the map pocket isn't for maps at all. Based purely on assumption, I thought they were game pockets. Because these were considered hunting coats, I feel relatively safe in that assumption. You shoot a pheasant, grouse, dove, etc, and you slip it into that big back pocket. I know I grew up around canvas coats and vests that had this same pocket, and that's where your birds went.
 

TLW '90

One of the Regulars
Messages
190
I believe the map pocket isn't for maps at all. Based purely on assumption, I thought they were game pockets. Because these were considered hunting coats, I feel relatively safe in that assumption. You shoot a pheasant, grouse, dove, etc, and you slip it into that big back pocket. I know I grew up around canvas coats and vests that had this same pocket, and that's where your birds went.
Yes but I think it is a map pocket on a cruiser, beyond that it would be a game pocket I guess.
 

Ernest P Shackleton

One Too Many
Messages
1,180
Location
Midwest
Yes but I think it is a map pocket on a cruiser, beyond that it would be a game pocket I guess.
Cruisers too were sold as hunting garb, so I seriously doubt the map thing, unless it was used as a marketing ploy for non-hunters to expand their market. And if you've ever handled maps, I have no idea why it would go back there. I know the assumption is to keep it from being wrinkled and against a flat surface like your back, but I find that impractical and weird.
 

TLW '90

One of the Regulars
Messages
190
Cruisers too were sold as hunting garb, so I seriously doubt the map thing, unless it was used as a marketing ploy for non-hunters to expand their market. And if you've ever handled maps, I have no idea why it would go back there. I know the assumption is to keep it from being wrinkled and against a flat surface like your back, but I find that impractical and weird.
I think the confusion comes from filson.
Everybody knows and wants the filson so anything like Filsons Mackinaw cruiser is going to be thought of the same.

Also I think it depends on marketing.
The filson was apparently marketed to and for timber cruisers who travel around on horseback and blaze trails and acreage of trees ...ect.
A map pocket makes sense there, but that was a relatively scarce profession and I think there are far less actual cruiser jackets ment for timber cruisers than people think because to the modern " lumbersexual " everything is a Mackinaw cruiser.
 

Ernest P Shackleton

One Too Many
Messages
1,180
Location
Midwest
Right. Back to the jackets. Call me a purist, but zippers on wool cruisers, or double mackinaws, is a hard NO for me. Buttons preferred. Snaps are fine, too. Also, not into belts, especially half belts on these styles. Also, not a fan of the trenchcoat styled cuffs, with the little belt adjustment and buttons. I don't care what kind of jacket or coat has those, but I even found those ugly as a kid.

If you're on a horse, why would you have a map on your back? Why wouldn't you have a dedicated roll case or something strapped into saddle bags or the like? I understand getting caught on branches and underbrush, but a roll case could be fixed on the back of the seat or up the horse's neck.
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,131
Location
vancouver, canada
I have 4 wool jackets....When I start to collect a 'thing' I like to survey the market. In Buffalo Plain; a blue Filson 100% wool, a red Woolrich 85/15%, a green Canadian made Pioneer brand 100% wool. A solid blue Pendleton 100% wool which is the nicest wool of the bunch but it is the Filson that gets the most compliments...because the blue has a real pop to it. Alas the Pioneer is a zipper but good green ones are hard to find so I broke my code and got a zip.

The last in the hunt is for a black/white buffalo plaid....but hard to find as well.
 

TLW '90

One of the Regulars
Messages
190
Right. Back to the jackets. Call me a purist, but zippers on wool cruisers, or double mackinaws, is a hard NO for me. Buttons preferred. Snaps are fine, too. Also, not into belts, especially half belts on these styles. Also, not a fan of the trenchcoat styled cuffs, with the little belt adjustment and buttons. I don't care what kind of jacket or coat has those, but I even found those ugly as a kid.

If you're on a horse, why would you have a map on your back? Why wouldn't you have a dedicated roll case or something strapped into saddle bags or the like? I understand getting caught on branches and underbrush, but a roll case could be fixed on the back of the seat or up the horse's neck.
I really like buttons on wool as well because they just seem the most proper and appropriate, but in general I appreciate zippers and can't say I hate the idea of having them on a wool piece.


I think the idea of a potential map pocket is to have them on you in a way that doesn't get in the way or snag on things when you get off the horse to go where you maybe can't take the horse.
You probably don't want to be packing much but you're double bit cruiser to blaze and clear with.
 

Peacoat

Bartender
Bartender
Messages
5,650
Location
South of Nashville
Right. Back to the jackets. Call me a purist, but zippers on wool cruisers, or double mackinaws, is a hard NO for me. Buttons preferred. Snaps are fine, too. Also, not into belts, especially half belts on these styles. Also, not a fan of the trenchcoat styled cuffs, with the little belt adjustment and buttons. I don't care what kind of jacket or coat has those, but I even found those ugly as a kid.

