Anorak Reviews from Civilians
I'm nowhere near keeping up on reviews of the Anorak that are publicly available via searching the web, social media, etc. But there is some good stuff here. If you have a review or can flag something that should be on this page, please let me know! -- Thanks! -- Ralph
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The best places to see independent WeatherWool reviews, lots of them, with new ones coming out steadily, are Instagram, Youtube and the many websites and web forums. But I put a review here from time to time.
Perhaps the most meaningful review we've gotten was this one, from American Military Special Operations Command in Afghanistan in 2018: "The coats are phenomenal and all the guys that wear them absolutely love them. ... My entire detachment continues to request additional coats and Hats." If you have interest in the Military application of WeatherWool, please visit our WarriorWool page. But this page focuses on Civilian Reviews ...
Advisor Trustin Timber filmed a review in January 2018 where he subjects himself and his Anorak to water, snow, wind, fire and ... a beating ... just for the fun of showing how his Anorak has stood up to whatever Nature (or Caitlin) dishes out! [Please note that the discount offer he mentions expired quite a while ago.]
Please click here for a detailed review of the Anorak sent to a WarriorWool customer by Advisor Mike Dean ... both the customer and Mike have served at the United States Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in Pickel Meadows, so Mike wanted to make sure this customer heard from him personally.
18 January 2020: This is a really interesting review that customer Joe Mohring posted on Instagram, along with this photo:
Joe was testing/reviewing the Anorak for skiing. The text below begins with the review published by Joe on his own Instagram page (linked above) and includes comments generated on the WeatherWool Instagram page when we reposted.
Repost @Joseph3Mohring ...
8:03 PM 24°F/-9C [Snoqualmie Pass, Washington State]
Al's Anorak - FullWeight
Spent the evening skiing with a friend at the pass. I was excited for another chance to test my new @weatherwool Anorak, this time in freezing conditions.
The garment performed better than I expected, providing the most comfortable skiing experience I've ever had. The cinch in the back kept out the powder and wind, and the adjustable cuffs fit nicely over my gloves and oversized Casio G-Shock. The transitions from slope to lift to lodge were smooth as well, I almost didn't take it off inside. The powder dusted right off the anorak and the buttoned front provided all the ventilation I needed.
I did notice that the kangaroo pocket in front has a tendency to collect snow and other debris, but a quick button does the trick there (granted I had fallen in about 5 or 6 feet of powder). The utility strap inside said front pocket held my spare gloves securely the whole time, and have come in handy on many other occasions.
One last reflection: I had never heard of slot buttons before and I LOVE them. Secure is an understatement, and they are on the loose side, so they slide in and out like a dream (even one handed!). Without a doubt the best piece of gear in my kit. Worth every penny, and not actually that expensive next to other brands like King of the Mountain. If you are like me, and spend a considerable amount of time outdoors... do yourself a favor and check out these 100% American wool garments. You can test one risk free, and the customer service I got from Ralph and Alex is unparalleled. Stay wild, and stay dry out there... I know I will! PS- @weatherwool did not put me up to this, just an honest independent review. @weatherwool Thank You ... we would love to have skiers pay more attention to wool!! ... @joseph3mohring My main concern was how the fabric would respond to the high wind speeds, and
honestly I only felt it on my face. Your fabric is extremely impressive windbreaker, considering it's wool! It is also worth mentioning that my base
layers were a cotton tshirt and a loosely knit wool sweater from goodwill.
@weatherwool 10lbs less weight, dry clothes. I get it, it’s cool to test the hell outta new gear and it’s cool to be throwback. But in reality he should be covered up. Not trying to be negative... I do love your stuff!! Heirloom quality in a world of throwaway garbage. Keep up the awesome work!!!!
