Clothing and Kit reviews
Having just received the Roar 11 jacket and trousers in late spring I thought it would be difficult to review them until the Autumn/Winter time. Who was I kidding! Spring has been cold and at times very wet so here are my initial thoughts followed by the items spec taken from the Scott Country web site. www.scottcountry.co.uk
Ridgeline will be a fairly new name to many of you with regards to outdoor clothing. A New Zealand company, a country where in places has a climate very similar to ours.
I personally really like their clothing, I have had a Torrent jacket for over a year and have been very impressed by it, so it was nice to be asked to test some of the other items in their range.
This review is about the two latest items I have and that is the Roar 11 Jacket and Trousers in Teak. From a distance they may just look like any outdoor jacket, when in reality for outdoor work, and in particular my line, wildlife photography they are ideal…...and very well priced. Nothing will last for ever, so is it really worth spending several hundred pounds on a single item of clothing? The best isn’t always the dearest.
I spend a lot of time either lying down, kneeling down or sitting, often in damp or wet conditions. Firstly the outer coating is a nice soft, almost a fleece like material, they call it “soft touch silent shell”. What ever you want to call it it’s quiet ( I hate jackets that rustle). Their clothing is made up of three layers and as all the seams are fully taped, certainly to date it I have remained dry and see no reason why that should not continue. Even on an early morning outing when their was no need for the coat I was just wearing the trousers. Knee high wet grass was not an issue and therefore no need to have the extra burden of carrying leggings (bloody uncomfortable things) that would need to be removed and carried as the sun rose and the grass dried. Unlike most leggings these trousers these have zipped side pockets. The trousers also have a re-enforced backside and inside ankles where we all experience heavy wear!! Depending on what you wear on your feet they have side knee high velcro flaps over a zip finished with a bottom stud to allow easy access to for boots or wellies. It was a pleasant change just to have what are in effect a pair of trousers that are waterproof rather than two layers, it just made life so much easier. When carrying camera gear the less I need to take the better.
The Roar 11 Jacket (or if you wish it comes in a Smock option) is as you would expect with any outdoor coat well stocked with pockets and a removable hood and unlike another jacket I used to own the hood is adjustable and actually serves its purpose. There is also the standard waist draw string (inside) and zipped chest pockets below which are studded flapped front pockets. But with the added advantage of, depending on your thoughts, an eye ring drainage hole. For me this means drainage when I forget to stud fasten the pockets as these are waterproof pockets, although it could easily be to let air in.
So far I am sure you would find any of the Ridgeline clothing more than capable of dealing with everything the British weather throws at us, and of late that has been a four seasons in one day at times. I’ll come back to them from time to time and give you and up date, especially as summer should have arrived by the time you read this and I’ll be into shorts and t-shirts!!!!. Wonder if they are midge proof?
Only the trousers have been in the washing machine so far and would appear to have surfaced none the worse for their experience…...just don’t add fabric softener, no waterproof material likes this compound.
Specifications taken from the Scott Country web site. http://www.scottcountry.co.uk
The Ridgeline Roar II Jacket is now available for 2012 in the popular Teak colour as found on the Ridgeline Monsoon Smock.
If you want to wander the countryside and take photographs in any weather you need a garment that can provide the ‘Big Four’; Warmth, Waterproofing, Durability and Functionality.
The new Ridgeline Roar Jacket has all of these and the Ridgeline development team has loaded this fully seam sealed waterproof and windproof jacket with features which will help you get it done whatever the weather.
For this season Ridgeline have improved the jacket with new cuffs, a new hood design and also front pocket designs for added comfort and functionality.
- Our superb waterproof/breathable and abrasion resistant seam sealed RL-TEX™ three layer shell
- A full length zip with double function storm flaps
- Two big cargo patch pockets
- A waterproof zipped binocular chest pocket
- A generous detachable hood system
- Adjustable double cuff system with self fabric outer cuffs and internal neoprene cuffs to keep the water out and the warmth in
Complimenting the Ridgeline high end jackets, the new Ridgeline Roar pant is made from the same feature packed fabric and is Ridgelines top of the range serious trouser for all wear in all weather.
The Ridgeline Roar Trousers are just the business and when combined with the Ridgeline Monsoon II or Roar II Jackets, you have the ultimate all-weather protection against anything Mother Nature can throw at you.
