Lumberjacket. Purple edition. We’ve rebuilt the shirt that built modern America.
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Lumberjacks built modern America. Four hundred years ago, when the first settlers arrived in Jamestown, Virginia – a land of “goodly tall trees” – it was man vs nature on an epic scale. Back then there was no radio-controlled machinery, computer-optimised log cutters or health and safety. It was 200 years before somebody invented the chainsaw. Instead, lumberjacks built the New World’s first settlements by hand. Houses, forts, bridges and churches. And the men who said goodbye to civilisation built a culture of their own – one that celebrated hard labour, bravery, intuition and knowledge of the forest. Admired for their work ethic and physical fitness, they operated like clockwork, extolled the benefits of tackling dangerous tasks, and took pride in the quantity and quality of their work. And they did it all with some axes, saws and shirts. 170 years since it first appeared we’ve taken the lumberjack’s default uniform and rebuilt our own high-performance version, applying modern techniques to its original principles. Part shirt, part jacket the Lumberjacket is a phenomenally hardwearing outer layer that’s built for any adventure in the forest, country or city. It also has somewhere to hang your axe.
Technical details Open Accordion
Size + fit Open Accordion
Fit guide: Our Lumberjacket is designed with a regular fit.
Model wears: Patrik Ehlert is 6ft 2 / 189cm with a 40 inch / 101cm chest. Patrik has an athletic build and is wearing the Lumberjacket in size Large.
Returns and exchanges: Don’t worry if you order something and it doesn’t fit – we have a free, no hassle 30 day return and exchange period.
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A new breed of men emerged from the forest
Out of the forests came a breed of men who worked high, played big and lived hard. Treetop daredevils as great as the great outdoors and some of the hardest men who ever lived. A few passed into folklore. Jigger Johnson, the woodsman from Maine, who could reportedly kick knots off frozen logs using his bare feet. Big Joe Mufferaw, from Montreal, who took out Canada’s reigning boxing champ with a single punch, having slipped into the ring from the audience, aged 16. And the mythical woodsman Paul Bunyan, whose likeness is today displayed in giant statues across North America, usually accompanied by his trusty companion Babe the Blue Ox – who has five states still laying claim to his birthplace.
They were Kings of the Woods
These ‘kings of the woods’ developed their own language. A “bucker” was someone who cut trees into manageable pieces after they’d been chopped down by the “feller”, while the “whistle punk” relayed information between the worksite and the area where logs were dragged for loading. Some high-climbers developed a flair for performance. When they topped a tree they would ceremoniously take a pinch of snuff, roll a cigarette or stand on their heads.
They needed new clothes for dangerous work
Original woodsmen faced the kind of dangers you’d normally only find in nightmares. Falling from 300ft, burning to death, or being crushed by runaway logs. So it helped if their outerwear was bright and visible through thick forest, like the classic red and black buffalo plaid we associate with lumberjacks. Offering durability, affordability and warmth, their shirts became the uniform of America’s working man, and inspired similarly tough garments later adopted by railroad workers and Civil war soldiers. Thanks to its associations with construction and frontiersmen, the lumberjack shirt became shorthand for masculinity and strength.
An iconic shirt was born
In the September 1894 edition of Munsey’s Magazine, one lumberjack explained exactly why a lumberjack’s most important possession was their shirt. “It’s a life fraught with many dangers. Falling trees and rolling logs have caused a long list of deaths; and it is on this account that the woodman’s outer garments are of the brightest colours, blue, green, red, and yellow being the more prominent. The men are thereby able to see one another more distinctly through the thick underbrush, and by a timely warning avert a great many dangers.”
We’ve rebuilt the shirt and turned it into a jacket
From Earth’s poles to the surface of Mars, we build jackets to cope with some of the most demanding conditions imaginable. And the Lumberjacket is no exception. It’s designed to be one of the most versatile items in your wardrobe. 170 years since it first appeared we’ve taken the lumberjack’s default uniform and rebuilt our own high-performance version, applying modern techniques to its original principles. Part shirt, part jacket our Lumberjacket is a phenomenally hardwearing outer layer that’s built for adventure in any forest, country or city.
Every jacket is three layers thick
Lumberjacks would spend months sleeping in damp wooden huts in the clothes they worked in, so they needed tough gear. Our Lumberjacket is built from an advanced three-layer system that would work in any era. The outer layer is engineered from hardwearing wool and centuries-old knowledge. The middle layer is built with compressed and lightweight insulation. While the inside is lined with ultra-durable Cordura. It makes the Lumberjacket versatile in any environment, from exploring the four billion hectares of forest on the planet, navigating new cities, or working overtime in the office.
Made with one of the world’s oldest woollen mills
To build the outer layer of the Purple edition of our Lumberjacket, we work with a family run mill in Lancashire. Experts in colour, Mallalieus has over 150 years of experience working with complex designs to create bespoke shades. Colour is applied on-site by putting unspun fibres into large vats of dye bath – the same process that gave us the expression “dyed in the wool”. Made using in-house yarns that blend half-a-dozen different colours together it is the brightest and lightest edition of our Lumberjacket.
