It’s no secret around the Surly office that I love our waxed canvass jacket. Like, more than most folks I’ve met. I know what you may be immediately thinking: “But of course you 'love' that jacket Trevor, you get paid to say that!” And, I would personally commend your cynicism. Bravo my fellow cynic, I toast to your health! Hell, there is a whole lot of shit to be cynical about right now. I also feel we have a duty to scrutinize where our information originates, and be especially cautious when that source is trying to sell you something. That said, I won’t be able to alleviate your fears unless you know me personally, or if you see me riding around town. But if you do, chances are I am wearing this jacket between the months of September and March here in the Twin Cities. I vouch for this article of clothing, and think it an extremely versatile outer garment... whatever that means to you (winky face emoji).
Yours truly in my well weathered V1 jacket posing with a nice older lady I met at the arboretum
For full disclosure, I was given a V2 jacket to test and offer my opinion. And, being a huge fan of the first waxed canvass jacket, chances were good that I would think favorably of the new one - especially, given the enhancements. Thing is though, I actually didn’t want one! I protested. My old jacket is so nicely broken in; the fabric is so supple, the odor a culmination of hundreds of hours of campfires and pints at musty bars. I also think aesthetically these jackets age like fine wine. Mine happens to be both dusty in color and eerily shiny from months of wearing on the bike and on the road; from nasty basement shows to pristine Northwood’s wilderness. Pro tip: Don’t wash this thing, there is literally no good reason to, unless we are talking cat pee or skunk attack.
A too close for comfort detail of the excellent patina on my V1 jacket. This material just looks better and better with wear!
Anyhow so now you know my mindset, and perhaps bias, going into this. I didn’t want to replace my V1 jacket but given my love of the garment I am uniquely qualified to discuss it. For the record, not everyone on the team reaches my level of enthusiasm for this jacket. Some say it’s too warm to ride in in most weather above 15*F, and for others it just doesn’t fit their aesthetic. But that’s OK! This jacket, like pretty much everything we make (save for the Junk Strap) is not necessarily for everybody. So say it again aloud with me, “And, that’s ok!”.
What’s new about the V2 jacket? A whole bunch really. Let’s walk through some bullet points:
- The cut – V2 is roomier in the hips, allowing for more layering options and simply more room in general for a wider variety of body shapes. I would also comment that the garment runs kinda big. For instance, I wear a small in most things but ended up dropping to an XS in the jacket, I also prefer a slimmer fit to most clothes. I often pair mine with a XS Surly wool hoody I use as a slim but effective insulating layer for the real cold stuff.
- The construction – Improved back/shoulder yoke allows for a little more should room and fit through that area.
- The hardware – This was greatly improved this year after we had a small number of broken snaps and poor installations on the V1 piece. The new YKK hardware is noticeably heartier and the dull gray metal finish looks better IMHO over the silver hardware.
- Feature 1 – The biggest, MOST CRUCIAL addition to V2… perhaps the deal breaker for me, is the new fleece lined hand warmer pockets. If you recall, the original jacket had only the horizontal zip pockets that “doubled” as woefully insufficient warming pockets. Too small for most folk’s hands and certainly not roomy enough to house your hands and whatever else you were trying to stow at the same time. So yeah, these new fleecy hand jammers are a godsend, a veritable bear den for your ticklers. Also the front storage pockets now have a better angle and width of entry. Great for wallets, cellphones, pocket knives, snuff tins, sardines, keys or anything else you want to make sure you don’t lose.
- Feature 2 – Doubled up on the collar flap snaps! This is my second favorite improvement. Everything that makes this a darn good cold weather cycling jacket makes it an even better cool weather motorcycling jacket! These snaps are paramount to that functionality. Consider most jackets just don’t cover your neck leaving this sensitive part of your body exposed to wind-chill. Not Cool bro! On the V2 jacket we mitigated the small leaks in the neck armor with another snap. Pair this feature with a Surly wool neck gaiter and you are invincible… er, at least your neck is.
- Fabric - The 100% merino liner is new this year and is cut from the same fabric sheets that our raglan base layer, scarves and neck gaiters are cut from. And personally the color scheme of the liner’s stripes are more aligned to my goth pallet (gray and black).
- Side note – Not new but often overlooked at first glance is the double zipper… Meaning it zips both up and down… Most importantly it zips up to open from the bottom when you are overheating and need to vent. This is a cycling jacket MUST.
The Croatian Bear models the brown V2 Waxed canvass jacket's handwarming and cuff features with suave nonchalance
Merino liner, collar and fancy tag detail
Embroidery, zipper and zipper wind flap detail
Side snap and hardware detail
Yoke and shoulder vent detail
Now you know what we've changed and added to the new V2 version of the Surly waxed canvass jacket. So, is this jacket something you will dig? I’m afraid I still can’t answer that for you with any certainty. I can only speak from personal experience and say it’s a piece that has worked very well for me. Perhaps if you share my view that most cycling specific clothes are just plain buttugly, and a lot of non-cycling specific clothes lack features that make them comfortable or useful for folks who live on their bikes (pedaled, carbureted or injected), then you may also dig this jacket.
Much like our ‘Natch Steel frames, this jacket started with an idea to make something useful that either didn’t exist yet, or something we thought we could improve upon. We ended up with something we are pretty proud of, and hope will suit your needs on and off the bike, no matter how bizarre or manilla your routine 😉
Be Excellent to Each Other,