I’m a Canadian who struggles dearly during cold Canadian winters. In Ottawa, a city obsessed with skating on the canal, ice hockey and winter festivities, I try to keep my dislike of winter on the downlow.
I’ve never been one to spend much on clothing. But, I decided, I can either live in denial or accept the fact quality winter gear is absolutely essential in a city that can sometimes hit -40C with the wind chill. So I decided this year to invest in a in a jacket. A real good quality, warm, jacket. Not the cheapy department store jackets I usually wear.
The problem is, many high end jackets are down-filled, or have real fur trim. The most disturbing fashion trend at the moment is the Canada Goose Coat. Most people are opposed to fur – but when something becomes a coveted fashion item, apparently principals get tossed out the window. It doesn’t have to be this way, does it? Can you be warm and fashionable?
Dave Yurichuck, a linebacker for the Toronto Argonauts, disgusted with the proliferation of Canada Goose, set out to answer this question. His answer? Mammoth Outerwear. A winter jacket company he created to give Canadians a functionally warm and ethical alternative to the competition. These jackets are beautiful!
Back in November, Dave started a kickstarter to get his business up and running. I helped to fund the project, and selected to receive their original jacket design, the Elk Parka, for $575, a one hundred dollar discount off the retail price.
I had found my jacket! I also had the satisfaction of knowing I was helping to support a burgeoning Canadian business built on an ethical premise. No animals were harmed in the making of these jackets, and ten dollars of every sale goes to the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals.
My jacket arrived two weeks ago. How am I enjoying it? Here’s my review so far!
It is exceptionally warm. Having never owned such a high quality jacket, I am thoroughly amazed at how warm it keeps me during my morning commute to work. I park outside, and have a very short drive, so my car never really heats up. I’ve never been able to feel comfortable on those mornings when the mercury drops below -20C. Until now, that is.
Mammoth’s answer to goose down is Primaloft Gold, which is the highest tier synthetic insulation available. Primaloft boasts that “it is the world’s best down alternative”. It’s incredibly soft, breathable, lightweight and compact. One of the things that makes this coat so stylish is that it keeps you incredibly warm without being bulky.
What makes Primaloft even more functional than down is that it is water resistant. If down gets wet, it won’t keep you warm. Not so with Primaloft, which retains its capacity to trap heat if it gets wet.
This jacket is suitable for the coldest days.
The cotton lining and the soft insulation feel like a big warm hug. There is nothing about the fit of this jacket that restricts freedom of movement and nothing rests across the body in an uncomfortable way.
It’s lightweight, slim against the body and does not weigh you down. It’s refreshing to be able to stay so warm without feeling heavy and restrained.
There’s a few neat features about the Elk Parka that make it unique.
It has just enough pockets to be useful without compromising its sleek look. There is a useful interior pocket as well as one on the arm under the logo for small personal items. I usually keep business cards, a small notebook and a pen for capturing ideas in the interior pocket.
As someone who tends to stuff my wallet and cell phone in my jacket side pockets, I appreciate how deep they are on the Elk Parka. Small items drop into the depth of the pockets and are kept there no matter how much I move around.
It has backstraps, which allow you to control your own personal climate by unzipping and hanging the coat on your back. This is an ingenious feature that keeps you comfortable if you’ll be spending some time inside, shopping for instance. However, I find the jacket breathes pretty well and I can wear it inside for quite a while before overheating.
A snowmobile flap on the inside of the jacket seals in warmth on windy days.
The pockets and hood are felt lined. If you forget your gloves and hat, just tuck your head and hands away and you’ll stay toasty.
This jacket looks so good! Within the first hour of wearing it, I received two compliments from complete strangers. There are a few things that just make it stand out from all the Canada Goose clones out there.
It is sleek lightweight, and fits close to the body. Aside from the modest logo, there aren’t and overlays or stitchings to distract from its simple good looks. Yet, there are a few bold features that really make it pop and stand out.
The white lacing and wooden buttons are a striking feature on the black backdrop. The laces, manufactured by a company that has made hockey laces for the past 100 years add a rugged appeal.
My favourite accent, however, is the red plaid lining. Weather you are wearing the jacket open, or fully done up and hooded, it has a way of peeking out and adding a flash of brightness to your look.
There are only two things I would improve upon.
I find the zipper to be a little bit finicky. I’ve learned “the trick”, but for the first couple of days it would take me several attempts to line up the zipper probably. It’s a minor problem though, and not one that affects my overall opinion of the Elk Parka.
The second criticism is that the magnets on the front flap that covers the zipper are a little weak. The do a fine job of keeping the flap closed except for the very bottom, which experiences a lot of movement. This magnets will never stay closed. Again, this is not a big deal, but I’m sure it wouldn’t take much to install some more robust magnets into the flap in later runnings of the jacket.
Overall, the stitching and materials feel solid. The Elk Parka is well made, from the choice of materials down to its construction. It looks great! The ultimate winter jacket for a functional and fashionable vegan.