This story might be familiar to those who received the first issue of the Aether Journal in print form, but we wanted take the chance to expand a little upon it and share it with the rest of our readership. If you are interested in receiving the next issue of the print Aether Journal you can sign up here.
The Field Jacket
The idea for the Aether Field Jacket came to us during one of our photo shoots. When we are on location there is a tendency for us to wander off the beaten path in search of a great shot. It’s not uncommon for us to pull the truck over to the side of the road, point to something off in the distance and say “Hey, let’s go check that out.” As we tromp off, our photographer has to quickly gather his gear and hustle out after us. He’s learned to pack light but still needs to carry a small backpack with a logbook, extra memory cards, light meter, and variety of other accessories. This got us thinking about a jacket’s pocket carrying capacity and from there the idea for the Aether Field Jacket was born.
Admittedly, the basic concept of a field jacket is nothing new. The style has had many variations, including the English hunting jacket and iconic M65 military jacket. But unlike traditional wool and cotton versions, we wanted to design one that could really stand up to the elements. A jacket that would keep you warm and dry in the rain, durable enough to be dragged through the backcountry and have enough pockets to hold all your gear.
After hearing the jacket’s intended use, our design team launched into an extensive search to find the right fabric for the job. We tested countless samples from mills all over the world before we finally found the perfect material in a 3 layer waterproof Oxford shell fabric. For storage, we included front chest pockets, hand warmer pockets, an interior zippered pocket, and a dual entry hidden back pocket. Back pockets are commonly used on motorcycle and cycling jackets and offer a great place to store gloves, sunglasses and other larger items while on the go. We then borrowed the same weatherproofing features used on our most technical ski jackets, like weatherproof zippers and seam sealed construction, to make the Field Jacket an impenetrable barrier against the elements.
When we got our first prototype back we couldn’t have been happier, but in order to give it the official seal of approval we needed to “field test” the Field Jacket. It just so happened that the arrival of the prototype lined up perfectly with a trip one of our co-founders was taking to South Africa.
So off went our one and only prototype into the wild African bush. When the jacket came back it had endured torrential downpours, thickets of dry prickly brush, and all the rigors one would associated with an extended backcountry safari. Ultimately, a few alterations needed to be made, such as including a mesh vent for the back pocket and adding zippered side vents to the underarms.
While the jacket was designed to handle the harshest backcountry conditions, we also found it to be incredibly useful in the city as well. It’s always surprising how many items we carry around with us on a daily basis: wallet, keys, sunglasses, pen, notepad, headphones, camera, etc. The Field Jacket makes keeping these items “on your person” a whole lot easier. Rugged enough for the field but with a modern city aesthetic, the Field Jacket is a great fit no matter the terrain.