Deciding what to wear for a trail run or hike can be difficult, especially when the weather isn’t favourable. There’s a fine line between being too hot and being too cold when you’re exerting yourself out on the trails, and it’s often very difficult to predict what the conditions will be like until you’re actually out there. Not to mention that conditions can change quite rapidly. For this reason there is a big need in any trail runner or hiker’s wardrobe for an all-rounder garment – something that can keep you warm and dry when its necessary without taking up too much space and weight when its not. The kind of item you can always take with you on those days when you’re just a little unsure about the weather, while still feeling like you’re traveling light. The age-old juggling act that all outdoor enthusiasts have had to contend with over the years, is the trade-off between weight and comfort. Technology is stepping in to make the weight sacrifices less severe and one garment which attempts to tap into the latest innovations to provide the best of both worlds is the Swacket from Under Armour.
Touted as the “One Garment To Rule Them All”, the Swacket steps in to the slot between a sweatshirt and a jacket, borrowing the comfort from the former and the protection from the latter. So no prizes for guessing how they came up with the name. The base is dual-layer fleece with woven overlays, providing added protection and retaining warmth and wicking sweat and moisture away from your skin, while still feeling soft. It features a loose fuller cut of a jacket and all the comfort and benefits of performance gear. Under Amour has incorporated their signature Storm technology, meaning that the fabric has been treated to give the garment a water-resistant finish.
We took the Swacket out on a few test runs and since this winter in the highveld hasn’t been particularly cold so far we were slightly concerned that the swacket might be a little overkill once we got the blood pumping but thanks to its breathability, this wasn’t really an issue. The full length zip at the front also adds a degree of adjustability. Additionally, we found it to be reasonably lightweight considering the protection that it offers and so if things did get a little warm, it was easy to remove and stuff into a small backpack without you really noticing it was there. This would be ideal as an intermediate layer in a hiking backpack too since it doesn’t take up much space. These features all come together in an all-weather garment that is completely functional.
When a proper cold front finally did move in, we pitted it against the elements once again, and once again it performed well. This was the first time we used the adjustable hood which allows for tightening around the head so that heat is retained and ears are protected. It also fits securely and doesn’t feel like it is going to fall off when you step on the gas, so to speak. What’s also nice is again, that when you’re not using the hood, you don’t really notice that its there and there is never a sense of it getting in the way. We didn’t get to test it in real rain but we did simulate some rain and found that it was indeed fairly water resistant with the water beading up and rolling off, particularly on the hood. Despite the impressive breathability, it is somehow at the same time manages to keep out moderate wind chills.
Its hard to find fault in this garment but if we had to critique it on something, it would be that the one downside of that plush, comfortable fleece which does so well to keep you warm, is that it does take a little longer to dry out. This is not really an issue in your single day uses but if you were to take it on a multi-day trip in wet conditions, this might pose a bit of a problem.
Extra features which add to the utility of the swacket are the cool zippable secure exterior pockets, an internal phone pocket that is well tucked away, lycra binding on the cuff and hem with reflective fore-arm detail and logo for low-light visibility.
This garment would also be equally at home off the trails in the evening around the campfire or even in the city before or after a gym session.
The Swacket is available for men and women and is available at the Under Armour store in Mall of Africa, Menlyn and V&A and online at www.totalsports.co.za.
The name says it all: it has the comfort of a sweatshirt with the protection of a jacket. So there’s almost never a bad time to wear it.
Loose: Fuller cut for complete comfort.
UA Storm technology repels water without sacrificing breathability
Wind-resistant bonded construction for lightweight protection
Swacket fabric is ultra-soft so it feels like a sweatshirt, only more protective
Woven overlays add protection & hold in warmth
Secure hand pockets with right-side internal phone pocket
Lycra binding on cuffs & hem
Reflective forearm details & logos for low-light visibility
Body: 10.9 oz. Polyester Overlays: Nylon/Polyester Imported