Sometimes something unexpected comes into your life that helps you rethink something. For example, Nestle Quick replaced Bosco in my childhood home transforming chocolate milk forever. And now, I have this shirt jacket from SWRVE that is helping me believe a company from Los Angeles can make something for winter that makes sense. I know, I shouldn’t be so judgemental. But how can anyone in L.A. really know about making winter wear? It’s just that I’ve seen hysteria set in from my LA friends when the temperatures dip below 60. And yet…the good people at SWRVE have proven me wrong and appear to know a thing or two about functional cold weather gear. Earlier this fall SWRVE dropped the Winter Shirt Jacket. I was fortunate to have one travel east for a test run for Fat-Bike.com and beyond my initial skepticism, this thing kills.
Like many items in the “trailhead to tap room” clothing category, the immediate appeal of the Winter Shirt Jacket is the item’s cross functionality. You can throw this on to wear around town on a chilly evening AND rip groomed trails on a winter’s night with the right layering combination. Here are some specs direct from their web site:
- 3-layer softshell is 15K breathable / 15K water-resistant to protect you from the elements and has a cozy fleece interior for warmth
- 4-way stretch fabric will contort to any shape for superior comfort in any activity
- high hem in front to prevent bunching
- dual chest pockets w/pen holder (a special feature found on many of their items)
- fleece interior for the coziest of cozy feels
- pit vents for cooling off
From a performance standpoint, it took me a few rides to understand best how to incorporate the jacket into my layering setup. On my first test ride I chose my trusty Twin Six Rando SS for a rip around the local backroads. The temps outside were in the low 30s(F) and breezy. The first thing I noticed was the wind shooting straight down the front when I was in the drops, or even on the hoods. I was worried that this thing might not make a functional riding piece. But a few weeks later I tried again partnering the Winter Shirt Jacket with a high collared vest underneath. Problem solved. I was starting to see the potential. After all it is has a lot of great features. For example, I like products that add a little more on the sleeve length, and the drop tail provides ample coverage for the back end. The softshell fabric has 4-way stretch offering plenty of movement so you can get as rad as you need to. The fleece lining is nice and cozy and the 3-layer softshell provides a light water resistance to keep you high and dry if spill your beer during a one-handed derby. After a few more rides (and many trips to work and around town) I was starting to really like this product. Keep in mind I would not recommend grabbing this jacket for days below 25 degrees unless you have layered well and are pushing the pedals pretty hard.
SWRVE makes a fine array of items for your sartorial needs. I currently hold a pair of softshell fleece lined pants that I recommended for the 2019 edition of the Fat-Bike.com Holiday Gift Guide. I’ve been wearing them for years and I can’t say enough about them for all frozen outdoor activities. I’ve also been wearing their Indigo Cordura Regular Jeans. The Winter Shirt Jacket has all of the best features of Midweight Trouser and turned it into a shirt jacket. Get one. Or both. You won’t be disappointed.