Discussion in 'Clothing & Footwear' started by Foxster, Jan 27, 2020.

  1. Foxster

    Foxster Section Hiker

    OK, not PC at all but does fur have any use for warm winter gear or is it just going to be too heavy?

    Was just looking at an high g/m2 alpha direct fleece and by squinting a lot it kinda looked like short-haired fur.
  2. Balagan

    Balagan Thru Hiker

    PC or not, I can't see any useful gains to be made by using fur except maybe as a ruff on a hood but that is for pretty specific conditions.

    On the other hand (corny pun alert), gloves or mittens made from sheep fur can be fiendishly warm though not ultralight.
  3. gixer

    gixer Thru Hiker

    Furry is handy in really cold conditions in places that is likely to catch your breath
    Also pretty damn warm

    Whatever happened to sheepskin coats, mega popular in the 70's, heavy but really warm
  4. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    EU regulations on disposal of treatment chemicals made them uneconomic.
    PhilHo likes this.
  5. DuneElliot

    DuneElliot Section Hiker

    I use a lot of furs and hides in my reenactment gear and decor; warm but heavy but doesn't have a place in my backpacking hit.
  6. Balagan

    Balagan Thru Hiker

    Hurrah for the soon-to-be-born-again British sheepskin industry! OK, I'll be getting my (shaggy) coat. :angelic:

    More seriously, this article about The Long, Slow Decline Of The U.S. Sheep Industry (which can hardly be blamed on EU regulations) points to loads of factors which are also true for Europe: a marked decrease in popularity of lamb meat and wool products over the last 30 to 40 years (merino niche notwithstanding), major changes in the way family farms operate (most have gone from producing a variety of crops and animals to being single or two-product parts supplier for the agro-industries), massive industrial-scale development of competing meat sources (poultry, beef, pork).

    Or maybe, EU regulations... ;)
  7. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    Sure, I was only mentioning one of the factors, rather than writing an essay at 5.40am. :yawn:
    It's worth noting though, that the US situation is very different to the UK. Wool is now baled up and used as loft and wall insulation for eco-conscious well to do folks. A sheepskin jacket for your home.
  8. Mole

    Mole Thru Hiker

    But you didn't mention it as "one of the factors", you stated it as a standalone answer, so don't expect to have such a misleading statement not to be countered.

    And wool is NOT the same thing as tanned sheepskin...

    Somerset used to process, supply a majority of tanned sheepskin in Western Europe. The decline is explained here:


    An extract (my highlight) :

    The current system, in which the farmer, abattoir, hide market, fell-monger,
    and tanner all concentrate on their own sectoral profitability, has unfortunately
    produced an atmosphere of mistrust driven by self-interest. Consequently this
    has resulted in the loss of value-adding opportunities for all parts of the
    Industry. Today’s necessarily large scale meat processing plants - with a
    throughput of 10 to 25,000 sheep per week, all of standard weights – typically
    serve approximately just four customers, and is driven by the requirements for
    site hygiene and the need for clean yards.
    In this environment the sorting of
    raw material such as sheepskins is seen as at best impractical and at worst a
    The rapid decline of the sheepskin tanning sector over the past two to three
    decades, not just in the South West but throughout the UK, has been
    associated with the trend towards exporting sheepskins for overseas
    processing; the symptoms of this aspect of the sector are examined in the
    next chapter.

    Although, the industry was already in decline by the 80s, I read that the greater hygiene requirements were brought on by measures taken to better prevent/control disease after lessons learnt from the foot and mouth and BSE problems.

    Whilst it may have been a factor, I read no mention of chemical disposal costs. It may have been one, but minor in comparison to other economic reasons. Similar chemicals are used in the relatively buoyant bovine tanning industry...
  9. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

  10. Foxster

    Foxster Section Hiker

    Umm, heading a tad off-topic.

    Guess there's not much more to be said about using fur as a lightweight clothing option? It's just too heavy I guess.
    edh likes this.
  11. Michael_x

    Michael_x Section Hiker

    I so hate people protecting the environment, regulating toxic chemicals, and safeguarding health, not.

    Others have commented at length on the more nuanced and complex history of this, most interesting, thank you all.
  12. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Ancient peoples have tanned hides since "forever' and long before 'chemicals' were produced. So it's possible.
    I guess the smell of stale urine and animal brains aren't tolerated so much these days.

    Reindeer hides make a wonderfully insulating ground cover to sleep on. Heavy to carry.
  13. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    Lol. I don't disagree with all EU regulations. (Boodly glad we're leaving the EU on Friday though).

    @cathyjc If you don't mind the smell of the stale urine, the bodily warmth of the donkey that carried the hides would probably be welcome in the yurt too. ;)
  14. Mole

    Mole Thru Hiker


    But is the clean up cost per EU directives the sole/primary reason for the decline in the UK tanning industry as you stated?


    But when did the Daily Mail kneejerk mindset ever miss a chance for posting a bit of "pc, gone mad/EU rules spoiling everything " fake news.
    Arne L., Charlie83, cathyjc and 3 others like this.
  15. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    Miaaoow. Maybe @Shewie should change the thread title to fur flying. Chill Mole, I'll go and pitch my new tent and leave you in peace. I'll wear my Irvine sheepskin flying jacket and whistle 'The Dambusters' theme while I do it.

    Edit: I whistled the theme from 'The Great Escape' instead.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2020
  16. PhilHo

    PhilHo Thru Hiker

    Not at all interesting but, the only people who know about the Great Escape, movie and reality are the British, some parts of the commonwealth and 0.001% of people in Zagan, Silesia.
  17. Balagan

    Balagan Thru Hiker

    Any good hiking to be done near Zagan then?
  18. Foxster

    Foxster Section Hiker

    I understand the off-road motorcycling is quite good.
    WilliamC and Lempo like this.
  19. Balagan

    Balagan Thru Hiker

    Only if you remember to follow the white blazes...

    WilliamC and Michael_x like this.
  20. Michael_x

    Michael_x Section Hiker

    Let's hear it for the Norwegians: Per Bergsland and Jens Müller, and the Dutchman: Bram van der Stok. The three successful escapees.

    Thank goodness only 3 days to go and it will all be over and we can get on with life.
  21. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

  22. Balagan

    Balagan Thru Hiker

    The irony. :D

    The theme from the Great escape is a fitting anthem for the England football squad after all. :roflmao:
    edh likes this.
  23. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    Right. New tent is seam sealed. Think I'll do a bit of rebuild work on my Steve McQueen Rickman-Triumph Mettisse replica this evening.
  24. Balagan

    Balagan Thru Hiker

    Surely a Zundapp would be more in theme.
  25. Bmblbzzz

    Bmblbzzz Ultralighter

    And here are the 0.001%; actually the footballers of Śląsk Wrocław.

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