Since rescuing my dog almost four years ago now, I have been at the mercy of the elements, twice a day every day. Don’t get me wrong, I love my dog and enjoy the exercise, but some mornings, when you have to leave a nice cosy duvet only to have your face and thighs lashed by the icy winds outside, the walk is not really the nicest thing in the world. I have searched for and bought many coats but have never found the perfect coat that keeps me warm and dry and is easy to walk in. Until, that is, this week. When I searched the Lands End on-line catalogue for coats, what I first noticed was that they made it very easy to find what you are looking for. They have a set of options along the left hand side of the screen let you select regular, petite, tall or plus, so that you don’t have to find a coat then discover it’s not in your size, because that is always annoying. You can then select your fabric property, such as water resistant, waterproof and wind repellent. You can select the temperature rating (min warm, warm, warmer and warmest) and the length of coat (e.g. hip, below knee, knee length). I loved this feature because Lands End make so many coats that you could spend all day browsing them – I still managed to spend quite a bit of time deciding on the perfect one.
I wanted a coat that was warm as warm could be, that was very long so that none of my legs would be exposed and that would keep me dry too. I finally settled on the Down Long Chalet Coat (only currently available in petite and plus). It is filled with goose down which is supposed to be a really good insulator. It has a hood that is removable and when I sunk my hands into the pockets they were lined with the softest fleece ever, as were the cuffs. It came at an excellent time of year for bad weather and I have had the opportunity to test this coat in a wide variety of conditions, from driving rain and wind to icy coldness and a milder damp day today. It has amazed me. On the rainy windy day I used the hood, and it managed to not only stay up for the duration of the walk with no adjustment or tugging (hoods often fall down when walking, I have found, or flop in your face, or generally don’t stay where they are supposed to) but it also comes far enough forward on your head to protect your glasses (if you wear them, which I do) from getting wet. The rain just seemed to roll off the coat in droplets and it dried quickly and easily. In icy conditions I felt snug and warm and the extra length of it protected my knees from the cold (you could even get away with walking the dog in your pyjamas and nobody would notice).
It is so light that you don’t feel restricted as you walk and even though it is advertised as water resistant not waterproof it kept me dry, including the areas that my baby backpack touched it, and I thought that having something touching the surface of the coat might let in water. With two zip pockets on the outside and two zip and one Velcro pocket on the inside, there’s enough room for your doggy knick knacks. It is machine washable at 40 degrees and tumble dry-able on a low heat with tennis balls, so if necessary you can wash it after the evening walk and it’s dry again for the morning. It still looks deep black and brand new as well, and I think it will wash well in the future.
As this seems like my dream coat, I though I’d suggest one or two modifications to turn this from the perfect winter coat into the perfect winter dog walking coat. The trespass coat that I was wearing before this came along had a zipped mobile phone pocket along the seam just near the zipper, sort of lower chest level. I miss this feature. A good addition for a dog walker would be a loop on the bottom of the outside pocket area that you could clip your poo bag dispenser onto. Plus, and this would probably be quite hard to do, but my super-ideal dog walkers coat would contain some high vis reflective strips on the front and back, maybe poppered or Velcro-ed on, so that they could be removed for everyday use, if for example, you wanted to wear it for the shops.
The only small downside is that Lands End promised me a two hour delivery slot, which I didn’t get – the delivery e-mail stated that it would be delivered between 08.00 and 18.00, which is a bit of a pain because you have to wait in all day. But their delivery company is not Yodel or HDNL, so at least you are kind of guaranteed that it will actually be delivered on the day that they say it will.
It’s an expensive coat, but worth it – you could pay a similar price for a high street coat that is nowhere near the quality of this. It is really warm, can battle through all weathers and I’d expect it to last a good decade or more. The fabric seems strong, you don’t have to dry clean it. I’d been envying my sons all in one snow-suit but now I am as warm as he is when we are out in the elements. An excellent buy and I would highly recommend it.
Disclaimer: The product was sent for free. I was not obliged to write this post and the opinions expressed are all my own.