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Thoughts on the Thunder Bay from Aero

Guppy

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4,287
Location
Cleveland, OH
I took delivery on my latest, Aero Thunder Bay, a couple weeks ago.

I ordered as follows:

* Size 42
* Black CXLSH
* Olive stitching
* Rust mouton collar
* Left inside pocket

On unboxing, I was surprised at two things, which gave me some concern:
* the CXLSH they used is pretty lightweight.
* the shearling lining in the body isn't as long as I was expecting. It's only about 1/4".
* it's a bit oversized
* the rust mouton color is a bit lighter in person than it looked on screen. Not sure if that's just a matter of natural variation, or that digital cameras and computer screens just make it look darker and richer. It's OK though.

Otherwise the jacket is pretty much exactly what I was expecting.

I mulled over this minor nitpicks, and decided that wear testing was the only way to know how well I truly liked the jacket.

My thoughts after having worn it a few times over the last few weeks:

Leather weight:

The lighter weight steer isn't really an issue. Being thinner, it's more pliable, which maybe helps it in cold temperatures the jacket is intended to be worn in. Since CXL is so stuffed with waxes, as everyone knows it will be stiffer in cold weather. In freezing weather, it might be too stiff, but using thinner CXL likely offsets this issue, making it a non-factor. From a strength/durability standpoint, I'm not concerned about the weight. I do like the way their heavyweight CXL feels, though, so I do miss that a bit. Especially on the sleeve cuffs, where I feel thicker leather would have been good to give the cuff a bit of rigidity.

Shearling weight:

I'm undecided about the shearling thickness. I was worried that it wasn't thick enough. So far the weather here hasn't been all that cold. We're flirting with freezing temperatures, but mostly in the 40sF and 50F (2-10C) range. In those temperatures, the shearling seems adequate. I'm still doubtful that it would be enough below freezing, and especially below 0F. Based on the descriptions, I had thought that the jacket would be ideal for temps below freezing, down to below zero.

It's a jacket, not a coat or a parka, so I'm not necessarily expecting it to be something you'd want to wear on an arctic expedition. But I was a bit surprised that the shearling wasn't sheared to the 1" length they use in flight jackets like the B3, ANJ-4 or the Irvin. I guess those jackets are to be expected to be used at altitude in unpressurized airplanes where the temperatures can drop to -30F to -50F, which would mean that they'd have to be super warm. But is the Thunder Bay intended for those kinds of conditions? It must not be. So what temperature range is it ideally suited for? For me to get the most use out of it, in the types of winters we see around where I live, I'd want it to be suited to temperatures ranging from 0-40F... maybe -10 to +30. I'm not yet sure how it will hold up to below freezing, as we haven't really hit those temps yet. So I'm reserving judgment.

I wasn't asked, didn't think to ask, and didn't specify, but if I do a Thunder Bay 2.0, I will definitely be asking more questions about this.

Oversizing:

The jacket is pretty boxy, and loose on the body. I thought that this would be to accommodate the extra fluff of the shearling lining, but with the shearling not cut all that long, that's not really it. But the jacket also will accommodate a lot of layering. The sleeves are extra wide, and don't bind up. I went out today wearing:

* a t-shirt
* a thermal long sleeve shirt
* a boiled wool long sleeve shirt over that
* a cotton flannel over that

I would estimate this bulked my chest measurement up a good full size, easily, if not more than that. Putting the Thunder Bay on over all of that was no problem. I've also worn it over a thick shawl-collar sweater, without much binding (just a slight amount, near the armpits). Given that it's intended for winter wear, you're not going to be putting this on over just a t-shirt, and I think the design reflects this, and works well with that in mind. If you're wearing just a t-shirt and a button down flannel over that, it might be a bit loose, and the looseness might let in too much air around the hem, collar, and sleeves, which would be more of a problem.

Depending on how you dress, then, you might want to size down, and/or order yours with longer shearling.

