With so many highly technical and clever materials and features produced each year, choosing your clothing and footwear according to the season can be complicated unless you understand the products and fabric used. Often, the warmest time of year can be in late September/October when you are stalking over 15 miles and find yourself in a heavy winter coat when a single layer would do and vice versa. Whether you are shooting, stalking, walking or fishing there are the correct outdoor garments for you from head to foot.
Cold winter days, frost and ice underfoot, wind whipping your ears and a temperature fast falling below -10° C means it is essential to be prepared. With long days out either stalking or shooting at this time of year, keeping your feet and head protected and warm will dramatically enhance your body’s chances of staying at a comfortable temperature.
FOOTWEAR – Rubber boots, stalking boots, hiking boots designed with Vibram rubber soles, warm comfort and insulated insoles, various inner linings such as fleece and Gore-Tex lined membrane to keep out the wet and maintain warmth, will keep your feet protected from the bitter ground up meaning no frostbite to ruin your day! For example:
Seeland Vulcanized rubber boots, with Diamond fleece lining and 5mm Neoprene such as the Estate series are exceptional winter boots for both gents and ladies. Harkila Vibram IceTrek soled rubber boots in the Forester collection offer an excellent and uncompromising on quality winter boot.
Seeland Grizzly Pac 10” Boot with the Snowclaw sole system gives exceptional grip on icy terrain and with comfort liners to protect and warm when temperatures plummet, make these a great, practical winter boot.
HEAD – We lose much of our body heat through the top of our head so protect that and you will help maintain core body temperature. Ears, chin and head all need protection whether from cold or wind so a close fitting, snug fleece beanie will suffice in some areas such as designed by Snowbee, Seeland and Harkila. The Exeter Advantage Cap from Seeland is a great all rounder, with foldable fleece lined ear warmers, ensuring you are both warm and wind and water tight.
BODY – Most jackets and trousers manufactured today by the brand names consider the 4 main criteria of warmth, waterproof, durability and practicality. In this, you will find that jackets and trousers will be the crux of your wardrobe but it is essential to layer up effectively during the winter months when the temperature plummets. Layering is a brilliant way of achieving the correct body heat and if you can choose correctly, you will not feel bulky or heavy, just warm and comfortable!
Merino wool is the classic solution to warm and effective layering using the softest and finest wool to trap air close to the skin thus creating insulation against the cold. Check out Harkila’s Coldfront baselayer range for both gents and ladies by way of an example or any of the Woolpower products.
ThermoLite, Thinsulate and Primaloft are found in many garments to ensure exceptional warmth examples of which are found in Harkila waistcoats (Lofsdalen), Seeland William Fleece collection, Musto Extreme Thermal Fleece top is a great anti-pill microfleece as a warm layer and the thermal collection from Musto offer a perfect base layer for when the temperature drops maintaining core body heat.
Jackets and trousers that are both lined with fleece or a Gore-Tex membrane are exceptionally effective to combat cold and particularly when coupled with some added padding. Have a look at Harkila’s Asta Lady Range or their Visent range.
Pinewood Mufflon Jacket and Trousers, Musto Windjammer and Harkila Pro Hunter Gents Shooting Jacket and Trousers all offer a fantastic solution to beating the cold winter months outdoors.
Whether you are hunting, fishing or hiking, Spring is a time of renewal and with a harsh winter behind you, an invigorating return to many outdoor pursuits is welcome. However with a weather pattern that is undependable, often wet, windy and with squally showers and yet can throw real warmth unexpectedly, you will need to be prepared clothingwise.
FOOTWEAR – Any boot or shoe and socks with moisture wicking properties are excellent for the Spring season as they will continue to keep your feet warm, dry and comfortable even when exposed to wet ground. Harkila’s Big Game and Pro Hunter ranges and Aigle’s Artemis 2 are great options to choose from
HEAD – Hoggs of Fife waterproof cap range is a good example of a product that is both wind and watertight but totally breathable, perfect for Spring outdoors. The Harkila range of stalking and shooting caps are a perfect lighter weight choice yet are fully equipped with rain guards, peaks and neck protectors to ward off the showers or more persistent rain.
BODY – To combine warmth with less bulk and to feel completely protected from the worst wet weather is a perfect mix for the spring season. Again layering is advisable so that you have a fleece jacket that will keep you warm but lets your body breath and then copmbine that with a lightweight jacket that can be popped in a backpack or pocket to be easily accessible should you get hit by a shower. The Musto Fenland Packaway is easy to pack away whilst out and about when the weather warms up, this is a good option.
