UPDATE: A year on and I still love this cosy coat.
I’m not a parka person – if such a thing exists. I confess, I never much liked them, back in the day the ‘fur’ was nasty and matted and that khaki colour, well, yuk.
But, then again, I do appreciate a garment that does the job it was designed for. So when OutdoorWorldDirect asked if I’d like to review a parka that promised to be ‘warm as toast’ and keep you ‘dry as a bone’ (both technical terms), I was interested.
Also they weren’t all sludge coloured and the fur bits were detachable.
“Right, you’re on.”
I’ve got plenty of ‘proper’ outdoor gear for specific sports, plus smarter warm clothes that aren’t waterproof and some waterproof garments that don’t keep you warm.
Clearly there’s a gap in the wardrobe for something that doesn’t look like I’ve just been up a mountain, yet still scores for warmth and dryness.
Duly the Didriksons Angelina parka arrived and I was smitten.
It’s cosy and well provided with pockets. The main fabric is soft and cottony, yet waterproof. The bits (zips, poppers and so on) are reassuringly well made. But, best of all, this is a seriously toasty garment. Without doubt, this has the quality clunk of a reputable winter coat.
The test: This year is the 100th birthday of Cub Scouts and our group launched their celebrations in fine style with fireworks and a bonfire with food and singing. In a field. In Scotland. In February.
It’s a bit chilly in February in Scotland – and to prove this point the party night was postponed twice by storms. Then finally, the sky was clear and the ground so frozen that it wasn’t going to squelch too much. Happy coat day.
We got off to a good start as the coat pockets were big enough to hold my own spare stuff and that of Boy Three. Please carry my torch/gloves/hat/rubbish mummy.
We had a marvellous evening under a brilliant starry sky. I forgot to think about the coat until one woman complained that her feet were frozen and that she couldn’t wait to get home and warm up. Me, I was comfortable and not even slightly cold.
I’ve become very fond of my parka – and would recommend completely. You could say that it does what it’s designed to do.
But then again, I’ve no idea what it was really designed to do… so I googled.
And here’s what I found:
The Caribou Inuit invented the parka and it was originally made from caribou or seal skins. It was named by speakers of the Nenets language, although the word simply means animal skin.
Inuit women wore a parka because they carried their babies inside it in a built-in pouch at the back. The coat and pouch are so roomy that the mother could carry out all the essential feeding and changing of her baby without taking it out of the coat.
The other incarnation for the parka is in the American army, developed in the 1950s for flight crews stationed in cold areas – hence the khaki. It also accounts for the ‘snorkel’ hood and fishtail shape, both of which, are designed to ensure the toastiness. The fishtail allowed the coat to be tied around the top of the thighs to keep the wind out. So now you know.
Thanks to OutdoorWorldDirect for my new parka.