Nothing ruins a day of shooting quite like being cold and/or wet. Graham White, Head Keeper at Holylee Estate, shares his top tips for staying warm and dry in all weathers.
Check the weather forecast
This might seem a little obvious, but even if the weather is glorious it is always worth checking the forecast for your shoot’s location. This way, you can be prepared and pack your kit according to the predicted conditions for the day.
Breathable clothing is essential for a day’s shooting, even if the weather isn’t too warm, you can still get pretty hot and sweaty – particularly if it’s a walked up shoot. Similarly, you will cool down quickly in periods of inactivity. Breathable clothing offers the best of both worlds by wicking moisture away from your body during periods of high activity so that you don’t get cold when you do stop.
There’s nothing worse than being soaked through by an unexpected downpour. Lightweight waterproofs are easy to pack and don’t take up much room in your bag – I favour the Musto Fenland BR2 Packaway Jacket which is perfect for the early grouse and partridge in August and September when it’s not quite cold enough for a warm jacket but you want to avoid getting wet in the occasional shower.
Warm shooting clothing accessories make all the difference when it comes to retaining heat and keeping your extremities warm. A tweed cap will keep your head warm and dry while being a smart addition to your shooting attire. Gloves are another essential accessory for shooting, especially for a day at the peg when numb fingers can really hinder your performance on a cold day or when barrels become too hot if you are in the thick of the action!
When investing in shooting clothing it’s always worth checking that garments – especially jackets – are windproof as well as waterproof. Chilly air getting through your jacket will make you cold quickly, even if the jacket is keeping you dry. While it may seem mild at the start of the shoot, it can be blowing a gale at the top of the hill – so you keep quality kit which can cope with the changes in conditions.
Modern outer garments are now designed to work best with layers of clothing underneath all of which help the outer shell to keep you warm, dry and comfortable. Thus, it is much better to wear a number of lighter layers rather than a few heavy ones as you can take layers off and put them on with ease if the weather changes through the day whereas one shirt and a heavy jumper leaves you little flexibility.
To find out more about Graham and to view his most recent articles, please visit his expert profile.