There’s something in the Air….

by Neil Summers.

Patagonia’s Nano-Air technology is a classic example of their ethos, to improve, innovate and refine everything that they do. Thanks are also due to a design team who live the outdoor life as well as create products for it. Who’s passion and high standards of quality have resulted in a unique form of fabrication that is breathable but still maintains warmth through a unique mix of full-range insulation with nylon fabric.

Whether experiencing varying temperatures on the commute to work or on the side of a mountain, we all know that swapping or removing layers on the move can often result in large amounts of sweat and general discomfort. But working up a sweat in a garment made using Nano-Air technology allows a certain amount of air to pass through the clothing and evaporate to avoid the body getting overheated.

The magic has happened thanks to Patagonia managing to somehow incorporate incredibly warm synthetic ‘fill’ alongside a fabric weave that doesn’t make the insulation clump together and lose durability whilst letting out air. Though exactly how they do it is still a trade secret, this advancement in making a breathable but incredibly warm synthetic fabrication has been a real game-changer in the world of mountain climbing and outdoor sports in general. It’s also stopped a lot of people from getting all hot and sweaty on crowded trains back home from work too!

Shop Patagonia, brand new range, at The Sporting Lodge.

Introducing – Brett Davies

The Sporting Lodge would like to give a warm welcome to our new blog contributor Brett Davies.

Brett is a highly experienced game and clay pigeon shooting instructor at North Wales Shooting School, with an impressive history in competitive shooting.

As a junior, Brett re-wrote history by winning the Home International Championship with a score of 196/200 making him the Inter Countries all round Champion. He was the only junior to win this title. He also was the Home International Champion at Automatic Ball Trap as a Junior shooting for England.

Brett then went on to represent The England Shooting Team three times, winning the English Open Sporting AA class and the English Open ABT.

In 2016, America also opened up a wealth of opportunities for Brett, as this is where he achieved 12th place in the Seminole Cup.

Staying true to his roots, Brett represents Cheshire in national inter counties competitions where he has become Cheshire’s English sporting, English Skeet and Olympic trap county champion numerous times at senior level. Within Cheshire, Brett is also the Sporting and Skeet Doubles Champion.

At present, Brett is ranked 8th in the official CPSA top ten ranked English sporting shooters in the country. Brett is also the current West Midlands Inter Counties all round Champion.

We are really looking forward to getting a glimpse into Brett’s life, seeing where his shooting careers takes him next and getting some of those valuable shooting tips!

Clay Pigeon Shooting Glasses

When clay shooting, it is always advisory to wear glasses to protect your eyes from fragments of broken clay. They are also extremely useful for improving visibility in different outdoor conditions. A variety of coloured lenses are used to help different coloured clays show up better in specific conditions, lighting or backgrounds. I use Beretta or Pilla shooting glasses and generally use a 22N lens now the weather is nice and light.

The Beretta Race Glasses are a particular favourite of mine.

 They offer an all-round lens, which shows up orange clays very well against a background and vision for black clays is not compromised. They are have a rather wide lens, which stops light from flooding in.

During the winter when the lighting is poor and rather dull, I mostly use a clear lens with a slight tint of green, allowing most light to enter your eyes.
There are many different brands and models of shooting glasses, some much better than others, mainly based on the clarity of the lenses. You can tell the difference between cheap and expensive shooting glasses rather easily. Cheap shooting glasses can perform a basic job and are often a popular choice for people who are not keen to invest a lot of time or money in shooting. However, those who are regular shooters and particularly those who compete find that high quality shooting glasses are a great investment of money as the difference in protection and performance is vast.

Introducing – Fred Whitehurst

Meet Fred Whitehurst, our newest Blog Contributor for The Sporting Lodge.

Hi, I’m Fred Whitehurst, a 17 year old shooting enthusiast. My Dad introduced

me to game shooting at a young age, and over the past three years I have also

got into clay pigeon shooting as it allows me to get my practice in all year

round.

I was ranked No 1 in colts in UK until I recently moved up to the juniors where I

am now ranked 8th in the UK.

