A duffel coat (also duffle coat, for example in Canada) is a coat made from duffel, a coarse, thick, woolen material. The name derives from Duffel, a town in the province of Antwerp in Belgium where the fabric originated. Duffel bags were originally made from the same material. The hood and toggle fastenings proved popular, and the coat spread across Europe by the 1850s. By 1890 it was being supplied to the British Royal Navy. After World War II, the coats became available as government surplus stock and became popular.
There are many variations of duffel coat. The basic British style features:
- Genuine double weave woolen duffel fabric, lined with a woolly tartan pattern, or plain in the military version.
- Three or, later, four front wooden or horn toggle and leather fastenings.
- Two large outside patch pockets, with covering flaps on post-war versions.
- Originally knee length; shorter on later versions.
- A buttonable neck strap.
- Bucket hood with press stud adjustment. Later versions feature a neater "pancake" hood.
The toggle-fastenings are made to be easily fastened and unfastened while wearing gloves in cold weather. Current designs often feature imitation plastic buffalo horn. The original hood was oversized to allow room for a Naval cap. Early versions were knee-length but later ones were shorter.