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Winter Camping Discussion => Winter Camping Clothing => : mattmayhem December 19, 2009, 12:01:49 PM

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: Inuit made anoraks
: mattmayhem December 19, 2009, 12:01:49 PM
I was wondering if anyone knows anything about Inuit-made anoraks. We seem to be on a never ending quest here to pinpoint new sources of quality afordable anoraks.
I was watching "passage" last night on the history channel, it was a great documentary about Franklin's failed expedition to find the NW passage and john ray's attempts to solve the mystery.
Anyways they had alot of footage of modern Inuits showcasing traditional skills and sharing their knowledge of the events. I noticed that alot of them had anoraks that were probably cotton and most likely homemade. Most were navy blue or white and had the decorative trim ribbon. Some had fur ruffs around the hood.
I tried searching on the net for an inuit store or something that might retail anoraks but came up dry. I realize the mothers and grandmothers probably make them locally.
For anyone who saw the documentary they brough an Inuit man to london to tell the Inuit side of the story and he was using an anorak as a windproof layer while walking around london, it was a very nice navy blue anorak.
Anyone seen these sold on the net?
: Re: Inuit made anoraks
: kinguq December 19, 2009, 09:33:04 PM
Hi.

I lived in the Canadian Arctic for about 15 years and in that time I made several parkas for myself and my kids, some of which we still use here in North Bay when its real cold.

The most common 'modern' parka has 3 layers so you basically have to make 3 parkas. The innermost layer is a slippery liner so the parka is easy to get on and off. This is sewn into the inside of a heavy wool duffel layer. This cloth is typically about 1 cm thick, quite stiff and fairly hard to sew. The next layer is the windproof outer parka. Most commonly this is made from a poly-cotton blend, often something called Commander cloth. In all my time there I only saw one parka made with a pure cotton outer. The outer layer is attached to the duffel layer using safety pins or such so that it can be removed easily for washing.

The fur ruff is sewn onto the duffel layer because it is seldom or never washed.

The outer layer is often decorated with braiding, fur, beads or whatever, people can get quite fancy. But a hunting parka is often undecorated.

Some parkas are made without zippers as pullovers (anoraks- anorak means wind in Inuktitut- Anoraktuk='it is windy'). But many are made with front zippers, particularly womens parkas.

I varied the 3 layer theme quite a bit. My best parka was made with an insulating layer of thinsulate and polar fleece. This was much warmer and lighter than duffel. Also 2 layers of polarfleece was a winner. However these required making 4 parkas rather than 3!

If you are interested MacPhee Workshop http://www.macpheeworkshop.com/ has what you need to make a parka or anorak. Their 'Parkover' pattern is very versatile and I have used it a lot.

Hope this helps,

Daniel
: Re: Inuit made anoraks
: mattmayhem December 20, 2009, 09:46:45 AM
KInguq:
Thanks for the awesome answer. I was looking for a similar answer but wasin't sure what we would be able to figure out. I looked at that site and they do have the commander cloth you mentioned.
Very interesting. I didn't realize the Inuit Anorak was part of an integral system that was so well though out, I just figured it was thrown over whatever layers they had underneath, but it makes alot of sense. What layers were worn under this modular anorak design? Regular long john shirt and a sweater?
Thanks again for the answer. I'm tempted to make an attempt at putting on together.
Do you have any pictures of the parkas you have made? I'm sure others would be as interested as I to see them. This kind of knowledge is worth more than it's weight in gold.
: Re: Inuit made anoraks
: Jimmy the Jet December 20, 2009, 10:25:53 PM
If you're up in the north, it's not too hard to find what you're looking for.  The local stores carry them in Inuvik and in a few stores in Yellowknife.  I assume it would be the same in Iqaluit.  There is a store in YK Centre that sells parkas, anoraks, mukluks, etc., but I am pretty certain they are not made by the locals.  If that's not important, then they would be ideal, cuz they are less expensive than getting a local lady to make one, at least in most circumstances.
A really nice option in more modern materials is Skookum brand, made by a lady in the Yukon.  A bit more money, but sturdy and tough.

