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Stealth Gear Extreme Photographers Jacket Vest Review

Will Cheung tries the latest photographer's clothing from Stealth Gear.

|  Stealth Gear Stealth Gear Extreme Photographers Jacket Vest in Clothing - outdoor gear
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The latest Stealth Gear Extreme Photographers Jacket, Vest and Trousers tried and tested by ePHOTOzine's Will Cheung. The Vest sells for £229 and the Trousers are priced at £90.
The right clothing is very important for outdoor photography. You want to feel comfortable yet protected, warm but not unbearably hot and have enough pockets that are deep and big enough to hold lenses, flashguns, spare cards, cans of beer and the like. To my mind, the matter of pockets is very, very important.
Let me explain further. If you enjoy the great outdoors you probably already own a Berghaus, North Face, Paramo or Rohan jacket and while these are undoubtedly excellent products, they often fall short in the pocket department. Yes, they have pockets and are usually a reasonable size, but they are frequently not deep enough or wide enough to safely hold something exotic like a 14-24mm f/2.8 or a 70-200mm f/2.8 optic.
I know this to be true at great personal cost when my 14-24mm f/2.8 sustained a serious and very expensive injury when it popped out of a pocket of my posh outdoor jacket. Yes, I know I should have been more careful and not try to stuff a fat lens into a pocket that was clearly inadeqate - the accident was entirely my fault. But I was in a rush and did not want miss any shots so I was shooting and switching lenses quickly, worrying about getting the pictures rather than caring my kit. It was a chastising experience and I should have known better. But with clothing like this Jacket Vest from Stealth Gear it should never be a problem again.
I have been using the Stealth Gear Extreme Photographers Jacket Vest and Trousers for a while and I must say I am impressed by their practicality, thoughtful design and general all-round ruggedness.
Deep pockets means that even something like a 70-200mm f/2.8 is held securely. The hood can be removed completely or swapped for something like a mesh net.
You will not be surprised to hear that the Jacket Vest is not lightweight and it is heavier than a typical all-weather walking jacket. Of course, this Stealth product is designed for the outdoor photographer who might be out there in the woolly wilds waiting for sunrise or sitting still in a freezing cold hide for hours at a time. In the snowy times earlier this year, this jacket and trousers did a great job of keeping me warm and cosy while I was doing exactly that. Also, it does not rustle noisily as you shift sitting position, which is handy for an old fidget like me.

The jacket's outer shell is 100% polyester micro suede and laminated to make it waterproof and breathable. I certainly had no problems with keeping warm and dry in inclement weather during the winter and early spring. I had one memorably wet shoot in Dovedale, southern Peak District, when it rained, rained and rained some more. It didn't let up until the end of the day as I was heading home. My Nikon got drenched and the iris of one of my lenses started to stick, but I battened down the hatches of the jacket and I stayed dry and warm. Having adjustable cuffs and strong easy to grip zips definitely helps as do zip-controlled vents when you start to overheat. It is on such occasions that having right clothing is a Godsend.
The jacket's weight and design does not make it ideal for warm weather wear, but there are vents to help regulate temperatures and the sleeves are removable too leaving a photo vest so there remain. It has the benefit of big pockets and the effect of a body warmer.
Nice aspects of design include the raised rubber studs on the shoulders to stop straps slipping off, the option of changeable hoods including an insect repelling mesh face net and the 'sit anywhere' mat that tucks into the zipped pocket at the back.
Back to my fixation with pockets, the great news is that there are plenty of them including two on the sleeves designed to hold memory cards. Personally, I wouldn't use those particular ones, but the generous provision of pockets is very welcome.
The 'sit anywhere' feature is clever and did prove useful – even if it does look rather odd.
The main ones on the front of the jacket are large, deep and expandable. Something like a 70-200mm f/2.8 can be easily accommodated and for extra protection anti-shock liners are provided if you do not want your precious lenses being shaken to bits when you are walking around. The two main pockets are also 'floating' which allows the waist straps of rucksacks to go behind the pockets rather than go round them. It is another nice design touch that you only appreciate once you have used it. These pockets are also wide enough to hold and support the front of a fast aperture, long telephoto.

The trousers can be worn as over-trousers when it is really, really cold but they can be worn on their own. Cosmetically, they are a perfect match for the jacket should that be of a concern to you. The knees on my pair are rather grubby because I like to grovel around on the ground looking for the right camera viewpoint. Dirt apart, they have survived the last few months well.
You get what you pay for. This Stealth Gear Photographers' Jacket Vest sells for £229 and you do undoubtedly get a great deal of jacket. It is waterproof, warm, has plenty of pockets and is excellent in the protection stakes. It is, to coin a phrase, 'fit for purpose.' If anything, it is over-engineered and while it would not suit the town photographer, it does a great job and looks the part for the landscape and nature photographer.
Stealth Gear Extreme Photographers Jacket Vest: Pros
Big pockets
Lots of pockets
Does not rustle
Warm, waterproof, windproof etc

Stealth Gear Extreme Photographers Jacket Vest: Cons
Heavy compared with a normal outdoor jacket but they are releasing a lsummer range early next year.

Stealth Gear Extreme Photographers Jacket Vest: Ratings

For more details on the Stealth Gear photographer clothing featured here, how to buy and much more click on Stealth Gear

Stealth Gear is available from Warehouse Express.
Click here for details.
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I have both this jacket and the trousers to go with it and I'm very impressed with them too. The only very minor niggle for me is that as 'stealth gear' why would you embroider the logo in bright yellow and silver? Mine has been nicely subdued with a black permanent marker, but other than that, top marks.

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