Barbour Beaufort JacketIn Depth Review and Buying Guide
A British countryside classic, expertly crafted for long term use.
Introduction to Barbour
Barbour is a family owned business that hails back to the late 1800’s when John Barbour founded the company. Over the years the company has produced a wide range of waterproof garments, motorcycle jackets and it has even supplied the Royal Navy with waterproof uniforms for its submarine crews.
The company currently holds three Royal Warrants, supplying it’s garments to the British Royal family, an honor they proudly display on the label of each of their pieces. The Queen, Duke of Edinburgh and Prince of Wales can often be spotted wearing Barbour waxed jackets in the countryside.
Anyways, let’s get to it! More about the company’s rich history can be found on their nifty interactive website, here.
The Beaufort is one of Barbours most iconic models, launched in 1983 it has been a staple of Barbour’s collection for decades. Its current iteration is largely identical to the models of yesteryear. The main changes have been the types of tartan used and design features involving labeling. Sizing may have changed as well, however I cannot personally attest to that. This review will concern the current iteration of the Beaufort.
The Beaufort is a waxed cotton hunting jacket. It is longer and roomier than most jackets and allows the wearer to have a full range of motion, useful when hunting. The shell is 100% waxed cotton, 6oz weight according to Barbour. My Beaufort is in Sage green and features an “ancient tartan” inner liner. Furthermore, I have an optional Barbour PolarQuilt zip in vest installed in mine. The vest makes the jacket more suitable for the colder winter months in Central Europe. In general Barbour considers this to be an all year round jacket, although for extremely cold weather I suggest looking elsewhere. Overall, this jacket is quite versatile. I’ve worn it in the fall, winter and spring. It holds up great in a variety of climates, I frequently take it on trips to Colombia and zip up or add layers when things get chilly at night.
The jacket is available in four main colors: Sage green (as pictured), Olive (a brownish green, very classic), navy, and black. Personally I recommend going to Sage green or Olive, they are both timeless colors and suit the casual, country nature of the jacket. My Sage green jacket comes equipped with the “ancient tartan”, a pleasant green and yellow tartan pattern. Depending on the exterior color you choose, the type of tartan will vary accordingly.
The collar is a lovely brown corduroy with quite some heft to it. It can be popped up and buttoned in place in windy weather.
Pockets galore! While the Beaufort doesn’t feature any pockets inside the jacket, the outer pockets more than make up for it. Most obvious are the two pouch style pockets in the front. They are roomy and great for holding accessories or toiletries, that is, if you’re not hauling shotguns shells in them, after all, this is a hunting jacket. In line with the hunting theme, there is a large nylon lined “game” pocket in the back. This pocket spans the entirety of the back of the jacket and has two brass YKK zippers on either side. Perfect for… ehh… storing the poor animal you just shot in the face? Or in my case, for holding my scarf and gloves.
Besides that, the jacket features two moleskin lined hand warmer pockets right around chest height. These pockets don’t close, hence I would be wary of using them to hold valuables. Finally, the jacket features a pocket near the main zipper, which can hold a wallet, passport and all your usual small accessories. The sleeves also feature velcro wind guards to keep the breeze out if it gets windy.
Once again, there are no interior pockets. I didn’t find this to be an issue, as I use a zip in Barbour PolarQuilt vest, which adds one interior pocket to the jacket (in the vest itself).
Sizing and Fit
I normally wear Size 36 (inches) in jackets but for the Beaufort I sized up to a size C38. While the size 36 fit me well when I wore a shirt and a sweater, it was quite tight when I added a zip in vest. Size 28 allowed me to add a zip in liner and still have a wide range of motion without it being tight. Alas, the Beaufort is not a runway piece but a hunting jacket, it is meant to be roomy and comfortable. I suggest you try one out before ordering, but if you are on the fence and plan on layering, I’d consider sizing up. Barbour has a full range of sizes going up in increments of two inches.
