Enduring clothing designs are usually rooted in necessity, and this is especially the case for the puffer jacket. After almost dying of hypothermia on a winter fishing trip in the 1930’s, Seattle outdoorsman and outfitter Eddie Bauer tried to come up with a jacket that could, if he ever faced such brutal conditions again, save his life. He experimented with down insulation, and came up with a quilted design to counteract the material’s tendency to sink to the bottom of the lining. He added a ribbed neck and cuffs to trap body heat, and the puffer was born.
Eddie’s down jackets and sleeping bags were so prized by the airmen stationed in Alaska during the World War II Aleutian Campaign that they were wagered in high-stakes poker games. When the U.S. Army Air Forces brass got wind of this, they asked Eddie to design a cold-weather flight suit for them.
It’s been interpreted many ways since, and the advent of polyester fabrics and fills allowed for cheap mass production. Puffers became a ubiquitous winter staple, with various styles and colors rising to iconic status throughout the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.
Design-wise, we’re attracted to the clean, simple lines of the basic 80’s puffer. Naturally, we wanted to elevate this into something relevant for today. Enter two materials unique to our version: Cashball insulation and Japanese Thermal.
Cashball is a down-like fill made of 95% pre-consumer recycled cashmere. It is both animal- and environment-friendly, since cashmere is a humanely harvested material and Cashball is made from the otherwise-wasted leftovers of the refining process. Like down, it’s remarkably warm, lightweight and compressible, but performs better in wet conditions and doesn’t lose its shape.
The body is lined with Noah’s Japanese Thermal, which not only adds an extra layer of warmth, but gives the jacket’s interior a luxurious softness. We love the material and think it’s the kind of detail that makes a difference.
Add to this a durable, water-repellent nylon shell, flap exterior snap pockets, an adjustable drawstring hem, and storm flap, and you’ve got necessary winter functionality without altering the puffer’s classic aesthetic. It’s everything you need with nothing you don’t.