Nothing is worse than “kit reviews” from bloggers (particularly when you suspect that a good supply of freebies might have tainted the reviewer’s objectivity), but I can’t resist mentioning a new purchase which came in the post a fortnight ago.
The Bison Bushcraft “guide shirt” is an excellent piece of kit from top to bottom. I might never have heard of it without a chance encounter with a fellow writer at the Shooting Times, and as soon as I clapped eyes on the thing itself, I was sold. It is described online as a British version of the classic kiwi Swanndri, a kind of thick-felted overall smock which I have admired from afar for several years, and it carries the fantastic bonus of being made in Britain from 100% British wool. I have nothing against the New Zealanders, but I think we get more than enough of their exports in the supermarket without dressing up as them too.
The “guide shirt” is fantastically cosy, and I was deeply relieved to remember that I had packed it in the boot of the car when the tyre blew in wild snow last Friday night and I was trapped for three hours on the high road between Ayrshire and Galloway. Not too bothered with the aesthetics, the range of patterns and colours on offer are all relatively pleasing, and the overall first impression has been superbly positive.
I wouldn’t choose to wear thick felt on a hard slog around my snares or carrying a roe off the hill on my back, but I can see it will be indispensable for less strenuous, more sedate activities like lamping foxes or waiting for duck on a cold morning. It still looks horribly new, but I’m sure this will fade after a few mornings round the cows or lying out in the heather spying for blackgame.
I don’t intend to harp on about “kit” and usually make a point of avoiding it, but it is curious that the two finest clothing purchases I have made in the last three years have been named after the same animal – the Buffalo Systems Mountain Shirt and the Bison Bushcraft Guide Shirt.
I have no debt to repay this company and I owe them nothing at all, so I can say without bias that their website is worth visiting: http://www.bisonbushcraft.co.uk