Born in the Highlands, worn in America
The plaid lumberjack shirt is timeless, and gets reimagined and readopted by each new generation. Its rich history mirrors America’s own. But these solids blocks of colour and tartan-style woven patterns, were born in Scotland and get their name from the Scottish Gaelic word ‘plaide’ – a heavy cloak or banket used to keep Highlanders warm in winter. It was designed to be tough enough to withstand whatever the forest could throw at it, yet it’s so well-designed you’ll find it in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The second layer is super-compact insulation
To keep you warm but still able to move fast, we turned to the same insulation we use in our ultralight Race to Zero Puffer. Sandwiched in between the water repellent outer material and the inner lining is a super-compact synthetic insulation which keeps you as warm as much heavier and thicker jackets. That’s because we compress the insulation down to less than a third of its original size before it’s stitched into the jacket. And while the insulation takes up 70% less space, it retains 80% of its thermal properties.
It’s built for every season
Using a single-bit axe and two-man saws, lumberjacks dealt with trees on an epic scale. They took on Douglas-firs over 350 feet high, measuring 20 feet thick at the base and weighing several tons. And they did it in remote terrain and unpredictable weather. The humid summer fog and winter rainfall was what allowed the forests of North America to grow to their immense heights after all. In the colder regions, timber was felled by axe in winter and taken by a sled drawn by oxen, mules or horses to a frozen river. After the spring thaw, the men would tie the logs together and float them downstream like rafts.
It keeps you cool in summer and warm in winter
In the cold the Lumberjacket’s outer layer will keep you warm, because the wool traps millions of pockets of warm air next to your body in its hollow fibres. And as the natural curl of wool fibres traps more air than straight fibres, the microscopic texture of the fabric itself will also retain heat. Wool will also stop you overheating in higher temperatures as it simply releases its warmth if you’re getting too hot. In summer, wool’s coil-shaped fibres draw heat and moisture away from the skin, helping you stay cooler.
You’ll be insulated even when wet
Wool hates water. Its outermost fibres are made of overlapping scales that throw off rain like tiles on a roof, so you’ll stay warm even when it’s raining. It’s an unsung property of wool that can be lifesaving. Unlike cotton or synthetic garments, the inner core of wool fibres can absorb just under half their own weight in moisture. Not until wool is saturated with 60 per cent of its own weight will it feel wet.
Wool was the lumberjack’s uniform
In 1830, an English emigrant from a family of wool experts became the first manufacturer of plaid in the United States. He would travel from Pennsylvania to the lumber camps selling woollen yarns and fabrics from a mule cart. At that time wool was the only material considered to be comfortable and durable enough to build workwear. And wool remains the original technical fabric to this day. It’s UV-protecting, moisture-wicking, anti-bacterial, stain resistant and super-durable.
Their axe was their most important possession
Away from their families and living in makeshift camps, a lumberjack’s few possessions took on extra significance. Alongside their shirt, their Caulk boots, and their Mackinaw coat, a lumberjack’s axe was their most prized possession. They would even take it to bed with them, tucking it under the sack or coat that doubled as a pillow. And they didn’t just use it to chop trees. While most loggers wore beards all year round, those who preferred a moustache-only look kept the rest of the growth at bay with their axe.
Built to carry axes and iPads
So on the side of every Lumberjacket you’ll find a pair of heavy duty hanging loops built to hang any kit you might need at a second’s notice – like an axe. The jacket also comes with two deep side pockets, two zipped chest pockets and another invisible pocket tucked inside one of those. So it carries all the gear you’ll ever need, whether you’re climbing into canopies or checking in to a long-haul flight.
You need tough clothes for a hard life
With few regulations and a free-for-all mentality, the logging trade was incredibly dangerous. The men lived in isolated camps with little or no access to water, warm meals or fresh clothes. The hours were long, the work itinerant and the accommodation rough. They worked by kerosene lamp, from “can see to can’t see”. They travelled from camp to camp, and job to job to earn a living, risking injury and death on the way. So whether you’re working in hostile and unpredictable environments, or just the daily grind, our Lumberjacket is designed to have your back.
We triple-stitch it
Every Lumberjacket uses over 60 metres of super-thick thread. The construction uses triple chain stitched seams in the critical areas of wear and stress, like the side, shoulders, arm and yoke seams. Instead of one line of thread you have three lines stitched in the same place – the same stitch being sewn over twice more. So it won’t snap like a conventional straight stitch can. It’s a technique more found in heavy vintage denim and chore jacket manufacturing, to create stronger clothes.
Easy to adjust on the move
The last thing you want when you’re up as high as a 13-storey building is resistance from your clothes, or to be messing about with buttons. Our Lumberjacket is designed to be worn with stuff underneath it. The placket and cuffs are fitted with metal snap fasteners so they’re easy to open with one hand. And the sleeves are designed to roll up and stay rolled.