The Amazing Gut Parkas of the Arctic

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.When you live in the arctic, you know not to let anything go to waste.

The curious gut skin parka is a perfect example of this philosophy being made, as the name suggests, out of the cleaned guts of seals, walruses or whales. Surprisingly delicate in appearance despite their practical purpose; they are partially see-through and designed to be worn on top of other clothing. They could also be attached to the hatch of a kyack, which serves as a great waterproof protection for travelling arctic waters.

When european sailors travelled up and met the inuit people, they were amazed by the coats as they found that they were superior to the western oilskins in that they were more water resistant, trapped in more heat and were far lighter. The coats were highly prized and often bought for use by the western visitors.

Despite their rudimentary material, the preparation of a gutskin coat is labour intensive and complex, with the full process of creating a coat taking up to a month. The intestines are retrieved,washed and peeled inside out to be scraped. Once cleaned, they are inflated and tied at each end until completely dry, with any holes being patched. After around two days the intestines are cut and rolled into tight bundles ready for use, and the parka itself can be put together.

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