GFA Haversack and Wool Pullover

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by Cro, Nov 30, 2011.

  1. Cro

    Cro American Grouch Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    I've had a chance to both wear and modify the pullover and haversack that I ordered from G. Fred Asbell, and so far I am quite pleased. For the price point these products are offered they are quite serviceable, indeed, enjoyable to wear and use.

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    The weights of the wool that they use to make the pullovers, Mackinaws, & haversacks varies from 20oz to 28oz. You can use their website to get an idea of what weight wool each color is, for the pullover I wanted the heaviest weight they have listed, there are a couple in the 28oz range but I went with the Grey. It bears pointing out that the pullovers come in basically three designs, no hood, hood, and Mackinaw. The Mackinaw is what I ordered, basically what that is, is a caped hood where you have the hood attached to another piece of the same weight wool that is a sleeveless short pullover. This gives you a double layer of wool over the shoulders and the upper part of your chest and back. It's really a system, on cool days the pullover is enough, on colder days, or sitting on a stand, snow and the like, you can add the Mackinaw to accommodate.

    In the image below you can see the Mackinaw fairly well.

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    I ordered the 2XL version of the Grey Mackinaw, the cut was generous and fits the way that I like outer layer shirts to fit. I'm six feet tall and weight 235 pounds, the shirt fits perfectly for my tastes. The stitching is top notch, I could find no fault. The pockets are large, big enough for me to slip my Pentax KX with an 18-55 lens attached, the camera I take my pictures with, inside. They are also well stitched, when I went out the other day for Wind, Wool, & Bacon, I carried that small 7" mini-skillet inside one of those pockets, still had room for my hand and it carried quite well.

    The bulk of the garment and the coloring, coupled with the way wool handles light makes the shirt blend very well in my opinion. Take a look at the image below, in the center. That's about twenty yards from the camera.

    [​IMG]

    The hood of the Mackinaw is very generously cut, will fit over virtually any type of hat. While it is difficult to see I am wearing a wool Stormy Kromer beneath the hood. More than enough space to accommodate that. The hood was very nice in the wind, pulling it into place effectively cut the bite, it works. Here are several other images showing the garment from different angles and distances.

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    I trimmed the neckline, cuffs, and pocket entrances with tanned deer skin, those images can be found in the Wind, Wool, & Bacon post. Overall I am quite pleased with the pullover. From experience I would say the shirt is great over just a Henley or the like through most cool autumn days, for wind and deep winter cold you're going to want to layer under it. I found that a fleece pullover, with a light base layer then the Asbell pullover completely cut the wind and kept me warm even when sitting on a stand all day. I would recommend that if rain is expected, a breathable waterproof shell be worn over the pullover. The Grouch is pleased, the pullover is a winner.

    So, on to the haversack. I've always been a fan of possibles bags, the finial iteration of which for me, was my Rifleman's Bag that I wrote about here. I'd not tried one made of wool before, so I picked one of those up as well. It's described on their website as a 'double bag' with a forward side and a rearward side for less used items, and two smaller organizational pockets. You can find these on their website, scroll down below the information on the quiver, Haversacks.

    When I got the bag I have to admit, I did not like the strap right away. It's a slick woven nylon, which means it slides freely against most materials, I knew I'd be modifying that. Incidentally, their plaid version comes with a leather strap but is smaller than the green.

    The series of images below are of the haversack before I really started to modify it, though I had at that point cut the nylon strap off. It was connected to the haversack by way of the plastic squares that in turn are stitched to the sack via more nylon webbing. No, it doesn't come with the BushClass patches. :)

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    Couple things to point out. The nylon webbing that holds the plastic pieces for the strap, pretty typical machine stitching. It is double layered and the material is durable. However after a couple days of use the stitching on mine began to pull out, as you can see in the image below.

    [​IMG]

    I solved this problem by adding some reinforcing stitching, using synthetic sinew to those points. It did indeed solve the problem.

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    I replaced the nylon strap with an old WWII leather pistol belt, I don't recall where I acquired that belt but it is a wide one, and it's width was a perfect match to slip through the plastic strap lash points. I want to replace that plastic, and I will, as soon as I come up with an acceptable solution. The belt has a double row of holes, what I did was slide the belt all the way through one side, into the other plastic piece, folded it and ran a piece of leather through the holes to secure it. This also gave me the ability to adjust for length.

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    Sometime in the future I'll do another post on what I carry in it. There's plenty of room which if you are not careful, will result in overloading it. There is enough room to carry everything in my Rifleman's bag plus a lot more. In fact it is also serving to carry my camera along with all the other gear found in the Rifleman's bag. I trimmed out the flap with more tanned deer skin, part of what I used on the shirt. I think it came out real nice. I'm satisfied in both products from G.Fred, Backwoods Bum approved.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2011
  2. rb

    rb Guide

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    Very good review.. I may be becomeing a wool convert. Georgia winters aren't all the bad compared to those further north, but it can get pretty frosty in the Smokies in January. Do you size a Mackinaw like you would a normal top layer or one size larger?
     
