Rocky Mountain Featherbed first created its iconic down vest in the late 1960s in Jackson Hole, WY. Educated at the National Outdoor Leadership School and an avid outdoorsman, founder Francis “Cub” Schaefer used his survival skill knowledge and understanding of ranching lifestyle to build a comfortable and warm vest and parka with the maneuverability needed for ropework in cowboy country. A pioneer of GORE-TEX, the most high-tech fabric of its time and before most companies had heard of it, Rocky Mountain Featherbed became widely known amongst skiers and ranchers. The vests were prized for their cold-proof and heat retaining qualities like those of gramma’s featherbed. Unfortunately, the original brand closed its doors in the latter half of the 1980s.
Thankfully, 35 Summers in Tokyo, a vintage collecting company and specialists in Americana reproduction, acquired RMFB and through use of their collection of the original articles, spent 20 years of research and trial to create an update worthy of the name. In 2005 RMFB was back, complete with the western yoke and original button design, but no longer the GORE-TEX shell. Instead, 35 Summers succeeded in developing their Heritage Line Classic Taffeta, reproducing and improving the Nylon Taffeta from the 70s. By packing in more warp threads, the fabric has equivalent waterproofness to acrylic coated nylon while retaining its breathability - a sophisticated advance in both comfort and warmth. The new RMFB’s original fabrics don’t allow water to penetrate, but almost magically has properties that allow moisture to escape from the inside. Using European down in order to produce the best volume and touch, leather that is dyed to keep its original texture, and a natural Mouton collar, as well as a more streamlined cut, RMFB has succeeded in surpassing even the original.
In order to make good use of the feathers, a certain breathability is required. Therefore it is unavoidable to blow out feathers. When feathers are blown out from the surface of fabric, do not forcible pull them out. Instead, pull the feathers from the back and return them into the dough. However, a few feathers will be lost, but it’s OK - there’s plenty to spare.