It probably isn’t possible to design a shooting jacket with the versatility and durability to be suitable on any day in the field, regardless of the conditions, and as a result most shooters end up with at least a couple of jackets to cover the various scenarios, but when a good jacket generally now costs upwards of £300 this isn’t an option for many people. A jacket that is suitable for early season grouse or partridge shooting on a muggy and thundery day, when you need to be smartly turned out, just isn’t the right jacket for a day rough shooting on a freezing December morning.However with the Sporting Featherweight Barbour have developed perhaps the closest thing to an all rounder that I’ve seen to date. The design brief for the Barbour Sporting Featherweight was to make the lightest shooting jacket on the market, which the jacket really is. Using highly technical lightweight fabrics they’ve cut out the weight without sacrificing the cut, style and features of a traditional jacket. On a warm muggy day, with only a threat of rain you could even stuff it in game bag, without it being a hindrance to carry.
My concern when the jacket was launched 3 years ago was that the fabric just wouldn’t be durable enough, however the test of time has proved the fears to be unfounded, with nothing but positive feedback, and the second generation jacket now featuring an even tougher fabric. Colder days may be an issue, however the jacket is fully waterproof and windproof, and designed to be used as part of a layering system for additional warmth. Regardless of what jacket you choose, a good wicking base layer (nylon or polyester are good, definitely not cotton), a mid layer (polyester fleece or good old fashioned wool are ideal) and then a waterproof outer layer is the best way to keep warm and dry. Again I had some doubt, but I’ve asked people wearing this jacket on
some of the coldest days shooting I’ve experienced and been told they are plenty warm enough.
To complete the appeal of the Sporting Featherweight, Barbour have managed to keep the price bellow £250, which is fantastic value, especially when it is so versatile.