Which nylon to get?

PilatusPilot

Active Member
Hello everyone, recently dug up an old cheap bomber jacket I had back in the days, I've had it for years, when I got it back in high school, my parents forced me to buy it a tad bigger so it serves me longer hahaha the beauty of having Russian parents I guess. I got it on sale at some store for like 20$ and it served me for 5-6 years, without any rips or tears. Now recently I remembered how much I loved this jacket and started looking for an authentic one. Now I have even more questions... First of, why does the nylon bomber have 524 different names? I've done my research and I concluded that the l-2b is slimmer and lighter than the ma-1? Am I correct? Okay then what about the b-15 variant?? They look the same, some have fur, others don't? Also what about the companies, alpha industries seems to pop up a lot, however I noticed that enthusiasts like you gents seem to look for vintage ones? Are new alpha jackets bad? If they are made by the same brand.. why not get a new one?? If alpha is bad, then who should I get? I'm not looking for an original vintage, I'm looking for a jacket that I can make my own stories with and a jacket that I can wear on my flights in slightly colder weather, but in that bomber style... The more I read, the more I find questions to ask. Thank you in advance for your help, it's always great to hear from you :)
 

B-Man2

Well-Known Member
I’ll be glad to try and help you out and answer some questions, but let’s zero in on a couple of them, just to begin with .
So tell me what your first question is …
 

PilatusPilot

Active Member
I’ll be glad to try and help you out and answer some questions, but let’s zero in on a couple of them, just to begin with .
So tell me what your first question is …
Thank you hahaha, well firstly, since all of them visually look similar, which would be best for colder weather? I heard it's the ma-1, but I find the sleeves to be extremely large... I don't see the design reason behind it, just think it can look a little odd. So which model would you suggest for colder weather?
 

bn1966

Well-Known Member
Nylon wise I have an L2-B for summer, MA-1‘s for the other seasons, layered underneath by degree depending on temperature. Fall my B-15D gets to come out to play and if it’s really cold an N-2B. Aside from the service issue L-2B the others are civilian copies with lightweight interlining and all are made by Alpha. Personally I like the old Alpha ‘Vintage’ series (made in USA) as everyday beaters. I also have an early issued 70’s fur hood N-2B and an N-2A from the ‘50’s…these have a heavier insulation inc wool and are warmer. eBay are my usual source for these jackets. They were all cheap used items apart from the N-2A which cost somewhat more.
 

B-Man2

Well-Known Member
Good question …. So let’s start with the MA-1. The jacket is a warm jacket if you purchase the cold weather USAF issued version of the jacket . However, there are so many commercial repros of this jacket that you’ll need to be able to recognize the difference . Yes they are bulky and if you happen to be big guy, you’ll wind up looking like the Michelin man . So you might consider going to a b-15/ b-15a or a B-10 both of which are warm jackets and have linings in the body and sleeves .,They are made from a heavy duty twill cloth… lined with Alpaca or an Alpaca substitute . So I would start by checking out those… to see if you’d like something…
Next question :)
 

ausreenactor

Well-Known Member
Hello everyone, recently dug up an old cheap bomber jacket I had back in the days, I've had it for years, when I got it back in high school, my parents forced me to buy it a tad bigger so it serves me longer hahaha the beauty of having Russian parents I guess. I got it on sale at some store for like 20$ and it served me for 5-6 years, without any rips or tears. Now recently I remembered how much I loved this jacket and started looking for an authentic one. Now I have even more questions... First of, why does the nylon bomber have 524 different names? I've done my research and I concluded that the l-2b is slimmer and lighter than the ma-1? Am I correct? Okay then what about the b-15 variant?? They look the same, some have fur, others don't? Also what about the companies, alpha industries seems to pop up a lot, however I noticed that enthusiasts like you gents seem to look for vintage ones? Are new alpha jackets bad? If they are made by the same brand.. why not get a new one?? If alpha is bad, then who should I get? I'm not looking for an original vintage, I'm looking for a jacket that I can make my own stories with and a jacket that I can wear on my flights in slightly colder weather, but in that bomber style... The more I read, the more I find questions to ask. Thank you in advance for your help, it's always great to hear from you :)
Until you know of the specific, finer details Alpha is perfect for you.

Go on budget, climate and availability until you get 'hooked'.

Good luck with that...
 

PilatusPilot

Active Member
Good question …. So let’s start with the MA-1. The jacket is a warm jacket if you purchase the cold weather USAF issued version of the jacket . However, there are so many commercial repros of this jacket that you’ll need to be able to recognize the difference . Yes they are bulky and if you happen to be big guy, you’ll wind up looking like the Michelin man . So you might consider going to a b-15/ b-15a or a B-10 both of which are warm jackets and have linings in the body and sleeves .,They are made from a heavy duty twill cloth… lined with Alpaca or an Alpaca substitute . So I would start by checking out those… to see if you’d like something…
Next question :)
I'm pretty much going to try and anwser everyone at once!! So I went to a local military surplus today, they had a few models made by alpha. I noticed that even their b-15 was pretty light and definitely wouldn't be that worm even with layers in a Canadian winter. I noticed that alpha makes them in China, which I don't mind but would of been nicer to get a brand that makes them in the us. While searching through the jackets... I found a Canadian Air force pilot winter coat that looks new, or barely used at all sold for 40$ Canadian. It's thick and pretty warm. So I got that jacket since it fit me perfectly. I'm still looking for a bomber style tho, maybe the military issued b-15 is warmer? If so, who's the company that makes the real deal for the us Air force? Because now I think I've decided to either take an l-2b or a b-15. Just not sure which brand, considering that alpha makes em in China and they aren't the warmest of jackets. Also here's some pics of what I ended up getting.

