The Eldin jacket fits our bill. It’s a Carhartt, available in traditional Carhartt colors, and made of medium-weight 7-ounce cotton canvas with a polyester mesh lining. It’s a light-weight jacket, somewhere in appearance between a traditional rugged work jacket and a casual dress jacket. It looks like a jacket that a construction supervisor would wear on a job site. With its two lower front snap-closing pockets, outside breast zip pocket, and a hook & loop closing interior breast pocket, this is a “gray” jacket that’s perfect for many months of the year. It’s long enough to drape over our belt-worn gear, too. The Eldin has an open bottom (necessary for weapon carry – elastic bottoms hang up on the gun) that’s snap-adjustable, and hook & loop adjustable cuffs. Being a Carhartt, with triple –stitched main seams and elbow patches – we also know that it will last a very long time.
Woodward Vest Vests are probably the most under-rated and under -sed cold weather garments. Many people don’t consider them warm enough for the real cold seasons, but outdoorsmen, hikers, and active outside workers have always know how to use their advantages. They also solve a cold-weather problem for people like us (cops) with – let’s not fool ourselves – sedentary jobs. Here’s when we wear a coat for in cold weather, most of the time: going between heated buildings (the PD, offices, residences, businesses, etc.), sitting in heated buildings for a short to moderate amount of time (eating a meal, interviewing a witness, running an errand, etc.), sitting in a car which is cold until it heats up. What we don’t do – again, most of time – is spend a long time outside exposed to the elements.
The problem with wearing a heavy winter cost throughout all of these activities is that it gets way too hot, yet we have to keep it on because we usually don’t want to expose all of our gear – including our gun – to the public. So we sweat in residences, in restaurants, and so on, just so we can be warm while going from them to the car. A vest is a better solution. It keep us warm enough for the brief periods that we’re actually outside, it conceals our belt-worn gear and provides extra pockets for more gear, and it doesn’t get uncomfortably hot when we have to spend time inside. If you find yourself having to actually spend a lot of time outside – at a scene, on a surveillance, etc. -- you can keep a coat in the car to put on over your vest. I used this system for years. The only issue with a vest – particularly an insulated work vest - is that they run short. That’s by design so that they can provide mobility to active workers, but those vests often won’t cover our gear. The simple solution is to get your work vest in a tall size (assuming you take a regular).
The Woodward Vest from Carhartt is one of their new items featuring the new Quick Duck exterior. Quick Duck is a cotton blend that’s water-repellent and 30% lighter than traditional canvas duck. It has a midweight polyester lining, a mock neck collar, and a slight drop tail (which adds an inch or so to the already “tall” size vest). It has two large zipper-closing lower front pockets, and a zip-closing and a hook/loop-closing pockets on the inside. It’s a Carhartt, so it’s tough, with triple-stitched main seams, etc. The zipper-closing front pockets are extremely useful in law enforcement (or for concealed carry), in that they secure the imThey also zip the right way – down to open, so you are pulling against resistance when you need to get to that gun.
The Woodward’s Quick Duck gives this garment a slightly dressier look than the usual Carhartt work vest. Like the Eldin jacket, look-wise it falls right in the middle between a traditional rugged work vest and a casual dress garment, and will literally blend in anywhere. I’m a quarter-inch shy of 6-feet even and the tall version of this vest conceals my full-size pistol in a outside-the-pants holster well.
Women’s Canyon Sandstone Jacket Carhartt makes garments for the ladies, too, and the Canyon Sandstone Jacket is just one of the many outer garments they make for them. There is something about this jacket – and indeed, most Carhartt women’s jackets – that I find very attractive. The blend of feminine colors with the rugged appeal of the coat makes for a killer combination. It also makes for superb urban or rural camouflage. A female cop or CCW carrier looks like a local woman who owns a horse or has a garden, and she pretty much blends in anywhere, and with style. This particular jacket is a classic, and is made with a traditional 12-ounce sandstone duck exterior and a Sherpa-pile lining. Two Sherpa-lined front pockets, a zip breast pocket, and two hook/loop sealing interior pockets provide plenty of room for gear. The Canyon has about a 2-inch rear tail, making it even better at concealing belt-worn tools. My wife is 5’8”, and her Canyon falls far enough beneath her waist that she can effectively conceal a belt-worn pistol.