Hope this helps.
: Re: Inuit made anoraks
: kinguq December 21, 2009, 07:37:11 PM
As Jimmy said what the Inuit in the communities use to make their parkas depends to a large extent on what is available at the Northern Store, and that can be fairly limiting. I never liked working with duffel cloth, because it is heavy for the insulation it gives and tough to sew because it has absolutely no give. So I tended to mail-order my materials.

As to what is worn under the parka, that of course depends on the conditions. But I bet people would be amazed at the sheer amount of clothing that is worn in very cold conditions. Keep in mind that most hunters these days use snowmobiles so travel is a fairly sedentary activity, not active like running a dog team. There is absolutely no place colder than sitting on a qamutiq (sled) running at 70 kliks across the ice at -35 C.

So my hunting parkas were made oversized so I could fit lots of clothing underneath. In deep cold I would wear a lots of wool underwear, wool shirt, a fleece or two, then a "southern" winter jacket of the type I might wear all winter in North Bay, then the parka. This has the advantage that you can wear the jacket in the tent or iglu, or if you are working and generating a lot of heat, and still have a barrier against wind or snow. In warmer conditions we would wear less of course. But the clothing is always loose and non-constricting.

I also made insulated bib pants for use with the parka. Some people wear a full 'snowmobile suit' coverall under the parka and this is a good combo for some conditions.

The absolute best clothing for deep cold is, in my opinion, made of fall-killed caribou skin. There is just nothing like it. It seems to somehow adjust to your level of activity so that you are at a perfect temperature over a wide range of activity level. There is no doubt in my mind that the Arctic would have been basically uninhabitable without this material. It is still fairly widely used but of course less so than it used to be. It is all hand sewn and requires a fair bit of maintenance. I made a pair of pants once and it was a lot of work. Another thing: if you wear caribou skin you get caribou hair in absolutely everything you eat or drink. Just have to accept it...

I still have all this clothing and I just can't bear to get rid of it, even though I hardly ever use it now. O well...

Daniel.
: Re: Inuit made anoraks
: lonegreeneagle December 22, 2009, 02:54:12 AM
            Hello All,
      While in Alaska and taking AA meetings out to the inuit villages I learned that the men with the Polar Bear hide pants were great hunters. Then I had that lesson again when I read the Eskimos, about the ones in NorthEast Canada. I regretable didn't pay attention to their Anoraks, I never wore one till I made my own out of canvas. With my wool undershirt I am quite warm traveling or standing still.
      The Army issued me what was called Buffalo insulation. It was a heavy fleece for stationary soldiers to stay warm. It was short curly strands wound into a tight weave. The pants were of a good pattern because they had a zipper running both sides from toe to hip. With out sitting down and removing other layers (hard shell/ Gortex), you could take these insulatiing pants off. I never had a reason to wear them as a grunt. We wanted to sometimes standing around giving classes for our troops. I still have a top that my son wears and keeps with his cold wear.
      Has anyone done something similar with insulating layers (pants)? It wouldn't serve a purpose for the tops.
      I have deer skin leggins and shirts and one pair of Elk pants that are still usable. I just can't part with them. I should wear them at the next gathering I attend, cause I live in them at Rendevous!
                                          Thanks everyone for your sharing
                                                               Van
: Re: Inuit made anoraks
: mattmayhem December 22, 2009, 09:55:05 AM
I find stories of everyone's time in the arctic region amazing. The farthest I have ever been away from atleast a house or small village is probably no more than 1-2 miles in the laurentians.
Theres something about the barren emptyness of the arctic that is so interesting and adventureous, I'm convinced that inside any man is a desire to take on some sort of adventure and a far off place; I'm convinced that we weren't designed physically or mentally to spend 8 hours per day in an office stressing over non threatening issues.
The Inuit are an amazing people and the more I learn about them the more respect I get for them. If any of you guys have more stories and insight about your time in the north it would be really interesting to make a thread in the general section to hear them.

