Fur ruff for a winter parka

Discussion about making bushwalking-related equipment.

Fur ruff for a winter parka

Postby Moondog55 » Wed 12 Dec, 2018 1:50 pm

Has anybody here made one?
Has anybody here used or worn a parka that had one?
I am in the process of making a couple and I am having trouble with visualizing the production procedure and I need a baby steps walk though.
I bought some S/H fur collar thingies on the evil auction site and while I think I paid too much money it turns out that it may have been reasonable as importing fur strips from Canada isn't cheap
Ve are too soon old und too late schmart
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Re: Fur ruff for a winter parka

Postby Gadgetgeek » Wed 12 Dec, 2018 7:55 pm

I've worn and owned many, as a child. My mom made most of them, but I have no idea on the main techniques. I'm pretty sure the fur goes inside the edge of the hood, rather than outside. Different furs act differently, All our parkas were arctic fox I think which is pretty good, but wolverine is supposed to be the best as it won't build up frost as much (or so I recall) any specific questions that I might be able to answer?
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Re: Fur ruff for a winter parka

Postby Moondog55 » Wed 12 Dec, 2018 8:55 pm

Is it better to have the ruff removable? If wearing multiple parkas [ the Inuit approach] does each parka have a fur ruff and if not which parka is the best to attach the ruff to?.
Some people are telling me I worry too much but I don't want to come home minus my nose and/or ears. My next door neighbour just dropped over to borrow gear for a trip back home and she told me it isn't a problem until it hits -40, the thing is it gets much colder than that in Alaska around the Denali area in winter. My neighbour comes from Montreal so not really a cold part of the world apparently. Gear is for her husband, my XL down town parka to wear over his Medium sized soft shell etc
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Re: Fur ruff for a winter parka

Postby Gadgetgeek » Thu 13 Dec, 2018 9:50 am

In my experience, the ruff goes on the shell layer, both for "plain" shells, and for partially insulated ones. I've never seen a removable ruff apart from my dad's big snow-goose parkas, but my understanding was that was simply for easy cleaning. In general from what I've seen, the hood insulation on the inner jackets is designed to go with the design of the shell, I've seen partial internal hoods, although the fur lined "trapper" hats are pretty popular as well. The hood is supposed to be helping trap the heat coming up from the rest of the body, so there can be a lot of fitment for the fully traditional designs. The shear amount of fur in some parkas is staggering, far more than just a ruff, but again, a custom coat for an ice-flow hunter is going to be very different than one for a growing child.

Conditioning and knowledge are also a big factor with using "traditional" northern gear, for us softies its also good to have things like the neoprene masks skier now often wear, as cheeks and noses get frostbite without you knowing. So unless you have a buddy to check with, its easy to miss it. The fur helps block some wind around the face, but to be honest its percentages, not a fool-proof solution. Even when my mom was learning, the older ladies told her that much of what they knew they had to re-learn as the "real" traditional ways were long gone. As kids we always wore knit wool scarves, sometimes wrapped half a dozen times around our faces. Moisture management is a tough thing to deal with, so there are many ways around it. I've been told that in some places inuit kids are taught to breath out through their nose, and in through the mouth to help let the moisture out above the collar, but that may also be myth, I could never get it to work.

A lot of people seem to forget that -40 really means -40 equivalent, and wind-chill can really drop those numbers if you are not careful. My mom cared for a patient who got frostbite in under 20 minutes through jeans, and it was only -25C, but the wind was very strong that day. Montreal is not all that cold, and going building to building is not the same as full wilderness, even though some people seem to think it is. Also a big difference between one day of x-country skiing, and three, five, a week, same as any other activity, as you know.

Another huge factor is full tundra gear compared to what's used a little farther south where you need more movement due to trees, but also have the ability to make fire. Proper tundra gear is insanely over-done, so much so that coats are often worn open during hard activity, but need to be warm enough in case you have to shelter in and sleep. There are also many techniques for warming up the skin on your face periodically, and many old folks from the far north have frostbite scars, its a risk people take.
There is no great magic to it, anything that can happen in alpine aussi areas can happen at -50C, it just happens faster and is less forgiving. People do the same up there, over-layer, over compress their down or restrict bloodflow with tights, too tight socks and boots, wet socks, all the same mistakes. In a lot of ways -25 to -35 are more dangerous because people don't prepare enough, and the chance of getting wet is higher. When you know its going to be -45 you don't screw around, and you plan your moves.