The jacket is roomy but as soon as you layer or stuff something in the game pocket (large pouch pocket in the lower backside) it fills up nicely, while not being too tight. Some people complain about the sleeves being too short, but I found them to be fine, both on the size 36 and size 38 model.
I am quite impressed with the quality of the Beaufort. The outer is made out of a thick 100% cotton with raglan sleeves. The entire jacket is waxed, hence it is weatherproof but don’t consider it to be fully waterproof should you get caught in a heavy downpour. The quality of the hardware is equally impressive. The zippers are made out of brass and made in Japan by YKK, they are Barbour branded and were custom made for Barbour. While YKK is not the highest end zipper manufacturer, it offers very high quality and this implementation is nothing but sturdy. I found the secondary zipper (right below the main circular zipper) to be a bit rough and hard to pull up, but besides that, all is good.
Fun fact! The round Barbour logo zipper can be used to open bottles, if that’s your thing.
At 349 Euros (for the jacket alone, sans zip in vest/liner) it is not exactly a cheap jacket. Add a zip in liner or vest for around 99 to 129 Euros and the price quickly approaches a somewhat eye watering 500 Euros! However, considering that it is made in England out of top notch materials it should last a while. Hence, I would argue the price is well worth it. The jacket is very well built and features a timeless design. While I wouldn’t suggest you wear this to next years Paris fashion week, I think you will be looking good on the streets or in the country for years to come. It is a great attention to a casual outfit if you live in a varied, rainy climate.
Pro tip, consider buying pre-loved. Often times, you can get a great deal on one of these on Ebay, some are even sold new or barely used! The same applies for the zip-in liners, of which several types are offered (depending on the insulation you require).
Care and the peculiar “Barbour smell”
A waxed Barbour jacket is not to be washed or laundered! The jacket should be laid out to try if wet and should be wiped down with a moist cloth or sponge. The wax coating will wear out depending on use, and the jacket will have to be re-proofed (re-coated) with wax to ensure it’s longevity and water resistance. All in all, with not much effort you can easily wear this jacket for years if not decades.
As these jackets are waxed, they need to be stored in a dry closet and aired out regularly or else the develop quite an interesting smell. This is not an issue if you air out your coat or wear it regularly in a urban environment. If you store it in a closet for a while though, your mileage may vary. My father’s Barbour have developed a rather strong odor as a result of this. Wax is a natural material and bacteria and mold spores may grow on it. If this is a turn off for you, you may need to look elsewhere for a jacket.
Barbour jackets are still largely made in England. Their waxed jackets in particular, are made out of cotton. They are meant to be worn and used in rough country conditions for years. Barbour also offers an extensive service program, should your jacket need repairs or alterations. If you ask a relative or just google around you will see that people are still wearing Barbour jackets that are easily 20 to 30 years old. Rips, tears and holes can all be patched up or fixed at the factory. No need to throw out your jacket. Also the largely cotton construction minimizes the use of synthetic fabrics that contribute to the ever growing issue of micro plastics in our oceans.
As for the overall sustainable practices of Barbour I like that their garments are largely made in England under good labor conditions, however not much information seems to be available about their environmental practices. I was able to find out that they are OEKO-TEX® 100 compliant and working to ensure harmful substances are not used in their products. If you have any additional info, feel free to comment below!
Conclusion: Is it worth your money?
The Beaufort is a wonderful piece of outerwear. While it isn’t exactly “cheap” (nor are the zip in accessories), it is a highly versatile and well built garment. I am more than pleased with mine and hope to wear it for many years to come.
The emphasis on quality, classic design and ethical use of labor and materials further make this a great choice. In the future, I hope to get a Barbour Bedale for when I’m out riding. It is a bit shorter, sleeker and includes a back flap; designed with equestrians in mind.
Nota Bene: This articles represents my opinion only. All thoughts are my own and your experience may vary. This post is in no way sponsored, I paid for the jacket myself and neither Barbour or the seller was aware I would be writing a review. If you have any questions feel free to shoot me a message or drop a comment down below.