@w2stv Ahhhh … Thanks for the response! The Anorak weighs about 3 pounds, 7 ounces (1.6 kg) in size Large. I believe Joe would have so stated had his clothes gotten wet … he did state “the most comfortable skiing experience I've ever had” … “The powder dusted right off” … and that’s despite a cotton base layer, which we would never reco’ for such a situation. WeatherWool isn’t about being throwback or retro. We are about making the best All-Purpose Outerwear. If we thought there was something better than wool, we wouldn’t be doing this. For any specific situation, there will be a best set of clothes. But if you want to be prepared for a huge variety of situations, we do not believe there is anything better than WeatherWool. We’ve always said ALL CHALLENGES ACCEPTED, and we’ve always offered full refunds to anyone … after weeks or months of eval. We’re defo up for performance testing against any shell (although I don’t think that’s what you meant). … As for skiing specifically, our SkiJac was designed by our Advisor Chad Borofsky (on our website) who has decades of experience on Ski Patrol at Sugarbush. Chad spends a great deal of time in our SkiJacket, off and on the slopes, in sometimes brutal weather. You are welcome to contact him. Or contact me, 24/7. We appreciate the input! --- Ralph
4 December 2019: Not sure why but this cracked me up ... "SNOWBLOWER Feedback from William Lively: "Below are a couple shots of my first use of my new WeatherWool Anorak in Brookline NH. I’d give it an A+. The temperature was around 24 F with 10 mph wind I had a medium with base layer, a light weight merino neck gaiter and the Anorak. I could have gone with a light weight base and left the side zippers closed. This was the most pleasurable snow clearing I’ve had over the last 11 years. No cold spots, no sweating and getting wet inside a gortex coat and no cold wind down the back of my neck. I highly recommend this anorak. Thanks for getting it to me before the storm arrive." THANK YOU WILLIAM!!
1 December 2019: The photo above shows Advisor Dave Canterbury with two of his assistant instructors at a class of the Pathfinder Survival School, one the world's best-known Outdoor and Primitive Skills schools. Dave is at left, in the middle is Shawn Kelly, who has a large YouTube following, and at right is Josh Enyart, who is also a WeatherWool Advisor. Dave likes all of his instructors to wear Lynx Pattern during classes.
25 September 2019: A few days ago, one of our customers posted from Hungary on Instagram. He gave me permission to use his words and images. THANKS @ThatTomGuy86! ... "I love my Anorak. It's amazingly comfortable and warm. You guys are like woolen magicians ... My Anorak comes with me on all my adventures!"
17 March 2019: @DaneLawing, a professional videographer and photographer, got an Anorak about a month ago and posted a great photo and comments on Instagram: " Back in my happy (and apparently squinty) place, Anasazi ruins in the Four Corners. Have to make a point to comment on the @weatherwool Anorak I’m wearing. Easily the best designed and made, most comfortable, durable and just damn smart single piece of clothing I’ve ever worn. This one will be with me....will let’s just say it’ll be the last thing I drop and it’ll have to be jungle for me to do that."
21 February 2019: From an Instagram post by @OutdoorLegion ... Also ... who looks comfortable and happy?
"@weatherwool has been on my back everyday since September 1st in 60 degree weather and down to 0 degrees this winter. Been in the pouring rain, deep snow and sunshine. Favorite jacket as of right now. Quality is a understatement."
31 January 2019: This review is interesting because, while it's a very nice review, it also points out why it is difficult to tell any given individual what garments will be appropriate ... and why I usually ask people where they are from ... "Just had to let you know that my new mid weight lynx anorak has exceeded expectations. Great job there. Wore it with a t-shirt base layer in -10C/14F the other night and arms a bit cold but wow - I think subconsciously I need more clothing but this anorak was really solid at keeping the heat in. Beautifully made too. Flawless stitching and fabric. It's my favorite piece of outdoor clothing. I love the lynx pattern too. It's a perfect camo for winter forest, but it doesn't scream camo - very well done there. --- Craig Matheson" Really, I wouldn't suggest the MidWeight Anorak over a T-Shirt as appropriate for this temperature, but Craig is from Canada, and Canadians generally run warmer than most. What you can tolerate has a lot to do with what you are used to.
29 January 2019: Here is some material posted on Instagram by "Ziggy", @MountainMan_Bushcraft, myself, and a couple of others. Ziggy has some very long and serious outdoor experience with British Military, and will probably become an Advisor eventually. In any case, he posted (and I reposted on the WeatherWool Instagram account) some of his impressions after wearing his Anorak for a couple of months:
- mountainman_bushcraft We’re finally getting snow on Thursday! Can’t wait to wear my @weatherwool anorak in colder conditions. I’ve always used wool in wet and cold conditions for mountaineering and in the army, but WeatherWool is in a league of its own! It’s so comfortable and it works to a much better level than any other wool I’ve worn. I just wish I’d discovered it earlier!
