ProHunt Grizzly Shooting Suit
- By Pete Moore
- 0 Comments
- Last updated: 25/01/2017
ProHunt clothing is less traditional in style than some, but all the more rugged, comfortable and generally practical as a result, and it’s available at prices the ordinary shooter can afford.
The item on test, a cold- weather suit called the Grizzly, ticks all these boxes and, as we shall see, is packed with ingenious and useful features.
When you first unpack the suit, it seems rather bulky and heavy, but once you put it on these impressions are dispelled by a really positive sense of its cut and comfort. The jacket is offered in sizes S-XXXL, whilst the trousers go from a 38- to a 56-inch waist, the lower number indicating the – reasonable – expectation that even those of a smaller build will wear them over base layers.
The fabric feels good too, the base material having a soft but tough sueded finish, with Cordura-type reinforcements on surfaces that receive medium wear, such as the shoulders, and an even higher-resistance material in places that get the toughest treatment, such as the ankles.
There are also solid rubber strips on each shoulder to grip rifle slings or rucksack straps, and neoprene inner cuffs with hook-and-loop closures to provide a waterproof seal when needed. Inside there’s a silky polyester lining, and in the middle a layer of fleece insulation under a waterproof membrane that –unlike some- really does ‘breathe’.
The trousers are cut with a high back to keep out drafts and are provided with detachable rear kidney panel complete with braces for even greater comfort in cold conditions. The waistband itself is elasticated and features a non-slip inner facing. Meanwhile, the trouser legs show a semi- tapered fit that is designed to go as comfortably inside Wellingtons as over the top of shorter boots. They also have elastic stirrups to stop them riding up inside your boots, side zips to make them easier to get on or off, and an elasticated inner cuff as well as external adjustable ankle tabs to keep out the elements.
The trousers are generously provided with pockets too; there are two deep side pockets with faux-suede edgings to resist wear, two back pockets, and two cargo pockets, all with studded flap closures. Inside the latter you’ll find handy flip-out ammo carriers with elasticated loops for five shotgun and 10 rifle cartridges. The ammo carriers are detachable too, so just zip them in or out as required.
Moving on to the jacket, this is made from the same combination of materials, so we’ll focus on its special features, starting on the inside.
First of all there’s a light but strong webbing strap that runs up from attachment points on each side and through a loop below the collar. Slipping your arms through this when you put the jacket on means that when you’re active you can stop yourself getting too warm simply by pulling your arms out of the sleeves and letting the jacket hang from the strap like a backpack. As well as keeping your hands free and the jacket handy, it also keeps it upright, reducing the chance of objects falling from the pockets; I have used similarly equipped Beretta and Schoffel jackets and really like this feature.
If the braces let you cool down when you heat up, an elasticated ‘skirt’ at the waist helps keep you warm when things get chilly, whilst providing a barrier to exclude any moisture seeping up from the hem-line.
There are three internal pockets: a zip-up breast pocket, with a mobile phone pouch attached, on the right, and a long thin pocket on the left, designed for Continental carcase tags. Stalkers who use zip-ties to secure the ends of the alimentary canal during the gralloch may find this pocket useful, but it’s too narrow for much else.
Finally, at each shoulder there’s a mesh pouch holding a dense foam recoil pad. The pad material isn’t as sophisticated as some, but it would be an easy job to cut an aftermarket pad to size if you wanted greater protection.
Outside, the jacket offers no less than 11 pockets, some conventional, some less so. First there are two big bellows pockets that follow the same pattern as the cargo pockets on the trousers, right down to the flip-out ammo carriers, only they also incorporate an external zipped pocket for smaller items. Above these are two fleece- lined hand-warmer pockets, each with short straps that stud on to the flaps of the bellows pockets to keep them open when reloading from a pocket on a drive. Then there are two ‘Napoleon’ pockets with vertical openings and zip closures that neatly leave the upper chest area on each side clear for mounting a gun. Left-handed shooters — like me— will appreciate this ambidextrous design, as many shooting jackets obstruct the left breast with external pockets.
At the back, meanwhile, is a big game pocket, complete with a wipe-clean lining, and zips on three sides, so you can open it right up for cleaning, or for use as a seat.
Last but not least, there’s a diagonal pocket on each fore- arm, complete with a waterproof zip, inside of which are additional loops for bullets. If, like me, you like kipplaufs, combination guns, drillings and double rifles, you’ll love these pockets, as they are a real aid to loading such guns quickly. Uniquely, they also serve as a safety aid on driven hunts since, if you extend your arms straight in front of you, the angle of the pockets indicates a 30-degree arc from which reference points can be taken.
The cuffs also have studded adjustment tabs and the front of the jacket is closed via a sturdy double-ended zip and a studded storm flap. Meanwhile, the low collar has a zip for attaching the padded hood, which features an adjustable opening with a slight peak.
The Grizzly’s greater insulation makes it less suited to active stalking, than, say, Harkila’s Prohunter, Laksen’s Stalker, or ProHunt’s own Ibex suits. But it’s perfect for the more static hunter, whilst remaining comfortable in the infil/exfil phase.
Overall, the Grizzly allows the wearer more temperature control than full-on static- hunting Ansitz gear, yet with enough insulation – in itself or via layering – to cope with properly wintry weather. It’s also easy to move in, gives great versatility and ease of access when it comes to stowage, and – I think – looks rather stylish.
PRICE: The ProHunt Grizzly trousers: £89; Jacket: £16