I am going to say this right now so everyone reading knows what to expect when reading this review: this is my favorite leather jacket I have ever owned. In fact, this is my favorite jacket I have ever owned. Along with my White Kloud boots and Flat Head dobby shirt, it is my favorite piece of clothing I own. This is going to be an overwhelmingly positive review that will border on sounding like propaganda, so if you’re ready for that, go ahead and read on.
This jacket had been on my bucket list of leather jackets for years before I made the purchase. While I pointed out in my previous review of my Freewheelers Caboose jacket that I initially did not love Freewheelers jackets because I thought they were overdesigned, the Caboose, Brakeman, and Sunset were the ones that did catch my eye initially. I think the reason that I liked the Sunset so much is because it was a cross zip jacket that did not scream biker at the decibel level of a Harley Davidson bagger revving at the lights in a suburban neighborhood while blasting ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ at full volume.
Indeed, this is the first cross zip jacket that I ever really wanted and thought that I could pull off. It is much simpler than most cross zips because it does not have epaulets, has pockets without zippers, button cuffs instead of zip sleeves… basically, the fact that it wasn’t covered in zippers really appealed to me. Beyond that, I really love the fact that the collar does not snap down and the large front pocket that is stitched all the way around. I also love the way the other two pockets line up with each other when the jacket is zipped up. It gives this jacket a sophisticated, yet clean appearance. The back is also quite gorgeous, perhaps as much so as the front. It has a lovely curved yoke, sunburst back, and half belt strip with side cinches below that. It sounds a little overly-complex, but it works perfectly.
Although this is a stock model jacket, it fit me almost perfectly from the start. The only issue was the sleeves being far too long. I attempted to solve this issue in multiple ways. First, I attempted to cuff them, then I used the tighter button on the cuff, then I just let them hang long, and finally, I decided to get them shortened professionally. Aside from that issue, the jacket fit like a dream. As with all of my Freewheelers jackets, it is a size 42. The fit is not as snug as my Caboose, but is not quite as wide feeling as the Mullholland jackets are. It does taper a fair amount to the waist, but not too much. You will need a bit of a drop from your chest to your waist to wear this, but you don’t need to be in perfect shape either.
The main measurements are as follows:
Sleeve (measured straight): 23″
Back Length: 24″
Being a Freewheelers jacket, the materials are top quality. The deerskin is vegetable tanned deerskin from Shinki Hikaku tannery in Himeji, Japan. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Shinki horsehide and cordovan, but I had yet to experience their deerskin. I am happy to report that this leather is stunning, though not as visually striking as the horsehide and cordovan in appearance. It does have the pebbly deerskin grain, but the grain size is larger than the pebbles on goatskin and as a result, I like the way deerskin looks more personally. Something interesting about this leather is that it is quite matte in appearance. There is no shine or sheen like there is in their horsehide and I like that about it if for no other reason than it is a change of pace from the glossy Shinki horsehide that I love.
Yellow ochre is the official color name for this hide and it starts out a light yellow color. Being a light colored vegetable tanned leather means that this color will darken drastically over time and I am quite excited for this. I like the color it is now, but I have seen pictures of the burnt orange/caramel color that it eventually turns into and I cannot wait for my jacket to get to that point. It has aged rather slowly so far, but I am considering hanging it outside in the sun to speed up the process. It has begun to darken already and it does pick up dirt and stains quite easily, but I am impatient for it to get to that darker color.
My favorite aspect of this leather is the comfort. I knew that deerskin was softer than horsehide or cowhide, but I did not realize just how soft and comfortable it was until I got this jacket. It actually is not lighter than my horsehide jackets, meaning it is still a thick and substantial leather. To me, this is perfect because it is still thick and substantial enough to be relatively durable while also being extremely soft and comfortable. I would say that the leather feels slightly spongey to the touch and without question it would be more damaged if it were snagged on something than horsehide. However, I have had no issues yet when wearing it and it certainly feels as though it will last the rest of my life if properly cared for.
What helps make this jacket a dream to wear is the liner. Most Freewheelers jackets have several different materials used for the lining, arms, and pockets. This jacket, however, just uses one fabric throughout the body and arms for lining and I am glad they did. They chose a stunningly rich and deep burgundy brushed cotton flannel for the liner and it is impressively soft and comfortable. The combination of the deerskin and the lining makes this jacket the most comfortable garment I own, despite it being leather. I would wear this jacket with no shirt at all if possible just because of how comfortable it is. As I always say, comfort is subjective and it does not make a garment objectively better than another and this is true here as well. However, it certainly makes me subjectively like this jacket more than any other I own. The combination of yellow/gold and burgundy makes me love it even more as I think the liner and leather go together brilliantly.
Construction quality and finishing is truly fantastic. In my experience, Freewheelers has the best stitch work and finishing of any leather jacket maker in the world. I have handled, owned, or tried on jackets from most makers including Good Wear, Schott, Himel Bros, Aero, The Real McCoys, Simmons Bilt, Fine Creek Leathers, Mister Freedom, Orgeueil, The Flat Head, Rainbow Country, and more. Freewheelers’ construction and finishing quality is the best out of all of them.
This jacket exemplifies that. The stitching is laser straight, beautifully consistent, and quite dense. The leather is all perfectly cut and skived and everything is joined together smoothly. There are no extra bulges or imperfectly joined seams and it simply looks and feels as though this jacket was masterfully made. Technically, it could be even more evenly stitched, but I have never actually seen a jacket that looks as perfectly made as the best pairs of boots yet. Still, Freewheelers shows here why they are the top of the leather jacket heap in terms of quality and finishing.
The only real downside to this jacket is that it can get rain spots on it easily right now, but they mostly disappear and this problem should mostly go away when it gets darker. Unfortunately, like a lot of other great Freewheelers jackets, it hasn’t been made in quite a long time. I had to really search to find this one in this color and as far as I know, I got the very last one in my size new from a retailer. If you can find this jacket or the black one and you like the look, I highly recommend it. Hopefully, Freewheelers starts making this jacket again, but who knows if they ever will. Either way, this is my favorite jacket and aside from my White Kloud boots, probably my favorite item of clothing that I own overall.
The design is unique, but versatile, the comfort is supreme for me, and I love how it is aging and has the potential to age further down the line. My love for lighter colored brown leathers probably helps me like it even more along with the fact that it matches well with my favorite clothing item- those White Kloud boots. It goes well with everything except for tan chinos basically. I love how well it works with indigo/blue, olive, and especially with darker brown trousers. It really looks incredible with darker brown trousers and my favorite outfit that I have ever worn involved this jacket and I will post it below.
There really isn’t much if anything more to say. I will probably post an update of this jacket in a few years after it has aged more. It has been my favorite jacket for quite some time so I doubt it will lose its spot any time soon and hopefully that means it darkens quickly. This is not the perfect jacket for everyone, but I do hope that everyone is able to find a leather jacket that they love as much as I adore this one. People love to say that money and possessions cannot buy you happiness, but I have to say that my mood improves every time I wear this jacket and that’s about as much as you can ask from a piece of clothing.
5 thoughts on “Freewheelers Sunset Deerskin Leather Jacket Review: My Favorite Leather Jacket”
Great review. I absolutely agree with you, also for me it is the all-time jacket. I love this jacket so much that I sold my Mulholland and therefore can/may wear this jacket only.
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Where did you have the sleeves shortened? I have a similar need.
I had them done by Maverickson on the Fedora Lounge. He did a solid job!