A couple of days ago, I received a USB key from my Pilates teacher and a Snowhite mug (long story….). I thought these were my first Christmas gifts. I realized later that I was terribly wrong: a giant package had arrived earlier in December, via reindeer from Scandinavia. When the courier rang my bell, I rushed to the door forgetting about the painters who were taking care of my house. I jumped each obstacle between me and the door, and I ran even faster to the gate as soon as I recognized the package!
After finishing testing the Jerva suit, I sent my review to M.B., aka “the Harkila Man”. He enjoyed my piece of writing and proposed me to try something else, I accepted right away telling him to choose the new item. After a couple of days, he announced I had been selected to test the Kana suit and added he was going to send a mysterious item along with the suit. When the package arrived, besides being curious to meet my new Kana suit, I was super-curious to find out what the mystery gift was. I went back into the house carrying a huge box, walked over the paint cans again, and reached the kitchen where I was finally able to see what was inside.
The box contained a Kana jacket, a pair of Kana trousers and the mystery gift was… a Lilja cardigan in shadow brown mélange, well done M.B. you have good taste! I plan to test the suit for the whole winter before writing a full review and I will start testing the cardigan as soon as the weather allows. In the meantime, I am going to describe the clothes, and briefly express my first impressions. I will start from the Lilja cardigan which I have not worn it yet. Mine is a size S and it is true to size: an XS would have been good for me, but the S allows me to put a sweater underneath and use the cardigan as an outdoor jacket. Its color is dark brown, with some tiny grey tones: it reminds me of winter plough fields. Label says it is made in Lithuania, but an Italian Company (Lanificio Becagli) was involved in its making. The cardigan material, in fact, is named Actiwool and has something to do with a technical fabric called Calamai which has been patented by this company. Together with the Harkila label there is a Actiwool label which describes wool’s natural benefits such as keeping you warm and dry, and being resistant and easy to care. Wool composes 64% of the fabric (polyester 20% and polyamide 16%), a brave and interesting choice which brings uniqueness to the texture and makes this cardigan stand out between all its fellow specimen. Choosing wool as a main “ingredient”, while mixing it with synthetic materials, is a bold move and tells me that Harkila wants to keep tradition alive, while accepting the benefits of modernity. The cardigan has a modern fitted tailoring and closes through a zipper. Pockets, sleeves hem and pockets are reinforced using a different fabric which is a mixture of cotton and polyester. The cardigan has two mesh lined pockets of medium size ,which can be closed with a zipper: this is not a stupid detail, walking and running on rough grounds can make things, such as car keys and cell phones, spill out of your pockets. A third, small pocket, with the name Harkila embossed on, is located on the left arm. The Lilja has a nice smell and it is very agreeable at the touch, being soft and rough at the same time. I was forgetting, it also comes in a very nice heather-like colour that Harkila calls beetroot mélange.
Let’s now move to the lower part of the suit, the Kana trousers. Emotional review: they are WARM and SOFT!!! Ok, let’s be serious and tell my readers something more technical. The trousers are green, Harkila labels this green “elm green”: I call it hunter green, as all the hunters/shooters I know walk around dressed in this colour from head to toe. The trousers are extremely soft at the touch: the main fabric is made of polyester and nylon and has a Goretex membrane. At a first look (and touch) you would think it s cotton, it is very soft and pleasant, somehow silky. The trousers are padded and lined with polyester: I received a size 36 (the smallest size available), but being waist elasticated it is suits smaller people, like me. The trousers’ length is interesting: they are not super long and the snow lock at the bottom allows me to make them shorter and perfect for my height. The trousers have two zipped front pockets of reasonable depth and a knife pocket on the left thigh. Did I wear them? Yes but only once because, unfortunately, heavy fog forced local people to cancel all their outdoor related activities for about three weeks. I wore them on a very cold and foggy morning. I was supposed to compete in a field trial for pointing dogs and I reached the venue in the hope fog would dissipate: it did not. I do not want to sound extreme, but I think I probably was the warmest person there. People were freezing (temperatures were below zero and humidity was extremely high) while standing there waiting for the fog to go, I was perfectly fine instead. Once worn they looked nice, the padding makes me look a bit plump but it was surely a fair price to pay in order to stay warm!
It is now time to introduce the Kana jacket, which I am in love with! It is cute, warm and light! When I wear it, I feel as If I were walking around in the cold surrounded by a fireplace. The fabric and the colour are the same of the trousers hence I am not going to describe them again. My jacket is a size 36 (the smallest size available) and it suits me well, I am a UK8-IT40. It is quite long, probably longer for me as I am shorter than the average human, but Harkila explains the extra length was chosen to keep you warm. It has a two ways zip, press buttons and rib knit storm cuffs. It features two large and deep front pocket that may be closed with a button, a deep internal pocket and a chest (radio) pocket on the left, the two latter pockets close with a zip. The look is very feminine and the adjustment cords at the waist, together with the bottom hem finishing, make it adaptable to any body shape. There is also a super warm integrated hood lined with brown synthetic bear-like fur which makes me smile. Jacket and trousers belong to the Harkila Endurance Collection and are Fitted with a Gore-Tex® membrane that is waterproof and breathable, keeping you dry and comfortable in all conditions. The outer fabric is DWR treated giving you a robust outer fabric that is supposed to shed water preventing the jacket becoming heavy when wet.
My final review will come at the end of the winter, after a suitable amount of testing but, for now I can tell you that it is incredibly and comfortable and looks good on me. While references to the brand are very subtle (two H on the front pockets buttons and Harkila/Goretex writing on the left sleeve) its being high quality has been promptly spotted by a couple of curious hunters who asked me more information about it. So… stay tuned while I will “work” for my final review, and hopefully produce more pictures of me wearing it: fog and short dark days prevented me from taking more!