I shoot most weekends, whether that be practising, taking part in local

shooting competitions or representing Cheshire CPSN at county shows around

the country. My next big competition is the English open this week where I will

be hoping to improve on my no 8 ranking. Wish me luck!

My current weapon of choice is a Perazzi MX8, 12 bore 30½” barrel (my pride

and joy).

At home, we have 4 dogs; 2 working cockers, a German wirehaired pointer and

a lab x Collie. This is my dog which I have trained myself to be a retriever at our

local bird shoot throughout the winter when I am not clay shooting.

I have a real passion for everything outdoors and I am currently studying

agricultural engineering, so I am pretty handy on the tools which has put me in

good stead whilst working on my Defender.

If you would like to keep up to date with my progress, my passion the sport of

shooting and maybe a few hints and tips then you can find my latest posts here

on The Sporting Lodge Blog.

Grenfell SS17 – Back to Military Roots

by Neil Summers

The Grenfell Pembroke Jacket

With military-wear being a faithful point of reference in menswear with many of the world’s greatest designers regularly relying on various army’s archives as inspiration for their collections. It’s perhaps no surprise then to see that this season Grenfell have paid homage to military clothing via their beautiful camouflage Pembroke jacket which has been made in an English mill that also supplies clothing to the armed forces. It’s an incredibly substantial jacket featuring a padded hood and full double zip concealed behind a snap close storm flap which extends high up into the neckline for weather protection. Both super functional and incredibly contemporary, the Grenfell Pembroke jacket is made from hard wearing polyamide to ensure high levels of durability and protection from the elements for the wearer.

Staying with the military influences the Pembroke boasts an array of functional storage options that are as handy for carrying your rations and rounds as they are your keys, phone and a couple of pounds (of loose change). Encompassing two button close chest pockets, two buckle close waist pockets and two zip close pockets behind the only storage problem you might have is remembering which pocket you’ve placed your essential items!

The Grenfell Redding Jacket

Whilst the Redding jacket may look like it’s just be taken from a Parisian catwalk, it actually owes its stunning good looks to mid-twentieth century military despatch riders and the world’s fastest man. In the last century Grenfell became the performance wear manufacturer of choice for speed demons such as Stirling Moss and Sir Malcolm Campbell who earned the title ‘King of Speed’ after his world records on both land and water. In honour of both Malcolm and Donald Campbell’s achievements and their connection to Grenfell they have created their Bluebird collection to which this stylish biker jacket belongs.

This updated take on a classic jacket silhouette has lots of interesting features such as an off centre full zip close, a slanted button close chest pocket, two slanted open waist pockets and adjustable leather buckle detailing to each side. Not to mention the smart open pointed collar and subtle mud camo colourway that also pay homage to the military origins of the biker jacket. The Pembroke is jacket that’s packed with the indomitable British spirit of adventure and a perfect fit for modern day daredevils.

View the full SS17 range here at The Sporting Lodge.

The everlasting and enduring appeal of a Barbour wax jacket

by Neil Summers.

There can be few things in life that are as hard-wearing or reliable as a Barbour jacket. Designed for all manner of healthy outdoor pursuits from bailing hay to wiping out wildfowl. It’s a timeless British icon loved the world over as much by country folk as it is city-slickers and whose level of appeal (just like the jackets themselves) seems to only improve with age. This was proved by my recent visit to the Pitti Uomo trade show in Florence where I noticed amongst all the fur lined parkas and woolen overcoats that the Barbour Bedale and Beaufort wax jackets are both still the jacket of choice for Italy’s fashion elite. Which is pretty incredible when you try to think of another genuine outdoor that’s as popular with urbanite peacocks as it is with those who wear Barbour jackets for the type of outdoor pursuits that don’t involve drinking prosecco or being papped.

Whilst other jackets have come and gone since its inception back in 1894, thanks to its combination of practicality and timeless style the Barbour wax jacket is now a permanent fixture in our wardrobes. Worn by everyone from festival goers to royalty and even our household pets the Barbour wax jacket remains a uniquely British fashion statement too. It’s an iconic institution as synonymous with our sceptered isle as red buses, steamed up chip shop windows, foaming pints of beer, complaining about the weather and the wonderful crack of leather on willow.

