More Than Just a Coat – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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More Than Just a Coat

It was a cold night in the fall of 1992, spent around a campfire at Langohr campground up Hyalite Canyon. Bozeman was an agricultural hub, there were 4 stop signs at Four Corners, Spanish Peaks was the microbrewery in town, and the Leaf & Bean served amazing coffee. A Purple ski coat was all the warm clothing I brought with me from my childhood home in Texas. I looked on with envy at my friends with their fleece jackets and Gore-Tex shells and decided that something similar might be a good use of my monthly funds.

After 20 some odd years, I still have that jacket and even can fit into it from time to time. I really never thought about how significant that fact is until I was skiing one day this winter with my family, when a familiar feeling came over me while descending a run just behind my 8-year-old son. I had been there before and something was the same, but I couldn’t quite figure it out. I realized that there used to be a giant boulder tucked on the edge of the groomer that we would take turns catapulting ourselves off of when I first moved to Bozeman. Then I remembered that I have a picture of myself “cranking a daffy” off that rock and I was wearing the same jacket that day as I was in that photo, taken all those years back.

That’s pretty amazing when I stop to think about it. That jacket has been around the world with me, kept me warm, kept me comfortable, and kept me “looking stylish” wherever the cold wind blows. I blew out the zipper in that jacket a few years ago and sent it back to the manufacturer – after about 20 years – to see if they could repair it for a fee. They replaced the zipper and had it back to me within a week – they never even bothered to ask me for payment details or to send me a quote. The jacket was expensive for the time in the early 1990’s, but I knew that quality would be worth the extra $50 in the long run.

I always go looking for gear made by this company – first – whenever it’s time for some new gear or clothing. Quality is important to me for many reasons and I think that a little extra money often buys exponentially more value over the long run. This jacket has been with me for almost half of my life. I can’t tell you all the brands that I’ve tried over the last 10 years that show split seams, broken zippers, loose thread, and missing buttons after just a few months use. You name it, I’ve tried it, and I’ve seen it fail; despite all of my hopes that “this will be the next that.”

When it comes to delivering on the promise of function and quality, nobody does it better. They stand behind their promise by over-engineering and relentless product testing throughout the manufacturing process. It’s funny how significant a silly coat can be in one’s life without ever even realizing it. It’s funny how I don’t even have to mention the company’s name and you know exactly whom I’m talking about. You can look at these two photos and see those moments in your own life, and if that gap in time is longer than 10 years…I’d bet that the labels are the same…