A Jacket With History

The Earth Sea Sky Extreme Cold Weather Down Jacket is one with a proud history. The original design was put together by Roland Ellis, David’s grandfather (Michael’s great grandfather) in 1956. The family company Arthur Ellis & Co was Dunedin based. Roland was a keen mountaineer with a good understanding of design and what was required for survival in harsh alpine conditions.

Roland’s son Murray, David’s father, was a member of the Hillary led tractor trip to the South Pole in 1956/7. These ECW jackets were issued to all 23 team members, who were the first to winter over at Scott Base.

The jacket features a 100% Ventile cover, chosen for its high breathability and windproof properties. The edge of the hood was lined with wolverine fur. This fur was prized by the Inuit hunters of the North Pole as its long hair provided protection from windblown snow and prevented vision loss.
Murray handstitched extra features including large external pockets, an extension to the hood and polyester ‘fur’ inside the collar. The jacket now resides in our Earth Sea Sky showroom in Christchurch.


New Zealand’s, Trans Antarctic Expedition depot laying team, the “The Old Firm”, arriving at the South Pole 4th January 1958.

Left to Right: Peter Mulgrew, Sir Edmund Hillary, Murray Ellis, Derek Wright. (5th member, Jim Bates missing from photo)




In 2007, Earth Sea Sky won a contract to design clothing for Scott Base, modeling the outer jacket on Murray’s 1956 design, but with modernised fabrics, components and a women’s size range. The ECW was introduced into our range in 2012.

The Earth Sea Sky Extreme Cold Weather Down Jacket features:

  • Heat exchange hood – designed to cover your lower face so you can “pre-heat” inhaled air. The design also gives plenty of room to comfortably fit hats, and the collars and hoods of all the undergarments
  • 106 individually cut panels per jacket.
  • 8 hours for a fully experienced machinist to sew one jacket
  • chest height, fleece lined, hand-warmer pockets.
  • 9 different specialised fabrics sourced from Canada, Japan, Italy, and Taiwan.
  • Large see-through, below the waist mesh storage pockets on the inside to hold spare gloves and hats.
  • 12 pockets in total.

More recently a heritage version of the ECW has been introduced to our range. In 1956 there was no branding but there was a First Day Cover, the image of which is on this jacket:


The Extreme Cold Weather Jacket is available here.