The Roll Call: Winter Coats
As the nights draw in and the temperature starts to plummet, anyone looking to face the elements and brave the outdoors will be in need of a well-made piece of outerwear.
With winter not far away, here are a few standout coats which might come in handy...
Designed in Europe in the 19th century… worn by the Royal Navy during both World Wars… popular with everyone from Ivy League students to David Bowie… to say the duffle coat is a design classic is probably a bit of an understatement.
This is the Nigel Cabourn version. Fireman clips have replaced the usual horn toggles, and the usual hood has been removed to lighten things up a bit—but it still retains the functional feel of the original design. The fabric deserves a mention too—made in Somerset by Fox Brothers, it’s a thick winter-weight wool perfect for keeping the wind off.
Another piece heavily influenced by a naval design, the Hooded Arctic Coat is a thick insulated parka which takes cues from the extreme weather jackets worn by sailors in the 1950s. On the outside, there’s two tried-and-tested military fabrics—cotton sateen and herringbone cotton—whilst on the outside there’s synthetic insulation and a comfortable brushed cotton lining.
In keeping with the functional jackets which inspired it, the two large pockets on the front have been angled perfectly for hands, whilst the sleeves are articulated for extra arm movement.
Inspired by Element skateboarder Sascha Daley’s time growing up in a fishing family on Vancouver Island, the third Nigel Cabourn X Element collection combines details from vintage outdoor and hiking gear with modern sustainable fabrics.
The Lodger’s Smock is the perfect example of this. It’s a classic over-the-head anorak that wouldn’t look out of place in a 1970s National Geographic article about arctic oil pipelines—made from a mix of polyester and cotton. Although that fabric might sound fairly traditional—the polyester in question is a revolutionary polyester known as Repreve, which is made from recycled plastic bottles. Clever stuff.
For those looking for something a bit shorter, the Cold Weather Jacket is a hip-length insulated jacket made from garment-dyed gabardine cotton. A reissue of a jacket Nigel made in the late ‘80s, it’s based on a vintage RAF design, and features a drawstring hood and plenty of pocket-space.
Thanks to that shorter shape, it’s a bit more maneuverable than most winter outerwear, but as it’s got a fully insulated lining, it’s still warm enough for the cold months ahead.
And finally, there’s the Antarctic Parka. This one is pretty special, and was developed a few years back to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the 1955 Trans-Antarctic expedition in which Edmund Hillary and his team drove converted Massey Ferguson tractors across Antarctica. Based on the down jacket worn by Hillary during the expedition, this parka is a true no-holds-barred cold-weather-wear, created with exactly the kind of care you’d expect from the Nigel Cabourn authentic range.
Constructed in England by a factory who specialise in making extreme conditions down jackets for mountaineers, it’s made from Ventile cotton, and features goose down insulation and a wool lining. We could go on, but to put things simply—if it’s the ultimate cold-weather parka you’re searching for, this might just be the one.