It has been a while since I first covered my Wilderness Shirt. This thing wears like iron, is warm in winter and allows just enough air flow/layering to span a huge temperature range.
Here it is in all its glory.
As you can see, I had to take pictures inside my office. This was because of a few reasons:
- I am a complete dufus about taking pictures when I am out in the woods. It won’t happen, thus the reason I have so few posts as of late.
- Someone hit me up and really wanted some pictures of the shirt this morning. This compelled me to take advantage of having snapped a few pictures and went forward with this post.
Here is some information about the shirt and how we came to make it.
The shirt was designed by my mother and I. She took care of the actual engineering and I gave all the specifics needed in the design. Although there are a whole pile of “Boreal Shirts” available online, I have not seen any that I actually liked. Either they were unlined and didn’t keep you warm enough or they had design flaws that I felt were lacking in some form.
If you notice, the arms and body of the shirt are quite long. I usually cuff the sleeves for normal wear. I wanted really long arms so that I could tuck the sleeves into gloves/mittens without having to worry about riding up. I also wanted the ability to “turtle” my hands if I did not have gloves. This design is perfect for that.
As for the body being extra long, I wanted the ability to keep my nether region and butt warm while wearing the shirt. When I want to keep a pistol or knife easily accessible, I wear a 2″ wide leather belt over the shirt. It is long enough to not bunch up and allows for the belt to be comfortably worn. This configuration also brings the shirt in closer to my body and keeps me even warmer. There is just enough air flow for spring/fall weather, but with the belt I can raise the 2 position wind flap to keep me quite toasty at temperatures around 0 degrees with only a t shirt on as a base layer.
The eyelets/grommets at the neckline allow for 550 cord lacing. Not only does this give me some emergency cordage, but I can cinch down the hood, the neck or both. Since the hood is so big, I can also put the hood down and cinch it all up so that it works to keep my neck warm while wearing a hat. I wear it that way a lot with a scarf or shemagh. It really keeps the air trapped inside the shirt to provide phenomenal protection and warmth when worn that way.
The entire shirt is flannel lined and well sewn. Many shirts I have seen use a wool blanket that doesn’t have as closely knit fibers as the wool we used. This, along with the flannel liner, cuts the wind much better and resists the elements more readily. As for the actual design, the shoulder seams are done in such a way as to disallow stretching even when completely soaked. We are toying with the idea of making an unlined oilskin anorak that will fit over the shirt. Since synthetics ALWAYS leak in extremely wet conditions, I have been pushing for the oilskin solution. We should have some prototypes and start testing that idea this fall. Being in Western Washington allows me to do some pretty intense wet weather testing.
As you can see, this has gotten a lot of wear over the last couple years. If you ignore the dog fur and remnants of fire prep from my last outing, you would not hardly believe that is was over 2 years old and worn 4-5 times a week in inclement weather.
For those that are wondering, no this does not have any pockets. We have experimented with several pocket designs, but I have not liked how they function. They tend to allow my to weigh my shirt down funny due to packing all my gear in my shirt. I also don’t like how all but arm pockets tend to interfere with my belt I wear. There just doesn’t seem to be that nice “happy medium” that allows for pockets without them becoming a complete hindrance in many situations.
At this time we are taking only a few orders. My mother is too busy building a companion set of bibs that will feature oilskin patches and a fully adjustable waistline. Once those are past the prototype and testing phases she will start accepting orders for the shirts and bibs.
Thank you for looking and hit me up with any questions.