Words by Benedict Browne – a menswear journalist, stylist, editor, consultant and occasional model, based in London. He is passionate about lending traditional tailoring modern appeal and championing British luxury; writing credits include The Rake, Mr Porter, Robb Report.
Heritage and innovation are words not often associated with each other – but, they couldn’t be better suited to Purdey’s technical-wear. The design brief for this functional kit is quite simple: to provide resolute protection from the foul British weather and complement traditional shooting attire. Needless to say, it goes down a storm.
First launched for the Autumn/Winter 2022 season, the impressive and environmentally conscious collection of wet weather shooting apparel melds resilient technical fabrics with shooting-specific design details and state-of-the-art software, such as RECCO® GPS tracking devices.
The magic lies in the fabric
The hero ingredient here is Sympatex®, a durable and lightweight fabric that’s arguably one of the most innovative materials used in technical outerwear today. In many ways, it’s similar to Gore-Tex; it has an impenetrable three-layer membrane that provides 100% water and wind repellency and breathability. However, Sympatex® is considerably more environmentally friendly, as it’s composed of 25% bio-based and recycled polyester fibres.
Given the above accolades, Sympatex® is now used to fabricate all of Purdey’s technical outerwear, including the standout unisex Vatersay Shooting Cape II. Named after the southernmost inhabited island in the Outer Hebrides – known to be the windiest place in the UK – the cape is the ultimate shooting garment for severe weather conditions. As well as covering your entire body, it features a drawstring waist, a large hood with a removable mosquito net, two-way side zips to access trousers, and large bellowed cartridge pockets on the outside with drainage holes. So, whether you’re stationary on your peg, manoeuvring up a fell or stalking amidst a swarm of midges, the Vatersay has you (literally) covered from every angle. As a bonus, when it’s not needed, you can pack it away into its internal pocket.
The Northumberland 2-in-1 Lightweight Coat is another highlight. It has everything you need for a demanding day’s shooting: a raglan sleeve, adjustable waist, peaked hood, and fleece-lined hand warmer pockets. Plus, you can just as easily wear it when walking the dogs. Part of its beauty is that it comes with a detachable gilet, made using HD Wool®, an environmentally friendly and highly insulating material. It’s also made in England and is entirely traceable, which further underlines Purdey’s efforts in creating garments with minimal environmental impact.
Not forgetting the technicalities of trousers, of course. Purdey’s are complete with an internal webbing belt, reinforced details, and Kevlar® panels on the seat and knee areas. As a result, they are impressively durable, as Sympatex® can withstand 150,000 rubs (a metric used to measure durability), whilst the Kevlar® areas top that with 200,000 rubs. So, do your worst against sharp, jagged rocks or walking through thick shrubbery whilst stalking, these trousers can handle it.
It’s all in the detail
Perhaps the most unique element across Purdey’s technical wear – or at least a personal favourite – is the redesign and improvement of the action-back, a feature that’s been around forever and a day in shooting apparel. Instead of two underarm gussets, which often collect water in heavy conditions, Purdey has instead installed a single inverted pleat in the centre of the back. Not only does this alleviate that annoying water-collecting issue, but it also further increases the range of motion and improves the swing of your shotgun or rifle. Simple, clever and effective – the holy trinity of great technical kit.