Long may Barbour continue, here at The Sporting Lodge we are proud to be working with such an iconic brand.

Review – Kanken No. 2 Laptop

Brand new for 2016, Neil Summers shares his thoughts.

If you’re looking for something smart, stealthy and Swedish to safely store your supplies in then you need the Kanken No.2 Laptop bag in your life.  Comprised of Fjallraven’s signature heavy duty G-1000 fabric with leather detailing this super smart looking backpack opens up to reveal a separate padded compartment to place your laptop in as well as a handy business card holder. You’ll also find a handy seat pad in there that can be quickly pulled out to provide you with somewhere clean and comfy to sit down when all the seats on your train compartment, conference centre or park bench have all taken.  This is more than a backpack, it’s a mobile office!
If you’ve been bitten by the Kanken bug or just want to find out more about this various incarnations of this versatile Swedish icon then head over to our newly re-branded site (previously called I Love My Kanken) which is now called My Kanken Bag that’s totally dedicated to this dynamic backpack.

Fjallraven Kanken – evolving with the times

Founded in 1960, Fjällräven is a veteran at coping with the outdoors. The brand began like many of its counterparts, with problem-solving at its heart. That simple backpack created by Ake Nordin all those years ago has been joined by a full range of serious outdoor clothing and accessories, and while jackets like the Greenland have become iconic, it’s that original bag which lends its DNA to the brand in the current era.

When things are ubiquitous, it’s usually for a reason. The Kånken bag enjoys worldwide popularity, perhaps due to having nailed the middle ground between function and style. Like any good design, whether it be a car or an item of furniture, the Kånken has been gently evolved with the times, and there are now variations which include laptop compartments and other useful additions. The Kånken also comes in a number of subtle styles, from the well-known bright colours to a more understated, grown up version which utilises leather and more muted colours. There’s something for everyone. It’s a clear example of form following function and looking great as a by-product. Everything about the Kånken is clear, considered and concise. The same can be said for Fjällräven in general, in fact the only thing we can’t quite get our heads around is how to pronounce it correctly, which is fitting for a brand born in Örnsköldsvik. Try saying that with a mouthful of Kendal Mint cake!

kanken-no-2

laptop

re-kanken

We have a long lasting relationship with Fjallraven and have a fantastic range of products, tried and tested by The Sporting Lodge. Check out Fjallraven’s AW16 collection.

Worth going? Yes…

Our guest blogger, Caroline Hutchinson, relays her first experience of The Game Fair.

Having never been to a game fair we were unsure what to expect…

Ragley Hall was an impressive 1600’s country manor with rolling parkland synonymous to a capability brown landscape.  A beautiful venue to visit and enjoy.

We arrived on the Sunday about 8.30, the road signage was very good and we were directed to the car parking area very easily.  We already had tickets but they could be bought on the day. For those camping, there was free transport from campsite to venue throughout the day.  You were able to get re-admission also which was a blessing as we did plenty of shopping and needed to unload at the car!

game-fair

The fair was well set out – there was a large variety of guns and knives stands in, with an area for you to have a go at clay shooting.  There were various activities including a Bear Grylls Survival Trial for both young and old. The fishing section was located near the lake where there were numerous demonstrations on fly fishing, with a large area for the public to try their hand at fly fishing.  There was to our disappointment only a handful of fishing stands, having said that we manage to purchase a healthy amount of items.

In keeping with the theme, a local hunt had brought a selection of foxhounds, bassets and harriers with a demonstration and talk about their role within the hunt. On show were all sorts of terriers from the British Isles, some of whom are on the endangered list, it was most interesting talking to the owners and learning about the dogs characters.

dog

Gun dog demonstrations throughout the day

For the horse enthusiast, there was show jumping throughout the day and demonstrations with French heavy horses which are used for pulling logs, an ergonomic way of forestry.  We watched a Shetland derby, highly entertaining!

