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Mountain Breeze or Ventura? Safari Shirt Review

Which comes out on top in the battle of the safari shirts? Buying the right safari shirt is never as easy as it might at first appear to be. We guide you through two popular models with very different features.

Packing for adventure in Africa sounds straightforward until you get into the details. The truth is, no two African countries are quite alike, no two seasons the same and no two itineraries identical.

Where you go, when you go and why you go will all be factors affecting the right choice of garment. To make it a more pressured decision; size and weight limits for baggage will reduce any scope to hedge by bringing several items that you, ultimately, find redundant.

Packing for safari requires precision and utility. There is no room for poorly chosen kit.

When choosing the best shirts for your trip, each of the dozen options offered by Westley Richards should be examined for suitability.

Here, we compare and contrast the Mountain Breeze Technical Shirt in ‘Woodland’ and the Westley Richards Ventura Shirt in ‘Plains Green’.

The Mountain Breeze is a super lightweight, technical fabric, long-sleeved hunting shirt, designed for optimal comfort and breathability in tropical conditions.

Walking safaris, hunting in mid-day temperatures and other active adventure pursuits are made more enjoyable if temperatures can be controlled and the effects of a harsh sun minimized. The Mountain Breeze is designed for exactly that scenario: a long day under the beating sun.

Many hunters prefer a shirt without a right breast pocket. Omitting one provides un-fettered access to the shoulder when mounting a gun or rifle. For that reason the Mountain Breeze sports a pocket only on the left. There is also a patch on the right shoulder where the fabric is double thickness and cross-stitched to facilitate repeated shooting.

 

The Mountain Breeze Shirt

 

At £165 ($195), the Mountain Breeze is a mid-priced shirt that offers all the benefits of a fast-wicking technical fabric that will keep the wearer cool and dry throughout the day.

Full-length sleeves and a generous cut to the cuff allows for a loose fit and full coverage if the sun gets very hot, while the uniquely shaped collar, which looks conventional when turned-down, provides greater protection to the back of the neck and head, when turned-up.

The Mountain Breeze is cut to allow for air circulation and is true to size, with a 'Medium' buttoning comfortably on a 16” neck and sleeves suiting a 35” arm.

Cuffs are double buttoned, with two gauntlet cuffs to enable sleeves to be rolled up part-way, three quarters or fully, depending on the circumstances.

The Mountain Breeze is the perfect choice for the hottest of days and the harsh sun of an open savannah in summer. The Woodland colour is a dark green with a pleasing matt finish and matching matted buttons. The slight stretch imparted by the fabric adds subtly to its comfort rating, which is very high.

 

The Ventura Shirt

 

The Westley Richards Ventura Shirt is quite a different animal. There is no ‘give’ in this closely woven cotton and it feels tough and stiff by comparison, although it is mid-weight by safari shirt standards.

Ventile is a remarkable 100% cotton fabric that actually repels raindrops as they land, causing the water to roll off the shirt, rather than penetrate. So, while the Mountain Breeze circulates air and breathes to allow rapid drying, the Ventura acts as a protective barrier to the elements.

While both shirts are strong, with tightly stitched double seams and impressive tear resistance, the Ventura feels a degree more robust and impenetrable. Mosquitos and tsetse flies will have a harder time biting through it, I feel.

The Ventura is also more expensive at £235 ($295), for which you get real horn ‘Westley Richards’ branded buttons, two breast pockets (with secured over-flaps to overcome the gun-mounting issues hunters want to avoid) and the same cross-stitched, double backed shooting patch.

The Ventura is cut to a tighter fit than the Mountain Breeze, (notably across the shoulders from armpit to armpit and in the arms) though collar button and sleeve length points are true to size. Anyone planning to use the Ventura as a combination shirt/jacket; a function it is styled to fit, should buy it a size larger than those intending to wear it purely as a shirt.

Worn as a shirt, the precise construction and stiff fabric combination makes it an elegant and structured bush shirt that holds its shape and looks good throughout the day, even in harsh conditions.

So, in conclusion, the Mountain Breeze is the clear choice for open ground in the mid summer sun, while the Ventura is the more rugged choice for the Mopani thickets and tsetse-infested buffalo grounds of Tanzania. You could take both, perhaps slipping a larger-sized Ventura over the Mountain Breeze as a protective layer or as the sun recedes and a bit of warmth is required.

Whatever you choose, you can be assured that the fabric, design, construction and style that Westley Richards ensure are common to every garment they sell is evident and will remain so for years and adventures to come.

 


 

Alongside its custom rifles, luxury travel bags and high quality country clothing, the modern Westley Richards continues a 200-year tradition of outfitting hunters and adventurers for the rigours of outdoor life. With an unrivalled heritage of safari wear, the company produces a range of luxury safari clothes for the ultimate safari packing list. Inspired by former clients Ernest Hemingway and Stewart Granger each safari jacket, hunting shirt and cargo trouser reflects Westley Richards ethos of timeless style and exceptional quality. Pair a rugged safari shirt and safari shorts with some world famous Courteney boots and a classic safari hat.

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