Thoughts turn to sailing, hiking, fishing, mountaineering and stalking come the summer months, hopeful of sun, less wind and higher temperatures and yet your clothing needs to be equipped to deal with summer weather as importantly as winter.
Anti bacterial properties in both clothing and footwear is essential, moisture wicking bamboo material, vents, good fit and socks are all things to consider when choosing your summer wardrobe.
FOOTWEAR – On board, deck shoes with excellent rubber grips, razor cut non slip soles and breathable leather or nubuck uppers are an excellent choice, available from Chatham Marine, Orca Bay, Henri Lloyd and Musto for both men and women. Outdoor pursuits ranging from walking to hiking rocky terrain call for a lightweight and breathable hiking boot or shoe yet with a powerful grip for all surfaces, dry or wet. Examples are found in the excellent Hoggs of Fife Rambler boot with suede and mesh uppers, a breathable inner membrane and waterproof liner and has a PU cleated sole for great absorption and grip. The Ladies Chatham Marine Whistler Walking Shoe is both stylish and practical, incredibly comfortable with padded and rolled leather collars to prevent blistering, yet remains perfectly lightweight.
Waders have been developed and technically perfected to provide you with extreme secure grip on wet stone and light, 100% waterproof rubber legs and chest to keep you in the water fishing longer. Both Ron Thompson and Snowbee offer a great range of waders, neoprene and superlight breathable gear.
HEAD – Vital to be protected from the sun, many caps and hats have UV protection built in to the material. Also consider the peak’s length to keep the sun from your eyes and protect the neck. Gill and Musto offer a great range of sailing caps, visors and fast drying hats. Seeland All Season Cap is made from 100% cotton canvas, both lightweight and breathable while the clever Seeland Keeper Light Cap made from soft micro fibre is incredibly light yet has built in fleece lined foldable ear muffs for when the wind blows. Sunglasses to protect your eyes from the Gill range are all UV protective and floatable.
BODY – Breathability and light materials are the key elements to summer outdoor clothing. Many are fitted with extra vents for air and circulation while the full zips allow you to control the temperature. Layering according to the weather forecast is essential.
With the stalking season stretching far into October and beyond depending on whether hinds or stags and the shooting season beginning August, autumnal weather has a fair stretch across many outdoor pursuits when clothing needs to be at its optimum for protection. Freedom of movement is essential for gun use, allowing your body to breathe naturally and keeping any arm restriction at bay. High level of breathability is very important to prevent you from overheating so choose a jacket with good vents and roomy style.
FOOTWEAR – Good grip, solid ankle support, breathable yet waterproof boots will aid and equip you for most outdoor activities. With the ground not so cold, yet wet, muddy and tough, your choice of footwear must be a priority. Harkila offer half sizes so that the boot is always a perfect snug match, with Gore-Tex inner linings and a multilayer construction and technical sole system. The Pro Hunter GTX range all offer a fantastic autumn/winter boot with Vibram Fire and Ice extreme rubber compound soles for the ultimate performance. Wellingtons are a great option come the autumn for farm use, outdoor walking and general heavy duty performance. Find an excellent selection from Aigle with Neoprene linings and extreme rubber cleated soles, Gumleaf and Hoggs of Fife Field Pro All Season boots with comfort gel insoles and 100% cotton lining for all year use. Hunter, Seeland and Harkila produce a wide range of neoprene lined, tough, durable and extreme comfort boots.
HEAD – Keeping your head protected from the wind which is usually a prominent feature of Autumnal weather, is essential. The Exeter Advantage Cap with concealed foldable fleece lined ear muffs is a good option, also waterproof yet lightweight as is the Alan Paine Compton waterproof tweed cap with fold down ear warmers to keep both ears and neck warm on colder days. The Harkila Crome Fleece Beanie is another good option and one to easily fit in your pocket when out and about, bringing out when warmth and protection from wind and cold needed.
BODY- With the shooting season comes the need for freedom of movement within your clothing, allowing full arm movement yet maintaining warmth and water resistance. Vents will provide the breathability needed, especially in autumn when it can be cold in the morning, yet much higher temperatures by mid afternoon. Look out for under-arm zipped vents on Harkila jackets and thigh vents on their trousers giving you great versatility in terms of keeping your body temperature comfortable. Layering is also essential, easy to wear, lighter, merino wool an excellent choice with its superior moisture management within the fibres, keeping your body dry and cool when hot and warm when the temperature plummets.