The sleeves are lined in corduroy, not shearling. This also may be something to ask about when ordering. It makes for less bulk and still decent warmth.

Will post pics soon. I've been delinquent on photos for most of my recent acquisitions, and am finally getting to a point where I once again have a decent setup for taking photos again. So hopefully that will be changing in the very near future. Depending on how my time flies this weekend, I may get to take a lot of pictures I've been meaning to, and updating a bunch of threads here.
 
Last edited:

Bfd70

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,106
Location
Traverse city
I took delivery on my latest, Aero Thunder Bay, a couple weeks ago.

I ordered as follows:

* Size 42
* Black CXLSH
* Olive stitching
* Rust mouton collar
* Left inside pocket

On unboxing, I was surprised at two things, which gave me some concern:
* the CXLSH they used is pretty lightweight.
* the shearling lining in the body isn't as long as I was expecting. It's only about 1/4".
* it's a bit oversized
* the rust mouton color is a bit lighter in person than it looked on screen. Not sure if that's just a matter of natural variation, or that digital cameras and computer screens just make it look darker and richer. It's OK though.

Otherwise the jacket is pretty much exactly what I was expecting.

I mulled over this minor nitpicks, and decided that wear testing was the only way to know how well I truly liked the jacket.

My thoughts after having worn it a few times over the last few weeks:

Leather weight:

The lighter weight steer isn't really an issue. Being thinner, it's more pliable, which maybe helps it in cold temperatures the jacket is intended to be worn in. Since CXL is so stuffed with waxes, as everyone knows it will be stiffer in cold weather. In freezing weather, it might be too stiff, but using thinner CXL likely offsets this issue, making it a non-factor. From a strength/durability standpoint, I'm not concerned about the weight. I do like the way their heavyweight CXL feels, though, so I do miss that a bit. Especially on the sleeve cuffs, where I feel thicker leather would have been good to give the cuff a bit of rigidity.

Shearling weight:

I'm undecided about the shearling thickness. I was worried that it wasn't thick enough. So far the weather here hasn't been all that cold. We're flirting with freezing temperatures, but mostly in the 40sF and 50F (2-10C) range. In those temperatures, the shearling seems adequate. I'm still doubtful that it would be enough below freezing, and especially below 0F. Based on the descriptions, I had thought that the jacket would be ideal for temps below freezing, down to below zero.

It's a jacket, not a coat or a parka, so I'm not necessarily expecting it to be something you'd want to wear on an arctic expedition. But I was a bit surprised that the shearling wasn't sheared to the 1" length they use in flight jackets like the B3, ANJ-4 or the Irvin. I guess those jackets are to be expected to be used at altitude in unpressurized airplanes where the temperatures can drop to -30F to -50F, which would mean that they'd have to be super warm. But is the Thunder Bay intended for those kinds of conditions? It must not be. So what temperature range is it ideally suited for? For me to get the most use out of it, in the types of winters we see around where I live, I'd want it to be suited to temperatures ranging from 0-40F... maybe -10 to +30. I'm not yet sure how it will hold up to below freezing, as we haven't really hit those temps yet. So I'm reserving judgment.

I wasn't asked, didn't think to ask, and didn't specify, but if I do a Thunder Bay 2.0, I will definitely be asking more questions about this.

Oversizing:

The jacket is pretty boxy, and loose on the body. I thought that this would be to accommodate the extra fluff of the shearling lining, but with the shearling not cut all that long, that's not really it. But the jacket also will accommodate a lot of layering. The sleeves are extra wide, and don't bind up. I went out today wearing:

* a t-shirt
* a thermal long sleeve shirt
* a boiled wool long sleeve shirt over that
* a cotton flannel over that

I would estimate this bulked my chest measurement up a good full size, easily, if not more than that. Putting the Thunder Bay on over all of that was no problem. I've also worn it over a thick shawl-collar sweater, without much binding (just a slight amount, near the armpits). Given that it's intended for winter wear, you're not going to be putting this on over just a t-shirt, and I think the design reflects this, and works well with that in mind. If you're wearing just a t-shirt and a button down flannel over that, it might be a bit loose, and the looseness might let in too much air around the hem, collar, and sleeves, which would be more of a problem.

