Ebbelsen trekking jacket, if you could only have a single jacket ever again

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When I first came across the Ebbelsen trekking jacket I was at a loss. I realised I had no idea what “trekking” meant, or what a “trekking jacket” was, yet it was supposedly a totally Scandinavian concept. It took a while before I realised that trekking is really what we call going for a walk in the woods, or somewhere else, or even just being outdoors. And the jacket is what a Norwegian would commonly call an “all-weather jacket”. And Norwegians love their all-weather jackets. Hence we love trekking jackets. Maybe they’re even within the scope of hygge? Just kidding.

Trekking jacket?

An all-weather jacket that basically does everything has a lure similar to those huge Swiss Army knives you see in display cases, boasting 39 functions and WIFI. You can visualise how your life will become easier, less cluttered and difficult tasks will foil you no more. The tasks faced by a multi-function knife and a universal jacket are thankfully quite different, and the jacket does have a more limited scope of problems it has to solve well. When I got on the right page and understood what Ebbelsen were getting at though, it was difficult not to be impressed.

I was going to start with a brief overview of what’s on offer, but there is something else that really has to be said first: I’ve no idea who designed this jacket, but they did their homework and did it better than most. The level of thought and detailing that’s gone into this jacket is remarkable, yet subtle, as will become clear.

Dutton3 fabric is in the same family as Ventile and etaProof, a densely woven cotton fabric with added DWR, durable water repellent.

Dutton3 fabric is in the same family as Ventile and etaProof, a densely woven cotton fabric with added DWR, durable water repellent.

Let’s take a good look at this:

The starting point really has to be the main fabric. While many all-weather jackets today will be made of synthetic and technical fabrics, Ebbelsen has selected a more old-school fabric, the densely woven extra-long-staple cotton we know under names such as Duuton3, EtaProof or indeed Ventile. To my mind, a comfortable quite lightweight cotton with a fluorocarbon-based water repellent (DWR) added to make it more water resistant. While I have reservations concerning the environmental aspects of using fluorocarbons, the fabric feels great and water certainly gathers in droplets. The jacket is lined in the same fabric, to increase insulation and avoid the clammy feeling that can occur from using just a single layer cotton.

Ebbelsen have crafted some might fine pockets here.

Ebbelsen have crafted some might fine pockets here.

At a brief glance, it’s pretty much a regular jacket. 4 pockets on the outside, brass buttons, removable hood and raglan-style shoulders. When you start looking closely at the details. Take the pockets. The lower front pockets are bellows pockets for extra capacity, with rolled tops and bar tacks for security, double layer fabric inside and out, double seams around the edges and two brass studs to close it up. It’s like a masterclass in how to do pockets. The chest pockets are only single fabric on the outside, but also bellows type, and the left-hand one has a zip for easy side access. On the inside, there are two further pockets, one zipped and one with a button flap, suitable for storing the detachable hood in. The zipper has an aperture to pass headphone cables through, and a loop on the storm flap to keep the cable in place.

Already I’m seeing a jacket that is easy to live with. The hood lies flat in its pocket, instead of being lost somewhere at home (how many never used Barbour hoods are lying around, long after the jacket itself is a mere memory?). Speaking of the hood, it’s a great design. From the shape to the peak, to the drawstring to the adjustment at the rear for size. You can easily adjust it to fit right, and it stays right. It’s remarkable how many poorly designed hoods I come across when it’s really not impossible to do it right. As proven here.

The raglan shoulders are an advantage in two respects. One is that there are no seams to wear or let in the water on top of the shoulders, the other that it helps size-wise, as there are no outer shoulder seams to define where the shoulder should be. And speaking of seams, all are felled, there’s not a rough edge or overlocked seam to be found anywhere. I’m telling you, it warms the cockles of my heart (i.e. I’m very pleased). The front storm flap is multilayered and works well at keeping any wind trying to sneak past the studs and zip at bay, and the collar is similarly well-sized and useful. Cuffs are adjustable with velcro fasteners.

Other highlights are the zips. In menswear circles, there is a hierarchy of zip brands and when to mention them. RIRI zips are generally considered to be the pinnacle of zip tech and quality, and this is what Ebbelsen used. Nice, if you want the jacket to last. Add in the Cordura ballistic nylon on the cuffs and hems to protect against wear and drawstrings at waist and hem, and we should be just about done. Ah, but those drawstrings. Whereas drawstrings are mostly a string with something on the end to tighten it, these are again a masterclass in doing it properly. Keeping the string in place, spring-loaded tighteners and the tighteners are even held in place on little nylon loops.

I’d love to meet whoever designed this jacket. A modern day garment hero.

Summary:

At this point, you may be wondering if I’ve actually used the jacket, or whether I’m just nerding out on details. I can confirm that I have indeed used it, and quite often as well. There’s probably some rule within selection theory that says something along the lines of “If you have too many jackets you’ll spend a lot of your life trying to select the right one”, or maybe there’s a Chinese proverb that says “Indecisive man of many overcoats seldom leaves the house”. Which is where a jacket like this comes into its own right, as if you are undecided, or the weather is sketchy, or you just want to stay covered up, then a jacket like this will never fail you. Much like a Swiss Army knife. The screwdriver may not be the absolute best for the job, but you’ll have the screw out in less time than it takes you to fetch your special tweed of the day from the toolbox. I think that makes sense. Oh, and it’s a quite remarkable bargain as well.

Details:

  • Pros: Quality, design and price.
  • Cons: Fluorocarbon water repellant, overly branded brass buttons
  • Available from Ebbelsen
  • Price 250 pounds
  • Jacket made in China, fabric made in Switzerland

 

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5 Comments

  • Phillip 25/01/2018 at 10:35

    Hi, can you comment on the sizing please, I’m 5’11” with a slim build and I’m undecided between size S and M. Looking at the photos and sizing on the Ebblesen website it seems to be a very generous (wide) cut and I’m concerned the M would be too baggy.

    Reply
    • nick 25/01/2018 at 11:10

      Hi Phillip, I’m 5’8″ and a 42″ chest, so I went for the large. Looking closely at the measurements I could probably have squeezed into a medium, but with less room for a sweater. I don’t think baggy is really a problem here, it’s not intended to be super fitted. If in doubt though, I’d say “go large” ( 🙂 ) or email the maker!

      Reply
      • Phillip 25/01/2018 at 12:29

        Thanks Nick, most helpful.

        Reply
  • Pete Redfern 07/02/2018 at 14:59

    Bought myself one of these – absolutely delighted with it – thanks for the tip Nick, keep up the good work

    Reply
    • nick 07/02/2018 at 16:36

      Many thanks! I’m glad you like it, though I’m not surprised! It’s a fine jacket.

      Reply

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