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Gambeson

Welcome to section Gambeson. Here you can see various models of gambesons, which were worn by medieval knights. If you are looking to buy a gambeson made by measures - our custom gambesons, are the best choice.

About Gambeson

Gambeson actively used in medieval epoch Europe in XIV century. It came from an aketon, a suit jacket or a gambison (from the English Gambeson). Knights used medieval gambeson as an indispensable element of armor plate (under drawer) or as an independent armor.

Traditionally, parts of knights armor were attached to the gambeson sleeves by linen or silk cords. In different times, this kind of armor called as a "fighting jacket". Such armor outfit was an integral part of the knight's kit. Gambeson was as an underwear of a breastplates or chain mail.

As an independent armor Gambeson was made of thick materials (presumably, the material for it was leather). Sometimes leather gambeson had from 18 to 30 protective layers.

Let’s try to understand what it is:

  1. Gambeson in a broad sense is a padded jack, worn under or over an armour, or in a narrower context - quilted or printed fabric or leather long jacket, worn under the armour. It was also used as a separate kind of armour.

  2. Aketon - (the term "aketon" comes from borrowing from the Arabic language al-qutn "cotton") is a cotton or linen jacket, worn under the armour, composed of several layers of thick cloth or leather, quilted together. It can be both short-sleeved, and even without them. Sometimes leather cords were sewn to the sleeves of aketon to fix the armour.

  3. Doublet is a leather or fabric short jacket, worn under the plate armour. Unlike gambeson (in a narrow context) and aketon, doublet looked more like civilian clothes.

  4. Pourpoint is a fabric short quilted jacket with a slim fit waist and puffed-up chest.

  5. Jacques (jack) is multi-layer fabric short jacket, used as separate infantry armour. Sometimes it was worn over the mail armour.

For tailoring of the gambeson we use only natural materials. This provides not only sufficient level of protection, but also appropriate level of comfort.

Gambeson cut options and used materials will satisfy all over customers:

  • supporters of historical authority - reenactments

  • participants of SCA events

  • Larp - "Live Action Role-Playing" participants

The proposed site models take into account the various specifics of our gambesons. At the wish of the customer gambeson can be machine or hand sewing.

As a set for gambeson warp we offer different materials (colors available): linen, silk, cotton, wool, velvet, leather.

linen linen gambeson
silk silk gambeson
cotton cotton gambeson
wool woolen gambeson
velvet velvet gambeson
leather leather gambeson

For the lining we use:

  • cotton

  • silk 

  • linen 

We can produce different types of them: short, long, sleeveless, short sleeved, closed-front. 

short Gambeson, short gambeson, black gambeson
long Gambeson, long gambeson, jousting gambeson
sleeveless Gambeson, sleevless gambeson
short sleeved Gambeson, short-sleeved gambeson
closed-front Gambeson, closed-front gambeson

Gambeson options: you can choose one or make your own design.

  • Gambeson could be ONE, TWO or FOUR colored combination. 
Gambeon, one colored gambeson, gambeson by Steel Mastery Gambeson, two colored gambeson, gambeson by Steel Mastery Gambeson, 4-colored gambeson, gambeson by Steel Mastery
  • If you wish historical (mottos, names of city or area) and free nature inscriptions can be embroidered on it. 
Gambeson blue motto gambeson blue embroidery gambeson by steel mastery Gambeson red motto gambeson red embroidery gambeson by steel mastery Gambeson yellow motto gambeson yellow embroidery gambeson by steel mastery
  • Gambeson sleeves can be completely sewn, with a hole under the armpit or laced for better mobility. 
Gambeson sleeves gambeson by steel mastery standard Gambeson sleeves gambeson by steel mastery with holes Gambeson sleeves gambeson by steel mastery laced
  • Gambeson padding can be done vertically, rhomb-shaped or any other shape. 
Gambeson padding by steel mastery rhomb Gambeson Padding vertical steel mastery
  • Gambeson bottom edge can be decorated with festoons with configuration selected by the customer.
Gambeson bottom edge style 1 Gambeson bottom edge style 2 Gambeson bottom edge style 3 Gambeson bottom edge style 4
  • In case if the gambeson must be fastened we offer a choice of buttons (metal, cast bronze with ornaments, buttons covered with cloth) or leather lacing. 
Gambeson metal button Steel mastery Gambeson leather laces Steel mastery Gambeson metal buckles Steel mastery Gambeson casting buckles Steel mastery
  • It is possible to select the number of layers of padding (from 2 to 6) to create the gambeson of desired thickness. 
Gambeson padding layers 1 Gambeson padding layers 2 Gambeson padding layers 3 Gambeson padding layers 4 Gambeson padding layers 5 Gambeson padding layers 6

Historical pause

Quilted vests were in use in Asian countries for a long time. However, European knights saw the true value of medieval under armour only in the XII-XIII centuries. Such clothing was called gambeson, aketon or doublet. All these types were rather similar in meaning, but had own characteristics and differences.  For example, aketon could be worn under the main armour, and highly decorated thin gambeson was worn over the body defense. Sometimes it could be combined: sleeveless gambeson was worn over the aketon to reinforce its protective features.

gambeson by Steel Mastery

General feature of medieval under armour was design. There was rather thick jacket, which had vertical or horizontal quilting. Sleeves were puffed or flared a little. Their length could vary: some gambesons did not have sleeves at all.  Cut of body part was straight or a fitted a bit. Gambeson was usually knee-length or had length to the middle of thighs. Bottom edge was plain or decorated with fancy festoons. Buttons, belts with buckles or simple strings served in place of fastenings. Collar of medieval jack was short or could be missing at all.

