Choosing the right sporting jacket is a big decision. The Field is on hand with its guide to the best shooting coats
“Choosing the best shooting coat is an important decision for any sportsman,” says Ed Wills, The Field‘s deputy editor. “It is an absolutely essential bit of kit when you venture out in the field. There’s nothing more likely to take the shine off a day’s sport than getting cold, soaked to the skin or even hot under the collar. Protection from the elements is crucial in a coat but there are many other factors to consider. When considering shooting coats, ensure your sporting jacket is comfortable to wear and doesn’t restrict movement, not forgetting making sure it also looks good.”
Even the seemingly timeless world of fieldsports has fashions. Take the Norfolk jacket, for instance. In the early part of the last century it was a staple of every country gentleman, including the late Duke of Edinburgh. Such was its practicality and ubiquity that there are even photographs of George Mallory wearing one on his unsuccessful and fatal trip to conquer Everest in 1924. Although it fell out of favour with some for a spell, the Norfolk is now enjoying a revival.
Since the Norfolk jacket’s original heyday, there have been huge advances in the designs and fabrics of shooting coats. The choice – from the very latest technical materials to traditional tweed – can seem baffling. Sporting jackets also vary in price enormously. Whatever your budget or quarry, we’ve got in covered in our guide to the best shooting coats. And don’t forget to check out our other essential guides, including the best cartridge bags and the best gumboots.
A classic shooting coat
The Check Field Coat (£675) from Cordings is not only a fine example of British craftsmanship but also the perfect blend of tradition and modern innovation. It is coated in Teflon and waterproof, windproof yet breathable. Freedom of movement is ensured through the expert cut, while other features include storm cuffs, silent ‘rattle free’ studs and a retaining flap on the large cartridge pockets.
Looking for a lightweight?
Schoffel’s Ptarmigan Cirrus Coat (£499.95) is the company’s lightest shooting coat. This flexible and water-repellent friend in the field is ideal for changeable days and layering. Underarm gussets for comfort and freedom of movement, fleece-lined pockets and a two-way zipper are among the technical features. Plus there’s an easily adjustable hood for really inclement days and a removable recoil pad. Usefully, this popular shooting coat is also machine washable.
A reliable all-rounder
Whether you’re on the rugby side line, at a point-to-point or in the shooting line, you won’t look out of place in Dubarry’s Rosleague Ivy Jacket (£499). A durable outer shell combined with a Gore-Tex liner ensures it is lightweight, waterproof and breathable. Furthermore, this smart shooting coat has fleece-lined pockets, ergonomic sleeve design as well as cartridge pockets with tabs. It’s practical to boot, as it can be machine washed.
Best-value shooting coat
Seeland makes excellent value all-round shooting coats that are big on practical features but not on price. The Woodcock Advanced Jacket (£259.99) is made from stretchy fabric with a tweed-like appearance and is waterproof and windproof. It has adjustable cuffs and waist, plus large, easily accessed cartridge pockets and fleece-lined hand-warmer pockets. Rainy days can go away thanks to a detachable hood.
For the toughest conditions
If you’re looking for a durable shooting coat made from 100% wool but that is water repellent with a waterproof and breathable membrane, consider Alan Paine’s Combrook Field Coat (£469.95). While the Combrook tweed has soft handle and the collar is super-comfortable, windbreaker cuffs, a strip hem and two-way zippers keep the elements out. Technical features include an action pleat, cartridge and hand-warmer pockets and reinforced seams. A ladies’ version is also available.
Best of British shooting coat
Purdey’s classic Technical Tweed Field Coat (£995) is made from a newly developed technical tweed woven in Scotland. It’s a third lighter than traditionally woven tweed boosting both comfort and resilience. A liner ensures this shooting coat remains waterproof and windproof while being breathable, while a Teflon coating means water simply beads and rolls off. Other features include hand-warmer pockets, easy-access cartridge pockets and a storm cuff.
To shrug off rainy days
The Gale Waterproof Shooting Coat (£695) from Westley Richards proves protection from the elements doesn’t have to come at a cost to style. In addition to its smart silhouette and practical pockets galore, it is made from lightly insulated, membrane-backed Italian fabric, has a detachable hood and sleeves designed to maximum movement when mounting your gun.
The revival of the Norfolk jacket illustrates that a classic styles rarely goes out of fashion for good when it comes to shooting coats. Farlows Norfolk Tweed Shooting Jacket (£649) comes in a choice of green herringbone or olive green houndstooth milled in Scotland. This is then coated in a fine layer of Teflon to increase water repellency before being marked, cut and sewn by hand. Not only is the Norfolk’s half-belt feature iconic but it allows the jacket to be adjusted around the waist, taking some of the cartridge load off the shoulders to enable maximum movement. Stormy weather? No bother, just turn up the collar.
Best shooting coats for young guns
Walker & Hawkes Children’s Derby Tweed Noah Shooting Jackets (£49.95) are made in Britain from Teflon-treated tweed, ensuring little ones stay dry and toasty on shoot days. Given the scrapes adventurous youngsters can get into, these mini sporting coats are designed to enhance freedom of movement – or growth spurts. Available in two colours with matching caps, gilets and breeks also available.
A European collaboration
Campbell’s of Beauly’s Struy Coat (£700) is made in the UK but of traditional Austrian loden material. Legend has it that this warm and waterproof fabric was created by Tyrolean monks in the Middle Ages. Whatever the truth, this sporting coat offers a host of features for the country gent including a comfortable fit, hand-warmer pockets, bellows pockets and side adjusters on the reverse.
Look out for…
In summer 2023 Harkila launched its Pro Hunter Shooting GTX Jacket (RRP £589.99). The Pro Hunter family has been at the heart of this well-respected maker’s range for 25 years so expect another first-rate shooting coat. Features of this lightweight jacket include a game pocket; adjustable waist and hems; large latch pockets with drain holes and gussets, plus hand-warmer pockets with quick-load strap.
Want more advice on what to wear in the field?
If you want to learn what Sir Johnny Scott and others think about hearing protection, read our guide to the best ear defenders. The gilet is a must-have in any countryman’s wardrobe. Find out out which are the best sporting gilets for shooting here.
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