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Gear

Mar 15, 2017

Avoiding Hypothermia: COOPH Field Jacket Review

Through gale force winds and rain, we test the “ultimate all year, multi-purpose photographer’s assistant” with Stotz fabric—on the same ocean it was originally designed to protect WWII pilots.

WRITTEN BY

Lorenzo Fornari

Bold claims and inspiring descriptions are the norm nowadays and we’ve become understandably jaded, taking everything with a grain of salt. I had doubts that the COOPH Field Jacket, which isn’t much more than a lightweight cotton fabric shell, could hold up to the claim that the same material had been developed to protect WWII pilots from the ice-cold Atlantic Ocean—if and when they would end up in the drink. So when I went to Biarritz last spring, I brought it along with me, to the very ocean the original Stotz fabric was designed to protect pilots from.

Early one morning I awoke to uncertain weather and undertook the solid half hour walk along the coast to a surf lesson slightly outside of town. In that time, myself and The Outdoor Journal’s editor-in-chief Apoorva Prasad, got ambushed by mother nature and endured just about every weather system you could imagine. What started as very reasonable, light, cold rain for the first half of the walk suddenly became gale force winds, sheets of glacial rain, a near freezing cold snap, followed by hail and snow… suddenly to stop and have a few rays of sun tease us into believing it was over, only to go back to steady, miserable, cold, and heavy rain. There was no shelter along the coast nor did we bring any other protection. We just kept walking; both cursing and laughing at the surreal weather. The one thing I did happily notice was that while I may have been a bit cold, I was completely dry under the jacket.

The following months, even as the weather warmed, I would find myself just about inseparable from it, even wearing it as a sort of ‘adventure blazer’. The large inner pocket is exactly the size of a couple copies of The Outdoor Journal, all the extra pockets allow me to carry copious amounts of accessories, the secret zipped inner pockets keep my mind at ease when I travel with important documents and wads of cash from countries that print money like it’s going out of fashion. Speaking of which, despite the field jacket’s design being fundamentally the same since the early 40s and looking almost identical to its most famous iteration, the M-65, the quality of both the craftsmanship and textiles start to make you understand the rather steep €400 price. The design is a timeless classic and the extra attention to detail make it fit damn well.

The inner pocket fits everything from a Macbook Air to a copy of The Outdoor Journal magazine
The inner pocket fits everything from a Macbook Air to a copy of The Outdoor Journal magazine

Despite the beatings it has taken over the last 9 months, my COOPH field jacket is still in excellent shape. The colour hasn’t faded and I know it will accompany me for many, many years and countless more adventures.

So, how does it perform as the photographer’s “ultimate all year, multi purpose assistant”? It won’t check your lighting settings nor hold a bounce for you, but it can carry quite a few lenses, flashes, batteries, even an iPad or MacBook Air in that nice and big internal pocket. There’s enough pockets to properly keep everything organised and separate. So many that you may end up losing memory cards and filters. Not like that’s ever happened to me, of course…

To take it a step further, looking at COOPH’s store, they have a new ‘photography’ hoodie available. Combining the two, you would likely have a killer one-two punch. An even better all-in-one travel and photographer’s ‘assistant’ solution.

The verdict:

Pros
Excellent textiles and craftsmanship
Timeless classic design
Light weight
Waterproof but breathes
Pockets, so many pockets

Mehs
Despite it being billed as a photographer’s jacket, there’s no ‘lens-cloth-on-a-string’ included, or some sort of surface neatly hidden away with that ever-necessary material. Even one, dedicated pocket that is lined on the inside with it would make a difference.

Speaking of pockets, the lower, outer, pockets accumulate sand, dust, and crud quickly. Putting a lens or sensitive electronic devices in them isn’t the best idea. That’s where an inner-lining would really be necessary, that I could pull out and turn inside out to clean easily.

Price: If I didn’t know more about it, I would find the price to be way too high for what looks like ‘yet another field jacket’, but after spending so much time with the jacket, I understand why the price-point is what it is.

Cons
None

Field Jacket ORIGINAL
$398.00
material: 100% Stotz EtaProof® cotton
Price: €398

Available in black, dark denim blue and camel brown at www.cooph.com

Feature Image © The Outdoor Journal

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Adventurers & Explorers

Jun 29, 2018

Nixon Regulus: Timekeeping on the Engagés Greenland Expedition

During May of 2018, The Outdoor Journal reported on five French entrepreneurs who were traversing Greenland’s toughest terrain.

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WRITTEN BY

Maxime Lainé

Their goal was to complete 700km in 30 days. In the face of much adversity, the expedition finally made it home to Paris, having being trapped at the finish line without food, and unable to extract themselves due to bad weather.

You can read about those final few days here, and how Maxime Lainé reflected on the journey here.

Before leaving, Max and the Engagés team had to make key decisions regarding the kit that they would carry. One of those choices regarded timekeeping, and Max shares his experience of using a Nixon Regulus watch below.

The is the most impactful experience of my life… for now.

I crossed Greenland, from west to east, along the Polar Circle with 4 other entrepreneurs. It took 31 days to cross more than 550 kilometres of ice by foot, experiencing the harshest environment we had never faced. For this reason, we invested 6 months of preparation, mentally, physically, and planning our equipment. We tested and choose every piece of our equipment very carefully because eventually, our lives could depend on it.

We are very touched that some companies supported us in this crazy adventure, all in their own way. This was the case for Nixon, the watch brand. Via my role as co-founder of Weesurf, I have already had the chance to work with them.

I was very impressed by their will to take risk, and to give a chance to a young startup. That’s what I liked. As such, I decided to knock to their door again, this time with the opportunity to share with them another, but a very different adventure.

Juliette, Angélique and Louis from Nixon, provided each member of the Engagés team with the Nixon Regulus 46MM.

This watch was with us throughout our adventure, it faced the same extreme conditions that we faced, and today I’m still wearing it in one piece as I write this article (which isn’t the case for my toes). For this reason, I want to share with you some key points about this watch, and what makes it’s different.

Resistance

This is the most resistant watch I have ever had. As a surfer, I used to have a lot of them, but no other had ever convinced me that it is truly resistant. We were consistently facing extreme temperatures reaching up to -40°C, and still I never had any battery or display problems.

Weight

At first glance, it might look quite heavy, but is actually surprisingly light. For obvious reasons, this was a key point for us, we needed to carry as little weight as possible. The Regulus passed the test.

Features

The Regulus has what you need: a clock, stopwatch, alarm and timer. However, there is one feature that I particularly appreciate, much like the world clock on our phone, you can set two different times. It was very helpful for us to know what time it was in France, when we wanted and needed to think about our friends and family. When we were thinking about what they were doing at that very moment while we were on our side of the world facing the harsh environment. It helped us keep moving forwards, no matter what. It helped us overcome those daily challenges, and make it to the other side of Greenland.

Bracelet

Throughout the whole expedition, I didn’t take it off, when were setting up the camp, when we were walking, when we were sleeping, when we were cooking, when we were fixing stuff… it never broke. There is an extra element that keeps the bracelet well locked, as if it was made from just one piece, so it fits perfectly to your wrist.

Design

The watch might look quite big off the wrist, but the buttons are smoothly incorporated into the watch, so clothes did not stuck when we had to remove or put them on quickly. More than anything, the buttons are easy to tap, even when wearing gloves. This is a huge advantage because that last thing that you want to do is remove our several pairs of gloves when it was -40C.

Style

Robust and modest. It just rocks.

If you would like to find out more about the Nixon Regulus, then you can do so here.

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