Harkila Freja Lady Jacket and Trousers
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- Last updated: 26/04/2019
Men’s clothing in the super-active hunting and shooting environment just doesn’t fit me that well and, although good products, just aren’t cut correctly to fit the proportions of the female form. I not only find them too baggy, but especially with trousers, totally wrong around the hips and waist, with legs proportionally too short and shoulders in jackets too roomy.
Harkila’s Freja Lady jacket and trousers combination is cut specifically to avoid those issues and perhaps never going to be right for everyone, but it certainly suited me. I went for size 38 in both items that seemed, on the specification chart, to be in line with my general size 10 needs. When drawings turned to fabric reality, I was pleased to find an honest product that, unlike high street brands, seems to apply standardised technical measurements and utter functionality to its patterns, rather than just the daily whims of a fashion designer.
For rifle shooting and hunting, the silent fabric with a waterproof and breathable Härkila Weather System™ membrane is firstly light weight and silent when moving. The hood has a Velcro tab on the back to draw the capacious environment shrouding peak back from your brow, so that when addressing the rifle, you can still see through the optics. Combined with the elastic drawcords at either side of the collar, this was a feature I especially liked for comfort, visibility tailored for differing scenarios and keeping the cold air and water out. The peak being allowed to stay long enough to cast its drips down my chest, rather than into my neck, yet, when I wanted, almost totally sealing me in.
Double radio pockets with gusseted rubber aerial ports sit on either side of the chest, high into the shoulder but don’t really offer much space without discomfort. Perhaps this is a weak compromise as a regular radio pocket location on the chest is, without being too coy, in the way for a lady! Underarm ventilation allows air circulation on the sides of your chest and zippered with rubber seals like all the other pockets and openings, for total water resistance when closed. Raising arms and shoulders never exposes your back and hips to the atmosphere with a long but ideal length of cut to stay over the high back of the trousers. The arms are long, with plentiful shoulder space when actually shooting, giving movement without tightening up and the Velcro tabs at the cuffs will firmly wrap and stick around the wrist of gloves.
Freja Lady trousers are made with similar fabric to the jacket and a full lining to prevent abrasion and clamminess when you do develop some body heat. They are 100% wind and waterproof, using Harkila’s HWS® (Härkila Weather System) 2-layer membrane system that uses hydrophilic membranes to draw moisture, wicking it through the membrane to the surface, where it can evaporate without unduly raising the temperature inside the garment. The microscopic holes in the membrane are so small that they prevent water molecules from entering from outside.
Seams and stitching were flat with no loose strands; all buttons and poppers have remained secure (spares are supplied). Twin flat poppers at the waistband fasten securely, with less than 10mm overall thickness at this bulky point that is soft and comfortable against your stomach. Belt loops are also fitted for extra security and knife or ammunition pouch etc.
Waterproof ventilation zips behind the thigh pockets have mesh inner to avoid gaping, yet still allow ventilation with cartridge loops within that pocket on the right leg. There are Velcro calf tensioners and press button closures to lock the hems down around boots. Fine details, like a D-Loop at the belt, is great for accessories that must not be lost, and the inside of the waistband features a delicate rubberised strip to grip your shirt.
Spending time in the Freja suit is pleasantly comfortable, with soft seams and delicate stitching that never rubs against skin with a soft weighting to the whole garment, unlike the heavier, coarser gents’ offerings. Details, like the seamless seat to the trousers, give comfort in all situations with adequate storage in the modest pockets at the waist in the trousers and sides of the jacket and a valuables pocket inside. The light weight is not particularly warm, so ensure you choose a size large enough, under which you can layer up adequately for the likely conditions you will encounter.
Harkila’s approach to women’s clothing has impressed me, with high performance materials showing excellent construction qualities; reassuringly expensive but not too overpriced for such good performance.