Depending on how you dress, then, you might want to size down, and/or order yours with longer shearling.

The sleeves are lined in corduroy, not shearling. This also may be something to ask about when ordering. It makes for less bulk and still decent warmth.

Will post pics soon. I've been delinquent on photos for most of my recent acquisitions, and am finally getting to a point where I once again have a decent setup for taking photos again. So hopefully that will be changing in the very near future. Depending on how my time flies this weekend, I may get to take a lot of pictures I've been meaning to, and updating a bunch of threads here.
No pics!?!?! Total tease
 

Guppy

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Messages
4,287
Location
Cleveland, OH
That's lighter than I thought. Was there an option to go with thicker fur?

Cool pick up. Lots of info here. And pics please.
I thought it would be thicker, and I didn't ask for options. I was assuming that their standard would be fine and I didn't want to overtone anything. But I'm still evaluating how it will work out, waiting for the real winter weather so I can decide.
 

AeroFan_07

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Messages
5,474
Location
Iowa
Here is a link to their website showing a rather similar Thunderbay. I had to look it up as I thought it was a longer button-up model. Indeed not: https://www.aeroleatherclothing.com/mens/thunderbay/mto072

It is a short jacket. I don't think one of these would work with my fairly long torso overall. However if it were my jacket and I thought it was too light, especially at initial try - on, I would put it back in the box and ship it back, after contacting Aero or Thurston, however it was ordered, and explain it was not to my specification. If you expected thicker shearling (and more warmth) I would think you should request that.

I suspect the lighter CX-Steer is directly a result of the warmer jacket interest in this model. As you mentioned Guppy, the CXL-type leathers are really stiff in the cold, until warmed up. My IR gets pretty stiff even as I wear it if I do so over a few layers on a cold, windy day. So that may be a real benefit overall.

Those things said, if you do choose to keep it, I do hope you enjoy it!
 

SimonR

One of the Regulars
Messages
261
Location
Chesterfield UK
I suspect my experiences with my Longshoreman mirror yours on some points ....

I was surprised the shearling on mine was only 1/4" but I'm sure had I asked for thicker - or even asked what length it came with they would have answered - so put that down to me not asking the right questions.

Mine is also quite large in the chest - like yours a good size extra .... I think this is more down to the period style of the pattern than anything.

Overall I'm liking the jacket but have bought an Eastman Irvin for really cold days :)

Simon
 

MrProper

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,994
Location
Europe
I once had a FQHH Sheene with fur. The fur was longer than 1/4" and actually didn't fit the jacket at all. It was too thick, but I wanted it that way ;)
Now if I had it to do over again, the thinner one would be my choice.
The jacket is otherwise like a tank and still not warm because the edge of the zipper is not lined and is a cold bridge. At the back then too warm and front too cold.
I have the jacket so never really worn and ultimately sold.

Cold bridge:
F6C85232-76EE-4E97-826E-148BBE57E5B4.jpeg

My jacket (unfortunately no inside pics )
F6C20D21-63EC-4D84-AE56-0E2E7FB24A4E.jpeg DBC00AF5-06B5-4EAF-B84C-11F93C823BC8.jpeg
 

Guppy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,287
Location
Cleveland, OH
I once had a FQHH Sheene with fur. The fur was longer than 1/4" and actually didn't fit the jacket at all. It was too thick, but I wanted it that way ;)
Now if I had it to do over again, the thinner one would be my choice.
The jacket is otherwise like a tank and still not warm because the edge of the zipper is not lined and is a cold bridge. At the back then too warm and front too cold.
I have the jacket so never really worn and ultimately sold.

