How often do you use your greatcoat?

Jan 9, 2017
Cedar Park, TX
Hi all,

I've been in the hobby for about two years now. I've been upgrading my kit to much better stuff in the last year. Right now, I'm wondering how many of you more experienced living historians out there own a greatcoat and how much you actually use it?

Here's my dilemma:

I'm debating whether or not to sink money into an "OK" quality greatcoat, spend the money on an upgraded blanket, or go with a nice federal forage cap. I'm in a position financially to get one of the 3.

I currently have a Dirty Billy slouch that I use for both my CS and Western Federal impressions. I've done a lot more federal than CS lately, and I figured a forage cap would make that impression a little more versatile.

The "nicer" blanket that I'm eyeing would be of the Woolrich Gettysburg or Fort Sumter variety. I know that these are bit questionable with regard to their authenticity, but, the 'real deal' blankets are impossible to find new, much less used. I have a knapsack that I guess I can hide my current blankets in for now.

Most of the events I attend occur in the early Spring and Summer (generally in the Southern states), with one that I annually attend in mid-November in Texas. The November event can get pretty cold (at or near-freezing).

So, in reality, there's maybe one event a year where a greatcoat would get any chance at being used, so, I'm torn as to whether or not it's worth it.

I've probably answered my own question by just typing this out, but, would love to hear from some of you folks that have been doing this for a while.


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Regimental Armorer
Feb 20, 2005
South of the North 40
I use my greatcoat fairly regularly at spring and fall events but it's one of those things where I think I would advise you to grab a good forage cap.

I have an Abe Thomas blanket and an 1880's saddle blanket that I use for bedding.

IMO a good hat or cap is the first thing people notice and if it looks bad your whole impression looks bad.

Good luck.


Forum Host
Silver Patron
Mar 13, 2017
West Palm Beach Florida
I'd say hat first, especially being you carry a knapsack, for a CS impression and wanted to carry a bedroll maybe a good blanket but for what you're doing I'd go hat. I don't own a greatcoat but do have a heavy frock I wear as a dress uniform and is quite warm on the rare occasions it's cold down here in Florida.
Jan 9, 2010
I rarely ever do real cold events, don't even own a greatcoat. BUT...I live in Texas, and most events I do, are not in real cold environments. I could use a good Frock coat more than anything, I find that would be most useful in events I would do.

GOOD US blankets are getting hard to find, the Woolrich products are not 100% wool, but choises are getting fewer out there.

A GOOD hat is worth every penny!

Kevin Dally

Craig L Barry

Sergeant Major
Jan 5, 2010
Murfreesboro, TN
You will benefit from the top quality hat much more than a great coat. I use a gum rubber blanket/poncho for cold weather events and it has always sufficed, while also doing double duty as a bed roll. My column in next month's CWN is on the gum blanket/poncho. It is an extremely versatile piece of material culture.
Jun 27, 2017
Southeast Missouri
I found the overcoat to be very a useful item. It can get pretty cold at some events, and one can regret not having one. A forage cap is good, but I preferred a slouch hat. I just never cared much for the forage cap. I had both types of caps. A blanket is a blanket. I used a pre WWI blanket. Ponchos are also good, very useful as an item.

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