Love this coat.

I always wanted a Carhartt coat, even when I didn’t live in the boonies where it would pay to…well, pay the extra and actually get one. I’ve worn through two canvas coats since I got here – granted one came from Salvation Army and lasted me eight years and the other was a neighbor’s cast-off that apparently just wasn’t up to the task, but what I really wanted all that time was a coat like the big boys wear. I figured this time I was going to save my nickels until I could go into a store and actually buy a new good quality chore coat. Circumstances of the past ten years have shown that the cost would be justified, and once before I died I would actually own a Carhartt coat totally without guilt.

A couple of weeks ago a Generous Reader decided to short circuit that process and just send me one. I appreciated the offer, duh, but was a little doubtful that this was going to end well. I’ve had bad experiences buying clothes and boots online, and I kind of fall into the cracks between “medium” and “large.” And then when it seemed like things had gone a little wrong, it worked out to be just what needed to happen.

Last week Landlady came up with a bunch of care packages (thank you all,) conspicuously not including a coat. Turns out it arrived at her place just in time to not make the trip. Well, that was okay, because that particular time, for the first time in six years, I was going to come back with her. And sure enough, it was there waiting for me.

It was size large, and it fit me like a tent. Seriously I looked like a six-year-old in his dad’s coat. Also it was the kind you usually see, which is quilted for some serious winter weather. We get pretty mean temperature swings here; nights are very cold, but the days rarely stay below freezing from dawn to dusk. I was disappointed – and I’m also not sophisticated enough in the art of buying things to know what to do about it. Fortunately: a) Generous Reader had bought the coat at a widespread retail chain AND thoughtfully included a gift receipt, and b) Landlady knows how to deal with situations like this.

So in the course of my week in the city, we drove to one of these stores. But this city is located in a region where winter is just another word for “less hot.” The store sold Carhartt merch, but not coats.

Landlady, bless her heart, went out of her way on the trip back up to the Gulch. We stopped at one of these stores in the big town about 50 miles away, which (I phoned ahead and asked) did indeed sell Carhartt coats. And they were perfectly pleased to exchange the one I had with me. Joy! Alas, this was in the first week in January, which you might have noticed is very shortly after Christmas. They were having a sale and trying to sell off as many of their already picked-over coats as possible, and what they had left wasn’t very encouraging.

I went through everything they had and came up with three medium-size coats in various styles. That was it. Two didn’t fit well at all. The third fit as if the Kingsman Tailors had bespoken the hell out of it just for me. The lining was a little heavier than I’m used to, but it was a cold night. I practically sprinted with it back to the counter.

The guy dealing with me at this store was nice as can be (you know I’m not real comfortable dealing with strangers) and made the whole process simple and pleasant. And since the Lair is now staying warmer than it has in previous winters I’m not really layering up the way I always used to, so I think probably the heavier lining will turn out to be a blessing.

Fits great in the body, with the shoulders and arms full enough that I can actually move them without the whole thing shifting around on me, but not so long they hang down over my hands. Double zipper pull so you can get to your belt gear without a striptease.

I Like This Coat. Thank you very much!

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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10 Responses to Love this coat.

  1. Ben says:

    It’s great that you made it work. That’s a generous and practical gift if I ever saw one.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Glad it worked out for you Joel, saved me from sending you another one in Medium

    And we got a short story or two out of that visit to the big city, so it was a win-win. Stay warm and dry, that is the key to enjoying the cold season. We here are swinging from single digits up to 30 with the occasional high of 40 which is very abnormal for January in Michigan. The highs that is, not the lows.

  3. anonymous says:

    That was completely awesome of Anon to send you a coat like that, a chore coat for those that need it is a need indeed! Fwiw, I’m a city dweeb most of the time, but the blanket lined chore coat I have is nine years old and still looks great, except for some stains its gained from some work I’ve done. They are work horses man – I hope you enjoy it.

  4. Who...Me? says:

    Tho I no longer work outside and have moved on to layered waterproof/windproof gear, I keep the old Carhartt coat and bibs in a duffle in the trunk. Once long ago on Christmas morning I broke down in a snow storm miles from the nearest town dressed for hanging out with friends…not laying under my truck along the road in a snow bank cursing at everything I could think to curse at.

  5. Joel says:

    I think that’s why I reacted so emotionally to this particular thing. I’m from Michigan, and though I mostly contrived to work indoors it seems like all my life all the outdoor-working guys wore Carhartt coats and bibs. And they seldom seemed to shiver. Like Snap-on tools in an auto shop or Ridgid tools at a construction site, a kid could grow up thinking that’s what the big boys use.

  6. Ruth says:

    I adore my Carhartts. They’re worth every penny. The large majority of my winter gear is Carhartt, including overalls, heavy winter jacket, lined zipper sweatshirt. With last night’s low of 5 degrees (before windchill) those pieces all earned their keep again and I didn’t freeze to death bringing in firewood!

  7. Mark Matis says:

    It’s a shame you weren’t able to get that in fire engine red. Just think of the entertainment you could have provided through your local bully…

  8. Mark – I checked before sending him the original jacket, no reds, only the standard rusty tan or Camo, this is Michigan after all

  9. Joel says:

    🙂 Gentlemen! Gentlemen!

To the stake with the heretic!