Where can one find a practical Fur Parka?

Discussion in 'Clothing' started by Sticks N' Stones, Jul 2, 2019.

  1. Sticks N' Stones

    Sticks N' Stones Scout

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    I'm going to Paul Smith's college in upstate NY where the winters can get to down to -40 degrees and I want to invest in a solid fur parka. I'd like to find one with Caribou hair since it's hollow, but if you can recommend anything that would be just as warm for under $500 I'd be interested.

    I'm mainly interested in purchasing from a major retailer.

    I'll be doing A LOT of camping and hunting trips since the winters are so long there compared to NJ so I want to have good equipment that'll not only keep me nice and warm, but last me for decades with considerable use. Not sure if I'm asking too much out of fur since I have little experience with it. So feel free to share any knowledge and experience you have on the subject.
     
  2. XMP

    XMP Mountain Man Supporter

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    It's not fur (except ruffs) but I've heard great things about Apocalypse Designs out of Fairbanks, Alaska. Their stuff is used by dog mushers and other extreme outdoorsman in some pretty tough environments.

    https://akgear.com/product-category/clothing/

    But if you find a source for all fur, I'll be watching to learn.
     
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  3. Mangrove

    Mangrove Scout

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    Historically, reindeer/caribou fur parka did not last more than two or three years with considerable use. Shearling will last for decades, but is heavier than reindeer/caribou, so a vest design was preferred e.g. by the Finns over a parka design. In general if you can light a fire every night and dry your clothes, you don't need a very warm outfit when moving about.
     
  4. Harper

    Harper Supporter Supporter

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    I was also thinking shearling. But I sweat in it while moving or working. I only use it for those extreme temperatures.

    Would a wool coat that breathes (like a Filson Double Mac, LL Bean's Maine Guide w/Primaloft, etc.) serve you better?

    Proper layers with something like that would cover a broader temperature range, too.
     
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  5. John from Alberta

    John from Alberta Supporter Supporter

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    Have you spent much time being active in colder climates?

    Up here in Alberta our winters regularly get down to -20'C to -40'C and you won't find anyone wearing fur parkas. If you're planning on being active at all, it's 100% about layering. My winter outdoor gear consists of:

    Base Layer: Merino Wool longs johns, Merino wool long sleeve shirt
    Mid Layer Top: Heavy wool sweater
    Outer Layer Top: Down Jacket or Heavy Wool Jacket
    Outer Layer bottom: Merino Wool Pants (Big Bill)
    If it's going to be really wet I'll bring a goretex shell jacket as well.

    I've never been cold using this setup.

    Here's me on a -37'C day last winter in 100% wool (+ nylon gaiters and thermal lined deerskin gloves)

    53764550_10157382196017176_9106848307098943488_n.jpg
     
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  6. John from Alberta

    John from Alberta Supporter Supporter

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    Just did a quick search on temperature averages for Paul Smith, and the average low temp in Jan and Feb is about 7'F. You'll be dying of heat exhaustion in a parka in those temps. In the unlikely event that it does get really cold, more layers will always keep you warm.
     
  7. jackpinesavage

    jackpinesavage Tracker

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    Hunting while wearing fur anything would make nervous, even if it’s the lining or trim. Even more so during gun season, in thick woods or on public land. About the time you shed a layer to gut a deer someone still half in the bag with an itchy trigger finger would see the flash of fur.

    During gun season I wear blaze orange vest and layers of wool with a red or orange layer under my coat too.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2019
  8. Sandcut

    Sandcut Sed ego sum homo indomitus Vendor Supporter

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    @John from Alberta speaks wisdom.

    Try layering one or more layer of polypro bsse layer. Add a light (Pendelton) wool shirt, followed by a wool sweater, with a shorty down jacket, followed by a shell. All kf that is probably more than is needed, but has you covered all the same and is more easy to manipulate to regulate your body temp.
     