The anoraks sound very efficent, probably too warm for southern Quebec but it gives me some ideas for layering under my anorak.

lonegreeneagle: The army layers you talk about are these http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=350172737042 ?
I got one of those shirts for my GF, it was brand new!
: Re: Inuit made anoraks
: Haggis December 22, 2009, 12:21:07 PM
,,,,,,I'm convinced that inside any man is a desire to take on some sort of adventure and a far off place;

When one is quite young the thirst for such adventure seems to be driven by an innate desire to prove one can, and later, when the eyes have dimmed a wee bit, the legs have slowed, and one's hair, what's left of it, has gone grey, the thirst for adventure seems to be driven by a desire to prove one yet can. Of course, I've met folk who never possessed the least desire to see what was over the next ridge, but I've ever and humbly numbered myself among those who, no matter the distance traveled or the adventures of the day, wish to make one ridge further before they sleep.
: Re: Inuit made anoraks
: lonegreeneagle December 23, 2009, 02:43:09 AM
        HERE HERE HAGGIS!
              Hello Matty,
      Yes that's the "bear" or "buffalo shirt". Extremely warm for sedimentary use! I thought I saw one in your clothing purchase photos. The Anorak is primarily used for travel or in windy conditions for me. For standing around near a fire or just yakking with friends, Wool is my insulater. though I carry my Anorak should the wind come up or I decide to take a hike.

                 when hunters have butchered hides! I'll got to meat houses for hides. they generally do a good job skinning since their customers want the meat! they will salt the hides and store them till end of season then sell them to tanners. I paid $7.00 to $12.00 a hide depending on it's size and condition. Pretty cheap start for a home tanned garment.

                                          Enjoy
                                              Van
: Re: Inuit made anoraks
: Jimmy the Jet December 23, 2009, 12:10:01 PM
Ok here's a pic...  Skookum Brand from the Yukon...

How does $895 sound????   :o

(http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f26/JimmytheJet_photos/1_md-m400-canvas.png)
: Re: Inuit made anoraks
: Rick December 23, 2009, 08:06:48 PM
Ok here's a pic...  Skookum Brand from the Yukon...

How does $895 sound????   :o

(http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f26/JimmytheJet_photos/1_md-m400-canvas.png)

What, no sash?  ::) ;D
: Re: Inuit made anoraks
: kinguq December 24, 2009, 12:09:32 PM
Well I am not an Inuk but here are a couple of the parkas I have made over the years.

(http://i608.photobucket.com/albums/tt162/kinguq/Parkas/DSC00704.jpg)

This one was made for my son when he was about 5 or 6. Insulation is 2 layers of polarfleece, outer is Commander, lined with slippery nylon. Also a reflective strip. Trim is coyote. I have no use for this now but I can't bear to part with it. My son was so cute in it.

(http://i608.photobucket.com/albums/tt162/kinguq/Parkas/DSC00706.jpg)

This was my hunting parka. Inner is a layer of polarfleece and a layer of thinsulate. Outer is Commander I think. Has an internal drawstring sash. Trim is coyote. This is the warmest parka I have ever used.

(http://i608.photobucket.com/albums/tt162/kinguq/Parkas/DSC00709.jpg)

Finally, I didn't make this, but it is my wife's gorgeous sealskin anorak. Young ringed seal, lined with a light stroud, white fox trim. This is just a beautiful coat. She wears it all winter long in North Bay and it gets a lot of comments, always positive.

Happy Christmas to all, good trekking.

Kinguq.
: Re: Inuit made anoraks
: mattmayhem December 24, 2009, 12:29:35 PM
Kinguq,
very nice anoraks! those are the ones I had in mind, your son's is the "classic" model that I saw a few examples of in the documentary I was watching. Simple but reliable and effective!
thank you for the pictures!
: Re: Inuit made anoraks
: Jimmy the Jet December 24, 2009, 11:31:26 PM
Wow!  Nice!  That green one is exactly what I'd like!
: Re: Inuit made anoraks
: popsicle December 25, 2009, 09:16:16 AM
Kinguq, beautiful stuff!  I wish I was talented enough to sew a pillow...  Something, I never wanted to learn when I had the chance, and haven't had the chance now that I want to.

