road less traveled for jacket nuts? the N-2B flight jacket...am i crazy 4 loving it?

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by johnnyjohnny, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. johnnyjohnny

    johnnyjohnny Practically Family

    Messages:
    621
    Location:
    lake balboa
    wondering if i'm a heretic on this forum for having fallen in love with the workhorse of the cold, smart-looking but non-leather N-2B (the later spawn of the korean war era N-3B)?

    i adore my leather motor and mil jacks from a-2s, G-1s and vanson sportrider, etc...but being in lalaland calif. i find myself throwing on a true warm jacket when it gets cold, and for utility a jacket that i can wear when i don't wish to expose my leathers to jagged edges in work environs that can rip them up.

    i had an alpha b-15 i got at the start of my leather miljack phase 10 years ago (from uswings) and never wore it, moving on to a love affair with leather. but last year when i found myself on movie sets and locations at cold hours of the day, around nails sticking out and perhaps the errant person who might take a nice jacket if left unguarded, i threw on my alpha b-15 and was suprised to find it warmer than the entertainment industry de rigueur 'north face' parkas, but also extremely light. plus it started getting more looks from crew and other folk than any jacket i'd worn.

    only problem was the bellybutton length of the jacket, so i just bought a rothco military spec N-2B in black (shown in the pic with my head photoshopped to it). the alpha N-2Bs seemed to sit just as high as their b-15, but the rothco comes a few inches lower.

    i never thought i'd go for this stuff vs. leather, but the practicality and utility of it is blowing me away. the N-2B is a legit flight jacket going back to the early viet nam era, and while i'm loving my b-15, i'm very jazzed to be getting this N-2B...and the price was amazing, $50 in 2XL on amazon.

    lemme know if loving these simple nylon jackets is going beyond the pale, not that i've stopped adoring my leathers.[​IMG]
    me in my new obsession, the N-2b (haven't gotten it yet, so photoshop)
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2012
  2. subject101

    subject101 One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    223
    Location:
    Mennoniteborough
    I really like both, N-2B and N-3B. However, nowadays it is quite difficult to find a real one made by a real US contractor. Most of the jackets you can find are chinese rip offs, not as warm as they should be.
     
  3. Atticus Finch

    Atticus Finch Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,717
    Location:
    Coastal North Carolina, USA
    I like all of the N jackets, but I don't get to wear mine enough. It rarely gets cold enough in North Carolina for that kind of horse power. Happily, I spend enough time in Wisconsin that my jackets see daylight at least once or twice a year. My favorite N jacket is this original S. H. Knopf N-2A.

    [​IMG]

    Post edit: I have to admit, though, I have no idea how one would fly a plane with an N jacket's hood zipped and raised.

    [​IMG]

    AF
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2012
    TPD166 likes this.
  4. Philalethes

    Philalethes A-List Customer

    Messages:
    463
    Location:
    Southern New Jersey, on a Farm
    Were the originals lined with polyester or shearling? I couldn't find any reliable information online.
     
  5. subject101

    subject101 One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    223
    Location:
    Mennoniteborough
    If I'm not wrong, early N jackets had a layer of wool in the inside and were quite heavy. At some point, wool was replaced with nylon but these jackets still were meeting military specs.
     
  6. Atticus Finch

    Atticus Finch Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,717
    Location:
    Coastal North Carolina, USA
    The older original N jackets were insulated with thick, wool batting sandwiched between the lining and the outer shell. Of course, the MA-1 was insulated in the same way, but the batting in the N jackets was thicker. N jacket hoods were lined with mouton and fringed with coyote or badger fur…or synthetic fur…depending on the contract.

    AF
     
  7. Atticus Finch

    Atticus Finch Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,717
    Location:
    Coastal North Carolina, USA
    By the way...and not to nerd out as I'm prone to do...but N jackets have a long military history...much longer than just to the Vietnam war. The olive colored N-2 and N-3 were both introduced right after WWII. They were soon replaced by the blue N-2A and N-3A around 1948. The sage N-2B and N-3B were introduced in 1953 or 1954 and were still being issued in the late eighties. Perhaps they are still being issued, I'm not sure.

    Here's some USAF aircrew wearing N-2As during the Korean Conflict. One guy (second from the right) is wearing a B-15C.

    [​IMG]

    AF
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2012
  8. ButteMT61

    ButteMT61

    Messages:
    10,214
    Location:
    Pasadena, CA
    Let's face it, leather isn't always the answer! I switched to cortech jackets for riding years ago, and only put on leathers for track days or just heading into town for some coffee. But yeah, it's tough to get patina on textiles lol
     
  9. fnoprx

    fnoprx Familiar Face

    Messages:
    77
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Love the N jackets! Living in Denmark, the winters are often plenty cold to give these jackets a lot of wear. Currently I have two N2B-s - a very heavy 1967 version (wool filling) and a lighter, but just as warm and tough 1978 version (nylon filling), both from Alpha - as well as an N3B. These are great jackets, made to be worn, and the military ones are excellent quality.
     
