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We have bought and sold in excess of 100,000+ military jackets and parkas. This gives us a good perspective on what makes a great parka. This Italian Guardia di Finanza parka would rank in the top three overall best parkas we've ever had.
What makes this parka so impressive? Well start with the style, which is clearly Italian from the sleek lines and cut of the jacket. This was not designed by some one looking for a purely functional parka they wanted the Guardia agents to look sharp. From the assortment of zippered pockets to the way the liner attaches to the shell, this jacket is the perfect mix of form and function.
|Manufacturer||Italian Army Surplus|
This thing is exceptionally well made. It stops the wind completely and it has a removable liner that when used with the outer shell is very warm. I absolutely love this jacket. I live in the south and it rarely gets really cold down here, but, when it does the wind is always blowing. Well that happened last week. I wore a long sleeve shirt and this jacket to walk the dogs. I was out in the wind and cold for about 20 minutes and never felt the cold. I really love this jacket.
Jason has given a very thorough review and I won't repeat what he has said. I have not yet been able to test the coat in winter.
The coat I received was used and was missing one collar snap and one of the (many) pocket zippers was broken. The waterproof coating inside the hood is peeling a bit especially on the seam. One of the zippers attaching the liner has, so far, refused to disengage so I have not been able to wear the coat without the liner.
The 3 zipper approach Jason describes is unusual. The zippers attaching the lining are 2-way, so with the liner removed, the jacket has a 2 way zip, convenient on a coat of this length. The center zip, the one used when the coat is in winter configuration and a good bit stiffer, is only one way. Not sure why they cut that corner.
The lining of the outer shell has a Goretex-like white coating that faces the jacket. Other jackets I have, have the coating on the inside of the shell intself, then a thin lining draped inside to protect the coating. With the Italian configuration, if/when the jacket itself wets through, the coating should keep the wearer dry, while the coating may still be able to pass vapor from the body through it. Most Goretex ceases to "breathe" (not what it does, really) when the exterior "wets out" because the vapor cannot pass through the coating of water on the fabric. Guess I will have to exercise in the next major rain we have and see how the concept works.
There is also a reinforced slit opening under the flap of the lower pockets aligned with a similar opening in the liner. I haven't figured out yet what those are for.
These jackets have been around on the surplus market for awhile now. KeepShooting has offered them in the past. I have been wearing of these coats on and off for a little over a year. Like a lot of surplus coats this one has a removable liner. Most of these coats with a removable liner suffer from the problem that the shell is too large when the liner is removed. However, this coat uses an unusual system to account for the difference is size when the liner is out. If you look at the front of the coat when the liner is installed you will see not one but three zippers going up the middle of the coat. The middle zipper is the liner itself while the two outer zippers keep the liner in place. When the liner is removed the two remaining halves of the outer zipper come together to remove the slack and reduce the size of the coat. The liner system works well; and as a result the coat still functions well and looks good as a spring or fall jacket. The liner has great insulation and is very warm for the Winter months. The shell of the coat blocks the cold winds of Winter very well.
This coat also has a lot of pockets. There are six pockets on the front of the coat. Besides the typical hand pockets, and inside pockets, there are two large front chest pockets; which have zippers under the fabric where the rain cape ends. Overall this coat does look sharp, the build quality is excellent and the coat is well designed. You can tell that controlling costs was not a concern when the coat was made. However, after wearing the coat for awhile I do have two minor problems with the coat; neither of which are deal breakers for me. First, in the roll up hood there is some sort of waterproofing. Over the years the waterproofing on the hood had begun to degrade and become sticky. I was able to clean most of the tackiness off with a citrus based cleaner; and then I used a silicone spray on the hood and it is no longer sticky. The second problem I have with the coat is that the sleeves on the cuffs of the arms are a little narrow when the liner is in; and I don’t think I have especially large hands or wrists. Both of the problems I have encountered are minor for me and overall this is an excellent coat for the price given it’s quality of construction and three season functionality.