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Author Topic: Review: Empire Wool and Canvas "Arctic Anorak"  (Read 2691 times)

Offline HOOP

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Review: Empire Wool and Canvas "Arctic Anorak"
« on: February 03, 2018, 03:27:19 pm »
Last year I acquired a new "Arctic Anorak", made by Empire Wool & Canvas Co, but never had a chance to use it last winter.  I am now using it this winter and starting to put it through the paces, and I have to say:  This is my new favourite anorak! 

The fabric is a beautiful lightweight 6 oz organic cotton canvas. Yes, I said 6 oz!  Where Kevin found this amazing fabric no one knows, but its one of those perfect traditional winter camping cottons. It is a very tight weave that is totally windproof, but its luxuriously light and flexible, and of course totally silent, with that natural soft hand of a fine and tight weave pure cotton. It packs down significantly smaller than my older heavier fabric anoraks.

EW&C link is here for all the manufacturer's details:

First a couple of EW&C images, then I will follow with my version below:

I shot a video recently but botched the narration and production, and the lighting exposure was not good, so I am going to re-shoot the video. But I grabbed some screens from that for the following images (apologize for the poor focus from the video). I plan to re-shoot the video, but this will get us started.

For sizing context, in the images below underneath I am wearing my standard cold weather gear: On top, base layer, 100 weight fleece sweater, and EW&C Camp Coat which is heavy wool. I still have plenty of room to add more layers inside, and free ability to reach anywhere with no binding of the sleeves.  For hip area I have my standard Codet 28 oz heavy wool trousers and a belt knife, and there is plenty of room to spare under the anorak.

Without waist cinched – on me this means the anorak rides about half a foot longer:

For sizing, note that Kevin makes the Arctic Anorak for fitting over your woollies and fleece, and the sizing is GENEROUS, and that is a good thing.  It has that functional bagginess for the bellows effect for pumping out hot air and moisture when you want to, but with all the cinch areas available for variable cinching down to seal in heat. The fabric is very light and does not bind or bulk up when it folds with the loose fitting design.
I am only 5'4", but size-wise I usually wear a size medium in almost everything, but Kevin fitted me with a small, and at first I was doubting that size would work for me because small is always too small and too tight for me. But of course Kevin was correct, and the size small is perfect for my frame and internal layering system – it is made oversized for winter layers underneath.  Suffice to say that no matter how big you are, Kevin has a size designed for you. 

Back view, waist not yet cinched, and you can see the waist cinch tube that will sit above your hips if its cinched, raising the lower half up:

As you can see, the hip and thigh area is made purposely long for wind protection, and for sitting down and protecting the wool trousers, but it can be hitched up if you want via the integral waist shock cord system. I prefer wearing my voyageur sash, which is in the next photos.  But you don't need a sash because you have the shock cord waist tube. The shock cord ends are nicely designed to be accessed inside the front chest pocket, so there are no outer cord ends to snag on anything.

With Voyageur sash on, which raises the lower half, and showing the generous chest pocket. Inside the chest pocket is a zip opening to reach inside to your inside layers:

Back view:

Arms raised, showing the diagonal cut of extra fabric from waist to shoulder (mini "bat wings", or perhaps flying squirrel gliding membranes...but I digress), which provides free movement, and the important bellows effect for moving hot air and moisture out when you want. 

The hood is huge and can be nicely cinched down for a custom fit, more on the hood later.  The neck gusset is zipped open, and the black colour inside is the black fleece lining in the gusset, neck and forward face area for comfort. Note the wrists are cinched down here, but they open up huge - see next photo.

Wrist openings with Velcro cuffs:  very big for those who wear mitts inside, and can cinch down for gauntlets worn outside.



This shows the neck gusset with a full wind cover over the zip when closed.  The various colour zipper pull cords are my custom addition. Empire makes this full winter stealth with all white/natural cotton fabric and hardware.  Note the two D-rings below each arm - these are for channeling a mitten harness, which is a great idea and keeps the harness out of the way.

This shows the fleece liner around the face and neck area. Note the white visor cord tube for the hood opening. I really like this feature. It helps shape the hood opening without need for a wire, and it is somewhat independent of the hood for a more comfortable fit without crushing the heavier hood fabric around your face. 

This is the hood fur ruff zipper attachment that comes standard with the Arctic Anorak.  The fabric tape on the removable side is generous for sewing on your own custom ruff. I plan to install a fur ruff.

Back of the hood, showing the front/back adjustment ladder lock on top, and the side to side cord lock adjustment.  This is very handy for a quick no-hassle adjustment as head gear changes, and they say the hood is big enough for helmets.

I really like the new Arctic Anorak: great fit, features, and that wonderful 6 oz fabric! 

Check out EW&C website for more info. Well done Kevin! 

My Youtube Channel:

"I firmly believe that far from hurting the planet, the growing knowledge of Bushcraft is helping our natural world. When we employ bushcraft skills, it may seem as though we are consuming natural resources.  But of course, the more we learn about the trees, the plants, the animals around us, the more we respect them. The more we respect them, the more we cherish them, the more we nurture and take care of them. That is the underlying principle of Bushcraft.

Offline awbrown: N. Illinois, USA

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Re: Review: Empire Wool and Canvas "Arctic Anorak"
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2018, 04:56:10 pm »
Very thorough review. Kevin makes great stuff.
I love winter......I don't look fat in wool!

Offline Kevinkinney

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Re: Review: Empire Wool and Canvas "Arctic Anorak"
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2018, 01:19:55 am »

If I was a cat I would say Mewow.

Thanks Glen!
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Offline rbinhood

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Re: Review: Empire Wool and Canvas "Arctic Anorak"
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2018, 08:27:56 am »
Great review of a beautiful piece of kit made by an excellent company. Every time I think I have all of the equipment I need or want, something like this comes along to tempt me.
"Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify."
Henry David  Thoreau

Offline Jawax

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Re: Review: Empire Wool and Canvas "Arctic Anorak"
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2018, 11:56:15 am »
The one flaw I can see in this garment is you just don't want to get it dirty.  Then again, if you walk around with it in pristine condition for long you look rediculous, so I guess you just have to grit your teeth and hug your stove pipes!  Excellent work, Kevin. 

Offline Bothwell Voyageur

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Re: Review: Empire Wool and Canvas "Arctic Anorak"
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2018, 03:32:56 pm »
That is one fantastic anorak. Good looking and superbly thought out. Kevin's winter clothing really is the mutt's n***.

Now if we could just persuade him to move to Canada and get rid of the darn exchange rate issue.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2018, 09:10:58 am by HOOP » for custom made gear and fireboxes

Offline wsdstan

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Re: Review: Empire Wool and Canvas "Arctic Anorak"
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2018, 12:20:56 am »
Thanks for the great review.  I have a lot of Kevin's stuff and love it.  I don't have this anorak but sure do like it a lot.