Such variety of models was explained by its functional purposes and depended on the main armour, which warrior was wearing over the medieval protection (chainmail, plate or combined armour). The necessity of gambeson was very high: it amortized power of a blow. Besides, weight of main armour was dividing better on the body of knight. It was common, when enemy’s arrow hit the outer shell and stick into the thick gambeson without any harm for warrior.

Poor soldier, such as infantrymen, archers, crossbowmen, were hard up for full-plate body defense. Therefore, they had to be satisfied with medieval gambeson or aketon as the only budget-friendly protective clothing. They were adding quantity of layers of padding to increase protective properties of gambeson.

Many paintings of padded gambesons are survived, not only on the ancient frescoes, but also on the pages of old manuscripts. For example, there are stained-glass artworks in the church of St. Magdalene (Judenburg, Austria) or numerous illustrations in “The Morgan Bible” (also known as “Maciejowski Bible”, XIII century). All of them are speaking for wide and common usage of quited gambeson in the medieval Europe.

Only few simple actions are required to buy gambeson armour, aketon or doublet:

1.       Open the page of needed model;

2.       Choose outer and inner fabric for you padded under armour and its colour;

3.       Choose type of sleeve attachment;

4.       Select your size;

5.       Choose type of fastening;

6.       Add leather fastenings for plate arms, if required;

7.       Choose decoration;

8.       Select quantity of layers of padding, depending on your main armour.

Every model is hand-made according to the medieval patterns and customer’s individual measurements and regards.

Once you choose all options, add product to cart and make a payment. Then our manager will contact you with measurement request and specification of order’s details.

If you ran into any difficulties with buying gambeson or you did not find required padded jack in this category, we can make it individually for you. Just send us picture with detailed description to sales@steel-mastery.com, so we could quote you and discuss details of order.

Review about items

  • Aketon, second half of the 14th - first half of the 15th century
    HG-06
    Misère

    Great choice of customization! And the manufacturers are attentive to historical requests: I ordered a gambison with real eyelets sewn instead of the usual straps, it's solid! Thanks from France! (French crossbowman of 1459, franc-arbalétrier d'Auvergne)

  • Arming doublet / aketon - 1360 year
    HG-03
    Andreas Völcker

    Wonderful care and good work keep it up. We recommend

  • Arming doublet, 1405 year
    HG-04
     James

    Overview: I ordered this gambeson for use in HEMA, specifically the works of Fiore dei Liberi. This is is the first tailored garment I own, and the difference between this and an off-the-shelf gambeson is incredible. I have full practical range of movement. I have worn several gambesons in the past, and all of them required me to fight them to move the way I wanted. With this gambeson, I simply MOVE, and the gambeson complies. It is an ally to my movements, not an enemy. Fit: As in the overview, the fit on this gambeson is excellent. I was worried my measurements would be wrong, or something wouldn't sit quite right, but Steel Mastery has provided an amazing garment based on my sub-par measurements. I can lift both hands above my head, reach my hand over my shoulder and into the small of my back, and do many of my normal stretches while wearing it. It fits snugly without being tight. The tailored waist keeps the fabric against my flanks, which helps to avoid bunching and discomfort. The linen fabric seems to breathe quite well, and while it keeps me warm, I did not feel as though I was overheating over the couple hours I wore it last week. More testing in the summer months at renaissance faires in California will see how that holds up. Protection: I bought this gambeson for use in HEMA sparring and the occasional tournament. I wear a WinterTree gorget under the gambeson to protect my collarbone and throat. The gambeson fits very nicely over the gorget, and keeps it flush to my body. While I would not karate block and incoming sword blow and expect the gambeson to protect my bones from being broken (it's not steel armor after all) it does what I feel a gambeson should do in terms of protection. It makes sure that errant or poorly executed cuts are nothing to worry about. I am confident this garment would protect me from minor alignment errors even against period-sharp swords, though I will not likely test that any time soon. I received a couple of thrusts to the torso and cuts to the arm during my testing, and they all felt solid but manageable. I cannot speak to more layers of padding, but if you are planning on wading in against opponents with little to know control and that "but hitting hard is how you HEMA" mindset, you may be helped by 3 or 4 layers of padding. For me, I'm comfortable with the protection offered. Style: Gods damn, I look good in this. This gambeson really stands out from the crowd. In an era where ren faires seem to be dominated by mass produced garments from the same three shops, and where tournament fighters wear what look to be space suits and call them "historical" this piece of kit REALLY brings together the medieval look. The blue is subtle. At first, I thought it was black! But sunlight shows its true color. Regal, but not ostentatious.

