John Field Ladakh Suit
- By Pete Moore
- 0 Comments
- Last updated: 26/01/2017
Whilst the John Field name might sound as English as the Union Jack, don’t be fooled. John Field is one of Belgium’s leading technical clothing manufacturers, a clothes designer and manufacturer that’s forged its reputation on producing some of the most unusual and distinctive outdoor and shooting garments, their newly updated, latest material Ladakh jacket and trousers no exception.
A combination of lightweight waterproof and breathable fabrics, an insulating and warmth-giving Primaloft lining, a stylish Forest Green colour with a striking orange lining complete with the John Field fox logo, it’s the tweed edging and detailing that really catch the eye. Used and arranged in a manner rarely if ever seen before, the subdued greens, grays and browns blending and complementing the rest of the suit.
A typical in looks and concept, the unusual design of the Ladakh jacket isn’t reserved for just what you see. Constructed from the latest technical fabrics, starting with the deep, fleece-lined tweed collar that contains a fold away hood, the full length substantial zip and storm flap combining with heavy brass press studs plus an additional flap seal the wearer’s neck against wind and rain whilst still providing good, unimpeded movement.
Fully adjustable courtesy of a waist draw string, the drop shoulder design means shoulder seams and the associated negatives of weakness and potential leakage have been completely eliminated, whilst all the seams that need to exist are diagonally stitched and fully sealed. On the outside two lined hand warmer pockets are positioned just above the bellow pockets, the flaps of which are held either open or closed by strong, internally located magnets. On the right of the jacket a fold-out draw string pocket can be quickly brought into play as a convenient holder of spent cartridge cases or whatever else you might wish to carry on the outside.
Truly innovative designs are the small, hidden pockets located just above the cuffs. Complementing the extendable, brown elasticated wrist seals that feature a discreet thumbhole pattern, the two pockets hold small, disposable hand warmers that are easily replaced. Internally, a neat, contoured removable recoil pad slips into a disguised shoulder pocket on whichever side you require it to be whilst a quick access pocket behind the storm flap allows access without having to undo the jacket. In addition to a larger zip pockets, two smaller pockets for oddments and mobile communication devices are located on the lower right side as per the current demands of European hunting laws.
Echoing the construction of the jacket, starting at the top so to speak, a flexible insert keeps the high waistband elevated so protecting the wearer’s lower back from the cold. Deep loops allow for a broad belt to be worn whilst a hook and eye fastener, twin press studs and wide zip flap ensure full insulation. Lined with the same orange material with Primaloft filling, the trousers are snug from top to bottom, a gusseted flap allowing boots to be worn over or inside the legs.
Do beware though, and it’s my one concern of the outfit, the fine nylon zips could prove to be vulnerable to the ingress of mud and dirt, so boots worn over the legs could prove the more prudent method of wearing. As to why the style of the jacket’s main zip hasn’t been used is something of a mystery, the fine tooth design also susceptible to snagging on the inner material.
Like the jacket, the front slash cut and zippered pockets, matching left leg pocket and rear flap pockets all feature tweed edging, the only exception being the short knife pouch and loop. Elasticated and lined with a honeycombed material, it’s difficult to say as to why this small pocket has escaped the influence of tweed. However, with a knife attached via the loop with a leather thong or similar, the high set pouch works well especially if used in conjunction with a short folder. The clever part of the trousers is the use of two differing outer layers of material.
Above the knee the same soft outer layer is the same as the jacket but knee down and a far more durable and resilient fabric has been used on the facing. The trick has been in the matching, the colour of both so expertly coordinated that it requires a very close look to see where one fabric ends and the other begins.
As soon as you put on the suit you can feel the Primaloft’s warmth-giving properties as your own body heat is quickly converted into an additional layer of insulation. This in turn means the Ladakh has been designed with the more stationary shooter in mind, a cold day on the peg, tucked away in the reeds around duck pond or sat in a high seat; this John Field outfit will keep the wearer warm and cozy no matter how long they have to keep still and quiet. However, worn individually, it’s the jacket that exhibits the greatest versatility, the fact you can open it up should you get a little too warm an advantage over the trousers.
And given the number of pockets including the fold-away sack along with the fleece collar, the articulation and expansion sections, warmth giving properties and general good looks mean the Ladakh jacket will prove its worth as a general all-round cold or wet weather garment. The fact it doesn’t feature a game pocket is to my mind irrelevant since I, like many, prefer a game bag over stuffing shot birds into a pocket, the weight and bulk far from conducive to comfortable shooting.
And once again the jacket’s distinct looks setting it firmly apart from similar items of clothing, the inventive combination and balance of modern and traditional materials along with liner colour and pocket placement a whole new take on a shooting or countryside garment. Likewise, the construction and insulation alone means all the wearer needs is a cotton shirt to be worn underneath the fact the jacket is impermeable to wind and cold meaning the often irritating multiple layering system is eliminated. The Ladakh also provides a welcome, cold weather, harsh environment alternative to the now overly familiar camo.
Available in sizes XS to XXXL, the Ladakh jacket has a retail price of £300, the matching trousers £210. Well worth taking a closer look at especially if you want a shooting jacket that in nearly every way looks like no other. Similarly, whilst the trousers might prove a little warm during the course of a day’s shooting unless the temperature remains below zero, if you like to round things off with a late evening duck flight, a quick change back at the car and you’ll be ready for anything. A jacket and trousers for those who shoot or pursue their countryside activities when it’s too cold for others, the John Field Ladakh could well prove be the outfit that suits you.
For more details and a list of UK retailers visit the John Field website at www.johnfield.eu.