I have mentioned Redkettle clothing in the past however it was on our sister site Dansk Gevaer (Danish Rifles) We added the Redkettle range of clothing to the items we sell at the start of the year as a result of speaking to the folks at Redkettle. We liked them as people, their standards and beliefs, their aspirations and most importantly we really liked their range of clothing.
Red Kettle was the brain child of Dane Christian Saugmann who designed jackets and trousers in two ranges, Woodland and Lowland. The thought behind this clothing it is quite deep yet the concept is really very simple, the clothing has to function to the highest standards and without compromise and to this end Christian has taken a very precise approach to the form, fit and function.
Now I could babble on with exuding comment on the wonders of this clothing whilst trying to include the very latest marketing buzz words however I doubt I would do a particularly good job and I seriously doubt Christian would thank me for it so look on this as an honest first outing review.
Trousers, Woodland M/13
I have been looking for a pair of trousers for a while, something for a combination of shooting and walking that would be robust and cope with our British summers and winters, be comfortable and most importantly fit me, so with this in mind I did nothing, carried on wearing my old Deerhunters or a pair of jeans and just forgot about the whole thing.
Luckily I have a Viking wife who had not forgotten and she in turn spoke to Christian who stuffed a bag full of gear in his car when he came up to see us earlier this week. Seeing Christian is always good and being a Dane he and Christel can chat away whilst I do my thing. It was quite a while after Christian had left that I finally had a chance to try the trousers on. Christian had very thoughtfully left both the Woodland and Lowland trousers in a variety of sizes and I opted for the Woodland in a 34Long.
The Woodland trousers are made from Ultrasuede ST micro fibre fabric which at first glance looks like a brown faux suede however they offer a lot more functionality, they are breathable, wind proof and soft to the touch yet apparently hard wearing at the same time. I have spent many years wearing 34W/34L 501’s so it was a bit of a shock when I had to move to a 36 waist in the Lowland trousers however the Woodland trousers were a better fit with the 34 waist and the leg length was perfect even when crouching or kneeling. One thing I did notice was the Woodland trousers were, um, a bit tight across the woodland however I decided a snugger fit was better and I suspected they would give a bit with the first outing.
So today’s first hardcore test of the Woodland trousers was….. A walk around the fields and woods with the Viking and the dogs.
This afternoon was warm, very warm and I had a feeling I was going to cook so I was pleasantly surprised to find I maintained a pleasant temperature, my feet were warm however that was down to the Karrimor boots. The trouser length was good and they sat nicely over the boots, the Woodland has a strap system to tighten the bottom of the trouser legs up, the strap can be removed if so desired. They are also fitted with heavy duty ankle to knee zips on the outside which ensure a reasonably snug fit however you can open the zips which enables you to wear the trousers over longer boots or your favourite wellies. Moving up the legs there is a cargo pocket on either side, these are placed fairly low down which worked well for me and are closed with zips, inside there are elasticated loops to hold equipment in place. Above are two conventional pockets with mesh liners and the front fly is another heavy zip with a couple of poppers at the top.
The Woodlands are fitted with a load of belt loops and being a belt wearer they worked well. At the rear there is a double thickness seat but nothing else, not a seat pocket in sight which felt a bit odd the first time I went to put something in them however I soon forgot the lack of rear pockets.
Moving through the trees the first thing I noticed was the sound, or more accurately, the complete absence of sound, these trousers are absolutely silent, not even the faintest rustle, you can rub your knees together or crouch down and they are totally silent, the trousers knees are made of a series of panelled sections so they bend nicely at the knees without any pressure, a small detail which was noticeable after my Deerhunters.
We walked for about an hour and in that time I pushed through nettles and brambles, tight sections and open grass and was always comfortable and at no point too warm, yet they feel warm and comfortable to the touch. I am looking forward to testing them in the colder months and I am sure they will become a firm favourite. Do bear in mind these are not waterproof, however they are silent and should dry very quickly, a small price to pay for absolute silence and form fit.
One niggle for the first part of the walk was something sharp sticking in my left knee, it felt like a sharp piece of cotton or worse and I had vowed to turn them inside out on my return to find the culprit however the offending item eventually stopped digging in and after that they felt like a pair of old favourites.These are so well thought out and so comfortable that I am still wearing them now.
One thing that did appeal to me was the lack of branding other than a discreet Redkettle patch on the right hand cargo pocket, I always wonder why some companies put logos and flashes all over the place, these are refreshingly understated.
Now the sensible stuff, washing and care – I have no idea! I will wear them, if they get really grim they will be washed by the Viking who knows about such things. As far as general wear and care, well the Woodland trousers have little in the way of bits to catch, the cargo pockets seal with a zip so no flaps to snag and even the leg zip sliders have the bits of material you hold secured with a popper. One thing I did notice was the straps around the bottom of the legs flapped around however closer inspection revealed a couple of loops that I should have fed the strap through to stop it waving around in the wind.
All in all I am very impressed. They are well worth a look
You can read more about Redkettle here: http://www.redkettle.co/Our-origins.aspx