Looking for the perfect clothing system
As you should all know by now, I am constantly looking for better ways to do things.
I have been on the hunt for the ultimate wet weather jacket for a while now. I own several, have tested even more, but struggled to find one that did everything I wanted it to (and primarily didn’t wet out fast). I had been contemplating biting the bullet and getting in some Artyrex LEAF to use, but, there were a few little things that really appealed in the VRTBR offering.
For me, this is actually for field shooting first, and hunting second – due to time constraints and projects underway – I can see myself spending a lot more time at the range than hunting in the near future. Which is fine – through clients wanting Precision Rifle Training, Hunter Courses and more – while I don’t get out into the field as much as I would like to atm, I do spend a fair bit of time in the elements (and hope to do so even more!)
First impressions really do make a difference.
I mentioned recently2 that, while packaging doesn’t ‘matter’ in the large scale of things, it certainly impacts on first impressions. Such was the case again as I received a much-anticipated package from Denmark.
VRTBR, a Nordic3 design and hunting apparel company, has been on my radar for a few years now. I originally heard about them through THLR’s (Thomas) Videos and the further through my involvement with Vertebrae, their ‘sister’ company and also spotting some early samples at the Stager Booth at the Sika Show.
VRTBR [/ˈvɜr təˌbreɪ/]
So, just who is VRTBR anyhow?
VRTBR is the result of a joint project between Denmark and Norway – between (among others) Malene Nielsen and Kenneth Skorpen – it’s a great combination of design and function – Malene bringing the design ideas and along with Kenneth (and his military background) and a group of testers – making sure any introduced elements worked together in the field.
Production is done by a family-owned business in northern Italy.
Clothes that fit
I think it’s time we were allowed to wear clothes that not only functioned well but actually also fitted well. I mean, no, the animals we are hunting couldn’t care less about how we looked in the bush, but, like it or not4 a whole lot of your existing hunting gear is based on fashion – whether you have the latest digital camo patterns, or have gone the other way and hunt in the ‘traditional’ Swandri and Stubbies5 – we all have a particular look that we fit into.
I like to fit into my pants as well. This was something I commented on when reviewing the Hunters Element Hydrapel pants – it was a nice change to wear a pair of trousers that didn’t feel like they were designed to fit everyone, regardless of your actual body type – i.e. boxy, loose, shapeless pants.
So, when you open a package of technical clothing6 that also manages to look like gear that you would happily wear into a night in town, without looking like a ‘hunter’ you know you have something special in your hands.
In addition, with good form, comes function – I have already noticed, that while the pants are ‘tighter’ than I am used to – it also means that anything in the pockets is held against the body – and therefore doesn’t make any noise. This is applicable for both the cargo pockets and the thigh pockets in the pants – I can have, for example – a lighter, knife and small torch in the pocket – and not have them bang against each other and make any noise.
We are seeing more of this kind of product on the market now – Sitka, KUIU, First Lite, now Hunters Element and Stoney Creek are quickly catching up with technical garments that have gone beyond the traditional fleece top and shorts that many hunters would have grown up with. It’s great to have so much choice now!
Materials, marketing and more
The outer jacket and pants are made out of a laminate utilising eVent Alpine as the waterproof membrane. This particular membrane (and remember, like Goretex – there are multiple levels in every system) boasts a 20m water column (that’s 20,000mm if comparing) and a 20,000 g/m2 breathability rating.
Now, I would have no doubt, like any material that has a quieter outer layer on it, that outer layer will eventually wet out (hold water) a bit and reduce the breathability rating. However, like I think is actually the case with many people complaining about their jackets not work – it’s more a case of you starting to sweat and having that trapped in there than it is a case of actually getting wet from the rain. Of course – this is why we have pit zips.
More on all of thise when I start looking at the individual pieces.