Every so often when you write for a website, you get the call that you fear more than anything… “Hey can you do this jacket review?” Not being familiar with the company and product line, at first glance I wrote the jacket off as simply a fashion piece, and wasn’t sure why we were looking at it for an outdoors magazine. That was my first thoughts when I was asked to check out the Kakadu Double Bay Bomber jacket.
Well needless to say that I went into this review with mixed emotions and a bit of a jaded mindset. All of that was quickly swept away after I spent a day shooting pictures in the jacket. It was well built and you could see that there was a level of quality built into the piece that you do not see in most clothes available today. It has all the appeal of some of the harder wearing work clothes without looking like you are ready for the swing shift. The mustard color was a good combination of looking good and not showing the dirt. It washed well and faded very little. The sleeves were a good length (this is very important to me as I have crazy long monkey arms) and the jacket stayed down while executing the plumber’s crouch.
As to where the name comes from, Kakadu is a Natural Park located in the Alligator Rivers Region of the Northern Territory of Australia and it covers 7,646 square miles of flood plains, lowland hills, and sandstone escarpments. It is home to over 2000 plant species and one of the most productive uranium mines in the world. It is roughly half the size of Switzerland. The lands rugged nature reflect the clothing and gear line available from the third generation family owned business that makes up Kakadu Trading Company.
Okay, back to the good part! The Double Bay Bomber had plenty of pocket space with the two hand pockets and the additional chest pocket. The Leather collar weathered all types on environmental conditions and several washings quite well. The cuffs fit well and were not too tight (a huge pet peeve of mine). The waist also fit snug but not too tightly. The body length was good and the jacket provided more than enough freedom of movement expected from a jacket zipped up.
The real test of any man’s apparel is the all important wife test. When I put the jacket on, she didn’t tell me to take it off or ask which thrift store I bought it at. When I wore it on date night, she still agreed to go so I will call that a success!
I cannot say enough good things about this bomber! The material is perfect for everyday use and still dresses up well. It is built truly for work and for play. The timeless styling has a western ranch-hand appeal and kind of makes me feel like I should start smoking Marbolo’s and wearing a cowboy hat!
More importantly, I know that I can get years of use out of this Kakadu and know I will be looking just as good as the day that I ripped the tags off. That is one of the reasons that I begged our Executive Editor to do an extended test on this jacket. I wanted to see if it really held up as well as it did. I wore this jacket for 8 months in temperatures ranging from the cool days of early spring through the cold days leading up to the official start of winter here in South Western Pennsylvania. I tried everything I could to deface the Double Bay short of lighting it on fire or holding power tools to it.
I wore it motoring and off-roading with no ill effects. It did need a bath a few times but surprisingly the camp fire smell aired out of the fabric without washing. The Bomber packed small enough to attend a few overlanding weekends and performed admirably. It did not get wrecked from being shoved into a bag or Pelican case and it was easy to remove while driving (not that I recommend trying to remove a coat while operating a vehicle).
The jacket layered well and never felt confining. I was able to line a sweatshirt and a fleece vest under the Double Bay and was comfortable down to 28 degrees F. Kakadu was able to make a jacket that was surprisingly water resistant. An application of wax would make this jacket almost bullet proof or at least weather proof. I am sure it would affect the wearability of the gunn worn canvas however, so I choose not to head that route.
Do yourself a favor and head over to the Kakadu website and find a good looking jacket that will impress the lady in your life, shave off the operator beard and hit the town or the trail! You can’t miss with the Double Bay Bomber or one of the other great offerings from Kakadu.
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