I like so many others thought Ventile was the bees knees mainly due to blindly following someone on the TV and at the time lacking experience or fore thought myself.
While Ventile is without a doubt very good, being tough and windproof, I would question people who claim it to be waterproof.It becomes stiff when wet and takes an age to dry. And more importantly it doesnt come cheap. Having said all that it would still be my second choice for a jacket in most cases.
Cotton Gaberdine as in SAS or Arctic smocks was and probably is still what most soldiers would opt for - preferring a quick drying material that is still windproof. However cotton gaberdine tends to tear if you just look at it. And being generally less active than squaddies we bushcraft must approach this with caution too.
Poly/cotton, like the army lightwieghts are made of, would therefore seem the best of both worlds. Tough yet quick drying and usually available at a half decent price. But what jackets are there out there?
I can name but two, although I am sure many more of you can name others. The first is a Norwegian army ski anorak - these seem to have the usual features of the classic windproof smock (and you can even look like a real Telemark hero) and the ones I've seen are around £30 but I dont like the over head features and so havent bought one. The other jacket, and my first choice these days, is the US M65 jacket. The pockets may not be as bulgy as the SAS smock but then I dont need to carry that much in them - cary less by ........ whats the saying? And I have a daysack which takes my bulky gear. But what I like most about the M65 is it drys really quick and is a fairly tough jacket that is still safe around the campfire. Plus - if you find the right retailer, you can also get the Liner included in the price (dont go to silvermans as they will rip you off on these) - so for about £50 you get a decent four season jacket. Oh and a by the by the green M65's are ideal for night work their shade becoming all invisible by moon light.
Of course lets not forget swanndri - again made famous by the man on the box - but that aside a very good jacket or shirt and with the new Xtreme lining now made even better - only down side here, like Ventile, is the cost. Of course the ranger shirt is a must for any bushcrafter and is excellent as part of a layering system especially as it wont melt and turn you into mr crisp'n'dry if you catch an spat out of your camp fire by a snappy sweet chestnut log!
Well you did ask mad dave! :-D