I have a character who intends to wear the pelt of a Brown Bear at a particular point in time. That doesn't come about for a decade. I was wondering how badly degraded, or preserved will the coat be at that point.

Its important to mention that the character hasn't worn the coat, it has been traveled through harsh conditions

The pelt will be tanned in the 16th century, packed into a chest, and carried across desert, jungle, and 11 days at sea. There won't be any attempt to deter insects.

The isn't intended to arrive in perfect, or even good condition. I just want to know the plausibility of it arriving intact

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    $\begingroup$ Entirely depends on how it is stored; but a quick google for "vintage fur coats" should convince you that fur can last far, far longer than that in good condition. $\endgroup$ Jun 9, 2023 at 8:55
  • $\begingroup$ How is the skin tanned? Or is it tanned at all? Also what do you mean by "harsh conditions" and for how long? $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Jun 10, 2023 at 4:50
  • $\begingroup$ ... what, the character gets a coat that they lend to somebody else for 10 years, and they go to the north pole or something? Or do you just mean that they're borrowing somebody else's coat, and were wondering how old it could be? Is there a particular reason the coat needs to be old in the first place? That said, I've held a leopard pelt that was ~50 years old (mostly intact, but had been used as a covering on a piano bench). $\endgroup$ Jun 10, 2023 at 21:58
  • $\begingroup$ Its a brown bear pelt that will be tanned in the 16th century, and mostly packed, and carried across desert, jungle, and 11 days at sea $\endgroup$
    – jay moore
    Jun 12, 2023 at 21:53
  • $\begingroup$ @jaymoore your comment of tanning and travel needs to be added to the question. Other details that would be handy: How good was the coat tanned? How was the coat stored? in a chest? just thrown around? Was it stored with anti insects? $\endgroup$ Jun 12, 2023 at 23:42

1 Answer 1


Furs last about 35 years. After that they get dried out and hard: they can still be used for things like floor coverings then, but lose the suppleness for clothing.

Source: own furs

Lots of wrong information about this on the web

  • $\begingroup$ thank you. Your response have been most helpful. The "quick Google " responses didn't feel accurate. I may extended the time frame to 35+ yrs because I want the pelt to look ratty, and dried out. $\endgroup$
    – jay moore
    Jun 13, 2023 at 21:04

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