Rain vs jackets

Discussion in 'General Flight Jacket Discussion' started by Greg Gale, Jun 21, 2018.

  1. Greg Gale

    Greg Gale Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    308
    OK, I know there's been countless threads about this, I've read them all (twice), but they all contain very contradictory information and I'm kinda lost. Better safe than sorry, I thought I should double-check:

    - If I wear my A-2 in pouring rain, can it be damaged?
    - Will it necessarily shrink?
    - Or, will it loosen up and take my body shape?
    - Is there a way to avoid shrinking apart from not wearing it in the rain?
    - Would my goat G-1 react differently to rain?
    - To summarize: shrinking is what I want to avoid here.

    There is a massive cold front coming tomorrow with thunderstorms, so hurry up with your answers, haha :D

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Smithy

    Smithy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,937
    Location:
    Norway
    Greg, I got caught in a real downpour yesterday in an A-2 (goatskin) and it was fine. In my experience rain can have a tendency to make the grain pop more and increase some creasing depending on just how wet it gets (this is why some guys do water treatments - hot or cold on their new jackets). Shrinkage? Can't say I've ever noticed significant if any noticeable shrinking from getting caught in the rain. However I think you could experience shrinking if you got caught in the rain and then put a jacket by a heater/fire/heated floorings or any aggressive heat source to dry. I just let them dry normally same with anything else leather.

    I got caught once in a downpour in my Irvin and I don't recommend that. It didn't do the jacket any harm at all but wet sheepskin is bloody unfortable and it took about 4 days to dry!
     
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  3. D97x7

    D97x7 Active Member

    Messages:
    80
    Location:
    Somerset, England
    I wear all my jackets in the rain, can't say I've noticed any significant shrinkage. I only have one A2, a BK in Liberty, which seems fine in the rain.
     
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  4. Greg Gale

    Greg Gale Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    308
    Thanks. This is something I didn't really care about when I wore my Cockpit A-2. I wore it in rain and sunshine, wore the heck out of it, and the jacket that was originally a little snug in the chest and shoulders eventually started to fit me comfortably. Now that I spent a fortune on an ELC I'm more precautions, maybe I shouldn't be...
     
  5. Smithy

    Smithy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,937
    Location:
    Norway
    Compared to some I'm probably a bit of a bastard with my jackets. I wear them rain, hail and shine and am very hard on them - I've worn my B-10 to build a verandah and to restore a boat, and the Irvin is frequently used tobogganing.

    There's a tendency to molly-coddle these high end jackets because of the enormous amounts of cash invested in them but they actually look better (and more historical) the more you use them and the less you worry about them.

    Just my own experience.
     
  6. MikeyB-17

    MikeyB-17 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,935
    Location:
    Cornwall, UK
    Hammer the hell out of it. It will be all the better for it. Don’t mollycoddle it. They were designed to be worn in 1930’s aircraft. There’s a reason why all those guys in WWII look so cool in their A-2’s, and it isn’t because they were afraid to wear them in the rain.
     
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  7. Dr H

    Dr H Well-Known Member

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    3,552
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    948E5296-6310-4BD3-B505-52DB9E1AFE0A.jpeg Absolutely agree. My Journeyman got very damp walking around Bristol yesterday (but kept the water out) and I can’t imagine that this Brakeman has been folded neatly and packed away after each use...
     
  8. Falcon_52

    Falcon_52 Active Member

    Messages:
    766
    Location:
    Iowa, U.S.A.
    Greg:

    I have not noticed any shrinkage from any of my chrome-tanned or veg-tanned leather jackets and they have all been soaked all the way through with rain (multiple times).

    Noel
     
  9. Brettafett

    Brettafett Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    350
    Location:
    LONDON
    Greg, from personal experience, I’d say not to worry too much about the rain. It will certainly serve to add character to the jacket (popping grain, creases etc) and I recon the jackets will ultimately conform to your person that much better, over time.
    I don’t think there will be any significant shrinkage, especially not with the goat… As said above, just don't hang near a heater to dry or something like that... I know you know this.

    With some horsehide jackets (for me, I'm referring to A-2s) , as the jacket gets wet and you wear and move around in it, the jacket will loosen up a bit sure...
    However due to creases forming in the arm pits and elbows… you may find the sleeves shortening a touch.
    I’ve also found some horsehide A-2s shortening ever so slightly in the back after a while, possibly due to wet leather drying and then shrinking very slightly and/ or creases forming across the back, which is also normal. Probably a combination of things...
    I've found a difference of between 0.5 and 1 inch in back length with some jackets, after measuring again a few months or years down the line.
    The knit also tends to loosen up a bit after it gets very wet.
    This is why I usually add a bit of length to my jackets , just to account for this wearing in. But, this is a quirk of mine ;)
     
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  10. Cocker

    Cocker Active Member

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    323
    Location:
    Belgium
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  11. johnwayne

    johnwayne Well-Known Member

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    1,223
    Much like good leather shoes, if you get wet just let your jacket/a dry naturally and all should be well. I’ve got caught in the rain in all my jackets and never had an issue albeit never really got a true soaking but my A1 being cape skin is the only jacket that seems to actually soak in the rain whereas my A2’s and G1’s do repel to a degree normal showers. Just don’t force dry any leather!!
     
  12. Steve27752

    Steve27752 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,579
    Location:
    Berkshire, U.K.
    - If I wear my A-2 in pouring rain, can it be damaged?
    - Will it necessarily shrink?
    - Or, will it loosen up and take my body shape?
    - Is there a way to avoid shrinking apart from not wearing it in the rain?
    - Would my goat G-1 react differently to rain?
    - To summarize: shrinking is what I want to avoid here.

