Our design team hunt, tramp and fish which means they have great insight into what works with gear - and what doesn't. In fact Alex (pictured) is planning his Roar trip as we write.
Not so long ago the team were chewing the fat in a hut about the jackets available and how none of them were specifically designed for deer stalking.
At the same time there were some really exciting advances in fabric technology both in fabric structure and in the way jackets could be put together.
After a successful hunt (and solid round-the-fire-with-whiskey brainstorming) the team came determined that a rebuild of the offer was necessary. A jacket needed to be deer stalking specific and designed for the rigors of alpine hunting or the unique native bush stalking. It needed to be a jacket that could pack down small, with a chest pockets for binos, a full length zip for mobility and a hood with an excellent cut for optimum visibility.
Once back in the office the hard work began. The designers looked not only at the Hunters Element range but also at all of the other jackets on offer and what the jackets were used for. The team realised that the jackets on offer fell into 2 clear use groups - duck shooting or stalking.
Duck shooting jackets with their giant bellows pockets were great for storing shells but incredibly bulky, with the pockets adding up to 15% in weight to the jacket. They were designed for a specific purpose around the wearer being fairly inactive and most hunters only using the pockets for the intended use only a few times per year. They did however have full length zips which are brilliant for taking the jackets on and off easily.
The majority of stalking jackets on offer were anoraks which were much less bulky due to the absence of giant pockets but were a nightmare to take on and off, especially once you were wet or grimy. It was inevitable that your anorak would drag half your clothes with it when you took it off and it wouldn't dry in the hut overnight. On the plus side it was super packable and designed for active users with less weight around the legs.
A list of "must haves" and "not haves" was made and the redesign of the XTR Extreme Hunter Anorak and XTR Jacket began.
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