08 November 2012

Bert Pulitzer's Survivalon Jacket

See the orange jacket on the roof?

 How about the yellow sweat shirt? 

It amazes me how orange and yellow stand out on city roofs.  And while I lean towards understatement in most everything -- there's a peculiar Southern fetish I picked up for loud colors. I've always loved 'em with the understanding they have their place. 

 Andover Shop

Bert Pulitzer sent me a Survivalon jacket; what we called wet weather gear when I lived on a boat. At $495, this isn't for off shore racing but it's nautical origins make it perfect for a rainy Fall day. I wore it during a visit to the Andover Shop in Cambridge.  On my way out to lunch, Larry took it off my back and threw it on a rig. I understand he had five offers in an hour.

"Don't pick a fight, but if you find yourself in one I suggest you make damn sure you win."  John Wayne

Pulitzer created the jacket back in the '70s and used a tightly woven cotton developed by the RAF in WWII. And, while that's cool enough for me, John Wayne bought one, which might be cool enough for you. The Duke liked it so much he ordered five more for his yacht, the Wild Goose.  And I think I know why.

Back in the '70s and '80s, before Gore Tex really caught on, a lot of sailing jackets and parkas were made out of  a PVC like fabric that was hard as a brick.  I had one from Lands' End, circa 1984. It didn't breathe, had two lousy outside pockets and in the rain it felt like wet particle board.

Logo inspired by Belgian Parachutist Wings? 

Contrary to it's look, the Survivalon has a supple feel to it.  It's amazingly comfortable, keeps you dry and it breathes.  I've worn this jacket a lot in the last month and even the hood, unrolled and pulled from the collar, works well.  It's wide enough to give decent  peripheral vision and it stays on your head without having to pull it tight resulting in your looking like a seven year old in a slicker at the bus stop.

In a bind, this coat and a Shetland sweater (think, royal blue, bright red, kelly green) will see you through temps as low as the mid-30s.  I should know.  I wore it last night in NY's first snow storm.  In the low visibility, it probably kept me from being run over by a city bus. Granted, it won't protect me in a knife fight like my old Lands' End jacket but I haven't had one of those, knock wood, since a pissed off girlfriend came at me with my own Randall.

The interior of the jacket is cotton with three inside waterproof pockets and one big enough for an iPad. But remember, this isn't a waterproof jacket...it's water repellent. Having said that, I've been in rain and snow with this thing and have managed to stay bone dry.  If you want to wear a suit with this jacket, and I have no idea why you would - other than I'm old and out of it, go up a size.  With just a shirt or sweater...it runs pretty true to size.

Bert tells me this cloth will eventually take on patina.  I can't wait.  That doesn't mean I'm gonna take sand paper to it or distress it in my backyard with a chain and a snowblower...It means it'll come by its patina in an honest way.  And if the weather continues like this -- it should be nicely broken in by next month.

Comes in black, orange, yellow, fawn, navy and blue. Order from Survivalon Web Site Here


Jeff P. said...

Looks nice but $495! You can get three Marmot Oracle's for that, and stay dry.

tintin said...

Jeff- Well, you're right there.

Except this jacket is made in the USA (same company that makes Pea coats for the USN) unlike Marmot.

It doesn't look like a synthetic piece of shit like the Marmot and three Marmots will set you back almost $600.

BTW, that Marmot is butt ugly but everyone's entitled to an opinion. I'd say for an army officer you're taste is better than most but we're highly evolved around here. Best you stick to fishing for Bass.

Alice Olive said...

Wet particle board - man, that's graphic!

Anonymous said...

Damn. I'd pay the money for that thing. I'm only going to have to buy it once.

KSB said...

You might have just cost me $250 extra. I was thinking of this in yellow -


But I like Survivalon better, surely its more robust than the Elka.

Damn you!

Jeff P. said...

Agreed, it is a much better looking item and I suspect it lasts significantly longer.

Oyster Guy said...

Got anything chic and stylish in a gas can?

Tempest in a Pink Teacup said...

What a pretty view. Where were the photos of the jacket taken?

Mac McConnell said...

I remember these at Woody's in Manhattan, Kansas in the 70s, very nice jacket. I remember Burt Pulitzer more for his ties and shirts in those times, they were excellent. I believe he was also involved in Country Britches tailored clothing, also great stuff.

I agree the old sailing parkas prior were twill coated in vinyl, like wearing a Navajo sweat house.