Western Safari

A new look in hunting clothes combines the flair of safari clothing with the rugged gear of the West
October 21, 1956

THIS FALL, American field trials and bird shoots are beginning to have a bit of the flavor of the African veldt and India's plains, but salted with the spirit of the Far West. It all began when a group of big-game-hunting friends sent Norm Thompson of Portland, Ore. a bush coat made by the famous safari outfitter, Ahmed of Nairobi. Thompson, a former advertising man who moved west and began raising Labrador retrievers and supplying outdoorsmen with all sorts of gear by mail, had been looking for something new in upland game clothing. He combined the flair of safari wear with practical ideas long tested in the West and brought out his Shikari clothes, named for India's tiger-hunting guides, the shikaris. For his white-hunter hat, Thompson used the fine beaver-fur felt of a cowboy's ten-gallon, made it into an Africa-tested style: wide brim (3¼ inches) to keep out sun and rain, an inside band designed to keep the hat on in the wind, a Stewart Granger dash of genuineleopard-skin band ($17.50). The coat, copied after Ahmed's, is made of nylon-reinforced whipcord, the same fabric worn by timber cruisers in the rain forests of the Pacific Northwest. It is wind and rain repellent, completely washable, has weather flaps, big patch pockets, bi-swing pleats at shoulders and lock-stitched seams ($22.50). Thompson's Shikari boot, made by the Justin Boot Co., well-known makers of cowboy boots, has the brushproof, reversed-leather 9½-inch uppers of elephant boots. The lowers are of Sylflex-tanned leather to make them waterproof—a good new boot for either riding or walking ($22.50). Thompson's Shikari kit bag, made of mildew-and waterproof Indian canvas, weighs only two pounds, yet will carry all necessary hunting equipment: sleeping bag, air mattress, hunting clothes, ammunition, camera and more inside; gun or rods on top; shaving equipment in a kangaroo pocket ($15. All items may be ordered from Norm Thompson, 1311 N.W. 21st St., Portland 9, Ore.).