  9. Akela

    Akela Scout

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    Deer hair is hollow too, as I'm reminded of every time I tie up a deer hair mouse for the bass-fishing fly rod.
    And since it's available from the fly-tying supply shops in various colors, I'm guessing there has to be a way to dye the deer hair to get a color you want.
     
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  10. mtwarden

    mtwarden roaming the Big Sky Supporter

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    a fur coat looks really nice, but for hard outdoor use it leaves a lot to be desired- they aren't that warm for the weight, the wear is not good and a nice fur jacket will cost you too much money imo

    a fur ruff on a outer shell layer in very cold weather however is very nice- something in a tight weave cotton (think Empire Canvas) or breathable nylon (think Hill People Gear)- a breathable outer layer that bucks wind and light precip (in very cold weather you get very little precip and when you get it, it's dry snow) lets you customize what's underneath- if moving very hard, it might just be a base layer; moving less hard a mid-layer over a base; not moving much- an appropriate insulating layer- with the outer wind layer on the outside

    for $500 you could be setup with a really nice winter system

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    I grew up outside Syracuse and spent a few years at Fort Drum.

    Feet:
    Wool socks. Get a couple pairs of the SmartWool Mountaineering socks. If you wear an 11, go up a size and get the 12-14, rather than the one size fits all 9-11s...
    Boots. I have been looking for some decent winter boots for awhile with little success, but what I had as a kid looked like Sorel Snowbears, though I hear nothing good about that brand anymore. But whatever you get should have a rubber lower, synthetic upper, and at least one set of removable felt liners, preferably two.

    Legs:
    Long johns and a pair of wool army field pants, hemmed short, and with the woobie liner.

    Torso:
    Wool undershirt, thin wool sweater, some sort of quilted puffy layer (maybe 2; a vest and another with arms). For an outer layer, I really liked the USGI fishtail parka and liner (it's longer than the standard field jacket liner.) The hood is excellent. I don't like anything "waterproof" or "goretex" at those temps. Your clothing needs to breathe and keep snow and wind off, that's all.

    Head and neck:
    Fleece neck buff.
    Balaclava.
    Knit hat with plenty of room to fold over to make it almost double thick, so you can pull it down and cover your whole face if needed.
    Facemask/goggles. Can't help you here. The military one was ok, but I didn't like it much. There are better ski-sport alternatives these days.

    Hands:
    My preference down to about zero is loose wool gloves with the USGI ECW mitten shell over them. I was unable to find any commercial mitten shells in MD this past winter, but it's not a -40 state either. Below zero, I need to go to loose wool mittens with the USGI ECW shell.

    I've lived and trained in that gear for weeks at a time and was comfortable. I've lived and trained in an experimental goretex/thinsulate/polypropylene issue of cold weather gear for weeks and froze my a$$ off. Most of that was that the goretex didn't breathe, the thinsulate was thin by nature and didn't insulate (there is no substitute for thickness), and the polypro was ill-fitted and too tight, but the cotton shell ECW parka, wool field pants, woobie jacket and pants liners, and ECW mittens were never equaled. I'd go with the commercial boots and headgear.

    I hope you are also buying some snow shoes, pulk, and canoe, because you will be living in some of the finest canoeing and camping wilderness in the country (St Regis Canoe Wilderness and 5-Ponds Wilderness are literally out the door and SW of you.)
     
  12. jcs271

    jcs271 Scout

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    You have 11 excellent perspectives posted above mine. Heed their advice , you will be quite comfortable and never look back.
     
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  13. ROCK6

    ROCK6 Scout

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    If you're dead-set, find someone who's currenting in or heading to Afghanistan. I saw some incredibly well made, all fur coats (fur was sourced from Russia believe it or not). Various mink, wolf, fox, coyote, lynx, sable...most of what I could see and get them to tell me. One co-worker looked liked a Viking in his (mostly wolf), but my "boss" and old friend is an avid bow and blackpowder hunter and picked up one for himself and his father in law. Definitely not what I would wear during regular rifle hunting season, but his coats would literally disappear once you stopped moving. Quality was surprisingly good, but I wouldn't depend on them for cold-weather outerwear. Stick with the other advice above for serious cold-weather layering choices. Besides, one reason I would hate to buy a nice $300+fur coat is fear of some PITA social justice warrior throwing paint on me:11:

    ROCK6
     
  14. Ol Grizz

    Ol Grizz Scout

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    @Seeker has some really good advice there. Stick with wool and "miracle fibers" in layers.

