Before there was a “long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,” there was a film crew dispatched to Norway’s Hardangerjøkulen glacier. In March 1979, those filmmakers that were hard at work on the now-revered second installment of the Star Wars franchise, The Empire Strikes Back, were to face the worst storm to hit the area in nearly 50 years. Driving snow and bitter cold beset the cast and crew as they struggled to capture scenes that would bring the desolate ice planet of Hoth to life on the screen a year later.
Fortunately, the crew had the right coat for the conditions. And now you can own one too — if you act fast. Or enter our giveaway (keep scrolling to the bottom for details).
Columbia Sportswear, working in close partnership with Lucasfilm Ltd., has created the Star Wars: Empire Crew Parka, a limited edition replica of the coats that kept the Empire Strikes Back crew safe and warm as they toiled through that bitter Norwegian winter storm. The bad news? Columbia only produced 2,000 of the jackets, 30 of which were signed by Mr. Mark Hamill (aka Luke Skywalker) himself.
Dedicated fans of the films will likely recognize these iconic parkas at once, the Hoth filming project being a large part of the overall saga that is Star Wars. But anyone who catches a glimpse of these deep blue coats with their vivid orange stripes on the shoulders, large fur-trimmed hoods, and many thoughtful details will appreciate their craftsmanship. The history that informed the detail work only enriches the allure of the parka.
Those bright orange highlights on the shoulders? Those aren’t there for show; the original crew parka features orange patches to make sure a person could be seen in the middle of a blizzard. And that oversized, fur-trimmed hood may be striking, but its primary purpose was to keep the filmmakers warm in conditions that saw temperatures more than 20 degrees below freezing. As for the fiery Darth Vader patch on the chest? OK, that’s just for looks.
While the Star Wars: Empire Crew Parka is a homage to the coats worn by the Empire crew nearly 40 years ago, it is also a fully technical jacket.
While the Star Wars: Empire Crew Parka is a homage to the coats worn by the Empire crew nearly 40 years ago, it is also a fully technical jacket that will likely be the best winter coat in your wardrobe. The exterior of the parka is 100-percent waterproof and features sealed seams that enhance the water resistance, yet the material is breathable and will release excess heat and moisture you build up within. Plentiful insulation (responsibly sourced, by the way — Columbia Sportswear is a member of the TrackMyDown movement) and the brand’s proprietary Omni-Heat lining (a system that uses raised dots of metallic foil that bounce your radiated body heat back at you) will keep you nice and warm. That large hood will block the wind, snow, or rain, though it can also be removed.
As for the little details that ice the proverbial cake, note the removable, customizable name patch over one chest pocket; the multiple pockets that can be used for a lift ticket, your phone, or your blaster; and, inside the coat, the coordinates that mark the location of the film shoot.
If you want to get a Star Wars: Empire Crew Parka, then — you know I have to — may the force be with you.
The Star Wars: Empire Crew Parka goes on sale on at midnight December 7, 2018, and will be available from Columbia’s website, as well as a limited number of Columbia Sportswear retail stores in the United States, Canada, Japan, Europe, Korea, Hong Kong, and China. The unisex coat retails for $500 (except for the 30 that Luke signed, which sell for $1,980 — see what they did there) and, with the previously noted 2,000 units produced, they’ll be out of this world fast (this isn’t the first time that Columbia has released Star Wars gear).
The Manual and our brother site, Digital Trends, are teaming up to award one lucky winner with one The Star Wars: Empire Crew Parka in a size large. Enter below for your chance to win. If you want one, then — you know I have to — may the force be with you.Columbia Sportswear Star Wars: The Empire Parka