My dad had to go fix an aircraft out on the tarmac, it couldn't be moved inside. OHS rules were that he could be outside for 90 seconds due to temp and wind. The guy who was going to drive him out to the airplane was Inuit, and was only in jeans and a hoodie. My dad commented that it was one thing to act tough, but that seemed a little insane. The guy replied with "oh, you thought I planned on getting out of the truck!" and doubled over laughing. For reference the truck had two aftermarket heaters built in. He's sure he heard the door lock click behind him when he got out.

Sorry that this is a little disjointed, I don't want to tell you things you already know, I know you've probably got as much time in the snow as I do, even though I'm a fair bit younger. For reference our inuit parkas were made when we lived in Yellowknife and Churchill, and are more a hybrid between Inuit and Dene designs, as those are both transitional zones between tribal groups, due to geography. I'm also trying to pick through memories that are from when I was pretty small.
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Re: Fur ruff for a winter parka

Postby Moondog55 » Thu 13 Dec, 2018 10:48 am

I've got plenty of snow experience here and a little in the Adirondacks in New York but I have never encountered -40 and lower and I do not want to make any mistakes.
I found -25C easy enough even with a wind blowing, I am warned that the difference between -25C and -40C and lower is huge
I have a lot of cold weather gear I have accumulated over the last year or so in preparation but it isn't yet integrated into a system. I have just been told by somebody in Fairbanks that my Mountain Hardwear Absolute Zero park isn't suitable simply because it is too short in the body, here was I thinking it would be too warm. Down South I know I will be OK, that is Boreal forest and I'll be with mates who hot-tent camp.
I am beginning to think that my original plan to use my surplus M-65 fishtail parka as my primary garment was the correct one once I get out of the trees. With appropriate layering naturally, I am planning on making a big shell parka to go over everything.
I just watched on U-Tube a video about the Canadian Rangers, they fellers doing the S&R practice seemed to be wearing a mixture of cheap synthetically insulated stuff but the 3 old men in charge of training were wearing caribou parkas with what looked like huge ruffs, these parkas looked like they came down over the mukluk tops; really ,really long. I am now thinking that a removable ruff is the better way to go and make a spare if I can find appropriate materials
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Re: Fur ruff for a winter parka

Postby Moondog55 » Thu 13 Dec, 2018 11:54 am

This is the fur I am thinking of turning into a ruff
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Ve are too soon old und too late schmart
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Re: Fur ruff for a winter parka

Postby Gadgetgeek » Thu 13 Dec, 2018 8:00 pm

Cheap synthetics are good for those who are on a budget (gov't work) and need robust gear. Nothing will kill down faster than spilled petroleum. And down is an industrial sort of thing, fur is possible on a hunter-gather lifestyle, down isn't. I don't know the cost of a caribou or seal coat, but I would not be shocked if it was in the thousands, Notice that Inuit gear is often fur inside, as they deal with less cold wet, where as russian and southern US gear is fur-outer, as it sheds the rain better, at the cost of lowered insulation value. (or so I'm lead to believe)
The long coats help keep wind from robbing heat from the legs at the cost of movement speed. Given that seal hunters have to stand still a long time, and the only thing they have to run away from can easily outsprint Mr. Bolt, its not hard to see why they would choose that. Short coats loose a lot of heat at the waist, its why you often see hard-core cold weather pants as full bib-overalls. There was a fashion fad of pants only insulation for snowboarders that kinda took over in the 90s, but again, you have a heat loss problem, so the serious stuff stays overlapping. Snowmobile gear has the disadvantage of high wind-chill, a sitting position, which means short coats expose the lower back (cold kidneys is a cold body), and low overall body movement. That's why you see it with really thick shells compared to other gear, almost to the level of motorcycle gear. The mitts also have fuzzy patches on the back, we called them "no-rubs" because you use them to warm your face without rubbing. or one to wipe your nose, and one for the visor, don't forget which is which!

