West Winds Ventile Antarctic Smock

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steven andrews

Settler
Mar 27, 2004
528
2
47
Jersey
Greetings smock-lovers,
I just took the plunge and ordered a West Winds Antarctic Smock. I really think I have a smock problem. :roll:
I already have a Snowsled Classic smock and Swedish Army M60's, so I don't really need another one...but it looked so nice in my new Soldier of Fortune catalogue. Oh well.

Do you have any experience with West Winds Ventile?
I understand that Snugpak recently took over..
 
Jan 15, 2005
851
0
50
wantage
Good choice mate, i took delivery a couple of weeks ago. It did take about 3 weeks to turn up, but to be fair the bloke said it would take that long. I really like it as a smock - the wire hood and simply huge pockets really set it off for me. You can fit a bahco saw in the hip pockets with room for other stuff. There might be a couple of things i would change if i could be bothered - buttons instead of velcro for the pockets and maybe another zip on the wind baffle, to give more ventilation if needed. Other than that i really love it.....
 

maddave

Full Member
Jan 2, 2004
4,177
35
Manchester UK
steven andrews said:
Greetings smock-lovers,
I just took the plunge and ordered a West Winds Antarctic Smock. I really think I have a smock problem. :roll:
I already have a Snowsled Classic smock and Swedish Army M60's, so I don't really need another one...but it looked so nice in my new Soldier of Fortune catalogue. Oh well.

Do you have any experience with West Winds Ventile?
I understand that Snugpak recently took over..


Ahhh you've just got the new SOF catalogue thruogh the mail too eh??

Lots of nice shiny toys in there :super:
 

Rhodri

Forager
Nov 12, 2004
152
6
50
Suffolk
Coincidence. I've also just placed and order with Snugpack/W Winds (well, last Friday anyway) for one of their double layer Parkas. I feel the cold you see... :wink:

To be serious for a minute I've got fed up with the marketing blurb around some of the synthetic plastic stuff (I've tried a number of Goretex jackets and a Lowe Alpine triplepoint) out there with regards to breathability. I often need to work quite hard in bad weather and get wetter from the inside than outside. So, time for something different.

Cheers,
Rod
 

arctic hobo

Native
Oct 7, 2004
1,630
4
34
Devon *sigh*
www.dyrhaug.co.uk
steven andrews said:
Greetings smock-lovers,
I just took the plunge and ordered a West Winds Antarctic Smock. I really think I have a smock problem. :roll:
I already have a Snowsled Classic smock and Swedish Army M60's, so I don't really need another one...but it looked so nice in my new Soldier of Fortune catalogue. Oh well.

Do you have any experience with West Winds Ventile?
I understand that Snugpak recently took over..
I saw that, looks nice. Not sure if I'd take it to the antarctic :yikes: but looks good :biggthump
 

leon-1

Mod
Mod
arctic hobo said:
I saw that, looks nice. Not sure if I'd take it to the antarctic :yikes: but looks good :biggthump

Was that by any chance the same ones that were commisioned by the B.A.S.

I have two of thier jackets / smocks, the windshirt and the short parka (unfortunately no longer available) and both are excellent. I also have a pair of thier trousers and two of thier shirts and have few problems with any of thier kit. :)
 

arctic hobo

Native
Oct 7, 2004
1,630
4
34
Devon *sigh*
www.dyrhaug.co.uk
leon-1 said:
Was that by any chance the same ones that were commisioned by the B.A.S.
Had a quick look on the site - it says it was "originally designed for the british antarctic survey". I'm skeptical myself, but then I have a thing about companies labelling products with over-optimistic names like the North Face McMurdo parka and that Snugpak antarctica bag, so just ignore me :roll: :lol:
Personally I don't see why on earth you'd want Ventile cotton down there... last thing I'd use :?:
 
Jan 15, 2005
851
0
50
wantage
There are definately some serious weather bits on the antarctica smock though. The combination of elasticated and velcro cuff so the flying cold bits can't get blown up your arms - it sort of goes ventile / glove / ventile in a baffle type arrangement. I already had the windshirt from WW, but the pockets annoy me - pretty good other than that. As soon as i saw the antarctica i just knew one would be coming my way
 

steven andrews

Settler
Mar 27, 2004
528
2
47
Jersey
arctic hobo said:
Personally I don't see why on earth you'd want Ventile cotton down there... last thing I'd use :?:

Arctic Hobo,
Can you tell us why?
I thought that Ventile would be ideal for the cold, windy environment.

The scientists who go out in the cold

Glossary

"Windy / windies - Name for the ventile windproof jacket and over trousers issued to members of the British Antarctic Survey. Apparently old fashioned and low tech, but remarkably practical and much loved by generations of Fids. Br."
 

leon-1

Mod
Mod
arctic hobo said:
Personally I don't see why on earth you'd want Ventile cotton down there... last thing I'd use :?:

It may have something to do with Ventile being more vapuor permeable than any goretex that i have ever come across, this along with its windproof qaulities and that it is quite warm make it ideal. Ventile does not have to deal with rain that much, as the type of cold in that enviroment is dry cold and not wet cold like it is here in the UK.

