Photo by Salt Water New England

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Which Barbours, beyond Bedales, Beauforts, and Borders, are Worth Considering?

 

Hello,

I have a reader question - how is the quality of Barbour jackets these days, especially some of the newer styles that are advertised as lightweight or modernized (example here: https://www.barbour.com/us/barbour-delevingne-showerproof-jacket). Some of them look nice and I like the idea of a coat that isn't quite so heavy, but as I know all too well from your blog, many of the newer offerings from classic brands are simply not the same. Would love to hear what your readers think.

Thank you.

P.S. I love your vintage New England photos - they remind me of photos of my grandparents sailing off the coasts of Massachusetts and Maine!  

 

19 comments:

  1. I have the impression that the Bedales for ladies are a tad slimmed down from what I remember them to be in the early 90s. They are okay and still quite serviceable, and I love that they have the handwarmer pockets with the felt interiors that cut the nippiness in the hands when the temperature drops to a little more than just brisk. Both the Bedale and Beaufort are still made in the UK unless that has changed quite recently. I have a woollen Barbour Carter shooting jacket that was bought in Edinburgh years ago, which is also nice, however as it is a padded jacket, it adds a little more bulk to the frame if one is a bit zaftig. Most of the other jacket styles are fitted or belted and not quite the same no-nonsense quality that I knew in the 90s. I would look around and beyond Barbour's. John Partridge had some fine quilted hunting jackets that I liked for years but kept forgetting to order (Muffy wore hers recently on one of her walks), and I see that they are not shipping outside the UK. I am very curious about Filson. Apart from UK brands (Purdey is one brand I like but they are prohibitively expensive and the range is limited), there are a handful of French, German and Austrian outfitters that are probably even better then Barbour. When I can remember those, I will share those.

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  2. I have many Barbour coats and other items. I recently bought a Dunmoor vest from Orvis. I would recommend it very highly. I think the Liddesdale is an okay jacket for the price and so was the Chelsea which has been rebranded. Only the Dunmoor comes close to my Beaufort and my wife’s Bednale though.

    David J Cooper

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  3. I have a Barbour Gamlin lined sweater. It's great, I wore it almost daily in the winter for years when my dress code required black or gray. Stands up to the wet falls, winters and springs here in Western PA really well keeping me warm and dry. Highly recommend. I also have one of their tartan scarves, another highly recommend especially if like me you have a large neck. They're one of the few places that make their scarves long enough that I can properly wrap it.

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  4. Own Barbour Bedale & Berwick Endurance. My son has Bedale & Border. Reproof them ourselves. Be aware of the nuances of each jacket before purchase.

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  5. I love my navy Barbour Bedale. A word of advice: stay away from the women's section and only buy from the men's. Sadly Barbour decided to go fashionable for the women's jackets and lost a lot of functionality in the process. The fitted look and floral cuffs is good for "influencers" but not likely to protect you from the elements if you can't put a sweater underneath and the rain goes down your sleeve.

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    1. That's good advice. A few years ago, I was attracted to the Liberty fabric used as lining for one of the women's Beadnell jackets and regretted the purchase almost immediately after as it is a bit fitted. I've stuck to my older men's Bedale ever since.

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  6. To my mind the Beaufort and the Bedale fill a special niche, cool but not cold, damp but not torrential, a typical day much of the year in the UK or PNW and much of spring and fall elsewhere. They are roomy enough to layer, extending their range, and without a liner they can take one well into spring. However, beyond these circumstances I find other brands and solutions much better, such as down, a topcoat, or a Gloverall duffel if it is truly cold or a real raincoat if it is pouring. As lovely as the rest of the Barbour offerings may be, my take will keep me with my Beaufort and my wife with her Bedale and leave the remainder for others. Of course I am always open to new vistas and perspectives that SWNE may offer.

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  7. I have the Beaufort with the zip-in liner and the Liddesdale, a surprisingly warm coat. I don't wear the Beaufort as much these days because it's just easier to throw on a Patagonia Nano Puff during long walks with the dog. However, it's still a classic coat with just the right amount of patina.

    I think the Beaufort is best worn when temps are between high 30's to low 50's. The front two pockets can feel heavy when you have a decent size phone and large key rings in there. Never wear a backpack with this coat as an outline of the straps will show in time over the wax. I never had any issues with the zipper but I've heard from friends that it can easily malfunction.

    Lastly, do a fitting in person. Barbour sizes are all over the place. I would avoid the newer designs.

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  8. I’m on my second Burghley In 35 years. The leg straps are great in stormy conditions.

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  9. It’s interesting to note that most people wear a Barbour simply as a coat to put on to go to the store or to work. . And very few as a functional garment. For some it is part of the equipment rather than an item of stylish clothing. Of course their are other options that might work to do the job. So in some respects it is also a style choice.

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    1. The Barbour works both ways. For many of us from Ireland and the UK, the Barbour protects us when commuting in torrential rain waiting for public transport and walking on crowded pavements where the space for umbrellas is limited. Most cities have green beltways and it doesn't take long to find yourself in farm land, taking a walk across fields in Wellington boots and stopping at a local pub for lunch. The Barbour can cross from city to country much more easily than other brands, especially in wet climates.

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  10. I've always opted for the Barbour Ashby. I have one in Navy and Olive. I much prefer the slimmer cut with raglan sleeves/shoulders on the Ashby. It gives a much more modern silhouette and a jacket I'm not swimming in, while still leaving plenty of room to layer underneath.

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    1. I have to second the Ashby. I have two Ashby waxed cotton jackets, one in olive and one in Navy, and always get compliments on them. They are tailored, so I ordered-up a size (usually a medium, bought larges), and it fits perfectly; not to tight, not too loose. I also have the thicker winter version. Wear it all the time from November through March.

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  11. Like the Prince of Wales, I have an old Gamefair which is no longer available. It's shorter than a Border or Northumbria and longer than a Beaufort, ideal for wearing over a blazer. The Northumbria, made in South Shields, is a Border in a heavier 8oz silkoil waxed cotton and is the best alternative to a Gamefair.

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    1. Alas , no longer available with the woolen MacKenzie tartan . The green-shade is now somewhat olive too . The manufacturing cost of their products has been reduced over the years . I was looking through a UK 2002 catalogue recently and the products were somewhat nicer , but expensive , which accounts for their disappearance . Original sand Beauchamp with wool tartan is glorious too . There were some good shooting jackets made in Hungary .

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  12. I've had a series of Durham's - lighter weight, integral hood and doubled shoulders. I like them, but the lighter fabric tends to wear through on the inside seams of the sleeves and at the cuffs.

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  13. My old Gamefair, and my old Beaufort!

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  14. West Coast StoicMay 3, 2021 at 1:28 PM

    Beaufort is my favorite. I have one I bought at Christmas of 1990(to celebrate a great new job), and 2 I bought used on ebay for $150 a piece. Both were practically brand new.

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  15. My Beaufort is 40+ years' old, and a prized possession. Having arrived at an un-named NATO base in HM's diplomatic pouch and eventually making its way to me (it's another story for another time), I would never consider another style Barbour. The fleece lining has always been too warm; an additional layer underneath is all that's needed. The old style hood was so small as to be virtually useless, and disappeared years' ago. This Beaufort will last me the remainder of my days; #1 already has his eyes on it...

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