Cold bridge:
View attachment 473111

My jacket (unfortunately no inside pics )
View attachment 473112 View attachment 473113
That's an interesting point about the "cold bridge". I noticed that as well, on my first try on, but wasn't wearing a lot of layers that time. Today when I was out wearing it, i had a bunch of layers, and didn't even think about the bridge. It seems like something that would be solved by a storm flap, lined with a backing of the shearling.

I'm still reserving judgment on the jacket until I get a chance to test it further. It could well be that I'll get more actual use out of it with the thinner shearling than I would have had it been made for sub-zero temperatures that are rarely seen these days. I think I'll be happy with it if it is comfortable down to zero, and currently it remains to be seen.
 

Guppy

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Messages
4,287
Location
Cleveland, OH
However if it were my jacket and I thought it was too light, especially at initial try - on, I would put it back in the box and ship it back, after contacting Aero or Thurston, however it was ordered, and explain it was not to my specification. If you expected thicker shearling (and more warmth) I would think you should request that.

I suspect the lighter CX-Steer is directly a result of the warmer jacket interest in this model. As you mentioned Guppy, the CXL-type leathers are really stiff in the cold, until warmed up. My IR gets pretty stiff even as I wear it if I do so over a few layers on a cold, windy day. So that may be a real benefit overall.

Those things said, if you do choose to keep it, I do hope you enjoy it!
It's a thought that crossed my mind. My problem is that I didn't specify anything, only assumed it would be thicker than what I got.

Like I just got done saying above, it might be a more practical jacket for me without a heavier lining, given that we are witnessing climate change, and the winters in Cleveland have been very mild going back over the past decade or so. It does get cold here, but it's not that often.

I am left wondering if I built up a reputation for the Thunder Bay in my mind, to make it equivalent to the ANJ-4, or the B-7, and forgot to do a reality check to see if that assumption was true.

I would love to hear from other Thunder Bay owners about how thick their lining is, and when their jacket was made.
 

Guppy

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4,287
Location
Cleveland, OH
Some pics:

My camera is also making the mouton collar look darker and more vibrant than it looks to my eye. It is a common thing in digital cameras that they respond strongly to reds. If it really looked like this in real life, I'd be happier with it. The color is less vibrant and more muted and pale in natural light to the naked eye. IMG_20221215_153724_656.jpg IMG_20221215_153737_655.jpg IMG_20221215_153724_656.jpg
 

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Guppy

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4,287
Location
Cleveland, OH
I'm thinking a bit more drop in the waist would be better. And the sleeves are a tad long, but I don't mind that if they help keep me covered in the cold air.
 

MrProper

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Location
Europe
It's lined in sheepskin... I'm not sure I understand you, to me fleece and shearling are synonyms.
I meant a classic shearling jacket where the fur is on the inside and the flesh side is on the outside. So not a leather jacket that is lined with sheepskin. Sorry for the misleading words.
 

Guppy

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4,287
Location
Cleveland, OH
I meant a classic shearling jacket where the fur is on the inside and the flesh side is on the outside. So not a leather jacket that is lined with sheepskin. Sorry for the misleading words.
I see what you're saying.

The lining is shearling, and the outer shell is steer hide. I like the combination, the steer is very tough and durable, and the shearling is warm. I think it's only a question of how long they trim it to. Shearling flight jackets are typically 3/4 to 1". There's no reason they couldn't use the same length in this style, and I'm wondering why they didn't - - I'd have to assume that 1/4" is their standard for this model. I have never seen an original, but perhaps that's what was used in those as well.

It just surprised me, is all. The weather report for Thunder Bay, Ontario has lows down to - 20C next week, which is rather cold. Can quarter inch shearling handle that? That's what I'd like to know...
 

Marc mndt

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7,078
That's a great looking jacket. As you mentioned the sleeves are somewhat long.

Looks like it's the same pattern as their Grizzly which doesn't have a windflap either. I never expected a 'cold bridge' though.

FDF7F09B-B777-4302-907F-5E0C940A329B.jpeg
 

Guppy

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4,287
Location
Cleveland, OH
That's a great looking jacket. As you mentioned the sleeves are somewhat long.

