I was originally going to break all of these up into separate posts but given that a) I have so much stuff in the queue to review and b) it’s prime buying season before the holidays, I lumped them all into one for the sake of expedience. Noble Outfitters contacted me a while back asking if I’d like to review some products – I picked the Radius Vest and the Bits n’ Pieces Bridle Bag, and they sent a Lauren quarter zip shirt as well. Two out of the three items I absolutely love, the third I’m just kinda meh about.
The winter weather in Texas is really prime for a vest and long sleeve shirt combination. Most of our days are in the 50’s and 60’s, which means that if you’re wearing a jacket you get hot about halfway through your warm-up. I had two vests already, both Land’s End down vests. They’re nice, but every once in a while I’ll look down and see a feather poking out, plus they’re a bit boxy. The Noble Outfitters vest is a perfect fit – slightly contoured to your shape, enough fill (poly, not down) to be warm, but not too puffy or hot. There are little details that make this vest especially appealing to me, like the cute bit pattern inner lining, the fact that the top zipper keeper is covered with fleece to prevent the zipper from scratching your neck, and the zippered pockets. I’ve washed it a few times now and it comes out of the wash looking great each time. Henry even entertained himself during a vet visit one day by trying to pull off the Noble Outfitters emblem near the pocket, but was unsuccessful. I can vouch for the fact that it’s well made!
- perfect thickness for chilly temps
- well made
- soft fleece lining at the neck and in the pockets
- 2 way zipper
- zipped pockets
I haven’t found any yet, but when ordering keep in mind the brand runs a little bit big. I’m a 36″ bust and wear a small.
Bits n’ Pieces Bridle Bag
I asked for this bag specifically because of my AEC experience. We were in tent stalls, which were on top of a dirt/gravel surface, so the dust was INSANE. All of my tack got coated in dust within just a few hours every single day. Add that to the fact that the crowns on my PS of Sweden bridles are too wide to hang well on a regular portable tack hook – they were constantly filthy from dust and/or falling on the ground. When I saw this bag (which conveniently accommodates two bridles, exactly the number I take to shows) I had to have it. It’s nicely padded, zips open nice and wide, has pockets for bits or whatever else you want to put in there, and hangs on just about anything. Best of all – the two bridle holders on the inside are adjustable nylon straps that snap back onto themselves. This means I can adjust them wide enough to fit my PS bridles in there perfectly, or adjust them tighter for a normal width crown. No more dirty bridles at shows!
- heavy duty and well padded
- pockets for storage
- adjustable bridle straps
- carrying handle
- top hook for hanging over stall wall or fence (or hang it by the handle on a rack)
Same sentiment I had with the ringside backpack – I don’t love the black and tan color scheme, it feels a little western to me. There are prettier bridle bags out there, although IMO they don’t have nearly as many good features as this one. My old custom Dover one, while prettier, seems like a sad joke in comparison.
Lauren 1/4 zip
This is your basic winter weight tech fabric type of shirt. The one I was sent is periwinkle and charcoal heather (I’ll be honest, I hate everything heather), which is kind of a hard color to match with any of my breeches. They do come in a solid navy and solid black also though. I like the thumbholes a lot, I like having the option of covering my hands a bit in the winter without having to put gloves on, and I am always a fan of a quarter zip. The fabric is a bit heavy (ie winter weight) but not too thick or hot, and the shirt is cut well. I like it and don’t have any major complaints, but I’m not as in love with it as I am with the other two items. It’s got a little pocket on the sleeve, which makes me actually want to put this in with all my winter cycling clothes instead, since I could put my ID and some cash in there easily. For me personally this shirt is more appealing for other things besides riding, so in that way it’s a good all-around item, but nothing that I haven’t seen at Target or sporting goods stores before. It lacks that extra hint of luxury and/or ingenuity that I’m always looking for. It’s a comfortable, basic, all-around piece, but as far as cold weather riding shirts go, I just prefer my merino wool Kastels. Granted they are twice as expensive as this shirt!
- nice fabric, good winter weight tech shirt
- nicely fitted
- small pocket on sleeve
- kind of a generic piece of clothing
- don’t love the color combos