Jimmy, if you like that green one, check out Midnight Mushing Alaska (www.midnightmushingalaska.com)--they aren't Inuit made, but are Alaskan made.  I've had one for a few years now--still looks new and is absolutely my favorite garment I own.  I only wear it in single digits and colder.  I put in many hours of overtime to afford it, but it's almost half the cost of the Skookum above.
: Re: Inuit made anoraks
: Haggis December 25, 2009, 02:17:51 PM
Very nice looking anoraks, and I fear, well beyond my skills. A gentleman from this forum sent me a copy of a pattern for an anorak, and after a bit of staring and befuddlement, I realized I could not make even the pillow the above writer mentions.

I did though, today (Merry Christmas all), go for a walk in the bush while wearing an anorak purchased from Empire Canvas, I have been wearing a "Trans-Alaska Anorak" from Cabelas http://www.cabelas.com/p-0040283921809a.shtml but given the warmth today, I opted for the uninsulated canvas anorak. I ever and always wear wool sweaters in winter, generally one under my anorak if the weather be fair, two if there be wind or it be quite cool; today fearing the wind might chill, I wore two wool sweaters under the unlined anorak, a mistake I shant repeat. It was quickly revealed to me that over heating in an unlined anorak was far easier than I had supposed.

What to make of all this, I am not quite sure, but perhaps it be that as the weather varies so must one's choice of clothing against the weather. Certainly, here, in Northern Minnesota either the Cabelas or the Empire Canvas anorak make excellent choices, though the Cabelas version does get "clammy" if one is under a good head of steam; now of course, one is pondering the anoraks I have and those made by Kinguq or Skookum Brand.
: Re: Inuit made anoraks
: mattmayhem December 25, 2009, 07:38:57 PM
I guess there are two different schools of thought here. Alot of the anorak talk I saw was in rehards to unlined ones and these inuit/alaska ones seem to be lined for the most part. I remember the discover channel show about the iditarod race and I remeber atleast one musher had a canada goose parka with what looked like an unlined empire canvas anorak for extra wind protection.
Is it a question of geography? IN the lower 48 and southern canada -20 is possible at most times in the winter and perhaps -30 to -50 is possible for very short periods of time (excluding the praries). I know that xcountry skiing a canada goose parka would be a sweat factory here in quebec. I guess the arctic is so cold and the use of dog teams and snow machines means more insulation is needed?
: Re: Inuit made anoraks
: HOOP December 26, 2009, 11:18:22 AM
Good discussion.

Kinguk - That sealskin anorak is gorgeous.   

I guess there are two different schools of thought here..... 

Hi Mattmayhem,
I don't think it is two different schools of thought.   Instead I think it is a continuum across several spectrums, or gradients of cold, wind exposure (e.g. being able to shelter in the trees vs open tundra), and activity levels and types (e.g. hand hauling a sled breaking trail in deep snow VS riding on a komatik or snowmobile across windswept arctic sea ice).

When you are hauling sled breaking trail in deep snow, that is about the highest metabolic rate you will experience in life!  (just this side of heart attack!  :) )  You need to be stripped down to minimal layers, totally in breathable layers, travelling on the edge of cold, in order to stay dry.   I only wear my anorak hauling sled in the deepest of cold and strong winds - otherwise I am hauling sled wearing wind permeable fleece and wool to allow moisture to be carried away by the wind, no shell of any kind.   Or in wet snow or rain I may be wearing the anorak with a micro layer underneath.

Standing around ice fishing in the cold and wind, I would opt for a big goose down parka with total wind break outer fabric, and not be concerned with breathability, since I would not be pumping the steam.   

The colder it gets, the harder it is to keep dry when one is working hard, since the harder it is to vent steam with the layers needed to keep warm.   

So I think all choices and combo's of layers and shells depends on these spectrums of temp, wind, and activity.   

Oh ya, and use of fire.   Synthetic soft shell layers are very good, but melt by fires, so when you add use of fire, that affects what you can wear.