  • Arming doublet, 1405 year
    HG-04
    Francisco Seven

    Communication was excellent and the gambeson is amazing!!! +++++ Will buy again!!

  • Arming doublet, 1405 year
    HG-04
    Lucas Mendes

    I got this doublet in royal blue, 2 layers with linen exterior. With some nice festoons. It's an amazing doublet. The color is beautiful the linen makes it really soft and comfortable to wear. Their products are built to last and the craftsmanship is beautiful. Not only does it protect well in battles it also looks amazing on its own. I only use steel mastery padding under my armour. Amazing customer service and shipping was very fast and resonable. I recommend them to everyone looking for gambesons and the like.

  • Eastern Gambeson
    HG-07
    David

    I ordered this for a number of reasons (style, color options and more protective than my other gambeson) and am very satisfied with the result. I can tell I'mma get a lot of use out of this in my HEMA group

  • Eastern Gambeson
    HG-07
    Alexander Morena

    I just receiv the gambeson, and it is amazing ! Thank you, you and all the team, for it ;)

  • Eastern Gambeson
    HG-07
    Gustav Morgan

    I do all my online medieval shopping with Steel-mastery and I'm never disappointed. They are the best. Quality and service is the best. Return process is really easy and simple. I ordered the wrong style gambeson, so I just paid for shipping and additional cost for some options that I needed. Thank you guys, for your understanding and patience.

  • Eastern Gambeson
    HG-07
     Jose

    Tested in combat and really confortable. Made to measure and fast delivery. Very well attended also. I'll definitely buy from Steel Mastery again!!

  • Eastern Gambeson
    HG-07
     Steve

    I received my gambeson and I am very happy. It is really comfortable and beautiful.

  • European gambeson front closed
    HG-02
    Cristoff Moor

    Hello! I received the gambeson today. It is in perfect conditions and the measures are ok. Thank you!

  • European gambeson front closed
    HG-02
    Mike Shufter

    Absolutely delighted with your service, the quality of gambeson, the packaging and the amazing pricing. Will definitely order something more from you again.

  • European gambeson front closed
    HG-02
    John Ellis

    This is an amazing gambeson made by skilled armorers. I would buy from seller again!

  • Gambeson with sewn mittens of the XIII century
    HG-12
    Nick

    This is a great gambeson. It is very sturdy and well made, with a good historical feel. I chose maximum padding, 5 layers, and in addition to being very protective it wears surprisingly light and is very comfortable. If you go with this option I would recommend getting the open armpits however, because it gets very hot at this thickness. And finally, Steel-mastery's customer service is excellent. After ordering the gambeson I found that I had misunderstood the measuring procedure, and they went ahead and made a whole new gambeson without extra charge.

  • Gambeson with sewn mittens of the XIII century
    HG-12
    Chris Aartsen

    Amazing quality for such a prize. It's very comfortable to wear and does its job 100%. Only prob I had was with the laces but that was easily taken care of.

  • Long gambeson of the XI-XV centuries
    HG-21
    Mike Wilks

    Awesome service. I just got my second gambeson. First one was spoiled at customs or during transportation. Package was opened and closed again. On the front part there were some oily stains. Before shipping Steel mastery send me the photo, everything was fine. Since it was not their fault, I agreed to pay for the shipment in both directions, but the manager discussed the situation with the owner and we split the shipping price. A+ or AAA+++. You are the best.

  • Long gambeson of the XI-XV centuries
    HG-21
     Manuel

    I own this Gambeson for a month now and for me it is well worth the prize. The made to measure fit is comfortable and doesn't restrict movement. The finish leaves nothing to find fault with, stitchings are firm and no loose threads up until now.

  • Ordinary Gambeson
    CG-02
     Adrien

    I use my gambeson for sword fighting. It is resistant, protects well and fits me perfectly. During the whole procedure, I had an excellent follow-up and I received my order on time. What more ? I am very satisfied of what i ordered :)

  • Ordinary Gambeson
    CG-02
    Sondre

    I have this gambeson in linen with 3 layers of padding in the torso and 2 layers in the arms. With holes in the armpits this gambeson gives good maneuverability, and my movements do not feel restricted while using a sword. The overlap in the front of the gambeson seems sufficient enough to stop a sword thrust from slipping in. The gambeson also does a good job at keeping me warm, even in snowy environments.

  • Ordinary Gambeson
    CG-02
     Claudia

    I am very happy with this gambeson. The choices of material are nice and it fits nicely.

  • Renaissance period gambeson XVI-XVII century
    HG-08
    JERRY J

    Amazing item! I ordered it with 1 layer of padding and that is more than enough for use under a plate harness. I am super excited about this product and plan on ordering from Steel Mastery in the future.