IMG_20211120_213414.jpg
IMG_20211120_213426.jpg
IMG_20211120_213450.jpg
 

PilatusPilot

Active Member
Until you know of the specific, finer details Alpha is perfect for you.

Go on budget, climate and availability until you get 'hooked'.

Good luck with that...
If I do end up getting an alpha, what would be a good price range I should look for? Because I've seen them for 50$-300$ a pop, in your opinion, how much should one spend on one of those?
 

PilatusPilot

Active Member
Nylon wise I have an L2-B for summer, MA-1‘s for the other seasons, layered underneath by degree depending on temperature. Fall my B-15D gets to come out to play and if it’s really cold an N-2B. Aside from the service issue L-2B the others are civilian copies with lightweight interlining and all are made by Alpha. Personally I like the old Alpha ‘Vintage’ series (made in USA) as everyday beaters. I also have an early issued 70’s fur hood N-2B and an N-2A from the ‘50’s…these have a heavier insulation inc wool and are warmer. eBay are my usual source for these jackets. They were all cheap used items apart from the N-2A which cost somewhat more.
Yeah after doing some shopping around, you're definitely right about them being a little too light weight, especially for Canada!!
 

Brettafett

Well-Known Member
N-2B is a good suggestion.

B-15 could also be a good call. Original versions no longer made, so you'd have search... (Drop Jorge a message ;) )

ELC or Buzz Rickson make fantastic WW2 B-10 and B-15 repros. (Not sure if Buzz currently makes the later nylon B-15s). Id say for Canada, the B-15 might be a better call, due to the hand warmer pockets and larger collar.
My B-10 and B-15s are firm favourites and daily wearers here in the UK in the winter months. But alas... this is not Canada!
These jackets may be a bit water resistant, and they handle light snow and gooty weather, but they are not waterproof.

L-2/ MA-1s would never work. Lovely jackets, but pointless if its cold, theres no collar to keep the wind chill off.

Theres also this random option. Its not modelled after any specific contract, its Cockpit's interpretation of a G-1 made in USA... looks like it could be worth a look. Looks comfy!
G-1 US Fighter Weapons Jacket Z24E005I

Practically, for Canadian winters, flight jackets will not do the trick.
 
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bn1966

Well-Known Member
Having given it more thought, if I was you I’d probably go down the B-15 type route giving you the collar option. The more modern takes often have very lightweight insulation unless you are getting decent replicas from the likes of Buzz. Alpha did make a decent copy in their ‘replica’ series (not the ‘Vintage’ line) with quality textiles and heavy insulation though they come up big so if you find one get measurements. I picked up a B-15 size 44 and it equated to at least a 48 so moved it on.
 

B-Man2

Well-Known Member
The best cold weather military issued jackets for what you have to deal with up in Canada would be N-2b and N-3b military issue jackets. Not the commercially available ones. I’m assuming that you’ll be having to deal with temperatures on the 10 F to - 10F and below ranges. If that’s correct you might consider those . Most of the jackets suggested so far are for temperatures above those ranges .
 

MikeyB-17

Well-Known Member
The MA-1 evolved from the B-15 (which followed the B-10). The B-15 initially had a cotton shell during the war, which shortly afterwards was replaced by nylon, then the collar was removed as it interfered with jet-era hard helmets-initially by simply taking the collars off existing jackets-and then it became the MA-1. The only B-15’s with no collars were the ‘mod’ jackets which had had them removed and replaced with wool ones, and were labelled to indicate this. They were, to all intents and purposes, MA-1’s in all but name.
Earlier MA-1’s up to the 70’s had wool interlinings, and were a considerably heavier and warmer beast than the later ones with synthetic insulation. Alpha were actually an Air Force contractor, and 60’s Air Force issue Alpha Industries MA-1’s are well worth seeking out (I had a ’65 which was a cracking jacket, and I’m on the lookout for another). Modern ones, as I think you’ve found, aren’t really up to the job, having become more like fashion jackets. Burt’s right, though, only the N-2/3 will cope with Canadian Winter weather-being built for Arctic flying, they are seriously heavyweight bits of kit.
 
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asiamiles

Well-Known Member
L-2/ MA-1s would never work. Lovely jackets, but pointless if its cold, theres no collar to keep the wind chill off.
I would echo this sentiment. You should go for a B-15B, C or D.
BTW you don't specify what size you're looking for; it's possible someone here may have the solution to your search.
 
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