Oh ya, again, and working in the bush VS open trail use.   Gathering firewood with sharp knots and sticks, and hauling it back to camp through thick brush, will quickly shred anything like a gortex jacket.   Working with thrashing dogs and harnesses will likewise test the toughness of outer garments and full front zippers.   Working with snowmobiles inevitably leads to exposure to gas and oil on garments.  etc.  All part of the myriad of factors.     :)
: Re: Inuit made anoraks
: Haggis December 26, 2009, 03:02:54 PM
I had a go at my walk through the woods with only the unlined anorak and one sweater today; I was more than warm enough. Lots of heavy snow falling, and my paths through the open areas nigh full from yesterdays snow; Herself was fretful again I return to the cottage; gone too long says she. I did pick up another red fox today, which, from the look on her face, didn't excuse my tardiness; perhaps I should have told her I had to run aground?.

It doesn't take too much thought for the average person to see why those in the far norht might want one sort of anorak and those further south might want another (though it seems it has taken me a while to get hold of it). Here in the balmy southern edge of winter one wants to layer in light layers until one reachs "just enough", but it seems that those where the weathern is ever and generally -40 any thermometre are going to start with a heavy outer shell and fill as needed.
: Re: Inuit made anoraks
: Forestwalker January 06, 2010, 02:43:09 AM
The most common 'modern' parka has 3 layers so you basically have to make 3 parkas. The innermost layer is a slippery liner so the parka is easy to get on and off. This is sewn into the inside of a heavy wool duffel layer. This cloth is typically about 1 cm thick, quite stiff and fairly hard to sew. The next layer is the windproof outer parka. Most commonly this is made from a poly-cotton blend, often something called Commander cloth. In all my time there I only saw one parka made with a pure cotton outer. The outer layer is attached to the duffel layer using safety pins or such so that it can be removed easily for washing.

I've been reading this thread, as well as Paradise Below Zero, and started thinking. Would a rya style rug (from e.g. IKEA) be a good or bad notion for the insulating layer? It is thick, furlike and made from wool (well, in the modern implementations the pile is wool while the backing is made from polyester). It is not even remotely windproof, so I would have to add a canvas/poplin outer layer. It would be a bit stiff, but so is the duffel described above, but I would get about 5 cm of woolly, fluffy insulation, and a virtually windproof layer (canvas/poplin). I would loose the slippery layer (or add that inside the rya).

Does this sound like a sound plan, or should I go for a more "conventional" insulative material (duffel or synthetic batting)? One nice thing about a rya is that it is relatively quick drying (compared to felt with the same amount of wool).
: Re: Inuit made anoraks
: Oldand Fat January 06, 2010, 08:15:59 AM
Forestwalker:
Using a rug for material poses 2 problems weight and flexibility. Sewing it will be interesting to say the least. A wool blanket may serve you better. The original (after Fur) was a wool blanket inner and sail cloth outer. If you decide to give it a try with the rug  please post some pictures I'll be very interested on how it turns out.
Stay safe
OAF
: Re: Inuit made anoraks
: Forestwalker January 06, 2010, 11:20:07 AM
Forestwalker:
Using a rug for material poses 2 problems weight and flexibility. Sewing it will be interesting to say the least. A wool blanket may serve you better. The original (after Fur) was a wool blanket inner and sail cloth outer. If you decide to give it a try with the rug  please post some pictures I'll be very interested on how it turns out.

I'm also somewhat concerned about the stiffness/weight, but since the rya rugs are basically "wool fake fur" that was originally used for clothing by mariners and hunters (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rya). As to the technical sewing issues I don't think it will be too bad; not doable by machine, but quite ok by hand. Basically I have five affordable options:

1. Rya
2. Wool duffle (which I have an ample supply of; about 40-50 m x 90 cm wide...)
3. Modern insulation batting
4. Fake fur (as suggested by Rutstrum)
5. Lots of second hand fur coats, some sheep furs, etc.

I like wool over synthetics (fire safety if nothing else), and the rya would be no stiffer than the duffle, and much thicker as insulation. As to the second-hand fur coats that is not as easy to find here as in major towns (and a lot of caveat emptor). If I was rich I'd buy 4-5 reindeer hides, brain-tan them, and do it the real way, but the hides cost SEK 5-700 each.

I'll post some pictures and a report when I'm done whichever way I'll do it.
: Re: Inuit made anoraks
: kinguq January 06, 2010, 05:39:27 PM
Er du Svensk da? Jeg bodde en period i Norge men kan ikke svensk, dessverre.

