Phill Price tries out a versatile and practical body-warmer from top NZ clothing company, Ridgeline
The editors wears a versatile garment every shooter needs
“this kind of detail that tells you that this garment was properly field tested”
W hat do you call these garments? Are they waistcoats, vests, body warmers or gilets? Whatever they’re called, I think that they’re one of the most useful and versatile items in the airgunner’s wardrobe. On mild days they’re enough to keep you comfortable, worn just over a fleece jumper, or in really cold weather they make a superb layer, that helps to keep your core insulated, which is vital to remaining comfortable.
The Talon vest comes from Ridgeline in New Zealand, a company that prides itself on making tough, durable clothes designed with the hunter in mind. They might not be the most stylish, but they are most certainly functional. They chose a soft shell fabric for the Talon that offers wind resistance whilst letting you move freely, especially when mounting your rifle. Inside the soft shell is a fleece lining that adds real warmth to the design. In warmer weather, this might be a bit too warm, but as winter draws in it will be much appreciated. Windproofing is very important because wind chill is one of the biggest factors in how comfortable you’ll be out in the countryside. A biting wind cutting through nonwindproof clothing drains warmth incredibly quickly and can make you uncomfortable within minutes.
PROPERLY FIELD TESTED
The drab moss green is a good choice for the hunter and blends well with camo shirts and trousers, yet can be worn around town without looking too ‘military’. I particularly like the zips on all three pockets so that when you get back to the car you still have your keys and your phone. I also noted sophisticated detailing such as the small loop of fabric that keeps the cold zip-pull way from your throat when the collar is fully zipped up. It’s just this kind of detail that tells you that this garment was properly field tested in horrible conditions.
An advantage of soft shell fabrics is that when worn under another jacket the smooth outer surface slides easily against other fabrics, so that you are less restricted as you move. This is good, practical thinking you can employ when assembling a layering system.
I’ve worn the Talon on dry days ranging from 2 º to 10 º C and felt pretty comfortable on the move. I’ve also used it as a mid- layer, whilst waiting in a high seat for a couple of hours, so I know how it feels. This is a truly practical item and one I’d recommend to anybody who spends time outdoors. It’s also an indicator that Ridgeline is stepping up its game and making all those small details count where it matters – in the hunting fields.
A vest like the Talon is one of the most versatile garments you’ll ever own