There are two stuff sacks, in fact, one for the jacket and one for the trousers, with zippers and hanging loops.They are comfortably oversize (no real “stuffing” required) and made of the same fine fabric as the suit itself.
“Waterproof” is a strong claim; many purveyors opt for water-resistance instead, which is easier to achieve, but with this comes the expectation that, in due time, we will be wet through. Not so here. Westley Richards uses a technical fabric, a textile engineered to a specific function. A racecar driver’s flame-retardant onesie is made of a technical fabric; so is the Gale suit. The material is a tight Italian weave with a refined “hand” and backed with a waterproof membrane. Every seam is closely stitched and doubled, and protected by a flap outside or sealed with waterproof tape inside. This is particularly important around the neck and across the shoulders.
The main zipper on the jacket is fine-toothed, to help keep wind and water out, and equipped with a glove-friendly pull. It is protected by a storm flap with large corrosion-resistant snaps; the compression straps at the wrists have the same snaps, two apiece. Folded into the stand-up collar is a drawstring hood roomy enough to go over a cap and detachable by means of a zip.
The two bellows pockets easily accommodate a couple of boxes of 12-bore cartridges apiece, and they have grommeted drain holes at the bottom. The flaps snap into the pockets to keep them out of the way, and when the bellows feature isn’t needed, internal snaps hold the pockets flat. There is a third pocket as well, a large one on the lower left inside, that is secured with a zipper. Stitched in around the waist is an elastic cord that can be adjusted for a snug, wind-cheating fit.
The jacket extends down to just below my bum; it isn’t long enough to sit on, but it overlaps the trousers by a wide margin.
The trousers may be bought separately, but a duck day in driving November rain proved the value of both halves of the Gale suit. The trousers are made of the same material and sewn together the same way as the jacket. There are full-length zips with large pull loops and snapped storm flaps along the outside of the legs, plus a wide and generously elasticized waistband with two snaps and a zip fly, so pulling the trousers over breeks and Wellies is dead easy. The elastic cuffs also have snaps for a neat and wind-tight fit around virtually any boot.
Proper trousers have pockets; there is a deep vertical slash pocket on each leg and a large wallet pocket at the right rear, all with zips and pulls and neat, tight seams. And finally, yes, the trousers do make a gentle zoop-zoop sound when walking.
I cannot vouch for the Gale suit’s ability to “breathe” on a warm day, but on a chilly, windy, soaking-wet day (in a gale, one might say) with a woolen jumper and breeks beneath to trap body heat, it kept me dry and warm. There is none of the rubbery feel of lesser rain suits, and the comfortable cut is form-fitting but allows easy gun mounting and swinging as well as clambering into and out of vehicles. Putting the suit on when precip threatens and then shedding it for the shoot lunch is quick and fumble-free.
Even if it isn’t just a plastic poncho, the term “rain suit” conjures up something cheap and cheerful, dug out of the duffle as needed and then as quickly put off again. The Gale Jacket and Trousers are much more than that, and further proof of how carefully everything from Westley Richards is designed and fabricated.