29.4.09

Paint it black - or cotton kills

" I see a red door and I want it painted black, I see a line of cars I want them all turned black!" LAL ALAL .........GREAT SONG EH!!


But what on earth am I going on about ??


Black is the new green! Well at least for me - as I discovered today when I was sorting out my washing and hanging things back in the wardrobe!


But thats not the reason for this post - the reason for this post is that apart from buying all black items recently I wanted to share with you dear reader a few thoughts on clothing.

With the economy gone to hell in a hand cart and the bushcraft market bubble bursting it strikes me the wise outdoors person isnt wasting money on over priced wool shirts or cosmetically pleasing but very expensive cutting tools, after all who in their right mind pays £70 to £80 for a wool shirt which is no better or worse than a £9.99 army jumper?? OK ok fashion victims and those with more money than me - point taken!

Ventile is an example of this too - ventile clothing has been the MUST HAVE clothing of the outdoors community since way back in the 90's when Ray Mears first told the world how he liked it in his Survival Handbook. Flocks of bushcraft sheeple, myself included, stampede to the shops to buy this wonder garment ...........20 years later, older and wiser I have to say Ventile is still ok but experience has taught us its not all its cracked up to be! Heavy, hard to wash and not waterproof as its supposed to be ventile is also comparable to wearing a soggy cardboard box when wet - but it is windproof and tough - it is also very very very expensive these days .......... indeed prices have slowly climbed with ventiles popularity until now I personally think its priced out the market - why buy a extremely expensive cotton jacket (which is what ventile its) thats not even waterproof when a good Goretex or Event jacket is available and possibily cheaper!! ?

Anyway - waterproofs arent what I'm here to talk about - I wanna talk about smocks!!

A smock in its simplest term to a outdoors person is a protective layer woren over insulation ect ect and should be hard wearing and expected to take a beating. I good criteria for buying something equal in price to a weeks wages?

Recently I bought myself as couple of BDU's jackets for use as lightweight summer "shrafting shirts - the plan being to wear em over a t-shirt.

£4.95 each I wasnt expecting much - but boy was I surprised and impressed - these are excellent jackets/shirts, versatile enough for summer to all year round wear when wearing in conjunction with layering systems.

The pockets are big enough for all my standard items and the arm pockets are a excellent addition which really work.........quick math test "how many of these BDU's could I buy at £4.95 instead of one expensive ventile windshirt at £120?" ........point taken?

Of course a BDU shirt isnt ideal for winter - this is the time we want something more windproof and more protective well dear reader is a £200 plus ventile smock value for money here? Certainly if you have one already but would I OR you wanna invest in another??

No? Years ago I bought one of these .......................



For around £40 - wanting as I did at the time a SAS smock like I had as a soldier but not in DPM. I recently dug this back out form the loft and have to say bringing it back into use I have been surprised how good it really is - so good in fact I wondered how I could have been so naive and stupid as to have wasted so much money on other stuff since ....................

Oh and before yee, the great sales blah swallowing reader says it, "cotton kills!" Thats true - but ventiles also cotton lets remember and that little catch phrase was probably coined by either the wool or synthetic clothing industries to boost their share of the market .........to you I say this "cotton doesnt kill - stupidity kills cotton wearers as it kills the wool and Goretex clad brigade too!"

"You calling me stupid?" No, well maybe - more correctly I'm hoping your clever enough to see my point! Every army on this planet is clothed in cotton uniforms - troops from Alaska to the tropics, from the snowy wastes of Siberia to the jungles of Borneo are dressed in cotton and we dont see them dropping like flies ..........why is that if cotton kills? After all these guys live in the wilderness for weekend even months on end!!

Because they use common sense - "whats that? Where can you buy some??" - common sense dictates that cotton's weakness is water so if its raining we put on a waterproof - "simples" - soldiers will wear a synthetic waterproof under their smocks and its a good trick for those in thickl bush or around the fire to do the same - thus protecting the more expensive and weaker fibres of the waterproof from the rigours of the bush.

So next time your in the market for a next smock or shirt ponder this - WHY spend that extra £150 on a ventile or some such ..........£150 could be a two week caneo trip in Sweden after all!! Invest your money wisely a good, well made army surplus smock or BDU will give you years of service and allow you to spend your hard earned cash on actually getting out there and doing some dirt time instead of overtime to raise the funds to buy the expensive smock in the first place ......... I know where I'd rather be - office or woods?? Thats a no brainer me thinks!!

Of course if brand names and ego/image are what matter to you and you have more money than sense then god bless ya!

3 comments:

sam_acw said...

Nice post - hadn't realised the bushcraft bubble had burst!

Survivall said...

Commercially many manufacturers I deal with think so .......bushcraft as a skill base/subject is safe but folks are waking up to the over commerciallisation of the hobby ......

And thanks!

Anonymous said...

Cotton doesn't kill. As this chap says! In the Royal Mariinea we used windproof cotton single layer over a lifa top all the way down to minus 35C on the move! Soon as we stopped on went the warm kit. Jelly hansens or buffalo tops or softee coats, jungle the same! Jungle lightweight cotton. And dry set for the hammock. No waterproof in the ulu! Although we did take a small brolly!
And correct.mcut noise and damage by wearing the goretex under the smock.