A jacket for bushcraft

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Hi,

I've started to get back in the woods again after a couple of years and I have recently started to search for a jacket/smock/anorak that'll suit my needs. The problem is that I've found so many options that I can't decide (what a problem indeed). What I'm looking for in a jacket are that:


-I can sit close to the fire, hence I'd like it to be made of cotton.
-it's long enough to cover my bum (chilly bums aren't fun to have)
-it's in brown or green (no camo pattern)
-it's got a spacious hood



The ones I've found that suit my needs are:

-Fjällräven's Mårma or Gutulia (anorak)
-Sasskit smock
-ebay sas smocks this one or this one
-Swedish snow anorak "vindblus" (dyeing it to a green)
-The german Gebirgsjäger anorak



So which one would you choose and why? And is there one that I've missed that would be even better for my needs?

Thanks,
Chris
 

snozz

Full Member
Dec 9, 2009
876
1
Otley
I have a green Westwinds Antarctic Smock that seems to tick all your boxes...

http://www.west-winds.co.uk/antarcticsmock.htm

Longer at the back that the front, won't melt by the fire, 4 excellent pockets. Snugpak have a sale the 1st wekend of December which is where I picked mine up half price a couple of years ago

Snozz
 

R.Lewis

Full Member
Aug 23, 2009
1,095
20
Cambs
I have a Ventile SAS style smock, love it so comfortable totally windproof, massive pockets (great for foraging) Its overall a great design!
 

Nonsuch

Full Member
Sep 19, 2008
1,862
1
Scotland, looking at mountains
For me the choice is a) jacket with lots of pockets , easy style to put on and off but perhaps a bit fussy (SASS Kit smock ideally in Ventile) or b) simpler over-the-head style smock with few pockets (Westwinds or Hilltrek Ventile smock - see my avatar).

Only Ventile or similar super-tight cottons will have a good degree of waterproofness. The ebay SAS smocks will not keep you dry.

Even with Ventile, I reckon you still need a barrier waterproof over the top when it really rains and you are not standing over a fire. Of course if your main use is sub-zero then that doesn't matter so much.

A second consideration for me, personally is that a) looks a bit military / wannabee, whereas I feel more at ease wandering around in b), not being even remotely a military sort of person

Hope that helps

Richard
 
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big_swede

Native
Sep 22, 2006
1,452
8
37
W Yorkshire
Before I would have recommended anoraks. I liked them a lot, nowadays I have grown tired of the over the head motion. I have used anoraks from a couple of makes. My preferred are the Norrøna arktis/svalbard anorak and the klättermusen Njal. Here they are worn by me and my cousin:


Both these jackets are now available as jackets, as the Norrøna Svalbard anojakke and Klättermusen Einride. Both sports better hoods than anything on your list. The klättermusen is shorter though. The best anorak I have tried was the klättermusen nunatak, it also sported the best hood I have ever encountered. It is also only available as the jacket Rimfaxe nowadays. the klättermusen jackets recommended here are made from ecological etaproof, which is swiss-made ventile. The norrøna is made from very high quality cotton. Both brands jackets are well tried to very extreme conditions indeed. Both brands are also very expensive, but are of extremely high quality and have good post sales services.

I would also think of weight. Cotton jackets and smocks are heavy. Heavy jackets lead to sweating, and with thick cotton you loose the whole breathability argument. A sas-type smock from tac gear in 50/50 polycotton (lighter than 100% cotton) weighs in at 1.8 kilos! A Klättermusen Einride weighs 560 grams in size M. Something to think about. Of course, synthetic jackets can be made lighter with higher abrasion resistance. The fjällräven G1000 can also get the odd hole from sparks (and the hoods on fjällrävens jackets aren't exactly up to modern standards).

Btw, the picture was taken not so far from the place mårma, in august.
 

lub0

Settler
Jan 14, 2009
671
0
East midlands
I have the SASS jacket and I absolutely love everything about it including the fit and style. It performs very admirably in light to medium rainfall, but you will want to seek cover in the heavier rainfalls. That said, even in heavy rain the moisture only really penetrates the single-layered areas of the jacket which is the arms and lower part by the waist. Oh and did I mention how incredibly wind-proof it is...!

Worn over synthetic/woolen layers, it will never let you down!

I was going to get one of those "kit carry SAS smocks" from eBay becuase they looked the business and the description sounded spot on, but the sheer amount of people vouching for the SASS version of the SAS smock made me spend the extra £50 or so quid!

The black gabardine ex-MOD/police jackets on eBay seem to be top pieces of kit and if I didn't have my SASS smock and still needed a bushcraft jacket I wouldn't hesitate for a second to buy one of those.

Of course though, if you have the cash for it, by all means go for a Kestral, Westwinds or similar high-end double-layered ventile jacket. But for most of us I think the SASS version is a relatively good compromise for the money.
 
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Aristotle

Forager
Jan 13, 2010
177
0
NW England
M65 Jackets are good, but they could do with a better hood. I proofed mine with Nikwax and it is still beading water a year on, alhtough I've not worn it in a down-pour. If I did it again, I'd have used Fabsil on the shoulders for better proofing before using the Nikwax for the whole jacket.
 
How large is the hood on the SASS smock? Can't find a picture of it anywhere, really like it when they're spacious so that even if I'm wearing a thick hat it'll still provide protection from the wind and rain. To give you guys an example of what I mean then watch this video on the Fjällräven Mårma (at around 01:20 you'll see the hood)
 

treadlightly

Full Member
Jan 29, 2007
2,685
1
61
Powys
I don't think you can beat the SASS smock as an allrounder. To answer another question, the hood is pretty big and adjusts well.

Another option that would fit your requirements as long as you're not going to be moving around too strenuously is a waxed jacket. You can get them cheap enough and can re-coat them easily. Waterproof, tough as old boots, but not breathable.
 

iamasmith

Forager
Aug 12, 2009
128
0
London
I have a West Winds Airedale and could highly recommend them but I wouldn't shy away from a smock now I know how breathable they are. Ventile is infinitely more comfortable than all of the 'breathable' jackets that I have previously had. Many folks would say don't waste your money but I love the fabric and would happily have a smock made of it.
 

lannyman8

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jan 18, 2009
4,005
2
Dark side of the Moon
sas smocks are good they dont pack down that small though. if you get 1 i would say get a compresion sack for it if you want it as small as it will go