Sunday, February 6, 2011

Review: Military Surplus Bear Jacket

 NOTE: The Bear Jacket is also called the Bear Shirt and the Bear Liner.

Being that it is the middle of February you most likely already have a heavy-weight fleece jacket that will keep you warm in the bitter cold. The problem with heavy-weight fleece jackets is that they usually cost big bucks and not all of us can afford to spend a hundred or more dollars. Rather then letting a low budget limit your outdoor activity in the winter, I will offer you a solution that will keep your body warm and your wallet fat. This solution is called the Bear Jacket.

Me wearing my Bear Jacket
I will begin by saying the Bear Jacket IS military surplus. As I’ve said in earlier posts, military surplus gear is not low quality. Many people mistake real military surplus gear with the cheap far-east imitations that are low quality and will quickly fall apart. The Bear Jacket is GENUINE mil-surp.

The Bear Jacket is very warm. In fact, it is so warm that on a hike on 22F day I had it unzipped because I was to hot and sweating. This is due to the fur-like insulation material that lines the inside of the jacket and the two slit pockets for your hands. It is similar to faux-shearing that you may have seen on the collars of other jackets except it is softer, longer, and warmer.  The designers realized that over heating could become a problem so they added armpit vents that are made out of breathable and durable water proof nylon. These do a great job of letting out heat while keeping the elements out, something zipper vents do not offer. Nylon also reinforces the shoulders, the two 6 inch wide and 7 inch deep chest pockets that are secured by Velcro closures, and the bottom of the forearms. This lets you carry out camp tasks with the confidence that nothing will rip through your fleece. These reinforced areas are not vents and have insulation underneath.

Inside insulation
Note the gap in the insulation where the nylon armpit vent is located

Insulated full-zip collar

Reinforced shoulders and chest pockets

Reinforced shoulders and forearms
This is a simple jacket, in a good way. Like most mil-surp, there’s nothing too fancy to worry about failing. It has Velcro closures at the end of the sleeves which allows you to adjust how tight you want the cuffs around your wrists. This is nice if you are wearing gloves. The zipper has never snagged or came undone and has two long nylon pull tabs to make operation easy with gloves or mittens. The pockets are also designed for use with gloves and have large openings. Those are the only features the Bear Jacket sports. The only draw back is the  Bear Jacket's packability, whether you roll or fold the jacket its still the size of a small bedroll.... Other then that there are no drawbacks. Like I said, simple.

 Simple, warm, and durable, the military surplus Bear Jacket can be found new for around $15.00 and used for as low as $6.00! It is not a cheaply made imitation; it is just cheap in price. The Bear Jacket is one of those gems that you come across for that price rarely. Even if you already have a heavy-weight fleece, it cannot hurt to pick up a Bear Jacket.


  1. Wow - that's a really good price for such a quality jacket! It almost looks like an off-colored North Face fleece. Does it tend to fit big?

  2. I love military surplus wear. You can't beat the quality and most have a nice look to them as well. If you guys are interested you should checkout Sportsman's Guide's military surplus page. They have a really wide selection and its some good stuff. I just picked up an Italian Military Dress Jacket for like 20 bucks.

  3. good review, very informative. I'm going to grab one of this. Thanks

  4. The article is really nice , and the cloths you included is nice too. Above all your site is amazing . Thanks to share this post.
    Army Surplus Store