  3. Cro

    Cro American Grouch Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    Normal. They make the Macks to fit the shirt you order so there isn't any confusion. The 2XL is big on me but I like it that way, helps break an outline, easy to layer under, traps heat better than a snugger fit.
     
  4. joe305

    joe305 Guide

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    Looks good...did you get that new hat in From FR Yet
     
  5. rb

    rb Guide

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    I may have to try one, if I find It doesn't suite me, I can always trade it to Chert.
     
  6. Cro

    Cro American Grouch Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    The hat in the last picture is the one Duluth Pack sent me in exchange for the image they used to sell Kromers.:D
     
  7. Chert

    Chert Guide

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    Great writeup, I've got an OD green pullover in my cart waiting for payday and that wool havarsack is probably not too far behind (Never seen a wool one before, really diggin it though).
     
  8. Cro

    Cro American Grouch Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    If you get the sack you'll probably want to reinforce those strap attachment points, other than that it's pretty much good to do. Very lightweight as apposed to leather and some other material types. Guess it's pretty obvious I like mine!:D
     
  9. flaviln

    flaviln Scout

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    Great gear, and good taste in folders.Case amber bone canoe is a good service knife as wells an excellent collector. Thanks for sharing.
     
  10. Cro

    Cro American Grouch Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    Thanks, good eye, I love that knife.
     
  11. redshovelhead77

    redshovelhead77 Tracker

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    Great post, i love everything wool. I had the chance to look at a GFA pullover that was a friends, it seemed very nice to me. Iam very happy to see that the quality of his products holds. Also great modifications, leather and wool... traditional and functional. Do you have a better pic of your dog?
     
  12. snakedoctor

    snakedoctor Deceased

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    Man those are awesome thanks for the pics!
     
  13. Lerch

    Lerch Bushmaster Bushclass I

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    Excellent write up. I really dig the pullover. I am a huge fan of wool.
     
  14. Cro

    Cro American Grouch Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    My old but ever faithful German Shorthair.

    I've had him for about 7 years now, from before we moved to the north country. He still hunts with me, mostly Grouse now, he has adapted. No pheasants this far north. He's not a fan of the cold.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  15. jloden

    jloden Guide Bushclass I

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    Awesome, thanks for the review - this is the exact pullover I had my eye on (the grey mackinaw in 28oz), so it's nice to see what it looks like from different angles and hear some first hand impressions.

    Do you think the leather edging was necessary if you're layering under it? Or did it still kind of chafe the neck and cuff areas before you added the leather?
     
  16. J

    J Bushwhacker Bushclass I

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    Great review brother....For the cost, the GSA hoodie is a great piece of kit. Ive owned mine for a few years now and its held up great.
     
  17. Cro

    Cro American Grouch Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    Doesn't really bother you much until you start working up a sweat, that's when the neck line kind of itched a bit. The edging wasn't needed, just provided a nice look and it does improve the comfort but it isn't a game changer on the shirt without it.

    I was contemplating using the shearling lining in an old coat to edge the neck and cuffs. I still may do that if I get another shirt. I think using some old lamb shearling to put a ruff around the neck and cuffs would be pretty cool.

    You could use about anything I guess, wouldn't have to be leather, fleece would work pretty good too.
     
  18. redshovelhead77

    redshovelhead77 Tracker

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    He looks like a good dog. Great color those german shorthairs and wirehairs have they blend right in. I bet he dosen't like the cold much tho, such a fine coat,,,,, maybe a wool jacket for him?
     
  19. Holmesmade

    Holmesmade Guide

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    Love the look of the mackinaw, just don't have much use for one out here in the desert.
    One of those in a fleece would be awesome, though.
    (Aw, crud. May have thunk myself into another "someday" project...)

    Those plastic tabs could be replaced with leather and brass attachments. Either stitched in or riveted through a leather sandwich.
     
  20. kg8uy

    kg8uy Tracker

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    Thanks Croaton for the review!
    Appreciate it!
    mike
     
  21. 45jack

    45jack Supporter Supporter

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    Great taste in caps and dogs.
    I think that's the same brown plaid as my Kromer, my GSP is a bitch though.
    And my mackinaw is plaid.
    J
     
  22. Cro

    Cro American Grouch Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    I was thinking along similar lines.

    Believe I'm going to stitch some leather where the webbing is now, simply folded over with a wide brass square.
     
  23. Tomm Swift

    Tomm Swift Tracker

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    I was kind of surprised by the prices! Great deal on some great wool outerwear! 28 ounce wool! Toasty!
     