@weatherwool It’s a pleasure. I love the anorak and your other products look awesome as well. I see why people use it for hunting in the different conditions that you’d encounter in the wild expanses you have out there. It’s too easy to wear synthetics and get away with it when you’re close to home or a lodge. When you rely on your gear to truly protect you as you do in specialist units in the military, you learn to appreciate top quality clothing👊🏻
Max Riede of Germany, a professional outdoorsman and a businessman, has had a couple of weeks to wear his Anorak in WARM weather, and sent us this note on 28 July 2018: "Although we have quite some got temperatures going on at the moment here in Germany (and sadly no rain) I’ve been able to conduct a few small tests of my own. I used the anorak every morning for my cardio. It has incredible breathability and gives out the 'right' amount of warmth. I’ve not noticed overheating! Once sweating harder what I love is, that I don’t get cold! It’s incredible. Even on a bike when riding which basically simulates windchill the anorak keeps the right amount of warmth in! Also the wool quality amazes me. I can wear the anorak on direct skin!! Wool on skin ... need I say more? I really dig the lynx pattern. It’s absolutely gorgeous and isn’t looking military although it blends in the forest so beautifully." Max is becoming an Advisor. Usually, before becoming an Advisor, we like people to test the wool more than Max has, but, Max has extensive outdoor experience, despite his relative youth. Max has great English skills, and I think it's really groovy that he wrote how he digs Lynx Pattern!
On May 5 2018 we got the first feedback on his new Anorak from Advisor Zach Gault (@Primitive.Living), an outdoors professional: "I have the anorak and I am in the woods already! I love this thing... like really love it. Only problem is I don’t want to take it off now haha ..."
On 4 May 2018, we got a very nice note from Denmark. Young Rasmus Espersen, @TheDanishBushcrafter, seems to have found his calling early, and we're happy he likes his Anorak. Rasmus has great ability with English, and he is only 15! Rasmus is just getting a taste of the temperature range the Anorak will handle. He might be glad to know that some Military people also use the Anorak as a pillow or cushion ... "Ralphy, i just wanted to say How much i love This anorak! I haven't posted/pic whatever yet simply because i want to 'be Real' you know actually use etc etc, But so far man, DAMN... i was on a Canoe trip last weekend, 17 Celsius [63F] weather and Down to 6 Celsius [43F], i did Not change the WHOLE two days, Not even one time, it was soooooo good man i love it, States super comfy and even used it As my pillow at night lol, it was Always with me:) all the dudes (15-20) didn't believe me it was Wool because it was so comfy, But They Were all Extremely impressed/interested in it! One of my friends Who teach bushcraft is REALLY interested in one, i'll let you know!"
On 6 February 2018, Sid Smith sent us a comment and followed it up with a phone call. Sid was the first person we've heard from who wanted something that let him move comfortably while shopping. Well, versatility is what we are about! During the phone call, Sid told me he had one of the best-known Anoraks on the market, but he gave it away after wearing WeatherWool for a couple of days. Here is Sid's written input: "Just wanted to share. I am 60 and retired. My wife and I do a lot of shopping especially crafts. Also travel, so I am in and out of businesses and back into the cold winter air. After reading about your wool anoraks, I bought one in the lynx pattern. I wanted something that would look dressy and yet let me be comfortable inside shopping and warm outside heading to the next shop. With the anorak, the boonie, and the scarf, I was very comfortable shopping inside, even without unzipping the sides. Underneath I had a merino wool T-shirt, and a light polyester pull over long sleeve.The temperature was 27 [Fahrenheit, -3C] with a windchill of 15 [-10C]. The only accessory that was not WeatherWool that I wore as an outer garment were earmuffs.So for you older retired men that do a lot of going in and out of shops with your spouse, and are tired of being hot indoors, this is your answer."
Also in January 2018, Dave Canterbury of Pathfinder Survival began evaluating WeatherWool. His preliminary comment: "... absolutely top of the line product in both technology and comfort."
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!!"
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..
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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:
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!?
6 December 2019