14th Century Gambeson, Black, Medieval padded armour coat

14th Century Gambeson, Black, Small

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  • Product Description

    This 14th Century Gambeson is based on a combination of surviving 14th century garments and period artwork. Its outer shell is made from heavy cotton. It’s padded with three layers of cotton batting, which in combination with the natural fibers of its outer shell and lining makes it exceptionally breathable. The gambeson is fastened with a strong cord. True to surviving originals, the gambeson’s arms are hinged at the yoke of the shoulders, rather than fully sewn to the torso, so in effect the armpits are “open”. This allows for greater ventilation and means absolutely no “pull” upon the arm when swinging a weapon. The sides are open too and are secured with six leather straps (three each side). Each strap has a period reproduction brass buckle and can be adjusted by up to 7cm. 

     Measurements and Specifications:

    • Size: Small (available in four sizes).
    • Material: Cotton with cotton felt lining.
    • Weight: 3 kg
    • Sleeve length: 59 cm (end of shoulder yoke to cuff).
    • Torso length: 107cm (shoulder to hem).


    When purchasing a gambeson, prospective buyers need to ask three questions; how will it fit, how bulky and restrictive will it be, and how much protection will it offer? The order is important, because although the primary purpose of a gambeson is protection, if one cannot move effectively then too high a price is paid for defense. Fit is primary because even the best gambeson will restrict mobility if it is not correctly sized. The Medieval Shoppe offers four sizes and a sizing guide based on chest measurement.

    Despite being a well-padded garment it does not feel bulky. When worn by itself it is very comfortable and (of such importance in our Australian climate) it does not feel overly hot. This coolness is due to its excellent breathability, open sides, lace-up neck and open armpits.

    When worn as part of an all-mail or transitional harness, the best characteristics of this gambeson become apparent. Aside from making the harness more comfortable and not interfering with movement, the gambeson adds a surprising degree of protection. Worn alone, it does cushion heavy blows, just as mail alone has some protective qualities against impacts. But combining the two, however, creates a defense that is greater than the sum of its parts. To test the gambeson I suspended it over a hanging pell and placed a coat of riveted mail over it. I then struck the mail several times with a heavy war sword, attempting to both cut and thrust through the armour. Due to my familiarity with the pell, I was also able to measure the amount of force transmitted through the combined defense. The gambeson provided such a high degree of cushioning that the mail was completely undamaged. Very little force was transmitted to the pell and the sword's edge was lightly nicked afterwards.

    This gambeson is both attractive and comfortable, made with quality materials and an obvious attention to detail. The sturdy cord is very easy to use as are the side straps. The gambeson can be put on and removed quickly and without difficulty. The stitching is nicely done and without evident flaws. The cut of the garment has no similarity to any modern coat,  which adds a touch of period flair when worn by itself. There is much that sets this gambeson apart from less expensive alternatives; fit and finish, quality of materials, period details and the use of all-natural fibers. These are all secondary, however, to what truly elevates this garment above its competition; it fits, it's not restrictive, and it works.


    Quick Size Guide:

    Sizing Chart
    Size Your chest size
    S Up to 99 cm
    L Up to 110 cm
    XL Up to 120 cm
    XXL Up to 127 cm




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