    As someone who lives in a rural area not far from Syracuse and travels to the North Country regularly, someone is "pulling your leg" about the -40 degrees in winter. That could happen occasionally overnight but not too likely during the day. You will sweat like crazy in a fur parka and the hollow hairs (while decent insulation) will break and poke you into insanity.

    As far as your academic program, a good portion of it will be indoors. If you're in the culinary program, your only exposure to cold will be the walk to class or the walk-in freezer. If you go with the "stump-humper" or "bunnie-hugger" programs you'll spend more time outside but still a significant amount of time in the classroom.

    As far as boots, L.L. Bean has an insulated pak boot with a removable liner (critical to allow it to dry). Rubber bottom and leather top. Seems like a good boot and will likely be my choice to replace Sorels that are over 45 years old. The rubber bottom is still in ok shape but the leather has finally died. The all wool liners are still usable so will probably get recycled into my next pair of boots (or become liners for winter moccasins).

    Best wishes for your academic endeavors.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2019
  15. Moondog55

    Moondog55 Bushmaster

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    What those other fellers said but more to the point, as a student how the heck would you be able to afford a real First Nations fur parka? Even First Nations peoples who live and work above the Arctic circle wear less expensive gear, I looked and those things are mega expensive, heck even a well made fur ruff costs an arm and half a leg.
    I was exchanging emails with a member of "WinterTrekking" who informed me that his own Caribou parka cost him in excess of $2000-CAN not including the short pants and the fur inner jacket and this was family price, an outsider would probably have to pay twice that and you have to remember that they rot if not stored at or below freezing. A better combination would be the M-65 Fishtail [ with liner] and an L-7 Linerbacker sized to go over the Fishtail for when static or the current L-7 parka under the Fishtail and surplus L-7 jackets are cheap
    https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/USGI-Mi...bbc2:m:mcZmC1Wvor_97vwgYvWpxSw&frcectupt=true
     
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  16. Sticks N' Stones

    Sticks N' Stones Scout

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    Thanks everyone for their advice, the coldest I've ever been in overnight has been 10 degrees so having a huge pool of opinions is sobering me up and making my decisions easier. I'll stick to layering and invest in a good modern material parka, definitely going cap the price at $300 though. Also I either misinterpreted something someone said or they were just messing with me as the lowest recorded temp is -40, but the average is in the 10-20 degree range during mid winter.
     
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  17. Haggis

    Haggis Bushmaster

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    ^^^ This ^^^
     
  18. Harper

    Harper Supporter Supporter

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    You
    You can often get great buys right now at the height of Summer--4th of July sales, ebay, etc.
     
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  19. LostViking

    LostViking Supporter Supporter

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    I actually live a little north of Paul Smiths. It can get cold here, but you will adapt. Maybe.
    Are you going for Forestry or Restaurant Management?

    I can only pretty much echo what others have said. I pretty much live in an Empire Grey Fox.

    If you run on the cold side, a Filson Double Mackinaw may be the ticket.

    Another good option is Wintergreen Northern Wear. Shell and liner anorak.
    I have spent some time in Northern Minnesota. And here as well. Pretty versatile kit.

    For cold weather foot wear. I have had very good luck with Steger Mukluks.

    I/we spend a lot of time outdoors. This was New Year’s Eve a few years back. Hovering around -8F.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2019
  20. XMP

    XMP Mountain Man Supporter

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    Let me echo @LostViking and his recommendation of Wintergreen Northern Wear. Their jackets and anoraks are top notch. You can get them lined for a stand alone or as a shell which works well over an insulation piece. Wintergreen over wool from Empire or Lester River will handle just about anything the lower 48 could throw at you.
     