Throughout the grounds there was a plethora of food outlets, ice cream vans and coffee/tea stalls albeit on the pricy side as you would expect, however you are more than welcome to bring your own and there are picnic areas.  At one site we were entertained by a trio who sang throughout the day a selection of old sea shanties and whaling songs, who were excellent.
Finally there was a fun fair area for children with a variety of rides and activities to keep the little ones busy while we shopped!

An excellent first experience, hopefully see you there next year!

Fjällräven High Coast Wind Jacket Review

Last weekend I got to try the new Fjällräven High Coast Wind Jacket during a trip to the Lake District and here is my review of the product.

The jacket is made from a waxed polyamide and organic cotton material and is very light and breathable. As the name suggests, this is a windproof jacket as well as being shower poof so will keep you a little dry should you get caught in light rain showers.

My first use of the jacket was during a hike up Blencathra. It was a clear day and quite warm when I started the hike, but as I got higher up the wind started to pick up and started to feel a little colder, so on came my High Coast jacket. The jacket certainly did its job of keeping the wind off me and help maintain a comfortable body temperature.

Although it was windy as I got closer to the summit, my baselayer top was damp with sweat in the usual places where you sweat when on a hike, however I was surprised how quickly my baselayer seemed to dry under my High Coast jacket and how breathable the jacket actually was when wearing on top of a damp baselayer. I often find when hiking that you always seem to be taking layers off or putting layers on in order to get the right body temperature based on how strenuous the hike conditions are, I was very pleased with the combination of my baselayer and jacket and just pulled down the jacket zip if I felt I need to cool down or let more air to my upper body.

When I finally got to the summit and stop for lunch, it was a lot more windy and cooler, yet I didn’t need to put any extra layers on, I just zipped up the jacket and hood and pulled the cords to tighten the hood around my head. The jacket has a single zipped chest pocket on the left and two zipped hip pockets either side. The cuffs are elasticated and the hem of the jacket can be tightened by hidden chords at either side.

I continued to wear the jacket for whole of the descent and I just unzipped/zipped up as and when my body temperature dictated it. I also wore the jacket for most of my hike the following day in warmer, yet more changeable conditions while doing the Fairfield Horseshoe; both times the jacket protected me from the wind when needed and helped maintain my body temperature at all times.

The biggest thing that impressed me with the Fjällräven High Coast Wind Jacket was its breathability. I have worn lightweight windproof or showerproof jackets in the past and one thing what always happened was condensation/sweat inside the jacket. This never happen once with the High Coast jacket. Even when the temperature increased as I got lower down towards the start of my hikes, I never once felt condensation or sweat inside the jacket. I was actually amazed how dry the jacket was inside when I took it off.

high-coast-wind-jacket

Although I never got caught in any rain showers during the weekend (which makes a change for the Lake District), I’m sure the High Coast jacket would keep me dry in any light rain when the time comes. The waterproof level of the jacket can also be enhanced a bit by waxing it with the Greenland Wax as used on the other G-1000 based Fjällräven products, though I will wait to see how the jacket performs in light showers before giving it the waxing treatment.

I would thoroughly recommend the Fjällräven High Coast Wind Jacket as a perfect jacket for Spring or Summer adventures and look forward to putting it through its paces more over the coming months.

UPDATE 7th May 2015

Last weekend I got to test this jacket in more wet and windy conditions. Last Thursday I got caught in strong winds, hail, snow and light rain for nearly 2 hours during a hike in the Lake District. The jacket held up very well in the light rain, snow and hail showers, in that the jacket kept my baselayer completely dry. Two days later I was caught in much stronger winds and heavier rain while on another hike for a period of over 5 hours.

This time the jacket did become a lot wetter than previously in lighter showers and shorter time. The jacket was wet through but I was wearing it on top of my Keb Loft down jacket. Although my Keb jacket was damp on the outside, it still kept my baselayer completely dry. So basically the High Coast Wind Jacket certainly does its job in more moderate conditions over a shorter period of time, but if caught out in more heavier rain and for longer periods then the jacket will get wet, but it’s not designed for such conditions and would be best with a more heavy duty waterproof jacket.

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