    No
    No
    No
    No
    Yes, collar retains water for longer
     
    Greg Gale likes this.
  13. jeremiah

    jeremiah Active Member

    Messages:
    230
    Location:
    Mississippi
    Agree with all here. You have seen my ELC. Wear it everywhere and in a weather. Only looks better. Biggest thing to remember is how you let it dry. Either wear it or lay it somewhere cool where it can dry slowly. If you are repeatedly getting it soaked, every once in a while apply a very light coat of leather conditioner as it’s drying. A very conservative amount.
    As leather dries the natural oils in it will begin evaporating out of the fibers. You just want to replace them once in awhile.

    Remember. Leather as it tans is in a vat of liquids including water for 2-6 months. Or for chrome tanned weeks.
     
  14. Persimmon

    Persimmon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,350
    Location:
    Nottingham England
    So in summary Steve ... is that yes or no !!
     
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  15. Pilot

    Pilot Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    788
    If a good quality leather and knit system...( as used by prime makers) no worries.......
    Low cost...good for action man and or trash can...
     
    Art likes this.
  16. B-Man2

    B-Man2 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,513
    Jeremiah
    I’m proud of you buddy.
    You’ve come a long way in the last couple months with regard to how to treat your A2 jacket.
    Remember your post of how to best package your A2 jacket to avoid wrinkling the leather when you move?
    You’ve got it down now brother ... wear it like you stole it and beat the piss out of it. It only gets better looking with time and wear.
    Cheers my man!!
     
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  17. Skip

    Skip Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,158
    Location:
    Great Southern Land
    if it gets wet dry it naturally or while wearing it.

    In our hot oz sun drying wet leather is not advisable, the leather WILL shrink causing other issues with cotton thread and lining. It returns to shape with some leather conditioners like Vaseline/ pecards etc but the other non leather areas will have already been changed during the sun drying. Dry it with you in it or in ambient normal temps

    On side note, I like the well used look and mine often get wet and abused. My opinion they look all the better for it
     
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  18. unclegrumpy

    unclegrumpy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,531
    This pretty well sums up my experience with a number of brand new A-2s, including a number of Goodwear and Eastmans. I think you can expect about 5% shrinkage, with the most noticeable amount in the sleeves...that is compared to a fresh new stiff out of the box jacket. There is also some stretching...arm pits...elbows...and a few other places. I think this is why many find what fit the best on day one, gets passed along down the line. Especially if the jacket is worn in the rain and used like it should be...
     
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  19. Southoftheborder

    Southoftheborder Member

    Messages:
    40
    I've washed lots of jackets to try to shrink and soften them and had hardly any shrinkage at all. Though the grain is improved and they end up more broken in . I've also put chrome tanned jackets in the washing machine and dried them in a hot conservatory and they haven't shrunk more than a tiny amount. But I wetted the arms of a vegetable tanned Eastman A2 that's a couple of years old recently to try to shrink them and they darkened dramatically - almost to black in a couple of places. They didn't shrink though. But where water splashed on the body of the jacket small dark seemingly permanent water stains also appeared. So I wetted the body of the jacket with cold water to blend in the stains and it darkened to match; and now a couple of weeks later the very dark areas on the arms aren't so noticeable and the whole jacket is several shades darker from the water.

    I've never had a jacket that darkened or permanently stained from cold water like this one before. But I have heard of it happening to expensive vegetable tanned handbags and the like that have been rained on. This A 2 is time worn and I suspect the finish has been removed in the process leaving it like blotting paper. Just rubbing it with a damp sponge darkens it; and I mean semi permanently because it doesn't just dry out and lighten in a short time like any other leather I've ever sponged.

    I recently read of someone else having a problem with his Eastman A 2 that got rained on as well. In his case it stiffened and darkened and was ruined when it dried out.
     
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  20. unclegrumpy

    unclegrumpy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,531
    I think South the border brings an interesting point to the discussion....that is, there is not a universal answer to this question, and maybe by "shrinking" in many cases what is meant is "changing shape".

    There is also the leather and finish on the ;eater that was used. A great example being some late 1980's/early 1990's Eastmans that never wanted to break in, and could be worn in the rain like they were rain jackets, with little or no change. Late 1960's/early 1970's issue G-1s often fall into that category as well, as does many of the lesser A-2 knock offs from the 1970's to 1990's.

    As a matter of fact, I think one of the bigger advances in reproductions over the last 10 or 15 years, is many of them actually now wear and break in like originals did. But then again, not all originals behaved exactly the same way either.

    Anyway, I am not sure how to break this down, but I do think many of us automatically start to focus in on the more recent, better quality reproductions...which for the ones I have most experience with...Eastmans and GWs, typically do shrink and/or change shape a bit. I also find with rain and wear, the leather can incrementally feel thinner as well...but that is starting at a point where when out of the box new, the leather felt somewhat too thick for a typical original A-2.

    Which all leads to one of our great mysteries....the "when new, you start from here, but after you wear it like you owned it back in the day, where will you end up?"

    I think the answer is there is not one answer, but Skip, Smithy, Dr H and others have the right approach...just wear the bastard, and if it you later don't like it, move on to something else....it is not like you are getting married to it forever, and a bad decision ruins your life....thank god for that, because I would hate to see a few of us on the hook for "child support" for every decision we made. :)
     
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