Link of the Day: http://www.filson.com/ . Tell them Mike Oscar Hotel sent you. They have no idea who I am, but they should.
Wool Coat Review
Wool makes for a versatile and quality garment. It is one of my favorite fibers and when fall comes, I often can't wait to pull out one (or all) of my coats.
Here are a few facts about wool (click me!).
The thing I really like about wool? You don't have to kill the critter to get the fiber. Now, I'm not against critter killing. I am, however, a strong believer in practicality. Why buy the car you throw away at 100,000 miles when you can own a '91 Nissan pickup with 240,000 miles on it and will probably see the 300k mark easily? The sheep is the truck that keeps on rollin'. Here on the Happy-Half-Acre, we're considering raising Angora Rabbits. Fibers are really, really cool. But that will be another post. I'm going on a tangent here. Let's return.
I bought my first wool coat about eight years ago. Mrs. Hotel encouraged me to buy it. I didn't want it, but I was a very, very, very different person back then. She told me how handsome I looked in it and I gave her the "awwww shucks" and that was that. I've had the coat ever since. I wore it hard for six years and now it is living in semi-retirement as my oil-change/I'm-gonna-have-to-gut-something coat. I put it on today for the first time in about a year and I forgot how comfortable it is/was. It was made by Pierre Cardin (not himself) and the facts are as such: shell - 70% wool and 30% nylon. Lining and filling - 100% polyester. Zippered front.
So this isn't the greatest coat in the world, but I wore it to nice dinners and when I was out in the bush. Versatile. Pretty warm. Two pockets. Not bad. It was a great introduction to wool.
Johnson Woolen Mills
When I was home a few years ago, Uncle Bern gave me this next coat. It was made by Johnson Woolen Mills and I believe it to be a cape coat of some sort. I get two reactions from this coat. Manly men usually say, "Dude....where did you get that coat?", and then there is the other class of people that say, "Wow......that jacket is really.....green." Once upon a time, this coat was the fashion statement of Northern Maine. Hunters wore them until they caught on with the Game Wardens and then you had to switch to the black/green plaid because you might just get shot wearing this color of green. I'm joking. Sort of......
Anyhow, I think Uncle Bern got this one in the mid to late '80s. It fits well. Two pockets, no liner and believe it or not, it is one of the warmest coats I own. It says size 17 (I think it is about a suit size 40) and runs snugly on me. It isn't thick by any means, but I tend to layer up beneath it. I think it is so warm because of the snug fit and because it has a zippered front. This coat is still in very regular rotation with me. I'd say I wear it 2 to 3 times a week during the fall, winter and spring.
Johnson Woolen Mills is still in business. The only issue that I have (which I'm quickly getting over) is that their coats come in green, red or plaid in both. Coats on their website range from around $180 - $300. It may seem expensive, but it is a garment you can wear hard. Our next coat is a good example of that.
My Grandfather's brother, Uncle Stanferd, lost his arm in a mill accident in the 1940's. When he would return from his fishing trips people would ask him if he caught anything. He would respond, "Why, yes I did! The fish was HUGE!" The person would usually respond with, "How big was it?" And the picture above is what he would do - and say, "It was this big!" Sorry. I guess this coat makes me channel family history.
This coat is a similar style to the green coat with the cape-styled back.
Last but not least, my Filson Mackinaw Cruiser. This is the coat to end all coats. I bought this one last year before the Denver Filson Store went out of business. It is a serious jacket The wool is thicker than the old Johnson coats that I have, but that is probably because they are old and worn and this one is new.
I have a few favorite things about this coat. #1.) A pocket (pictured on your right, breast pocket) to hold shotgun shells. See? A great accessory would be a Saiga 12!Notice something with me - buttoned front. This lets the wind blow in a little and I'm bothered by that. They make other coats with zippers, but it just isn't a cruiser. Before you go thinking that I'm complaining, think about the way that the wool coat used to work. I remember a man named Barney. He was trapping buddy of Snuffy's and smoked about 82,000 cigarettes a day. He was/is a cool guy. Fought in Korea.
I remember going to his house and what I saw was that he layered his clothing. First the long john shirt, then the flannel shirt, then the wool vest, then the coat. When I layer properly under this coat, it is like wearing a furnace. The coat itself will keep you warm, but remember; it was designed around the turn of the 20th century. We're talking old school technology. This particular coat I bought in a size 42. The 40 was just a little tight.
Favorite thing #2.) You can't see it in this picture, but it has a game pocket in the back. It is like a small back pack!
This is my every day coat in the winter. The price is high, but it is worth it.. When I told Mrs. Hotel I wanted a Filson and what the price was, she told me to make sure it would last me 20 years. Single Mackinaws are in the $275-$325 range. What I can tell about this coat is that one of my boys will probably be wearing it 20 years from now. Filson has a great policy. If you blow an elbow (or anything else) out of the jacket, simply call customer service and ask them to repair it.
I'm open for questions. I plan on doing a follow up thread about Filson. Maybe J.W.M. if I can find any history.
Pax Domini Sit Semper Vobiscum,
Mike, Oscar, Hotel........out.