Have a look at the ventile site for more information on it, but by reading about trips to the Arctic and Antarctic ventile has been used for years, including the likes of Dr. Mike Stroud and Sir Ranulph Feinnes have selected it over all of the very nice shiny modern fabrics.

In 4 and a half months in South Georgia the only time that I can remeber wearing Goretex was when digging snowholes using tunnel method and that was because you get soaked if you don't.
 

Furface

Member
Jan 13, 2005
27
0
Gloucester
Recently treated myself to some West Winds Ventile, though only the single layer, not the double layer as in the Antarctic Smock.

Of course attraction of any new kit to barbed wire is directly proportional to cost! Got caught first time out. Good news is I can confirm it is easy to repair.

Also breaths SOOO much better than Gortex etc. :super:

I was surprised that it not as "stealthy" as some say: The material does sound synthetic if you understand me. Tried washing it to break it in. Now it's creased and creaky. What did I see on another thread, get a tank to turn on it?

I have only one gripe regarding the workmanship: On the bushshirt, I've had to replace four of the buttons within a week of wearing it. Must give them feedback on that. If you don't have buttons stitched on it, reckon it'll be top kit. Enjoy :lol:
 

arctic hobo

Native
Oct 7, 2004
1,630
4
34
Devon *sigh*
www.dyrhaug.co.uk
leon-1 said:
It may have something to do with Ventile being more vapuor permeable than any goretex that i have ever come across, this along with its windproof qaulities and that it is quite warm make it ideal. Ventile does not have to deal with rain that much, as the type of cold in that enviroment is dry cold and not wet cold like it is here in the UK.

Have a look at the ventile site for more information on it, but by reading about trips to the Arctic and Antarctic ventile has been used for years, including the likes of Dr. Mike Stroud and Sir Ranulph Feinnes have selected it over all of the very nice shiny modern fabrics.

In 4 and a half months in South Georgia the only time that I can remeber wearing Goretex was when digging snowholes using tunnel method and that was because you get soaked if you don't.

I thought Ventile was all about breathable while being waterproof... :?:
In my experience (admittedly the wrong pole: it's even drier down south) the thing that matters is soft shell (soft shell is better for breathing, but showerproof is fine; snow is basically solid, not wet, at those temperatures) warmth. Yes you'll sweat when you exert yourself, but a Ventile smock on top of a bunch of thermals isn't going to do anything to help. That's my take on it anyway. :?:
 

greg2935

Nomad
Oct 27, 2004
257
0
51
Exeter
The main reason for the use of ventile in extreme cold is that it remains breathable (gortex and other similar materials are not breathable below about -40 deg C), and does not weaken like some man-made fibres at these temperatures. It is best for dry and cold conditions. Also, ventile is not completely waterproof but for most conditions in the UK, it will prove more than adequate. If you fall into water, it looses all insulation and will act like a cotton shirt!

I have had a single layer smock from west winds for quite a few years now and have never had a problem (I also like the fact that it doesn't rustle like some man made fibres and is 100% biodegradable). The only regret I have is not going for one with a zip all the way down the front, my one has to be put on over the head which is a pain).

Looking at the web site: I can see no real reason for having a cotton shirt made from ventile because it seems to make a better outer layer (it is fantastic as a "water proof" windbreak: I used to cycle in all weathers for about 3 hrs commuting per day and the ventile jacket did not let me down once (i.e. I never got wet)). I might see a use for trousers but as you can buy a cheap quick drying trouser from millets/outdoors etc, I still don't see the point. My legs are not a part of the body where I feel the cold badly anyway, and they are the things that need to keep the coolest when on the move.

I now generally wear a mixture 2 or three of the following: a polar neck long sleeve cotton shirt or base layer, very thick polar neck wooly pully, a thin fleece, and a ventile jacket. This has now proved comfortable for all temperatures I have encountered in the UK.
 
Jan 15, 2005
851
0
50
wantage
I reckon we're a bit hung up on the "ventile" thing here. :?: At the end of the day it is a highly breathable windproof material, with a more than adequate water resistance, which is highly favoured because it doesnt melt when hit by sparks. It is quite resistant to abrasion and tears, and so is a good material for abuse. Hence the frequent mention in threads. Obviously not everyone will like it, as some don't favour goretex / lowe ceramic.
To the original thread, i would say that west winds can be a trifle slow, but usually when the item gets there it is generally quite good. As for the design of the "antarctic" smock, i think it's very usable, regardless of the name of the smock. :?: Maybe there should be a poll to see just how much ventile there is on this site - that could be quite revealing ?
 

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