  24. Bill510c

    Bill510c Scout

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    Fantastic review and photos. When you shared the link to G. Fred Asbell in Chert's wool thread I went to it and started falling in love with what I saw. Now after reading and viewing your great review I know I must place an order. Thanks so much for sharing this.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2011
  25. Skab

    Skab Staff Staff Member Super Moderator Vendor Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    Great pics! I love mine, just the hooded pullover in OD. Great piece of kit
     
  26. Tomm Swift

    Tomm Swift Tracker

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    Seriously, that's an outstanding deal! I hate this forum as I hate the moth balls in my wallet. I think I may have to invest in a pullover now. The price is right! Hey Skab you got pictures of yours on here anywhere?


    *Ahh right, the link. Haha, got it.
     
  27. ccwaters

    ccwaters Scout

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    Great review, Thanks! Question for you, it is difficult to tell from the pictures, how much room you have to spare with the 2X wool, I'm 6 foot 4 inches, and about 280, you think it has enough room left over?
     
  28. Harpoon

    Harpoon Scout

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    Really like the ample room of the 'sack. Outstanding pics as always!
     
  29. Cro

    Cro American Grouch Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    You're stopping some of the same ground that I am. I think you'd still be comfortable in the XX version, they don't make a 3X., I can get mine on over a heavy wool coat plus layers beneath, so you should have ample room. I typically wear a size 50 jacket, the shoulder corners on this pullover hang just below the edge of the shoulder line. I believe you'd be fine.
     
  30. elhall62

    elhall62 Tracker

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    Thanks for the review, hard to beat wool for outerwear and I have been eyeing those Asbell pullovers and haversacks; their pricing seems fair to me.

    I liked the additions on the leather trim too.
    On a side note one thing I do often is use a bandanna around my neck. Those that are sensitive to wool or have something in a coarse weave this will help. I like it the most because it allows another way to regulate your temperature and stop those drafts without being constrictive.

    Croataon-have you by chance inquired about having the Haversack made with the leather strap on the OD or Charcoal model? I have wondered why they only offer that on the red plaid, just haven't made the inquiry myself. Of course like you have done, not that big of a deal to modify yourself either I guess.
     
  31. Cro

    Cro American Grouch Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    I thought about asking, with the leather and antler button the cost goes up another $10 so I didn't bother since I figured I could modify it. Good tip on the bandanna.
     
  32. wrbthe3rd

    wrbthe3rd Scout

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    i got the same pull over i like everything except the hood,i know they are made big to go over hats ,but let me tell you you could have a head like elbys big boy with a afro and still have room.just my .02
     
  33. Holmesmade

    Holmesmade Guide

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    Exactly what I was thinking! If you pre-drill the stitch holes in the leather it'll be much easier to stitch everything up. For me, it means I have less healing to do!
     
  34. foxfire

    foxfire Supporter Supporter

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    Nice review. Have to check these out. Like the pullover
     
  35. dog.breath

    dog.breath Scout

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    Great review. I really like your mods to the haversack. The leather trim looks really good!
     
  36. meat57

    meat57 Tracker

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    I like the Mackinaw, but I ordered the hoodless pullover with the hooded vest. My reasoning was it would give me more flexibility(wear them separate or layer) I wore the hooded vest this afternoon hunting. I really liked it, but I think it was cold enough to wear the full pullover.

    Chad
     
  37. Jennifer

    Jennifer Scout

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    I had never heard about the GFA pullovers until the other day and now Im seeing them mentioned in A LOT of places!

    Im kind of liking the idea of a hooded pullover in "Morning Sage" :)

    Great review Croatoan!
     
  38. 45jack

    45jack Supporter Supporter

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    I think that is an outstanding idea. I wish they had the vest in the same plaid as my Mackinaw. Even I try not to wear too many different plaids at the same time.
     
  39. Ghostrider247

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    Very cool.. I will be looking into one of the pullovers. I am not sewing maching savvy, so I have been looking at a pullover for a good price and these are great !
     
  40. mainewoods

    mainewoods Maine Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    I Just came across Your Post Croatoan Great Looking Bag!
     
  41. Corso

    Corso Guide

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    just wondering how its holding up as I'm thinking of getting one
     
  42. Ron

    Ron Guide

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    Still love this stuff!
    That bag is great!
     
  43. skorpyd

    skorpyd Scout

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    I bought a bag and Mackinaw a few months back. The bag is not super heavy duty but great for the price. The mac is well made and a bargain also
     
  44. myers9984

    myers9984 Scout

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    Dude nice review. Great mods to the haversack. Thank you for sharing with us.
     
  45. bushcrafter1

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    Warmth??

    How warm is this pullover? Is it warm enough to just wear out with shirts underneath without a jacket ?
     

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