Best Full-Length, Black, Waterproof DusterPosted on Oct. 14, 2010
I have been looking for the best piece of outerwear that is: 1) Full Length (covers my pants), 2) Waterproof, 3) Rugged. That garment seems to be a “Duster”.
A Duster (or “Drover” in Australian English) is a full-length garment originally designed to keep dust off your clothes while riding a horse. In addition, many are designed to be waterproof by using materials like waxed canvas. Perfect for a blustery rainy day. As far as I can tell, the duster is like a trench coat, but longer.
Dusters can also be made out of black leather, in which case they look pretty bad-ass:
After a few days of searching for dusters, these are the best that I found:
- Outback Trading Company
- Down Under Saddle Supply
- Barbour Burghley
Outback Trading Company
The Outback Trading Company has two varieties of duster: A cheaper 2042 Low Rider version, and a higher quality 2055 Leather Collar variety, both made of 12 oz oilskin (a tightly woven polyester/cotton thread soaked in oil). The leather collar version also has double needle stitching for improved resiliency. Both can support a snap-in wool liner, making the duster comfortable down to 20* F (source?), though most dusters are sized a bit large to accomodate layering of your own choosing.
The Outback Trading Company dusters are generally favorably reviewed (e.g. by Amazon shoppers). Although one user pointed out that in recent years Outback Trading has outsourced to China and the quality has deteriorated. He mentions the stitching is no longer as good, and I wonder if he’s mistaking the Low Rider for the higher quality Leather Collar duster, which has the double-stitching. In addition, he says the oilskin fabric is now 10 oz, when it used to be 12 oz. The Outback Trading Company website lists the fabric as 12 oz. However, the webstore (mawebcenters.com) is based in China, so it could be that assembly is outsourced there as well.
Schaefer Ranchwear is an American company with american-made products catering to ranchers. Their duster is made of an 11 oz “Fenceline” Canvas (I couldn’t find what that means). One nifty feature is that it has snaps to shorten the length by 12 in., if desired.
The Filson duster is made of 8.5 oz “Shelter Cloth”, a 100% cotton duck that has been impregnated with paraffin-based wax. Its cape cannot be removed, unlike the rest of the dusters here, although, it’s less noticeable. It seems to be a slightly more fashionable duster and is consequently more expensive. The only issue is I can’t determine what color it actually is! Filson lists only one available color: “Otter Green”, but I’ve seen three pictures online of varying darkness. The nearly-black one is really cool looking, I think! Unfortunately, while the darker brown is fine, the pale one is kind of ugly, so ordering it online would be a bit of a gamble!
Down Under Saddle Supply
I found two versions of the DUSS duster (heh), the original “Drover”, and the “Tasman.” The Tasman seems to be better, as it’s heavier, at 16 oz and its cape is detachable. Plus, it’s available on Amazon, which is always nice.
Barbour is a classy company seemingly targeted at gentleman with horses (not ranchers). Consequently, their duster is the most expensive of the bunch, though comments online indicate it is the highest quality. That said, the fabric is a Thornproof waxed variety of only 6 oz, so perhaps not as sturdy.
One comment lamented the lack of inside pockets and belt.
Fortunately for me, there is a Barbour shop in Boston, so I can check it out in person!
Edited to add: I finally got a chance to check it out. Here are pictures of me in a Barbour duster. Note that the color in real life is closer to the greener one. (This helps clarify that the Filson one above is likely greener in real life, too.)
It wasn’t so comfortable, and it’s not as long as I would have liked. Also, at $500 it’s the most expensive of the bunch.
So… which one should I get?