A Siberian wind is blowing. Well I am not that sure it is Siberian but, it is blowing from East and it is very cold. Foreigners imagine Italy to enjoy a wonderful warm and sunny weather all year round. It is a hoax! I bet those involved in tourism spread this rumour, I can assure you that here in Northern Italy we often have very cold winters! What the cold wind is trying to tell me, however, is that the time has come to stop testing my Jerva suit. Those who follow the blog, already know that I was given an outdoor shooting/hunting suit made by Harkila to test it. I already described the suit’s technical features and aesthetic details, you can read about them here, I will now tell you how I tested it and what I think. The suit came in mid October, and I wore it for one month, almost daily. As I work (and study) from home, I do not have to follow a specific dress code and, therefore, in autumn and winter, I go around dressed like… a gamekeeper. Living in the suburbs, I have easy access to the countryside and my dog gets daily walks and training sessions in the fields, this means I have to wear clothes suitable to mud, wind, rain and fog. Once I return home I forget to get changed and I continue the day with the same clothes. This means I might go to the supermarket or to the post office wearing green and brown country attire, and this also mean I have to look pretty in those clothes. Looking like a gamekeeper is ok, looking like a Canadian lumberjack is not, and the line separating these two is really thin. While wearing my Jerva suit around none seemed to notice me too much which means the clothes were looking nice on me. A friend owning a small boutique saw the jacket, wanted to try it on and asked me about it, about its brand and so on: this clearly defines the Jerva Jacket as stylish!
But let’s go on with the actual test in the field, starting from the jacket. The jacket is very comfortable and the stretch panels allow hunters and shooters to move freely. You can mount you shotgun quickly, without feeling restrained by the sleeves, and you can also sit, lie down and stretch as much as you need to climb in and out of ditches. These same features are enjoyable during dog training: let’s say you have to grab the dog quickly… well, you can! I wore the suit during country walks, training, shooting and field trials, in different weathers. When the sun was really high, the jacket proved to be too warm but, on ordinary days (temperatures ranging from 8°C to 15°C) it proved to be perfect for active hunters. What about wind and rain? I will give grade it A+ for wind and B for rain. The Jerva and its zips kept the wind at bay and proved capable of dealing with light rain. It was fine for short walks in the rain, or for light rain and fog, but I do not think it can cope with heavy rains and/or hours spent under the rain. Burrs and briars? The jacket does not pick up burrs, which is a very good thing, but I would not use it to go into very thick bushes. I entered some to follow the dog working on pheasants but, I would not recommend the it for heavy duty tasks, like handling hounds during boar hunting. Woodcock hunting? It might do, and I would surely recommend it for deer/boar stalking, being the cloth extremely silent. I love its pockets, while not making you look bulky, they are capable of containing many many things, I swear!
Overall opinion? Would I suggest purchasing the Jerva jacket and, if so, why and for which purposes? The Jerva jacket is comfortable and practical, yet stylish and feminine: women who go hunting and shooting know that it is hard to find all these features fused together in one garment. So, if you mind the look and the quality, you should consider the Jerva. You can wear it in Spring/Autumn, when temperatures are agreable, but weather can change quickly, ignoring what the forecast said. This jacket is perfect for dog training, field trials, country walks looking for mushrooms and unicorns and for shooting/hunting/stalking, provided you do not practice these activities in extreme environments and weathers. If you want to be outside in cold weather, Harkila Kana will be perfect for you.
Let’s now talk about the trousers: I have already described them and, people reacted to them in the same way they reacted to the jacket so, as far as the look, they are Italian approved. Right before receiving them, I purchased a pair of trekking trousers at LIDL. I admit the only reason I bought them was the colour, as they are the same colour as heather but, anyway, my emotional purchase allowed me to compare them with something of far better quality. Harkila’s Jerva, in fact, costs about 10 times the LIDL trousers and there is a reason for it. While LIDL trousers have a great price-quality ratio, the Harkila’s cost more, but offer more. Which are the main differences? Material, shape (the way they fit) and, again, noise. Most synthetic waterproof and water resistant fabrics are, indeed, noisy: you move, they swish alerting any preys. Jerva trousers, instead, do not swish and, while being light, offer a reasonable amount of protection: I could feel the nettles wearing the LIDL ones while it did not happen with the Harkila’s. As for being waterproof, I think they are both water resistant but, as said about the jacket, I would not recommend these garments in heavy rain. While not waterproof, however, the Jerva dry extremely quickly: I had to face some tall and wet grass during a trial. I was wearing wellies but, being short, the trousers came in contact with grass and could not handle that much water but, despite we had no wind and had only a mild sun, they dried in less than half an hour.
Last but not least… how do the trousers look once worn? I am posting a couple of pictures for you to see by yourself, they are a little big for me but, nevertheless they look fine. Like the jacket, they have some stretch panels which allow you to move freely and jump from one place to another. You can walk in them, run in them and climb on steep hills. They are comfortable, but they do not make you look like an housewife in pyjamas, smart ladies know this is definitely a good point! It is easy to keep the Jerva suit clean by letting the mud dry and then brush it away. For now, I machine washed the trousers without detergent, not to spoil their water resistance, but looking forward to wearing the suit again in the spring, I plan to buy a specific detergent for Goretex and other technical clothes.