Review - Country Innovation Kestrel Trousers
As a wildlife and landscape photography guide on the Isle of Skye I need trousers that will keep me warm and dry, mostly dry to be honest - there’s a reason it’s called the misty Isle! I also require clothing that is durable; when photographing subjects such as deer and otter I’m often moving over rough, rocky ground and the last thing I need is a nice rip in the trousers as I crawl along (which happened to my last pair of waterproof trousers!).
I’ve tried various types of waterproof clothing over the years in my search for something that works for me. Traditional, run of the mill waterproof trousers are too loud, that rustling noise they produce drives me absolutely bonkers as well as alerting any wildlife to my presence. I’ve known about Country Innovation’s products for some time, but they never really made it on to my radar as a possible alternative until now. The Kestrel trousers are their top of the line ventile trousers and claim to be waterproof, windproof and breathable, along with the ventile fabric being low rustle this made them an appealing prospect. I decided to put a pair through its paces and see if I might have finally found a pair of trousers that can live up to my high expectations.
First impressions are important. It was immediately apparent how well constructed the Kestrel trousers are, they exuded quality. Even the simple addition of a self-branded clip belt showed that they had really focussed on making a great pair of trousers. I was however, slightly surprised at how bulky they are - while the weight is listed under its specifications on the website they felt quite big and would certainly present a challenge if you’re planning on travelling light or are heading abroad with limited luggage.
There was no messing around when I started testing these trousers. Their first outing was out stalking some of my local red deer during the rut, straight into the deep end then. To get close to deer on the Scottish moorlands you need to be quiet and patient, often sitting in one spot for some time until you’re sure it’s safe to venture forward. Crawling over damp, wet bog and through patches of thorny bushes pushed these trousers but I’m glad to say they passed with flying colours. They kept me one hundred percent dry and with the Innovation XL lining I was also nice and warm. This has been further proved over the winter with our usual bad weather and storms battering the North-West of Scotland, my pair of trousers has taken a bit of pounding but even in 60mph winds I was kept nice and toasty.