First impressions are important and I wasn’t disappointed when I opened up my Stealth Gear Extreme Photographers Suit yesterday. Lets be honest, clothing like this for most of us is about a lot more than just “looking the part” (although I’ll come back to that later). It’s primary role is functionality and this set up seems to give you that in spades.
I’m not going to go into all the technical details as they are well documented on the site and make for interesting reading. Instead I’ll take you through some of my first thoughts of the suit.
Should come with a map! I know that the Extreme Photographers Jacket features strengthening on the back for carrying a rucksack but there are enough pockets on here to let you travel without one. I spent the first half hour with it exploring the storage capacity alone.
What is immediately apparent is that this clothing has been designed by people who need to use the features and have personally experienced discomfort or lacking in the field.
The cushioned collar for camera straps is equally as important for anyone who needs to carry equipment around their neck from enthusiastic birders to on site ecologists.
These small, simple features, along with many others throughout the suit aren’t gimmicks, they are practical and many end users reading through the list of features will be nodding sagely from experience.
I was impressed by the fit achievable with the adjustment system that the trousers employ. Velcro side tabs and a Velcro front fastening allowing for quick and easy adjustment and the high back waist is a winner with me every time. There’s nothing worse than “that gap” every time you lean forward!
Belt loops are also in place so the only thing missing are brace attachments. Thought for the future perhaps Stealth-Gear.Com?
The fabric, like the entire suit feels very comfortable and certainly appears to be hardwearing and the addition of the reinforced patches in the critical areas is a welcome feature.
Ankle adjustment is also made available with Velcro closure.
A feature that many designers seem to overlook is ventilation. Whilst it normally is included by way of pit zips in most top quality jackets it’s often sadly overlooked in the leg wear but not here. Side zips on each hip let you vent while walking or working hard which makes these trousers an absolute winner for me.
Pockets are plentiful and voluminous as you would imagine although I’d like to have had a small zipped security pocket feature in the trousers but then I suppose that not everyone is as careless with Police car keys as I am when wandering through fields and forests!!
I’m not a great fan of fleeces zipped into jackets as liners. For one I don’t think that manufactures take the time to provide something that can be worn in its own right and secondly it harks back to my Mountain Rescue Team experience of the mountains of Scotland where layering and the ability to remove or replace one layer at a time is most beneficial for both comfort and safety.
My first point isn’t an issue here though. This fleece has obviously been designed as a functional stand alone garment. Like the jacket and trousers it too features reinforced patches in the places that count as well as a high collar and multitude of usable pockets and storage options.
It’s even fitted with an adjustable draw cord hem to keep the blustering wind from creeping inside.
My second point is covered by the fact that the fleece is obviously removable from the jacket and that’s the way I’ll be wearing as it improves functionality for me but for those who really suffer the cold the facility to keep it zipped in is there.
I was impressed also by the hood options that are supplied and my point that this equipment has been designed by people who know what they are talking about is beautifully illustrated with the midge net supplied that attaches to the jacket collar.
This midge hood, unlike any I have ever seen before, features a zip to allow access to your mouth for eating or drinking without having to remove the hood altogether. It’s this attention to the smallest of detail that makes all the difference.
So all in all I’m mightily impressed by my first look at the suit. I did say I’d come back to the “looking the part” comment and it’s important for me as a Police Officer that the clothing I wear when investigating wildlife issues looks as at home in an urban setting as it does in the wilds and this clothing range provides me with that. In short, it looks professional.
Over the next while I’ll be test driving it all in many varied conditions and terrains both working and out and about with my own camera and I’ll be back to report on my findings
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