  21. KFF

    KFF Supporter Supporter

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    When I was a kid, I had one of those shearling pilot jackets. I would wear it in the winter driving around with my pimped up Honda monkey. Pimped meaning it ran 55miles/hour, and by the way this was winter in Finland :D
     
  22. LostViking

    LostViking Supporter Supporter

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  23. Sticks N' Stones

    Sticks N' Stones Scout

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    \\\
    The locals will torture you mercilessly if you show up in a Caribou coat.

    On the other hand,
    You could order two reindeer pelts from Casstrom UK and sew yourself a nice one of a kind reindeer over vest.
    https://www.casstrom.co.uk/en/categ.../reindeer-hides/reindeer-hide-waterproof.html

    That is actually on my fall list of things to do.[/QUOTE]

    @LostViking I'm going for Natural Resources Conservation & Management, and I'll take a look at the brands you suggested. At least on campus I got the vibe of a fairly conservative student and faculty body, would you say the locals lean more the lines of PETA then? I like the vest idea, think I'll try it out.
     
  24. Mangrove

    Mangrove Scout

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    Interesting enough, those pelts are from Finland and cost about twice what they would in Finland. They are probably from old cows or bulls, which provide pelts mostly suitable for indoor uses. The hides used for clothing are preferably from calves. The commercial ones are quite often tanned with alum, which will dissolve in moist conditions.
     
  25. Pablo

    Pablo Hobbyist Hobbyist

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    I've spent a lot of time in low temps, and the best jacket I've ever used is a synthetic (Primaloft) "puffy" hooded jacket. Mine was a thrift store find made by Cloudveil (out of business), but many companies make something similar. It breathes far better than any down jacket I've owned, dries really fast and is very light. Synthetics don't typically last as long as down, but when this wears out or loses it's loft, I'll be hunting for a replacement. I've always been a proponent of down in deep cold, but this jacket changed my mind.
     
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  26. Jighead

    Jighead Tracker

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    Try tru north
     
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  27. highlander

    highlander Veni Vidi comedit lardum Supporter

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    Yeah, I don’t think I’d wear fur anything during hunting. The mountain men and trappers could get away with it because they were about the only ones running around in the wilderness.
    Sure would hate to be shot and some numb nut walk up to claim his “trophy” only to find out it was someone.
    I’ll echo everyone else. Wear wool and modern stuff. A shearling lined jacket would be great to wear to class though.
     
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  28. mjh

    mjh Supporter Supporter

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    I agree with with the most of the above. I do have one large modern down fur face ruff parka from Cabela's that I wear in the winter time, but pretty much only when traveling around town in the car or even out of town I'll have it in the car. The parka is NOT a move around the woods kinda of outer wear, even in MN winters I would get too hot underneath it. But if the car ever gets stuck I'm not going to freeze to death. I'm pretty sure you can't get one anymore with Cabela's now being part of Bass Pro.

    When I worked outside in northern MN in the winter and when I'm out about today it's all about layering, lots of wool, and an outer shell. Lots of options for most budgets if you shop smart.
     
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  29. White Falcon

    White Falcon Scout

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    Like the beer getting warm enough to drink!
     
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  30. Scarywoody

    Scarywoody Scout

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    I'm from Upstate NY originally and you really do get used to cold. The -40 days are few. Layers are the thing to do. I'd be more worried about your car. A good engine warmer is a life saver. If you get a chance, check out Ausable Chasm.
     
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  31. DKR

    DKR Guide

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    [​IMG]
    I actually had an Eddie Baur down parka issued to me by the USAF back in the day.

    Quite warm, even @-50F in the interior of Alaska.

    They cost nearly 300 USD.

    Maybe a 'surplus' N3b (snorkel) parka would work for you
    [​IMG]

    The folks at 907 Surplus (https://www.907surplus.com/) carry legit surplus and issue items at reasonable prices.
     
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