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Anorak Reviews

Michael Engelmeyer, owner of Great Outdoor Studios, located in Missouri, has been wearing Al's Anorak since 2015. Mike is a professional photographer who specializes in outdoor products such as boats, trucks and guns, for major manufacturers. Mike is also frequently in the outdoors on his own time.  We put the following picture of Mike working in California's Sierra Nevada Mountains on Instagram on 15 August 2017, and Mike added the caption himself:


"The best all weather garment I have ever used.
Thank you WW for building a 'Made in the US' Masterpiece!!"
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Advisor Bill McConnell, Head Instructor, Owner and Founder of the PAST Skills Wilderness School, and  star of Discovery Channel's Dual Survival:

Bill is very well known in the Primitive Skills Community. He called in Summer of 2015 and explained he would soon begin filming a television series that would highlight his primitive skills, and would be wearing the best woolens he could find. A few days later, he called back and said after receiving his WeatherWool, he knew he would not be interested in anything else. Back from filming, Bill described how happy he was with the performance of our MidWeight Pants and FullWeight Al's Anorak in Lynx Pattern. He was quite surprised that the Pants were as weather and wind-tight as they are, given how soft and light they feel in the hand and on the skin. Bill asked us not to reveal the identity of the TV Show until after the first episode aired in January 2016.

You can see Bill wearing WeatherWool in the first two episodes of Season 7 of Discovery Channel's Dual Survival where he and Grady must find their way from a glacial mountaintop setting back to civilization in Patagonian Chile. Bill wore the MidWeight Pants as his base layer, so in those episodes it is only our Anorak that is visible on TV. But people certainly noticed it! Bill tells me the producers would only allow him to wear the clothes we sent him for one adventure.

Bill is a believer in great wool, and we are happy to have him as an Advisor..

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Advisor and Tester Harald Krauss - Tester, from December 2015 ...

Weather had slightly deteriorated a week ago - we had a storm with wind and slight rain temperatures around 45 ° Fahrenheit. I took the chance to run an hour wearing the anorak: it was not in the least challenged by the weather. I ran quite hot without wind, wore it in poncho mode most of the time. Very conveniently I closed the zipper on the windward side when the storm was coming from the side. After running, the wet material had adopted a slight smell like a wet carpet which disappeared completely after I had it hanging on my balcony for a night.


Harald mentions a smell like a wet carpet. I know what he means. When wool is still ‘fresh’ it does have an odor as moisture adsorbs to internal structures of the fibers. I think this has something to do with the release of the heat from the water-wool bonding. I've gotten to like that faint aroma -- makes me think the wool is working its magic -- but it disappears as the garment ages.

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Jeff Cook, Advisor and Tester

As of Summer, 2017, Jeff has bought 5 Anoraks ... some for gifts ... This review was from when we were first getting to know Jeff.



I wanted to give you some quick feedback and photo. I love the Anorak and I have already been using the MidWeight one. I did have to change out the zippers to “pull tabs” because that would jingle something fierce (note: we have since changed to locking zippers) while walking through the woods. I have a strong aversion to zippers as they tend to break at the wrong times and can be difficult to use with big gloves in the cold. However, I spent a handful of days in the PNW [Pacific North West] woods archery hunting with it.  Keep up the good work!

I changed out all the metal zipper pulls to a pull tab I have been using for years on all of my gear. They work great and are made by MSR. They have a couple of different versions from glow in the dark, to regular black. They never freeze, never break, are easy to pull through the zipper eyelet and make it a lot easier to zip and unzip things. The link is below to a version that I use often. I would strongly recommend them, especially for your warrior wool line. I have tried paracord and it does not work well, these are much better:"

I have been wearing your midweight anorak a lot lately. I actually hand washed it with Nikwax (which you will probably frown on, but it works well) and have worn it in the rain several times. This was PNW rains, so they were long drizzles with heavy wind and cool temperatures. I stayed dry, not just warm, but dry, during all of my walks. The rain never soaked through the wool and it did not get very heavy. I have been thoroughly impressed. Well done.

I really like Nikwax when I know I am going to be using the wool in heavy rain because it does make the water bead up. When I am in the rain I usually do not worry too much about the wicking power of wool since the outside humidity is 100%. The other reason I really like Nikwax is because I can wash it out when I want to strip it out. Two hand washes and I can strip out the Nikwax from the garment and wear it again in warmer weather and it will wick moisture without issue. I have tried other water proofing coatings (and ruined some expensive wool with them in the past), but the Nikwax has worked the best for me. Anyways, I know wool garment makers cringe when I tell them that, but it has worked with me.
From December 2015
The wool performed excellent on the hunt. We were at 8,000 feet and saw temperatures from 10-degrees to 45-degrees. The wind was always blowing and on the last day we had a good snow storm. The wool performed great from the cool mornings with a stiff breeze on the ridge tops to the late afternoons with falling temperatures and long walks back to the truck. The Lynx pattern was perfect for the the broken snow landscapes on the North slopes and the brushy bottoms. We stopped this bull at 1,400 yards and crawled through the bottom of the valley in the background along the brush to 350 yards to shoot him in his bed. I pretty much lived in the wool for the entire hunt and gave it some good use. My perspiration would wick through the wool and freeze on the outside during the long hikes, but it kept me warm and dry. Now I just wish you made the Medium weight pants in the lynx pattern!

