Tried and tested: Is the Barbour Arctic Parka a seaworthy coat?

When testing superyachts in the North Sea, not just any old coat will do. Alan Harper gives his verdict on the reassuringly expensive Barbour Arctic Parka...

As nobody needs reminding, it’s always colder on the water. So winter boating can be a serious test of your clothing as well as your sense of humour, whether aboard a Sunseeker on a drizzly day off Poole or on a Sanlorenzo in the surprisingly frigid Golfo di Genova.

But a recent invitation to a superyacht sea trial in the North Sea in February definitely concentrated the mind. This called for something seriously warm and windproof.

Famous for its waxed jackets, Barbour is hardly a yachting brand. But knowing that this iconic British country clothing manufacturer also makes more conventional waterproof clothing, I dropped in to the Barbour store in Covent Garden after my meeting with the sadistic Dutch yachtbuilders and, more or less at random, tried on a Barbour Arctic Parka.

I didn’t want to take it off. Waterproof and breathable, with a tough but tactile outer face of polyester-cotton mix and a thick, baffle-quilted synthetic ‘Fibredown’ filling – real down just doesn’t cut it in damp conditions, in my experience – you know it means business as soon as you zip it up.

It’s beautifully made, and exudes an air of permanence. Buttons last longer than Velcro, and they’re a lot less annoying. The chunky front zip appears to be military spec.

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Simple drawstrings with thick leather tabs secure the thickly padded hood for maximum weatherproofing, and are easy to use with gloved hands.

The upper handwarmer pockets are snugly lined, while the huge cargo pockets beneath can swallow a surprising amount of gear. There’s a useful inside zip pocket, too, for your phone and sunglasses. And it’s machine washable.


Even with its tailored fit, the Barbour Arctic Parka looks huge and rather imposing, but it’s surprisingly light, extremely comfortable, and really, seriously warm.

Departing Rotterdam into the teeth of a northerly gale in the middle of winter? Bring it on.

RRP: £329
MBY rating: 4/5

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