For 2011 the Ridgeline Roar trousers are available in Teak colour to match the new Ridgeline Monsoon II
- RL Tex Fabric which makes the garment 100% Waterproof, Windproof and Breathable
- Reinforced seat and ankle areas and waterproof zips
- Belt loops
- One third length side zips make it easy to pull on/off over boots if required.
- Waterproof rating 10,000mm
- Fully seam sealed
- Waterproof zipped side pockets
- Durable protective panel on seat and inner leg
- Action knee cut
- Two elasticated panels on waist with belt loops
- Available in BR Cammo and Olive Green and Teak
Ridgeline Torrent (Camo) (in green, image above.)
- Two layer Tricot Quiettex laminated shell
- Water rating 8,000mm
- Breathability 3,000g/m2
- Fully seam sealed to keep out the worst of weather.
- Interior zipped and velcro pockets with loads of room for ammo and shooting accessories.
- Cargo pockets with studs and internal zips
- Fully adjustable hem with longer scooped back
- Plush finish lining
- Waterproof underarm zippers for letting out heat during long climbs when stalking.
- Velcro clipped cuffs
- Vented back with heavy duty hanger
- Removable, three way adjustable hood
- Over chin top.
- Full length zip and bottom storm flap
- Available in Buffalo Camo and Olive
I have just received (December 2012) my Ridgeline Storm Mountain Shirt from www.scottcountry.co.uk My instant thoughts went to the days when I used to own a Buffalo shirt, before they out priced themselves. Made of similar materials, without the logos you would be hard pressed to tell the difference at a first glance. It is designed to be worn close to the skin for maximum benefit, but if like me you are very active and sweat a lot, then please don’t wear a cotton T-shirt underneath, as that defeats the purpose of this type of clothing, which is to move perspiration away from the body keeping you warm and dry. A lightweight thermal vest underneath it is all you need for a day in the countryside.
Lets look at the spec. It comes in comes in either black or dark green, the latter Ridgeline call olive. It’s lined with a black fleece material, with an outer shell made of a breathable material called Ven Tex. Like most garments nowadays dual zips are a must and in the case of this Mountain Shirt the large side zips makes taking it on and off easy. It has a large front velcro fastening pocket. Two side zips, one each side of the main body that allows access to the large main pocket. As well as velcro cuff fastening it has storm cuffs with thumb holes, which I personally like. It also has an extended back keeping your extra bits warm. This is particularly effective if you are active and bend and move around exposing you lower back in cold weather, that’s the last part of your body you want to expose as it’s a main chilling point of the body. A testament to that was sitting in a cold hide the other morning waiting for red squirrels to arrive, and I was as snug as bug in a rug. Squirrels never did put in an appearance.
When I review anything like this I always like to point out new and the less obvious features which you might not notice at a first glance. However, you’ll soon notice them when you wear it a few times. In the past with this type of garment the first thing to go on them, with me at least, are the elbows. Being a Ranger during the week and a wildlife photographer at weekends I always seem to be resting my elbows on something, rocks, wildlife viewing hide window shelves or using them as a crawling aid as you stalk wildlife etc. The Ridgeline Storm Shirt comes with black re-enforced elbows, hurray! No need to purchase a separate hood either as it comes with a detachable hood included in the price of £59.99, you just can’t beat it.
Most people think of Lowepro when it comes to camera bags, well think again. Harkila produce a 20-litre backpack camera bag. It takes a Sigma 500mm F4.5 lens complete with hood attached and still has room to spare. The enternal section can be split by a zip into two parts taking up 1/3 and 2/3 of the space if you chose to have smaller lenses. There are also two side zipped pockets and two lower mesh side pockets. Plenty room for all your smaller items. Very comfortable to wear and comes complete with a waterproof outer cover. All for under £100
When it comes to footwear, you get what you pay for. So if you intend to be out in the countryside it's worth getting the best, as only you and your feet will suffer in the long run. All the Harkila range are great boots, but these new boots for 2012 Harkila Pro Hunter GTX 10" re-inforced are great. Nubuck leather with kevlar top. yes that's the same stuff bullet proof vest are made of. These boots are designed for the real rough and tuff of the outdoors, heather that is normally a killer on boots is taken in its stride. OK the photo only shows a small patch of heather, but in deep heather I could not see my feet to take a decent image. Memory foam insules insure a good fit every time you wear them. See the full range at www.scottcountry.co.uk