The need for tweed
Just what is the most practical, comfortable and cost-effective type of clothing for a day in the field?
There are several subjects in the world of fieldsports that, brought up in conversation amongst fellow sportsmen and women, are sure to divide opinion. What is the best all-round rifle calibre for UK deer stalking? Which is the best all-round breed of gundog? Are big loads really necessary for high birds? And, one that often crops up in the gunbus or the lodge at the end of a day's stalking, shooting or fishing: what is the most practical, comfortable and cost-effective type of clothing for a day in the field?
Each clothing type has its own following – loyal men and women who will defend their choice of material and design with admirable passion. Many of us have a trusty 'go-to' garment that we've had for years and spent many a happy hour in.
By and large, country sports clothing needs to satisfy several criteria: it needs to offer freedom of movement; it must be able to stand up to the elements; it must be durable; it must be sufficiently inconspicuous – especially when deer stalking or shooting wild birds such as grouse, wildfowl and pigeons – and in many instances, it needs to be quiet, too.
Of course, each of us will place greater importance on different attributes when it comes to clothing. We all know a fashionista who would rather stand out from the crowd than stay dry. Just like many of us will know a camo-mad character rarely seen wearing anything other than a garment sporting fancy vegetative print.
Options are aplenty. Canvas, waxed cotton, Gore-Tex, fleece – each with their merits, and some with real drawbacks... But let's face it, no country person's wardrobe is complete without tweed.
Tweed originated in Scotland in the 18th century, and there's good reason it's still a popular choice amongst fieldsports enthusiasts today. It's smart, it's traditional, it's noiseless, it's durable, it's timeless, and, woven in muted colours, it offers excellent camouflage, too...
But making sure you buy the 'right' type of tweed is key. We're not talking about the itchy, stuffy and restrictive garments typically modelled by old-school geography teachers with palpable cardboard-like qualities, but rather the timeless and cleverly cut examples which are resistant to wind and water and possess impressive insulating properties.
Some of the examples on the market, such as the new Ragley range from Seeland, fit the bill perfectly, combining comfort and warmth with breathability and style.
The Seeland Ragley range
Ragley is a range of classic hunting garments in tweed. The tweed is Scotchgard™ DWR-treated, so it is dirt-repellent and doesn't absorb water and become heavy when the obligatory downpours arrive. Ragley also features the new, improved SEETEX® membrane, which is windproof and waterproof. The Ragley jacket has hand warmer pockets, large cartridge pockets with drain holes and features a high collar to protect against the wind.
For more information, visit: seeland.com