While Gerry Cunningham lead the “warmth without the weight” down movement here in the states, the Moncler company followed suit on the other side of the Atlantic. The company founded in 1952 enlisted the help of famed explorer Lionel Terray to help with the design of its expedition weight jackets in early 1960s. The result is what you see here.
This particular coat was found with a coyote fur hood liner which was a later add. It had button holes around the edges for attachment to a NB-3 or similar military parka. Given the condition of the fur, which appeared to have been laundered, I decided to remove it and bring the jacket back to original. A solution of baking soda and water was applied to the heavily soiled areas around the collar cuffs and front and left to soak in the tub. You’ll see in the pictures the incredible amount of dirt that was released. The coat was then agitated by hand and rinsed thoroughly.
These coats contain a great deal of down giving them the loft needed to sustain the wearer in arctic conditions. The two rows of snaps allow for an adjustable fit in order to accommodate varying layers of clothing underneath. Zippers are not used as thy can be a hassle in arctic temperatures and a malfunction of one would be a pretty grim reality in the cold. The coat also does not have any pockets which could become filled with snow and create compromised areas for which the cold can make its way in. Candidly speaking, I rather enjoy having accessible pockets in my coat. See my post on the later REI Expedition Down Coat for comparison.
This is a legitimate expedition weight REI down parka. You’d probably have to collect the down from about 4 of your average TNF or Holubar down jackets to get up to this thing’s standard. When fluffed the thing sits about 8″ thick laying flat zipped up. Contains about 2.5 lb worth of down fill. Has heavy gauge zip closure with snap over flap. Also has an a line of snaps on the inside storm flap so you can close the jacket without zipping. Not sure if this is so one doesn’t have to work a zipper in freezing cold or so that the wear can breath just a little if they chose. Double snap option runs all the way up through the snorkel hood. Has two insulated pockets outside and one inside.
Get this thing fully buttoned up and cinched and you’ll look just like Kenny from Southpark. In today’s age this would be easily four figures worth of down fill goodness.
The always innovative Camp 7 line is descendant of the Alp Sport and Alpine Designs lines conceived by founder George Lamb of Boulder Colorado in the 1970s. This coat is exemplifies the company’s innovative spirit in the cut and construction of this outdoor staple.
Notice specifically the construction of this coat around the arms. Where many competitors would join the torso with the arms in simple perpendicular fashion, the Camp 7 design utilizes a more complex design that includes additional quilting to form a more contoured fit and eliminates a hard shoulder seam. Additional details including the internal seam finishing in black along the back and front panels reduces fraying on high friction areas. Designers also chose the use of Polargaurd for the pocket insulation as opposed to down. Polarguard, a relatively newer product for the period was probably seen as a more durable alternative for an often used, well-worn area.
Subtle differences in the hood color, embossed snaps, which differ from the coats snaps and individual materials tag suggest the hood was a sold separately option for this coat.
Nice example of a later first generation puffer jacket. This piece was manufactured in the mid 1980s near the end of this iconic style’s run. Some of the giveaways as to its more recent age are the embossed buttons, TNF branded zipper pull and materials tag. Earlier versions of this jacket were made of rip stop nylon inside and out as opposed to the 65/35 poly cotton shell seen here. Construction also included what I refer to as stitched rivets at stress points such as pocket openings.
The earliest down jackets from The North Face (and brown label equipment in general) were all made in the USA, but the label didn’t start reflecting that until the late 70s when a shift in manufacturing started to take hold. It wasn’t until people started to question where their items were made that it became part of the strategy to include ‘Made in the USA’ in the branding.
Carikit was Holubar’s foray into the sew-it-yourself market in the mid 1970s. The name was later changed to Holubar Sew-It-Yourself Kits for stronger brand recognition with the parent company. This garment could be used as a layering piece or worn as a jacket. The style first popularized by Eddie Bauer features elastic cuffs and collar. Small snaps and two front pockets.