If you're on a horse, why would you have a map on your back? Why wouldn't you have a dedicated roll case or something strapped into saddle bags or the like? I understand getting caught on branches and underbrush, but a roll case could be fixed on the back of the seat or up the horse's neck.
That big pocket in the rear is a game pocket
 

TLW '90

One of the Regulars
Messages
190
I have long thought....."Like I am going to put a bloody and dead bird in the back pocket of my expensive vintage wool coat.....ain't happenin'"....maybe a map.
That's my thought as well.
The hunting coats were derived from the Mackinaw which was made popular by lumberjacks, and originating as a map pocket makes more sense.
If they were always a game pocket I think we'd have seen more innovation in the way of waterproof or non absorbent and easy to clean materials used to line this pocket.

Filson was granted a patent for their cruiser in 1914 I think , they designed it for timber cruisers and the pocket was specifically intended for charts and maps.
I'm sure the pocket design predates this, but in the filson design that's so popular today it's intended originally for maps.
I would say it's safe to call it a map pocket if it's similar too inspired by or intended to compete with the Filsons
It seems to be the same pocket regardless of what you call it, so I think I'm just going to call it a rear waist pocket.
If I use this pocket at all It'll probably just be to store my gloves.
 
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Ernest P Shackleton

One Too Many
Messages
1,180
Location
Midwest
That's my thought as well.
The hunting coats were derived from the Mackinaw which was made popular by lumberjacks, and originating as a map pocket makes more sense.
If they were always a game pocket I think we'd have seen more innovation in the way of waterproof or non absorbent and easy to clean materials used to line this pocket.
That's not the case, though. I've probably seen a good dozen hunting coats and ammo vests with the same game pocket as the wools. I think only one of them had special fabrics or a blood-proof membrane, and it was just slippery nylon. Some even just had mesh on the inside. Some had double-layered fabric, but those were the nicer ones. These are utility garments, not fashion statements. Hardy workwear to be abused. A little blood stain doesn't mean anything. Run it under the faucet, squeeze it, and hang it up for the next time. But to be honest, probably do nothing and not worry about the dried blood at all. Hunting clothes are usually full of stains and rips, often made of duck canvas. Ever seen Barbour waxed cotton coats that have actually been used for hunting, their intended purpose? You're killing things. Blood is part of the deal. Stains galore.

If you look into old advertising for cruisers and mackinaws, they were sold to hunters, be it in the Northwest, upper Midwest, or Northeast. Shotguns etc in the illustrations. Hats with wool fleece flaps and pants with double-seats and double-knees also available. I did look at Filson's website, where they say the pocket is for maps and charts. So odd. A roll case would offer such superior protection from the elements. A leather pouch of any kind. I'm neither a hunter, nor a surveyor. I put extra socks and another clothing layer in mine when I hike in them. A built-in backpack.
 

TLW '90

One of the Regulars
Messages
190
My thinking with the potential map use is that you store the maps in your saddle bag...ect on the horse, and when you get off the horse just stuff the maps in your pocket grab your axe and go.
No need for any kind of map case to deal with.
Here are my questions.
Did any adds ever specifically list it as a game pocket ?
Aside from the definate hunters, were they also calling the cruiser style a hunter or just advertising it the same way ?
Did this pocket design exist before the filson patent ?

All I really know is that it's found on hunting marketed and timber cruiser marketed pieces, you can put whatever you want in it, and that I wouldn't want to be putting dead animals in there myself.

JWM currently calls it a rear game / utility pocket, and I think rear utility pocket is the perfect name.
 

Ernest P Shackleton

One Too Many
Messages
1,180
Location
Midwest
I think it is also important to note that birds don't usually bleed much. With shot, the holes are tiny, and the heart is no longer pumping. Not saying they can't be, but it they're usually not a bloody mess.

I'm not going to name names, because I'm selfish and don't want competition, but not that long ago, I was amassing a collection of these coats (enough to make a spreadsheet). I don't own a Filson (yet), but I have several from lesser coveted brands. All have been surprisingly high quality, even when I wasn't necessarily expecting it. I've also never paid more than $30, but by the looks of things, that's a by-gone era. Do people actually pay $150 for a Woolrich cruiser? I cannot believe how much vintage hunting clothes have gone up. 3-10Xs the pre-pandemic rate. If you walk the streets of NYC on a weekend, does it look like you're walking through an old Woolrich advertisement? WTF is going on?
 

TLW '90

One of the Regulars
Messages
190
I think it is also important to note that birds don't usually bleed much. With shot, the holes are tiny, and the heart is no longer pumping. Not saying they can't be, but it they're usually not a bloody mess
I've taken many many pest birds and you're right at least with European starlings and house sparrows I was eliminating there was very little blood.
 

TLW '90

One of the Regulars
Messages
190
It's crazy how prices of things have gone up.
My woolrich barn jacket cost me like $38 a year ago and now you can't find them for under $90.

Maybe people are realizing new woolrich is worthless so they're willing to pony up for the better American made examples ?
I can't imagine that " Elmer fudd looking " hunting coat with that kind of ugly looking collar being very fashionable, but then most fashion trends never make any sense to me.
I don't get fashion and could never correctly guess what's gonna be popular next.
For all I know the next cool think will be wearing old celluloid toilet seats around your neck.
 

tmitchell59

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,658
Location
Illinois
I love this green Tenderloin!

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