The bobtail should be a good basis to work from, and you look like you have a decent size bit of fur to work with. Backing it, and adding a zipper should be possible, as would buttons or snap-studs. The fur is more of an air-dam or windbreak than anything else, so if it sits around your face like you have it, and even a bit further out it will be doing its job, hoods restrict view, so no point compromising and trying to avoid the tunnel. without knowing the type of fur, I'd avoid having it in the breath stream as it will likely just ice up, and instead use some other sort of breath guard so that you can avoid breathing dead-cold air.

As far as temps go, -25C and 35kmh wind which is really not that hard to get, is a -40 equiv windchill. Generally colder temps mean less wind (generally, -40 at 35 is miserable) So its unlikely that you will be totally under prepared. Again, the same rules as sleeping bags, don't overcompress your insulation, have good depth, good blood flow, keep it dry. A couple of chemical hot packs, or fuel stick powered heaters if you need the extra help, and no problems. As I said, common mistakes are the same as here, too tight of shoes, too long without checking your health, low calorie intake. Wind and wet are your killers so keep them under control and the rest handles itself. Its why gore-tex was so huge for winter gear, block the wind without trapping all that water, it sucks in high humidity, but in the dry, its pretty stellar stuff. Even really hard tight canvas struggles to compete with fresh gore-tex or any of the competitors, and with the weight reductions even better. Canvas still handles sparks far better though, so the trad guys still go natural fiber or leather for that reason. It may be that I'm just used to thinking about it, and have dealt with sub-par cold weather gear all my life (I also have the thermal mass of a wet mouse) but its more about knowledge than about kit, though kit certainly helps, its not a means in itself. I've seen many cold folks wearing thousands in high end gear but not knowing how to stay warm.
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Re: Fur ruff for a winter parka

Postby Moondog55 » Thu 13 Dec, 2018 8:52 pm

Well the fur in the picture is supposed to be timber wolf, that is what it was advertised as, it could be Alsatian dog for all I know.Your comments on Goretex are interesting as there is a heated debate on various forums about its use in conditions colder than -25C. I'm on the fence as down to -25C I have not had the problems other elude to. My US Surplus parka is far to warm and heavy here except for the worst of out weather but my current version doesn't have provision for a ruff [ a cost cutting exercise there] as it's the desert version, to take that would add another 2 kilos to my suitcase and I have 2 suitcases of clothing already Camping and climbing gear will be extra.
I don't actually mind making too much clothing as a lot will be gifted to people who have invited me to stay with them while I am over there.
Yes the hot tenting crowd to which my mate belongs insist on wool with canvas and leather but as I have ruined a good Goretex parka brushing up against my own tent stove for a microsecond I can see their point.
When you are the size I am the sheer size of these traditional deep winter garments is astounding, as is their weight. I'll buy some craft knives tomorrow and start straightening out this old fur, then I'll start hand sewing a tape along the edges to sew the zipper and buttons to, that should take me well past Christamas
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Re: Fur ruff for a winter parka

Postby Gadgetgeek » Sat 15 Dec, 2018 1:08 pm

I've heard both sides on the gore as well. I think that a lot of the problems stem from poor use, or people having expectations that it's magic. There is also a lot of "I'm right just because" that happens on forums because no one wants to believe they've been doing something wrong their entire lives. It shocks me how many people still think of hypothermia the way we did back in world war one, and how different the newest evidence based methods are. But at the end of the day, there are so many factors involved, it does come down to the individual, one size certainly doesn't fit all.
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Re: Fur ruff for a winter parka

Postby Moondog55 » Sat 15 Dec, 2018 1:38 pm

Doing some more reading it seems that the actual ruff isn't all that difficult. So what I need to determine now is what garment I use with the ruff Or garments as I'll be making it removable although a few mates have told me to whip stitch it on and simply cut it off for laundering
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Re: Fur ruff for a winter parka

Postby Gadgetgeek » Sat 15 Dec, 2018 5:20 pm

How much do you wash your winter gear? I guess for storage. Up to you thought.
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Re: Fur ruff for a winter parka

Postby Moondog55 » Sat 15 Dec, 2018 9:48 pm

Well the Goretex you have to, as often as possible I guess the Ventile when I finish once a year [ as you say, before storage] if the ruff went on an insulated parka when-ever it needed it.
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