Looks like it's the same pattern as their Grizzly which doesn't have a windflap either. I never expected a 'cold bridge' though.

View attachment 473218
Yes, I think of the Grizzly as almost a reverse of the Thunder Bay. Apart from the belted sleeve cuffs, they seem to be very similar. I wonder how long the fur is on that Grizzly...
 

Canuck Panda

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Messages
4,334
Just read through this post in detail again and,

Leather weight:

The lighter weight steer isn't really an issue. Being thinner, it's more pliable, which maybe helps it in cold temperatures the jacket is intended to be worn in. Since CXL is so stuffed with waxes, as everyone knows it will be stiffer in cold weather. In freezing weather, it might be too stiff, but using thinner CXL likely offsets this issue, making it a non-factor. From a strength/durability standpoint, I'm not concerned about the weight. I do like the way their heavyweight CXL feels, though, so I do miss that a bit. Especially on the sleeve cuffs, where I feel thicker leather would have been good to give the cuff a bit of rigidity.
I found my thinner CXL FQHH did not stiff up in cold down to about 20F (-7C). Hope that is also the case with the your thinner CXL SH. Makes cold mornings a lot easier.


Shearling weight:

I'm undecided about the shearling thickness. I was worried that it wasn't thick enough. So far the weather here hasn't been all that cold. We're flirting with freezing temperatures, but mostly in the 40sF and 50F (2-10C) range. In those temperatures, the shearling seems adequate. I'm still doubtful that it would be enough below freezing, and especially below 0F. Based on the descriptions, I had thought that the jacket would be ideal for temps below freezing, down to below zero.

It's a jacket, not a coat or a parka, so I'm not necessarily expecting it to be something you'd want to wear on an arctic expedition. But I was a bit surprised that the shearling wasn't sheared to the 1" length they use in flight jackets like the B3, ANJ-4 or the Irvin. I guess those jackets are to be expected to be used at altitude in unpressurized airplanes where the temperatures can drop to -30F to -50F, which would mean that they'd have to be super warm. But is the Thunder Bay intended for those kinds of conditions? It must not be. So what temperature range is it ideally suited for? For me to get the most use out of it, in the types of winters we see around where I live, I'd want it to be suited to temperatures ranging from 0-40F... maybe -10 to +30. I'm not yet sure how it will hold up to below freezing, as we haven't really hit those temps yet. So I'm reserving judgment.
With a layering system the 1/4" pill could work down to 0F (-17C). And the thinner fur would also work in warmer temps, so it can be worn more often.


and still not warm because the edge of the zipper is not lined and is a cold bridge. At the back then too warm and front too cold.
This is so true. That's why I have to use a vest with my Grizzly to compensate the cold zones front center and lower back. Do you think a fur lined or quilt lined wind flap would solve this the front cold zone.

That's a very cool Sheene. What type of lining did you used for the sleeves?
 

Guppy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,287
Location
Cleveland, OH
Just read through this post in detail again and,

I found my thinner CXL FQHH did not stiff up in cold down to about 20F (-7C). Hope that is also the case with the your thinner CXL SH. Makes cold mornings a lot easier.

With a layering system the 1/4" pill could work down to 0F (-17C). And the thinner fur would also work in warmer temps, so it can be worn more often.
Indeed, that's what I've been considering. I have faith that Aero know what they are doing, and as such I'm hesitant to second guess them. I expect what you are saying may well be the case, and that by using shorter shearling it expands the useful range of temperatures that the jacket may be worn in, and so it might be fine. I'd like to confirm that by wearing it in the colder weather that I purchased it intending to wear it in, and as long as it's fine for that use, I'm satisfied.

If it's not good in the lower range of the temperatures I intended it for, then I'm left feeling foolish for not having more detailed conversations when I placed the order about the specs and my intended use. I just never considered that they would use shearling shorter than the only shearling I've seen or handled.
 

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