The Milwood coat from Alan Paine:
The editor of Sporting Gun tests the Milwood coat from Alan Paine
Milwood coat by Alan Paine
Manufacturer: Alan Paine
Pros: Does the job it is designed for
Price as reviewed: £330
Cons: The press studs on the cartridge pockets have sharp edges
The Milwood coat from Alan Paine is designed mainly for driven shooting — it is smart, has cartridge pockets, hand-warming pockets and so on. The ‘action back’ is designed to give freedom of movement and the elasticated inner cuffs keep out the weather. But what sets this apart from a lot of shooting coats is the outer shell fabric. Made from polyester, cotton and nylon, it has a luxuriously soft feel to it, rather like chamois leather. Also like chamois leather, though it might be soft to the touch, it is tough. I went through brambles and hedges wearing this coat and it didn’t snag at all. (Read our guide to the best waterproof shooting jackets.)
Milwood coat in depth
There is more than meets the eye with this coat because, despite its luxury feel, it is fully weatherproof, with a hydrostatic head rating of 10,000mm. This technical rating tells you how waterproof a fabric is. In the case of 10,000mm fabric, it means that if you put a 1in-diameter cylinder onto a piece of that fabric, you could fill it with water to a height of 10,000mm before water would begin to leak through. To put that in context, a coat at this rating will be waterproof in moderate rain, making it ideal for driven shooting. You won’t be climbing Everest in it, but anything more waterproof would be unnecessary.
Naturally, there is always pay-off with waterproof material, and that is that breathability is compromised. So you can have a fully waterproof coat (like a bin liner), but it will offer no breathability at all, and vice versa. Alan Paine didn’t give any figures for breathability, which made me suspicious that the coat might not be all that breathable. However, in real-world conditions, I found it to be one of the most breathable coats I have worn. Even after a hard day’s beating on a warm winter’s day I was very comfortable wearing it, because my perspiration was wicked away quite readily.
When the weather turned colder I noticed that the Milwood coat wasn’t particularly warm. It has a bit of plaid lining, which looks good but has more to do with style than insulation. However, Alan Paine has created what it calls an “interactive garment”. What it means by this is that a mid-layer, like the Milwood waistcoat, can be zipped in the jacket to keep the wearer warm. Personally, I prefer not to attach mid-layers into coats, as it’s always good to be able to remove separate layers as and when you want for maximum comfort. And do remember you can wear any mid-layer under this coat. I teamed it with a lightweight fleece and a good baselayer and was perfectly warm.
It is a good idea for Alan Paine to make a coat that is so versatile. Our winters do seem to be much warmer than a few years ago, and having a coat that is as adaptable as the weather is changeable is a useful addition to anyone’s wardrobe.
The coat also comes with a detachable hood. It is easily unzipped when not needed and I am glad it is fastened with a zip rather than studs, because it is less likely to get ripped off if it gets caught on a branch.
The hood itself is a good one and you can alter capacity with a drawstring, shape the peak and cinch it tight around the face. I’m not usually a big fan of hoods because I find they obscure my vision and limit my hearing, but I still had my senses when I had the hood on and it didn’t obscure my vision too much.
The jacket can be cinched in at the waist, which prevents snow and rain from blowing up inside the coat. In addition to this, there is a large storm placket that buttons over the zip, which will keep wind and rain out. One thing I am fond of are hand-warmer pockets, and this coat has deep ones lined with fleece. On these pockets the zips pull down, making them easier to close.
There are loads of pockets, which is a good thing. However, the press studs on the cartridge pockets do have sharp edges. They are not going to cut your fingers, but they could have been finished properly on a jacket of this price and calibre. On a more positive note, these pockets have drain holes, so they won’t fill with water if you are caught in rain.
There is also a wicking hem at the bottom of the coat, which prevents water from being drawn up inside the coat, keeping the wearer more comfortable.
The Milwood coat is nicely made and comfortable to wear, which you would expect for a coat costing £329.95. It does the job it is designed for and the fabric is top quality. The smooth outer shell makes a nice change from tricot. One thing I would recommend is to go up a size if you want to wear bulky layers underneath it. I had the coat in XL and it fitted my 46in chest and 6ft 2in frame well, but would have been snug if I added more than one thin fleece under it.
- Colour: olive
- Sizes: S to 5XL
- 75% polyester, 15% cotton, 10% nylon blend outer shell
- Inside collar trimmed with faux suede
- Detachable peak hood
- Back poacher’s pocket
- Two secure internal pockets
- Machine washable
- Robust two-way zipper
The Milwood coat is nicely made and comfortable to wear, which you would expect for a coat costing £329.95