The perfect gilet is warm but not too hot. It's comfortable but smart-ish at the same time. Definitely needs to be washable.
On some shoot days, you could be forgiven for thinking that fleece gilets were a sort of school uniform in the shooting world. Strange to think that 30 or so years ago they didn’t exist. What on earth did everyone wear?
The advantages of fleece gilets
- They keep you snug without feeling too hot
- They are supremely comfortable
- Most of them are easy to wash in a machine
- They dry quickly after a downpour
- They’re hardwearing and moths don’t appear keen on fleece
- They come in all shapes, sizes and colours
- They look quite smart
- You can wear them under a jacket and with a tie
- They come in all different price ranges – from budget to blow-out
Five of the best fleece gilets for shooting
- The Jack Pyke Countryman fleece gilet makes a cosy extra layer and is very competitively priced. There’s a smart pheasant motif to show off your countryman credentials, soft nubuck piping along the edges and two lower pockets that are zipped to hold in essentials like handy baler twine.
2. Alternatively, check out the Seeland Woodcock fleece waistcoat which works well as an extra layer in cold weather or as outwear on warmer days. Available in classic blue, burgundy or green. RRP £59.99
3. The Alan Paine Buxton fleece gilet is versatile, with a stand-up collar, two zipped pockets and adjustable waist. Available in green, navy, dark green and dark navy, in a range of colours in men’s and women’s styles, in sizes S-5XL men and 8-20 women. Price £74.95 for men, £69.95 for women.
4. The Musto Glemsford Polartec fleece gilet is warm and comfortable but still allows your arms to move freely. Available from Farlows in carbon, dark moss, liquorice and true navy colours for £110, in sizes S-XXXL
5. You see them here, you see them there, you see Schoffel fleece gilets everywhere. At the more expensive end of the gilet market, the Schoffel Oakham fleece is a modern country classic and beautifully made. It is available in a whole selection of different colours, including the new claret, cobalt blue and cedar green shades. An adjustable drawstring at the hem ensures a snug, draught-free fit, it has two zipped security pockets, is machine washable and quick drying and can be zipped into Schoffel’s Ptarmigan coat. The Oakham is available in sizes from 38” to 54” chest. Price £139.95.
The ladies’ version of the Oakham fleece is called the Lyndon. It’s slightly more fitted and comes in different colourways.
Once you’ve started wearing a fleece for shooting, you’ll wonder how you ever did without one in your shooting wardrobe.
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Top tips for buying a shooting gilet
A gilet, waistcoat or vest is an essential part of a shooter’s wardrobe. They are highly versatile, coming in a variety of styles and materials, be that tweed, fleece or cotton. They can be used as effective layering – whether as an outer layer or a mid-layer worn under a jacket or coat – and always make you look smart. A fleece gilet will take you from the shoot breakfast out into the field to the shoot lunch and back again.