Swazi Clothing Review

James Mott reviews the Swazi Windriver fleece jacket by New Zealand outfitters Swazi.

Swazi Windriver JacketNow celebrating its 20 year anniversary, the New Zealand outfitter 'Swazi' have been developing and manufacturing specialist outdoor clothing specifically for hunters since 1994. Today Swazi clothing can be seen appearing more and more frequently amongst UK Deer Stalkers. 

I was delighted therefore when I got my hands on Swazi's Windriver jacket, which is an item of clothing that falls into the category of a breathable windproof long-style hooded fleece jacket.

Features include a long cut (mid thigh length) and high collar for extra warmth; a full-length two-way YKK zip; deep, zippered pockets for your hands and belongings; a single chest pocket; and zippered side vents for when extra freedom of movement is needed.

The detachable hood, is based on the design of Swazi’s Tahr Anorak hood and has a wired peak and affords excellent peripheral vision.

Specifications include:

Material: AEGIS Windshield Fleece

Colour: Olive

Detachable, adjustable hood with wired peak

Full-length two-way YKK zip

Zippered hand pockets

One chest pocket with Velcro and stud fastener closure

Long cut and high collar for warmth

Zippered side vents for ease of movement

Overview

Swazireview1I must say when I first received the jacket to trial some months ago, I had some reservations about the style. The jacket is long cut and having a personal preference for shorter style jackets, I wondered how useful I would find it and whether I would get used to it.

I have now been using the jacket for my deer stalking outings for over 2 months and I’m happy to say that it’s become a firm favourite of mine, ironically due in fact, to the longer length.

I really like that the extra material not only keeps the back warm, but is also effective at keeping the wind out. Additionally, it nicely cushions your behind when sitting in a high seat and when taking a break during a stalk, one can sit on the ground or a tree stump without getting a damp/cold rear end.

I was also pleasantly surprised to discover (I happened to get caught out in a serious downpour) that to all intents and purposes the jacket is waterproof. Since then I have worn it on numerous rainy sessions and the inside has remained dry as a bone. That said, I suspect it may let you down in persistent heavy rain though fortunately I’ve not had to put this to the test and neither is this the intention of the design.  

One nice touch worth mentioning is the velcro strip on the breast pocket.  I use the pocket for my mobile phone and I really like the fact that the velcro stops things falling out.

Swazi use their own AEGIS windshield fabric, which I found to be effective at keeping out the wind and importantly its quiet, unlike some clothing manufacturers whose choice of fabric for these purposes can be noisy (and annoying).

Conclusions

A stylish, quality fleece that has the benefit of being windproof and pretty much waterproof. The Windriver jacket is a superb choice for stalking in the UK and is also suitable for other outdoor activities during the colder often windier months from September to April. Possibly a bit pricy for a fleece, but beautifully made and a great investment that should stand the test of time.

Where to buy

The Windriver jacket retails for around £295-00 and can be purchased direct from the Swazi website www.swazi.co.nz or from Ray Mears Bushcraft here in the UK www.raymears.com

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