As a kid growing up in the 80s, there were few things I wanted more than a MA-1 flight jacket. What exactly provoked this desire, I couldn’t say, but at the Army Navy Surplus where I would invariably drag my parents, the MA-1 always stood out as the one piece of gear I just had to have. Fortunately, unlike the Atari console that evoked a similar pre-teen lust, I was lucky enough to actually get my hands on one. The MA-1 began life as a new lightweight flight jacket designed to replace the heavy leather bomber jackets used in World War Two. Made from the now readily available nylon fabric, the MA-1 was a perfect compliment to the technologic innovations of the jet age. Sleek and warm, the jacket was issued to air force pilots and naval aviators of many countries and saw widespread use in the decades between the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Interest in the jacket from the private sector, driven initially by the military surplus and black markets, spurred manufacturers Alpha Industries and later Rothco to begin supplying the MA-1 to commercial customers. Owing to the significant presence of US military forces there, the jacket first became fashionable throughout Europe and Japan in the 70s, largely with punk and other subcultures. By the time I was sporting one in the mid-80s, the design had become popularized, if not ubiquitous.
Still, there is no denying it’s fashion chops. Stylish, functional, and with more than ample street cred, it’s no wonder you find the likes of Bradley Cooper and Gigi Hadid wearing one. Both bootleg and bespoke versions abound, but we challenge you to find any better than this example from our friends at Coldsmoke.
Coldsmoke is a core apparel company born, like the MA-1, out of a real need, in this case high quality technical gear for heliski guides in British Columbia. The crew at Coldsmoke took this experience and leveraged it into a clothing line for the total landscape, meticulously designed and consciously manufactured with their close-knit clientele in mind. Using short runs and direct marketing to remain nimble and unfettered, Coldsmoke deftly bridges the gap between technical performance and fashionable good looks. What better to exemplify this philosophy than a MA-1?
Stepping off from their already preeminently qualified standard issue construction, the crew at Coldsmoke has just dropped a new MA-1 in navy using dead-stock Japanese flight cloth. Only 28 of these remarkable jackets are in existence, meaning that they are rarer than a Ferrari 250 GT California Spider. Only a hell of a lot more obtainable.
Photos and words by Kellen Mohr
We loaded up the truck, hopped on the 395 and rolled into Lone Pine by late afternoon. After a crucial stop at the skate park next to a McDonald’s, we headed up to the Alabama Hills in time to catch the golden light as the sun set behind Mt. Whitney and the Eastern Sierras.
On a previous trip we had found a killer campsite tucked under a large overhang and were gunning for it this time around, but we found another car already there. So we scrambled up some pinnacles to scout for a new site, reveling in the cooler temps and soft light as the sun slipped away.
From our vantage we saw the taillights of the car at the overhang turn on. It reversed and wound away down a dirt road. We sprinted back to the truck, hopping from rock to rock, dodging angry desert plants, and mobbed to our perfect campsite. Hooting and hollering, we set up camp, then split off to get cold beer from a gas station in Lone Pine while Chris and Michael stayed behind to gather fuel and get a fire going. We returned with provisions, swapped stories around the fire, then pulled a night exploration of the canyon behind our site, scrambling over huge boulders, navigating the rocky maze with our headlamps and guided by cairns.
The next morning we woke at 7 and headed up Whitney Portal road to skate its steep curves. After bombing the few sections that weren’t riddled with gaping cracks and cheesegrater pavement, we headed back into town to meet up with three friends who were living out of cars and travelling all over the West in search of killer climbing. After taking a quick dip in a roadside creek they took us out to a route in the Alabama Hills called Shark Fin. We climbed as clouds painted themselves onto the evening sky.
Next we headed up to Bishop, where our friends showed us a secret spot alongside a rushing creek overflowing its banks with snowmelt rolling down from the huge dark mountains towering above us. We pulled off the road, circled the wagons, feasted, and hit the sack beneath the shimmering Milky Way.
Chris and I woke before sunrise and explored our surroundings as the morning sun turned the peaks bright creamsicle orange. We headed back into Bishop to fuel up at Black Sheep, the go-to meeting spot for the many itinerant climbers living out of their cars, then headed out to a nearby river to cool off during the day’s hottest hours.
When the temps dropped to a sane level, we headed over to the Buttermilks, a world-renowned bouldering area home to some of the biggest bouldering problems in the world. We lugged our crash pads up to the surprisingly empty problems and gave them our best shot.
That evening I saw one of the most breathtaking sunsets ever. A continuous lenticular cloud hovered over the sierras, its edges illuminated in fantastic shades of orange and pink as the light in the valley turned a deep, apocalyptic orange.
Earlier that day Michael had found a $15 kids bike at the Bishop Gear Exchange, and decided then bomb down to the paved highway where he vanished into the darkness in a flurry of flailing pedal strokes. We followed his erratic track through the gravel, positive that we’d find him in a heap. Two miles down the road we caught up with him grinning madly, unscathed but covered in dust.
As the darkness grew deeper, we headed north to spend the night at one of the many hot springs that boil out of the Long Valley Caldera. We found an empty spring where we whiled away the night with many a brew. Hypnotized by the Milky Way glowing above our heads, we lost track of time, eventually retreating to the truck and turning it in at 4AM. Rising in the morning, we all went our separate ways returning from what felt two full weeks of constant exploration, though we had been gone a mere 4 days.
Via Hypebeast: Premium outerwear brand COLDSMOKE returns with a seasonal addition to its 2015 fall/winter collection. Dubbed the Tech Bomber, the jacket is constructed with a Japanese soft-shell waterproof fabric that allows for optimal breathability and protection against harsh winter conditions, available in either a Charcoal or Deep Green colorway. The technical textile is bonded to a deluxe fleece lining that provides both warmth and comfort. Detailing on the piece also includes American-made waterproof zippers, heavy-duty custom knit ribbing, nylon gold-colored binding, and an inner media pocket. Combining both functionality and a rugged design, the piece is a standout wardrobe must-have for the colder months ahead. You can shop the Tech Bomber now at the COLDSMOKE webstore.
CENTURY OLD ANTARCTIC IMAGES DISCOVERED IN CAPTAIN SCOTT’S HUT
Photographic negatives left a century ago in Captain Scott’s last expedition base at Cape Evans have been discovered and conserved by New Zealand’s Antarctic Heritage Trust.
The photographs are from Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-1917 Ross Sea Party, which spent time living in Scott’s hut after being stranded on Ross Island when their ship blew out to sea.
One of the most striking images is of Ross Sea Party member Alexander Stevens, Shackleton’s Chief Scientist, standing on-board the Aurora.
Million dollar views for a few thousand swiss franks. Photos by Swiss Photographer Christian Neuenschwander
Some great animal shots from the #coldstoked feed!
2 weeks, 2,200 Miles, 41 hours behind the wheel, five states, one province, three mountain ranges, gallons of beer, tons of new friends, and countless memories. Needless to say, the Coldsmoke Winter Film Tour was a blast. Thanks to everyone who came out, got inspired by the latest winter films, shared the stoke, and picked up some Coldsmoke gear! Its all added up to the Coldsmoke Awards show, January 10th in Bozeman MT, at the Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture. There’s still time to vote for the people’s choice award and be entered to win a cat skiing trip for two at Powder Mountain, in Whistler, and $1000.
The boys from KSM collective were given 7 days to shoot and edit a 5-7 minute ski/snowboard film all within 100 km of our second home, Whistler B.C. They called it Wintertide.