Friday, September 2, 2011

The Coat of Arms

I have a confession. I love coats. Everybody has their thing. Mine is coats. So when it comes time to write an article about the use of coats and jackets in the post Zplague world, I find it hard. You see, there are only certain coats that will really be useful, for in this situation coats need to do more than just keep us warm. They must keep us safe and clean.

To cover the immediate use of coats, any coat that will keep you warm is good for, well, keeping you warm. Staying warm can mean the difference between survival and an insatiable hunger for human flesh. Staying warm is vital.

Gore-Tex will keep you dry, but watch out for rips.
That said, if your coat offers you no protection other than warmth then it is sorely lacking in defensive ability. Past staying warm, you will want a coat that will keep you dry. Yes, that's partly about snow and rain and hypothermia and whatnot, but it's mainly about blood. Cotton will soak it right up. Once that happens your coat is nothing but a vessel for transmitting the disease. You will have to ditch it as soon as it gets bloody. Wool has the same issue. Those two materials are hydrophilic, which means they suck up moisture. Now, that will keep you warm in the rain, but it will keep the infected blood sitting inside the threads of your jacket. Ditch the cotton and wool.

Synthetic fibers are one way to go. Materials such as Gore-Tex, while not warm, make excellent shells to go over other warm clothing. They have the benefit of being waterproof, which also means bloodproof. You want to come into contact with as little blood as possible. Nobody wants to kill a zombie, just to get sprayed in a cut with its blood. Suddenly we have another zombie. The main concerns with synthetic fibers are the lack of warmth and the fragility of the material. It will tear. Be careful.

Warm, dry and safe.
Then there is leather. Say what you will about it, but leather is durable, warm, waterproof and bloodproof. It will stop teeth. It will stop fingernails. Some types of leather will even stop knives. (Nothing you will be able to buy at Old Navy will stop knives. I don't care if they do have Navy in their name.) Leather will hold your bones and body in place in case of a motorcycle accident and it will prevent road burn. (Remember, open sores are an invitation to be infected.)

My advice is to find a nice, warm leather jacket. It will protect you in the cold. It will keep the teeth, blood and saliva out of your torso. It will keep you dry. It will keep you alive.

Slick and stylish, but offers no protection against blood.
Luckily, that's not a concern for Captain Jack Harkness.