I have to recommend polarfleece and/or thinsulate, these are the warmest and easiest to sew materials I have used. I do not enjoy hand sewing however. I have never run across a rya, looks interesting.

Med vennlig hilsen,

Kinguq.
: Re: Inuit made anoraks
: HOOP January 07, 2010, 12:19:17 AM
Hi Forrestwalker,

I don't know the rya material, but anything approaching 5cm would be much too hot for most active trekking activities, unless you were working in the subarctic or arctic and constantly exposed to deep cold without wood for a heat source.  I think you would cook with that type of loft, except for sedentary activities like ice fishing in the open (but peel it off when augering holes, since that can work up a sweat in no time).

I think your best best is to work with thinner layers of insulation, and make your shell big and baggy to be able to accommodate combinations of layers.   
: Re: Inuit made anoraks
: Forestwalker January 07, 2010, 12:30:46 AM
Er du Svensk da? Jeg bodde en period i Norge men kan ikke svensk, dessverre.

Ja, jag är svensk, boende  i Jämtland ("Yes, I'm Swedish, living in Jämtland" for those following at home).

I have to recommend polarfleece and/or thinsulate, these are the warmest and easiest to sew materials I have used. I do not enjoy hand sewing however. I have never run across a rya, looks interesting.

I could easily made one from fleece of some variety (the stores are full of cheap fleece blankets, and various insulation batting can be had as well from the fabric stores), but where is the fun in that? If you lived in Norway you probably did see rya rugs; they look like an uncombed sheeps fur, but is a "woven" material (same basic technique as an oriental rug, but in "long" wool and without the fancy patterns).  The "hand" is about the same as a thick blanket (in particular ones with a wool backing rather than Esters Parrot) and they should be *quite* warm as a liner. And I've handsewn canvas, leather, buckskin and wool blankets, so that is no big deal for me; just time
: Re: Inuit made anoraks
: Forestwalker January 07, 2010, 01:12:31 AM
I don't know the rya material, but anything approaching 5cm would be much too hot for most active trekking activities, unless you were working in the subarctic or arctic and constantly exposed to deep cold without wood for a heat source.  I think you would cook with that type of loft, except for sedentary activities like ice fishing in the open (but peel it off when augering holes, since that can work up a sweat in no time).

Is is not a garment for active use, but as a warm layer to wear when having a "mug-up" at -30 -- -40 C, etc. That is, more like the modern role of a down parka than a garment to wear on the trail.

I think your best best is to work with thinner layers of insulation, and make your shell big and baggy to be able to accommodate combinations of layers.   

I think I may have been unclear as to the purpose; whern skiing at -30C I wear wool underwear,  a thin wool shirt and an anorak (currently Swedish army surplus, but thinking about a version of the Connover one, taking long looks at the ECW one). But what I am currently unhappy with is my "warm garment at rest breaks, putterting around camp, etc". Currenly I use the Swedish army m90 insulated parka, but that is available in two versions; a hooded one that sounds like froozen cheap plastic tarpulins at temperatures below -20 C, or an unhooded one that does not have this fault (silly military powergames behind *that* change). So my plan to use the parka pattern in Edna Wilders "Secrets of Eskimo Skin Sewing" was born, but with materials I could get my hands on, afford and like. And one of my many faults is being born an old fart when it comes to gear; I dislike and distrust synthetics; wool, leather canvas and fur are materials I understand and trust around campfires, spruce bough floors, etc.

As to temperatures; we do get long spells with -20 -- -30 C here (when I'm cheering and everyone else moans), and further north I've been out in the bush in temps as low as -55 C (but that was exceptional; we are too close to the sea to get that very often, durn it).
: Re: Inuit made anoraks
: kinguq January 07, 2010, 12:26:19 PM
[

Ja, jag är svensk, boende  i Jämtland ("Yes, I'm Swedish, living in Jämtland" for those following at home).

Jeg bodde i Tromso i atte aar. Fin turterreng der! Jeg har gjort en klassisk skitur fra Kilpisjarvi i Finland til Abisko i Sverige 2 ganger!. (I lived in Tromso for 8 years. Great touring country there! I have done a ski tour from Kilpisjarvi in Finland to Abisko in Sweden 2 times. OK I'll stop doing this now. It's just so much fun to use my Norwegian once in a while!)

