Country Covers Clothing Review
Stuart Morrison Reviews a Smock from Country Covers.
Country Covers Stalking Smock - A Deer Stalkers Review
For those of you who haven't heard of Country Covers, they are an Exeter based company which was formed with the intention of bringing clothing designed for the Special Forces to the general public.
(Left: The Stalking Smock from Country Covers)
Having visited the country covers outlet at various country fairs I had my eye on their 'Stalking Smock', and about a year ago I ordered one in 'leaf' pattern together with a separate waterproof liner. We all know there are many Realtree type camouflage patterns out there, however it is my honest opinion that this particular design is head and shoulders above the rest with its darker colours and leaf pattern. I think it's as near a perfect cammo as you can get for woodland stalking in the UK.
The smock is available in olive green and leaf designs but I think Country Covers will make it in any cammo from their range as a special order. The leaf material is fairly thin in comparison to the olive green material which is more substantial.
There are an array of features to discuss on this smock. The front of both shoulders have olive green cordura patches which contain a thin padding to act as recoil reducing medium. This is removable by opening the Velcro at the bottom of each patch. I have removed the padding out of choice. The smock has a rugged two way plastic zip up the centre and a storm flap secured by large olive green plastic buttons. All the buttons on this jacket are of the taped variety and very unlikely to ever come off. There is a vertical zipped pocket either side of the main zip. There is also a vertical 'ventilation' zip on the right hand side adjacent to the pocket zip. This ventilation zip can very easily be confused with the storage pocket and placing a wallet or phone in here would result in it dropping out of the coat. To ensure this doesn't happen to me, I have tied some red 'para cord' onto the zip pull. RED for STOP!
There are four massive pockets on the front of the smock. Two on each flank, and a long full width pocket on the back of the jacket secured by three buttons.
Each sleeve features a smallish pocket on the upper arm. I found that the buttons (which are smaller than on the other pockets) easily unbutton themselves and for this reason I don't use these. The button holes are clearly too large and this is quite disappointing. There are even more pockets on the lower arms and these are of an intermediate size. The elbows feature cordura patches again with removable padding. The sleeves are secured by adjustable Velcro wrist straps. I am still undecided if Velcro has a place on stalking clothing as It is can be quite noisy! Under each arm is a long 'ventilation' zip.
Inside the coat is another full width pocket subdivided into two, and two zipped pockets. There is a permanently attached hood which is waterproof and features a scrim face net on the front which rolls up when not required and is secured by 3 buttons in elastic loops. A Velcro strap at the rear allows further adjustment.
Drawstrings with toggles are fitted on the bottom and waist of the smock and in the hood to get a snug fit. There are a number of cotton tapes all over for stuffing vegetation in to if you so desire, but I found them useful for tying my dog whistle to.
All in all this is a excellent lightweight smock with no less than seventeen pockets. You can go on holiday with this coat and leave the suitcases at home !
The waterproof liner which I purchased as an extra, is a lightweight waterproof which is fully breathable. This is in a ripstop olive material and packs down into a small volume and is stored in a small bag. It can be carried in one of the pockets of the smock. I have often used this as a waterproof coat on its own.
This is a great combination. Ideal for summer use alone, or for winter use with the liner and a few more layers under, the smock is fantastic added to which Country Covers back up their products with an excellent guarantee and repair service
Stuart Morrison is a professional Deer Manager in East Sussex