USAF Arctic Survival Suit Overcoat

USAF Down Filled Arctic Survival Suit Overcoat

Here is a cool, warm rather, piece of militaria. You are looking at a USAF Arctic Survival Suit or overcoat. If you have an interest in this item, you’re probably a little more familiar with it than I am. I picked it up thinking it was an early outdoor gear piece used in cold weather expeditions and was probably made by Gerry or one of the other companies of the day. It was not until further investigation that I found the printed label inside the left breast of the garment. Here is what that reads:

Overcoat, Survival, Arctic, SRU-6/P
MIL-O-27525 (USAF)
Order No. DSA 100-70-C-1986
Stock No. 8415-890-2021
Anti-Cold Insulated Clothing Inc.

There’s also instructions for use printed on the left sleeve which indicate this item would have been in packaging on the aircraft until it was needed.

After some tinkering with what at first appears to be a sleeping bag with arms I found that the over coat is just that, and more. The garment can actually be worn as an over coat, shortened to a waist coat or turned into a suit by breaking the back of the coat along the snap and velcro seems and forming legs. Other images I have uncovered on the internet suggest that this piece would be complete with a pair of down boots and mittens, which I do not have.

The piece is made from light rip-stop nylon and stuffed with loads of prime down. The piece is truly expedition weight, compared to a sleeping bag I would say it has a 0 degree if not below rating. all the seems on the front and back are both snap and Velcro Equally insulated hood with snorkel type closure around the face. Cuffs at the end of arms can also be completely sealed off. Leather tabs at all stress points. White nylon tabs inside around the waist are for securing the garment to your belt inside to get the length right. My inital guess on the age of this piece was the 1960s, but it may be later than that. Not sure if the 1986 in the order no is an indication of production date but I could see that being the case. This is a pretty simple design that may have served the USAF for decades.

 

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