I guess I have seen a rya, in fact it seems I have one being used as a wall hanging right now!

I know exactly what you mean about having a warm jacket for tea breaks etc. Sometimes I bring along the hunting parka I showed earlier in this thread for that purpose. It is great to be able to take a prolonged lunch break and not get cold.

When I was doing long multiday ski tours in Norway I used to bring a very large fleece jacket and a waterproof rain jacket. On breaks I would put on the fleece and the rain jacket right over top of my anorak. This was quite warm and windproof, and easy because you did not have to take off your outer layer to put on extra layers. I hate doing that because you get chilled right away, before you even start your tea break.

As to skin clothing, I once made a pair of caribou skin pants under the tutelage of 2 lovely Inuit women. We started from the raw bloody skin, went through the washing, softening and drying processes, right to the finished pants. It was fun but too much work for me. Also they don't actually tan the skins, so they are prone to rot if they are not kept in a cool place. Normally I think they would make a new pair every year, so this was not such an issue. They always use fall skins, as that is after the moult and the hair is not too thick. Winter skins are just too thick and stiff.

Another option is sheepskin. I have seen some beautiful warm clothing made from that. Might be more available to you. Although it was easy to pick up reindeer skins fairly cheaply in north Norway, if you went right to the source in Sami country at the right time of year. Most of them were discarded after butchering.

Good luck with your projects, let us know how it goes!

Daniel.
: Re: Inuit made anoraks
: Forestwalker January 07, 2010, 03:30:19 PM
I guess I have seen a rya, in fact it seems I have one being used as a wall hanging right now!


I know exactly what you mean about having a warm jacket for tea breaks etc. Sometimes I bring along the hunting parka I showed earlier in this thread for that purpose. It is great to be able to take a prolonged lunch break and not get cold.

When I was doing long multiday ski tours in Norway I used to bring a very large fleece jacket and a waterproof rain jacket. On breaks I would put on the fleece and the rain jacket right over top of my anorak. This was quite warm and windproof, and easy because you did not have to take off your outer layer to put on extra layers. I hate doing that because you get chilled right away, before you even start your tea break.

Also I see it as an emergency issue; with a warm parka I can survive a night -- or a few -- even if the sleeping bag is lost somehow

They always use fall skins, as that is after the moult and the hair is not too thick. Winter skins are just too thick and stiff.

And the proper ones are hard to find without direct contact, and I'm too far into the forest to be able to to over some neighbour and offer to buy some calf hides.

Another option is sheepskin. I have seen some beautiful warm clothing made from that. Might be more available to you. Although it was easy to pick up reindeer skins fairly cheaply in north Norway, if you went right to the source in Sami country at the right time of year. Most of them were discarded after butchering.

The shepskin options is technically easy, but pricey if I want to avoid chrome tanned skins.
: Re: Inuit made anoraks
: oldboyscout January 11, 2010, 10:23:39 AM
I have been looking for material similar to Rya to make a liner with also.  My interest is primarily in traditional methods.  Cal Rustrums book refers to the Alpaca pile used before synthetics were available, and the pile is similar to what I think the Rya is (though thinner).  I may make a liner out of 2 layers of wool blanket-not duffle which is unnecessarily heavy for that use.  I've also used wool batting which is lighter and warmer than the blanket, but I've not seen any historical documentation of it.
: Re: Inuit made anoraks
: Forestwalker January 11, 2010, 11:05:24 AM
I have been looking for material similar to Rya to make a liner with also. 

Check IKEA for the Rya rugs. At least is in their stores around here.
: Re: Inuit made anoraks
: kinguq January 11, 2010, 04:46:52 PM
This thread has inspired me to start sewing again. This weekend I cut up a duffel anorak I made over 20 years ago and made 2 pairs of mitts. Should get a pair of duffel socks out of it too. A shame to cut it up but I never wear it and it was just gathering dust.

 I also used the hood to line my skiing anorak. It has a nice fur ruff. The liner is just pinned in with safety pins and so is removable so I can wash the anorak.

Kinguq.