- Good wind breaker
- Compact when packed down
- Good fit
- Not breathable
- Not waterproof
- Only one relatively small pocket
The Specialized Trail SWAT jacket is a slim-fitting, lightweight windbreaker that packs down into a small package. The material isn’t very breathable and isn’t waterproof so it's not really one of the best MTB jackets in that regard, but it offers good protection from the cold in an easy-to-remove layer.
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Specialized Trail SWAT Jacket - Technical details
The Specialized Trail SWAT jacket is lightweight and easily packable, allowing you to take an extra layer on any ride. The fabric (91% Nylon, 9% Spandex) is wind-resistant, breathable and water-repellant thanks to a DWR coating.
The jacket features one pocket on the chest which is big enough to stow your car key or a phone. This pocket doubles up as a pouch that allows you to stuff the jacket in to store it. There is also an integrated hood designed to be worn under the helmet with elastic edging to give a snug fit.
The jacket is on the minimal side and the sizing is no different - it comes up slim, but with sizes ranging from XS-XXL there should be something for most people, but I'd recommend checking the size guide. It’s available in three colours; tropical teal, smoke and black.
Specialized Trail SWAT Jacket - Performance
The lightweight nature of this jacket is impressive, it is very minimal but does provide good protection from the wind. It worked particularly well as an autumnal layer which could be shed easily as the day warmed up. The downside to the wind protection is a lack of breathability - it is a bit of a sweat fest. The DWR coating sheds a light shower, but cannot be relied on for anything more, it also needs re-proofing regularly if you want to maintain the protection.
The fit was on the slim side with my usual size (medium) being fairly body-hugging. However, thanks to the stretchy material, the jacket doesn’t restrict movement at all. The cut is spot-on. The arm length is perfect and along with the elasticated bottom hem, the jacket covers the back and stays in place. The hood is equally snug but fits well under a helmet providing extra protection from the wind.
The jacket stashes down into an impressively small package. Tucking it away into the chest pocket is an easy affair (although the zip can be a little fiddly to fasten up). Once packed away it would easily fit into a frame (if it has internal storage), hip pack, bib-pouch or a large pocket.
Specialized Trail SWAT Jacket - Verdict
At £110, the Specialized Trail SWAT Jacket is not cheap. Other options include the Altura Firestorm Waterproof Jacket. At £80, it represents good value for a lightweight jacket that has a waterproof rating over and above the SWAT jacket. Dakine has a similar offering, that Rachel reviewed, for £84. It competes well with the SWAT jacket but has similar drawbacks.
The Specialized Trail SWAT jacket works well as a windbreaker and stores down into an easy-to-carry, small package. It's slim fitting but comfortable, and the hood adds an extra layer of protection. Its breathability is poor and it's not the cheapest, but it is available in a couple of different colour options to suit different styles.