 

NOTE: We certainly value quiet and convenience. Most people will have no issue with the pulls on the Anorak. But a stalking bowhunter such as Jeff needs dead silence. We like Jeff's solution, but WeatherWool can offer only American-made zipper pulls. 

Jeff's observation that moisture wicked through the Anorak and froze on the outside while he stayed warm and dry on the inside is exactly why we have eliminated all liner fabrics from our garments. If we had used the typical synthetic liners that makers of other, coarse woolens use, the perspiration would have created a big wet rag on the back of Jeff's neck, and elsewhere, and he would have been cold and clammy. If Jeff had been wearing a typical ‘windproof and waterproof and breathable’ garment, perspiration would have condensed on the inside of the garment in the cold weather and Jeff would again have felt cold and clammy at best. Plus of course, the windproof-waterproof-breathable (never actually found one that was all three) garments don't have any warmth either.

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Vaughan Turner of Australia  (bought two Al's Anoraks), June 2017

“The quality is outstanding worth every cent and it will definitely see me out till the end of my days.”

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Matt Bradley, June 2017

I've gone through quite a few pieces of wool looking for a “grail” cold weather hunting jacket and the anorak provided that for me. The fit was perfect and I didn't have any issues with the sleeves not closing tight enough. It kept me warm while sitting, kept the wind out while riding my quad and being able to open the side zips to vent while moving between stands was crucial.

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Advisor and Tester Tom Brown III

Tom has been one of the testers of the first generation of our Anorak and he has given us feedback on a few different occasions.  You could sort of view the following as the bottom-line, short-and-sweet review:

"No matter what it is still my favorite Jacket of all times! Keep up the good work!!!”

Tom (T3) has been hard into all sorts of outdoor activities since he was knee-high to a grasshopper. As explained to us by Lisa Porter, one of Tom's colleagues, “Tom and Lisa currently live near the base of Mount Hood in northern Oregon. They work outside year-round in the rain and in the mountains educating youth and adults in nature connection, wilderness and earth skills for Trackers Earth of Portland, Oregon.”

Tom published a review of WeatherWool in Tactics and Preparedness Magazine in the November 2015 issue.  We are not sure if the review is available online or not, but we reproduce it here, with thanks:

When people ask me what the best fabric for hardcore winter use is, my answer is always the same: Wool. Wool will keep you warm even when wet and is very quiet in the bush. No company out there makes wool gear better than WeatherWool. Their clothing is 100% USA made, from the sheep to the stitching, with attention given to quality and functionality over anything else. I have been wearing their Anorak pullover and have never used a finer, better constructed piece of wool clothing and I have tested plenty of them. This pullover has pockets in all the right places and is so well made it will last your family for generations to come. Ralph and Debby DiMeo have dedicated many years to making the finest wool clothing available.

 

 

In April 2016 Tom gave us another test report ... maybe more of a testimonial:

When you spend as many days outside in the cold as I do you quickly learn that most cold weather gear is not designed for hardcore use. Most of it is designed for the "weekend warrior" types and may function just fine if you only see it a couple times a year and it sits in your closet the rest of the time. For instance, I once was given a well-known, brand-name Gore-tex winter parka. It looked good and kept me warm on sunny winter days. I wore it in the bush for a week in late winter and after 7 days of snow, rain and campfires it was a soggy, gross, melted mess.

I tell my students that hands down, the best fabric for hardcore outdoor cold weather use is wool. Wool keeps you warm even when it is wet. It is durable and quiet in the woods. It absorbs light and allows you to blend in better no matter what color it is. It is the only fabric I will stake my life on.

I have purchased many high-end wool garments in my day. After finding WeatherWool the buck has stopped here. I spent this last winter testing the Anorak Hoodie. From teaching classes to farm work, running the tractor to shoveling, snow the jacket never let me down. I was always warm and dry. In fact at times it was too warm! Since getting my hands on the Anorak I have traded away all of my other wool. Ralph and Debby have set up a top notch operation. From the sheep to the stitching it's founded on 100% American-made, sustainable and passionate practices. In these times where many companies are moving their operations overseas or south of the border, their principles to locality and quality will keep them here at home.

When I talk about WeatherWool and how much it costs people are a bit taken aback. What I have found during my lifetime outdoors is that in tools and clothes you get what you pay for. Yes, their garments are expensive. They also cost a lot to make. They cost more than money. Their very existence has been a labor of love on top of everything else it takes to work a small business. It's the best investment because they're made so well they will literally last you a long, long, long time. I would definitely rather pay a bigger upfront investment for one awesome garment than keep buying something new every few years. If you look at the cost of replacing a jacket every few years you will find it costs more. Break the cycle and choose American Made quality! In our society we have a say and make a difference by where we invest our hard earned dollars. Mine will continue to go to companies like WeatherWool. Quality made by people who have passion for what they are doing. Try ’em and see for yourself!?

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