  10. johnnyjohnny

    johnnyjohnny Practically Family

    Messages:
    621
    Location:
    lake balboa
    yay for 'N's!

    what a wonderful surprise to find all the hardcore leather heads appreciating this remarkable jacket!

    more and more leather jacks are too expensive and too beautiful to be used for their once-purely functional purpose. i'd never throw a $600 vanson or $900 eastman in the back of my car to bake during the days, only so i can yank it out and wear it some cold morning when i might need it.

    but the first surprise was how wonderful these 'N' jackets were functionally, how light and comfortable, how warm, and then, how they got the looks and looked good. and now a superb surprise to find the appreciation for these from the highest echelons of the lounge-osphere.

    i did read on the history of a related nylon u.s. issue MA jacket in the vietnam era that over time the issue sage/green would turn a magenta from ultraviolet rays. ironically, this was a prized look (just like wear on a leather A-2 or motojack) by the vets, showing the jacket and owner were seasoned. only down side, and an important one, was that it became dangerous in its intended military function as it lost camo ability.

    these are very civilian-friendly mil jackets, and i read that in 70s and 80s britain the N-2B became universally used by brit school children, with nearly every school age kid having one. i did not get an alpha because of the price, but mostly because it was very high waisted, like the B-15 of theirs i was buying this to replace. i think the rothco military spec (tho not issue) version i got for $50 on amazon.com is a very respectable and certainly economical choice.

    i was fascinated to find the original 60s-80s u.s. military issue ones for sale on ebay, if anyone's a true collector. course if i spent $160 for a cherry used vietnam era N-2B, i'd run into the same problem of being afraid to toss it in my car until needed for use in thrasher environs...tho like leather jax, they do look good with wear on them, in the vein of hole-ridden well fitting 501s, tho they won't last as long as a leather jacket, which could be with you for your lifetime.
     
  11. subject101

    subject101 One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    223
    Location:
    Mennoniteborough
    I think some pictures of that Rothco would be very appreciated :) You can't find nothing better for the buck.

    Alpha used to be an original US Army contractor but now it has turn into a fashion brand. They make a thinner version of the N-2b and N-3b, some people say that they are not that warm.
     
  12. johnnyjohnny

    johnnyjohnny Practically Family

    Messages:
    621
    Location:
    lake balboa
    thanks subject...if you see my original post i have stuck my face on top of the manufacturer's actual pic of the black rothco N-2B, which is the color i bought.

    i believe, but someone may correct me, rothco has made these under military contract in the past, tho this one is stated to be mil spec but not mil issued.

    i will speak up for alpha as the b-15 i have of theirs is amazingly constructed, but they really make their pieces short-waisted, and for something like an ultra cold weather parka like the N-2B they could give another inch or two so it won't end at your belly button. i know they save money making these as short as possible, but really!
     
  13. svennex

    svennex New in Town

    Messages:
    21
    Location:
    Göteborg SWE
    I've heard that an N-2B is really great inside a giant lead-smelting plant.

    [​IMG]

    Uploaded with ImageShack.us
     
  14. Southernwayfare

    Southernwayfare One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    133
    Location:
    displaced Cajun
    Nice thread. This is a little off topic but it's something I've been thinking about posting here. What are recommendations for quality N-3Bs (besides vintage mil issued)? I bought a Spiewak for a deep discount but the pockets blew out in a season of light wear. Is Alpha any better? Does any other company make better versions? As for military issue, can anyone recommend an era that's particularly nice? Thanks.
     
  15. Atticus Finch

    Atticus Finch Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,717
    Location:
    Coastal North Carolina, USA
    I have two N-3Bs. One is a beater from the early eighties and the other is an F-series (1964) Southern Athletic. Both are USAF issued. I can tell you that there is no comparison as to quality. The earlier jacket is much warmer and more substantial. It has thick, wool insulation, a real mouton lined hood and a real coyote fur ruff. On the other hand, I don't think there is an organic molecule anywhere in the new jacket. It has poly-something insulation, a poly-something hood lining and a mangy, poly-something ruff. I wear it when I'm doing things that might damage a more valuable jacket...like drunken snow tubing.

    I would look for an F-series or earlier N-3B. In fact, if you find a E-series or earlier jacket, it will have the cool USAF roundrel on the left sleeve.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Here's my eighties, beater N-jacket.

    [​IMG]

    AF
     
  16. fnoprx

    fnoprx Familiar Face

    Messages:
    77
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    @Svennex: YES! David Finchers Alien3 is the ultimate N-2B movie - with most characters wearing beat-up N2Bs. Amazing, underrated movie BTW.
     
  17. Peacoat

    Peacoat Bartender Bartender

    Messages:
    5,251
    Location:
    South of Nashville
    Nice looking coat, J2 and a clever idea, but you would have done better to have stuck my face on the pic. It would have been easier on the eyes.
     
  18. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,878
    Location:
    Hudson Valley, NY
    There's nothing wrong with a good nylon jacket!

    I never had a N-2B, but I had a couple of N-3Bs back in my high school/college years, and they were awesome. I also had a B-15 knockoff in my youth that I loved... More recently, I had an Alpha B-15 and really enjoyed it... apart from the too-short waist. When it developed zipper problems, I gave it away and replaced it with an Alpha MA-1, which is currently my coldest-weather go-to jacket. Very warm, highly functional. Once it goes below 40, I put away my leathers and wear that MA-1 or my peacoat.

    (BTW, if somebody's in the market for a virtually new current model Alpha N-3B [Medium/black] at a bargain, I've got one up in the Classifieds right now.)
     
  19. tonypaj

    tonypaj Practically Family

    Messages:
    659
    Location:
    Divonne les Bains, France
    I recently got an N3B from a friend of mine. An Albert Turner from the 50s, apparently. An excellent jacket for this time of year, more versatile than my leather jackets. I have no idea if it is a collectible, however it gets used rather heavily right now.
     
  20. ButteMT61

    ButteMT61

    Messages:
    10,214
    Location:
    Pasadena, CA
    I'm contemplating the Alpha's. They have the N2 and N3 at a reasonable price. Maybe one of each for next winter. Lots of colors too. I don't reckon I'll have much luck finding vintage ones in 48+ so I'm not hung up on originals for this one...but really, the B-10 is the next non-leather jacket I will buy. Something about those grabs me.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.