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|The Stealth Gear Extreme Rural Photographer Jacket.|
Coming from a shooting/outdoors background, I'm used to having comfy jackets out in the wild. But when my old trusty coat of some 10 years solid service finally decided that perhaps it was no longer going to be the sartorial serviceable piece I was used to, my wife decided enough was enough, time for a new coat that would fulfil all my needs as a photographer and my extreme ‘pickiness’ when it comes to jackets.
My previous job was as a magazine editor and product tester/reviewer, including the rigouress demands of outdoor clothing, so anything I was going to chose would have to meet some very high standards indeed – especially as I would be shelling out the readies and not having a review article.
I have to say I was more than slightly apprehensive. I did not want anything that made me look a total geek, but I did want something that was useful to the modern tog. I was also interested in getting a new photo vest for winter times. I spotted Stealth Gear's clothing on the net and decided to look into it a bit closer.
Stealth Gear’s concept seemed such a fresh approach to the idea of clothing as they advertised it as been designed by photographers for photographers – this had to be too good to be true I thought. So, off we went to have a look at what was on offer.
|The zips on the sleeves mean you can take them off when you get a little warm.|
Taking a good look at the jacket I was more than pleasantly surprised. The Stealth Gear Extreme system is not lightweight Gortex, this is rugged, hard-wearing 100% Polyester Microsuede – score one for the Stealth Gear designers here. Another point scored is for the feel of it – we are talking cloth that feels smoother than a pint of Bailey’s liquor here.
Added to the arms on the elbow area, and indeed any area where there is a possible pressure point, is grey Teflon-coated patches – plus the elbows have removable padded points – superb idea! After all, who wants to lie down and have a stone jab them on the joint of the elbow?
The zips are high-quality, hard-wearing as are the brass studded poppers that keep your pockets firmly closed. All the cuffs and collars are smooth and soft and all have decent tabs and/or poppers to help keep the cold wind from gaining entry.
The Stealth Gear Extreme Photographers Jacket is ventilated via its Airflow Max system that has material to keep the moisture from building up without letting the heat out, while repelling water at the same time and added to this – is a controllable zipped-vent air system – nice! In practice, I found that wearing the jacket was rather pleasant and totally comfortable and this works so well I could hardly believe it.
Oh yes – those sleeves I mentioned earlier. It was while wandering about a cloudy cool Wales that the sun came out and the day rapidly warmed up. It was beginning to get hot so I decided it was time to try out the removable sleeves. I take it all back, not only are the zips easy to operate while wearing the jacket, they are so well hidden that you don’t even know they’re there – let alone touch your skin. Score another point for the designers! Also, with the sleeves on – the zips are totally waterproof as well as being hidden underneath a flap – excellent design point!
Turning a jacket into a vest is a brilliant concept and the sleeves easily fold up to be stored in the massive rear pocket with barely a bulge to be noticed!
The two front-facing bottom pockets are another feat of clothing engineering genius. The button flap gives good waterproofing, but, best of all, is the fact that both these pockets are extendable – as is the top flap, allowing you to store a small elephant or at least an SLR and lens in each pocket. Each pocket has elastic holders that will let you store two decent lenses upright in each pocket – and each pocket comes with removable padding to protect your glass. I carry the padding in my bag when not in use and simply slide it into a pocket if I need it – spot-on!
|The Stealth Gear Extreme Rural Photographers Jacket without the sleeves.||Large pockets are a bonus.|
Inside the jacket are enough pockets to keep even me happy, with enough separate spaces for memory cards that would keep an African safari expedition outfitted. There’s enough other pockets, including a mobile phone holder, and pen pockets to keep Fagin busy for a week. I particularly like the use of a side pocket that is secured and hidden away that’s useful for car keys etc, that don’t involve opening up the main zip to get at them.
|The jacket has a hidden inside pocket.||More pockets for your bits and pieces.|
You also get a hood with a wire peak to keep water out your eyes, plus a longer-peaked hood that is waterproofed with a drop-down mosquito mesh that also helps camouflage your face.
|The back of the jacket unzips to give you a seat.|
And, talking of crouching, the Stealth Gear Extreme Rural Photographers Jacket has another trick up its sleeve as the sides of the jacket can be unzipped by about 6 inches giving you greater freedom without scrunching your coat around your middle – much better!
Overall, the lads at Stealth Gear have produced a fantastic jacket that will be my pleasure to wear for the next ten years or so. And if you want what is possibly the perfect photographer’s jacket, then get your mitts on one now!
The Stealth Gear Extreme Rural Photographers Jacket is priced at £229 and is available from Warehouse Express.