Specialized Women’s Trail Wind jacket is a windproof anorak jacket that works in a range of riding scenarios. Its performance doesn’t quite match that of the best women’s trail jackets, but its casual looks make it versatile and something that can be worn on and off the bike.
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Specialized Women's Trail Wind Jacket - Technical Details
Specialized created the Women’s Trail Wind Jacket to be the perfect option for windy days with the chance of showers. The polyester shell features laser-cut perforation holes on the upper back for breathability and the DWR coating provides light water resistance. According to Specialized, the overall casual look of the jacket means “you can wear it to your favourite pizza joint on a breezy evening.”
The jacket is very lightweight and built to fit into a pocket, pack, or bike. For neat storing, it folds perfectly into the zipped side pocket.
Made of nylon (91%) and spandex (9%) for added stretch, the jacket also has an integrated hood that's designed to be worn under a helmet. It has an elastic edge for a non-flappy fit around the head.
The general fit of this jacket is relaxed and allows for layering underneath. It’s available in sizes ranging from XS to XL, and based on the size S tested if you want to keep using this over the winter with a couple of layers underneath, going up a size is advisable.
Specialized Women's Trail Wind Jacket - Performance
The first thing I liked about this jacket is its casual look. After Specialized had planted the picture in my head, I totally agreed it being suitable for a visit to the local pizza joint - but this also seems to mean that this is not a performance garment.
The anorak style reminds me a lot of a running jacket (and I admit, I have worn it on my runs as well) and because of that, I enjoyed pulling it on for those more casual rides where aerodynamics, flapping around, or getting soaked were not a concern. The thin material seemed robust enough to survive the trailside bushes, but I do think that in case of a crash it'd be quickly torn. The drawcord at the hem is great for adjusting the length of the jacket and keeping the draft out.
The lightweight, thin materials also make the jacket very packable and so it was easy to carry with me as an emergency shell to throw on for descents. It is really effective at keeping the breeze at bay, but on the few occasions I rode a little harder, I found that it is not the most breathable. Despite the upper back's laser-cut holes, I was soaked in sweat after a ride. The half-zip doesn't seem to do much to alleviate this, as it is not enough to cool the lower back.
As the name says, this is primarily a wind jacket because the added DWR coating doesn’t really get you far in anything heavier than a wee drizzle. I rode this through varying levels of rain, and although the water beading looked promising at first, it only took about 15 minutes of constant rain to get through the DWR layer. After that, the jacket clung onto my baselayer and because of the not-so-great breathability, I remained soaked for the rest of the ride.
Although I found it really great, the casual look was a downside of this jacket as well, because the very stealthy black colourway doesn’t really make you visible at all. There is a single, thin reflective strip on the upper back, but this is almost fully covered if you have the hood down.
And talking about the hood it is one to be worn under the helmet for extra warmth and it did that very well. It doesn't flap around but wraps nicely around the face. But again, the material isn't the most breathable.
Specialized Women's Trail Wind Jacket - Verdict
As this is not a performance-orientated jacket, it is complicated to evaluate its value. Retailing for £100, this is not a jacket you will be buying on a whim unless you're after a specific, casual look. Style-wise, this one is unique - it's hard to find another windshield jacket with an anorak design for comparison as most cycling-specific windshields have a full zip, such as the Vaude Women’s Pro Windshell LW (£90) and Altura Esker Women's Waterproof Packable Jacket (£100). Both of these are similarly priced, but the Altura shell has the added waterproof aspect to it.
This is a really neat jacket, ideal for casual rides and windy days - but it does not deal with moisture very well and best saved for dry, breezy days. It excels as an outer shell that will keep the heat in and a little spray out and it's casual look makes it quite versatile. It's just as much at home off the trails and I would pack this with me for a summer bikepacking trip without hesitation - especially because it has it has a good size pocket!