I have had the Linnet jacket from Country Innovation now for several weeks after being chosen as one of their test pilots. The following review is from the time I have spent in the field with this jacket so far. I hadn’t worn this make before due to having other brands that once you sort of buy into one brand you tend to stick with it. I’ve always knew of its quality through friends that go into the outdoors regularly with their binoculars and cameras and some ex army friends.
I stopped by the stand this year having seen all their new range advertised and got speaking to the staff and was introduced to Maria, the owner who I had never met before. What struck me straight away was here knowledge of materials, what people needed from them and her passion to get the products right. I was very drawn to the Linnet range straight away, because of the design, look and feel made you feel you were looking at something ahead of the game such was the thought and forward thinking that had gone into the design of this range.
At no point was I aware of the pilot scheme and I was just talking with Maris a little about my own work, background as a soldier and clothing and how even to this day serving members of the armed forces have to replace their “as issued” kit with much better “brought” gear from shops.
I brought a shirt, left my card and expressed a big interest in maybe doing something or working with this brand that I had seen one of my favorite naturalist wear all the time- Bill Oddie I’vealways liked him going back to my early birdwatching days as a child I always loved his jokes and manner. Mostly always pictured wearing a waistcoat from this brand I can remember.
I have to say first and foremost that this brand has been around decades, and what I say will or won’t ever effect the trust and passion people have for it, I’m just giving my own thoughts on how I have found this coat that I hope will go some way into letting people know what they are investing in should they purchase this jacket.
I have used this in Norfolk on my Spring tide days where the weather was ok alot of the time but I got caught in rain alot of the time too. The droplets of rain just rolled off the material and left the underside completely dry.
In fact after the rain had passed the material was almost fully dry to the touch all the time allowing my body to breath which is so important as carrying a large camera bag, full gear and tripod trying to avoid the rain and take shelter you sweat and get hot alot, but I was able to breath and still remain warm with this jacket on throughout.
The pockets for me are brilliant, the two larger pockets to the front are the biggest I have seen on any jacket and they fit a medium sized lens and or camera in. To the side should you not want to wear gloves there is a fleece lined inner pocket which is nice to use to take that chill of your hands at the same time still feel connected to your camera and anything you touch as gloves can restrict that feeling.
I took the jacket off to take a few photos of the inside after that rain had passed and as you can see its bone dry, no moisture build up anyway and no water droplets leaked in that could have made the inside wet. The pockets are dry too inside and out.
The collar was also dry, and the hood, I practically like the soft fleece material on the inside of the collar that comes into contact with your upper neck area once you fully zip up the garment, it allows you to move your head without any snagging on your stubble growth or catch your skin and it feels very soft once done up. The hood is a full hood that I have found to be a perfect size with its wired peak which you can adjust to fit the size of your own head.
I have used the coat recently to stalk/ get closer to Fallow and Red deer, at dawn and once you become tuned into the environment around you your able to hear anything with little wind and surrounding noise. Often you can hear your arms move and brush against your torso carrying your gear.
With the Linnet jacket it was extremely quite when I moved, in fact so quite you almost forget your moving as you consider where you’re placing your next step in the pursuit of your subject on foot using what cover and natural protection there is around you to break up your shape within the theater of wildlife. The coat is perfectly made for this job and I have no doubt whatsoever that it helped me get closer to these deer whilst wearing this garment.
I have included a few images of the jacket and images taken while using this product. I’m a full time professional,working wildlife photographer which means I’m always working and crafting my “craft” within nature so to speak. I lead my own tours and workshops also, but my great love is watching and documenting wildlife with my camera before being a tour guide. I have to trust my gear from cameras to footwear 100% or I won’t use them because you don’t get a second chance with wild animals.
Using your own skills to cover the ground, almost becoming a shadow within that terrain is called fieldcraft. Its a skill I believe all wildlife photographers should learn and it should really carry more importance within the final image(s) they produce. Once you’ve covered that ground, you then have to work out how,where and when you will take that image. Often you only have one chance to interpret what your seeing and make an image from it before its gone. Applying these fieldcraft skills, with a deep respect for the subject twinned with a pinch of luck and you might be able to prolong that moment you worked hard for to get into that place.
Its a skill you never stop learning.What you wear and how you appear on the landscape is paramount. It will decide for you how long that encounter will last. So rustle, moment and overall disturbance is very important and something you must work at and try to minimise for the welfare of the subject
Once you have that trust you’re able to know your own limits to what you can do or not so to speak with what you have. During the time of having this Linnet jacket I have sat out rain, been caught in driving winds and rain, stalked deer one of our most sensitive mammals here in the UK and more so with the rut on at this time of year. I have worked on other projects I have on the go too.
During each and every time in the outdoors with my Linnet jacket I have in the short time built up a level of trust and belief in this garment that gives me every bit of confidence that this will be a jacket I will remain loyal too and continue to use within my work. Its perfectly designed for wildlife photography, if the heavens up you can smile to yourself knowing your wearing this and know you will remain dry and moisture free.
The length adds warmth to your lower back, hips and top of your leg region, it has a double zip so you can zip up from the bottom should you need more flexibly with movement. It ticks so many boxes and has been a joy to wear while doing what I love the most in life and that is watching and then capturing wildlife with my camera. The coat comes highly recommended by me from the time I have used this and I look forward to putting it through more of its paces with the onset of winter.