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Chris Parkin comes away impressed with the design and performance of the Argyll Smock from Jack Pyke... it’s a very competitive price tag when compared with others on the market, too!
Jack Pyke’s Argyll smock is the higher specification of two models in their range and shows design attributes and underlying quality that many may turn their noses up at, due to the modest price. You either like smocks or you don’t but I love their warmth and compactness, even if it comes at the slight expense of temperature control versatility, as I’m more of a sedentary hunter, dressing for one climatic situation at a time rather than swapping back and forth on the move. The Argyll has so far proven to live up to its waterproof rating under showers and light rainfall but has proven comfortable to wear with minimal bulk, a great cut and all the required pockets for light hunting loads where the less kit you can carry the better. The Large size on test in Brown fitted my 42” chest comfortably with space for three layers underneath. Up and over your head in seconds, it needs that slight technique to get it on or off like a non-stretch jumper with a mid-length tail, which prevents wind chill rising up towards the base of your spine. It also aids beaded-up water on the smock’s surface to drip straight to the floor rather than into your waistband area. The baffled front zip further aids wind resistance with enough space to unzip it down low and allow some air to circulate, although I would dearly love to see underarm zippers for more ventilation as well.
The hood is zipped in place so can be left at home if you prefer, but these often bulky items are not so here! As well as a tall collar to protect your neck, there is a lower elasticated cord to cinch in the hood tightly for wet weather and the rear shows a second similar cord with a push-button stopper to draw the brim of the hood in tighter and stop it dropping too low over your face when prone, which can make shooting and glassing difficult. Two zipped pockets at the waist/hips are fine for storing your gloves or other accessories and the higher chest pockets, also zippered, are great for warming your hands in when standing, although, rather unusually, the internal liner/pocket runs up towards your collarbones, as well as down to the stomach. It doesn’t seem to add any bulk but what you could store in there is a mystery; some shooters might want to pad up here perhaps for recoil protection?
The sleeves fit me well and I like the neoprene inner cuffs that prevent water running back up your arms if elevated, further sealing out inclement weather which may have got past the Velcro adjustable outer cuffs that wrap over your gloves.
Breathability is always a compromise between airflow and water proofing and smocks ‘seem’ less breathable, mainly because they retain so much of your body heat, which can turn to sweat and moisture; are less likely to be taken on and off; and seal out bad weather much more completely.
The dropped tail also aids if you sit down on wet ground but when you add pressure to most fabrics, water will bleed through more easily. Thankfully, the brushed tricot finish of the dull brown Argyll is quiet when rubbed against foliage or against itself when moving.
Further drawstrings cinch in the waistline but I prefer to let the smock hang under its own weight and let the cold air fall out of the base, and if any moisture does gather in the three-layer membrane of the polyester materials, it has space to escape too.
Available in Brown or Moss Green with sizes from Small to XXXL.
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