It started with a mid-afternoon ramble to Cotswolds in July for some much needed supplies during a busy bat survey season. As I usually do, having found what I needed, I headed to the sales section of the store with the hope of scooping-up a mid-season bargain. Truth be told, I was genuinely on the look-out for a subtle-coloured waterproof jacket - to take the burden off my ageing but much loved Paramo valex smock. Having looked with mild interest at a couple of branded jackets, I discounted these on the basis that the bright eye-catching colours were not at all suitable for doing bird survey work, not to mention avoiding undue attention in the field.
To be honest, I had nearly given up hope when I saw the Lutra jacket at the end of the rack, and I almost discounted it when I first saw it because it didn't look waterproof from the texture of the material. That said, it still grabbed my attention because the balance of neutral colours with camouflage was exactly what I was looking for... almost like it had been designed for an ecologist!! It took a further five minutes of detailed examination before I realised the camouflage print was actually made up of a collage of animals and that the jacket was designed by Chris Packham. That's when the penny dropped... someone who works with wildlife had designed this jacket...
Onto the jacket itself... This is a seriously well-made product but then, that's what you would expect from Sprayway, the company that manufactures this garment. Overall, the workmanship is excellent and it doesn't take an expert eye to appreciate the care and attention that has gone into making this garment - just look at the pictures below if you do not believe me. As an ecologist, what I love about this jacket is the amount of thought that has gone into the design, for example, the jacket is just the perfect length; not too long that it covers the buttocks but not too short that it rides up at the back - a winter time grumble of mine.
The focal point of the jacket are four large, spacious, bellowed pockets; two at chest height and two just above the hips, which are large enough to hold a small video camera. In addition, there are two perfectly placed hand-warmers located behind the two bottom pockets. These are fleece-lined and wonderfully cozy - perfect for this time of year! Gone is any sign of noisy velcro, instead there are various popper studs; two size options on the cuffs of each arm, various along the front - to secure the front flap of the jacket - and two either side of the lower back, so you can synch the waist when you are wearing something light, like a t-shirt in summer. In addition to re-enforced panels in high-wear areas and an adjustable hem cord, the jacket also boasts a generous adjustable two-way hood, which keeps the worse of the Scottish weather at bay. Finally, the jacket has a breathable, fully-taped liner that has successfully repelled many a wet Scottish day - yes, I was completely wrong in that respect.
At first I wasn't too sure how my peers would react to this jacket or it's unique camouflage print; part of me thought it might be a little 'too cute' for work. However, I wouldn't be exaggerating when I say this jacket has received more compliments than any other item of clothing I have ever owned, bar a nice tweed jacket I pinched from my husband when we first met! In fact, without fail, every ecologist who sees this jacket, tells me they love the print and wants to known where it came from. Imagine their surprise when I tell them where I bought it and who designed it!!
If the above short review has piqued your interest or convinced you, like me, that this jacket could become a valued item of field kit, then get yourself down to Cotswold Outdoor for a bargain because the jacket is currently on sale - with an extra 20% off over Black Friday weekend!!! Just following the link below...
Image Credit: TETRIX Ecology