Carhartt Sandstone Traditional Coat with Optional Snap-On Hood — Review

© 2012 Peter Free


26 December 2012


Photograph of Peter Free wearing a Carhartt Sandstone Traditional Coat. 


Carhartt Sandstone Traditional Coat works as well as a good tool


This is only my second cold weather designed work coat, even after decades of working outside in cool climates.   Previously, I mostly made do with cross purposing athletic or hiking clothing.


The Carhartt coat showed me the error of my ways.  Its design and execution demonstrates what properly designed work clothing can do to make outdoor winter work more comfortable.



Test conditions


Snowy 13 degrees Fahrenheit, 20 to 30 miles per hour wind.


(Minus 10.6 degrees Celsius, 32 to 48 kilometers per hours wind.)


Obvious pluses


The coat is long enough to cover one’s waist, even bent over.  That makes a pleasant difference in wind.


There are 4 securable pockets in addition to 2 (deeper than average) exterior hand pockets:


2 generous sized exterior chest pockets with velco flaps


1 (bigger than wallet size) zippered interior right chest pocket


1 equally large velco flap left chest pocket


All the pockets are made of very heavy duty cotton fabric.  You will not have to worry about pocket contents easily abrading their way through.


Exterior fabric is a sturdy, wind resistant 12 ounce cotton duck.  The coat interior is made from a nylon quilted polyester lining.


Shoulder seams are triple stitched, with “bi-swing” folds that allegedly allow a larger range of shoulder motion.


There is an interior drawstring (adjustable at both right and left sides) for drawing the jacket more snugly around the lower torso.



A not so obvious plus — stiffness and sleeve orientation


Eddie Bauer recently advertised its DuraDown Jacket by taking a shot at Carhartt:


The old Carhartt standbys limit your movement and motion, and are just not that warm.


© 2012 Eddie Bauer, The DuraDown Jacket, Winter Outfitter Book 2012 (December 2012) (at page 32)


It is true that one of the first things that one notices about Carhartt’s heavy duty outerwear is its stiffness.  But that is not always bad.


Stiffness makes the Sandstone Traditional Coat easier to put on.  People with significant shoulder arthritis and/or multiple shoulder surgeries will not need to flail around trying to find the jacket’s arm holes.  The stiff fabric holds both arm holes easily accessible.


I can pull a Carhartt quickly on, while walking for the door.  It is only the second coat that I have owned that I can say that about.


The first was an approximately 30 year old Eddie Bauer Polar Parka, originally designed for Alaskan pipeline workers.  The closest equivalent today is the same company’s “North Slope All-Purpose Down Parka.”



Warm enough? — maybe not, depending on where you live


The Eddie Bauer advertisement is correct that this Carhartt is not that warm, especially compared to the Eddie Bauer Polar Parka (which is no longer made) that I bought about 30 years ago.


However, the Carhartt is more practical across a wider range of temperatures and its exterior fabric is more durable.


Additionally, I prefer the Carhartt’s comparatively thin polyester lining to goose down in work coats that are intended for the middle and lower contiguous United States.  Polyester loses less of its insulating efficiency when wet with sweat.  I am also less likely to boil myself, when exerting significant effort.


For warmth in a Carhartt, just buy a larger size and layer underneath it.  Not a big deal.


Carhartt shines when it comes to cutting the wind, which in many locales is more than half the battle.



Another advantage over goose down — Carhartt is easier to wash and dry


Goose down (like in the Eddie Bauer DuraDown Jacket) is annoying to wash.  There are always “do this, don’t do that” special instructions.  And down, done properly, takes forever to dry.


With Carhartt, just toss the garment into the washing machine and, afterward, the dryer on medium heat.



Optional hood — works well


The hood snaps on.  It has a two position snap closure and an additional velcro flap to snug it down.


It’s a better than average design.



Defects on my sample


The jacket zipper on my sample was sewn in with a ripple, which means that I have to stretch it lengthways to zip through it.


Metal snaps (for the optional hood) are difficult to press closed.  That was true of other samples on the store rack.  But, once on, the hood stays on.



Stiff hood’s effect on sunglasses


The tight fitting hood is stiff enough that it kept misaligning my sunglasses, by pushing the glasses’ relatively straight ear stems forward.


I don’t see a way around this, unless you wear a pull-on hat over the eyeglass stems and under the optional hood.



Highly recommended


For less than extreme cold.