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Auteur Sujet: SWAZI Tahr Anorak Review -  (Lu 29300 fois)

16 mars 2010 à 17:54:56
Lu 29300 fois


SWAZI Tahr Anorak

Since a few years, I get rid of most Gore-Tex, and more generally of "synthetic" clothing.  Many of you, thus, will be surprised to see me test a Gore-Tex Anorak.  I usually do not like that kind of gear for many reasons :

- most are very waterproof but not very breathable ;
- they're noisy and shiny ;
- they do not mix well with smoke, dirt, fires...  
- they shine a lot in the IR and near IRs, which is not good when I play hide and seek with my military buddies...
- they are expensive yet, usually, not durable at all.

So, since a few years I have been using mostly waterproofed cotton jackets : tons of nikwax, and I hit the dirt.  Less expensive, breathing well, shedding rain just enough, drying fast...  I use them for light to moderate precipitations, as well as a mechanical and fire protection.  As they block wind a little, they are a plus in lightly windy conditions... and for serious weather I'd get under the poncho and wait it out.  But the poncho doesn't breathe at all, and it's a hassle in the wind or in steep terrain...  so I decided to give the Swazi Tahr anorak it's chance as a part of my clothinbg system.  Not to replace the nikwaxed cotton shell, but actually as a replacement for the poncho : as a last layer, for static or semi-static activities, and for real, bad, ugly weather.

I've been testing the Swazi Tahr anorak for about 3 month now.  Long enough to get a precise idea of it's performance and limits.  

Swazi Tahr anorak is an armor...

The Swazi Tahr anorak is a very simple, no-nonsense piece of gear.  "Zen" is the first word that comes to mind the first time you look at it.  I really like that design simplicity, for many reasons : less stitches, less assembling = less risks of water going in, less risks of tearind, less weight ; and it makes the whole a lot less "catchy" : you can put a packpack on easily, or "dance with the bushes" without getting a pocket or a loop caught anywhere.  The end result is a very robust and ergonomic anorak.  I really like the whole concept, which is the obvious product of people who actually go out there and use it : simple, but well finished.  Less gadgets, more quality.  This is coherent with my philosophy for many things, including outdoor gear.

Simple conception, perfect ergonomics...  The Swazi Tahr anorak is built for serious outdoor living...  Photo : Urbandaoist

The Swazi Tahr anorak really is built for rotten weather, and truly hard conditions.  The hood is wide and deep, and wraps the whole face very well.  You can hide in there like a snail in it's shell.  The collar is fully zipped, and is really high : it covers the chin, mouth and nose.  Thanks to the wire in the hood, you can create a nice little tunnel from which you really are protected from weather.  Only drawback : this blocks peripheral vision completely, which annoys me a little.  Unlike russian gorka jackets or some old mountain jackets which have a drawcord behind the head, it's not possible to be under the hood and still maintain some peripheral vision.

The hood really protect the face from the elements, but it limits peripheral vision a bit...  a string behind the head would make it perfect...

The shoulders are a bit narrow for me.  The Swazi Tahr anorak is wide at the waist, and restricts movements a bit in the back and shoulders with a few layers underneath.  But that's a problem I have with ALL coats, anoraks, etc : Thanks Olivier Lafay...  That being said, for a human being (which I'm obviously not :)) the cut is great, and will allow wearing insulative layers without any trouble.

The Swazi Tahr anorak is lightweight, supple and silent.  In 3XL size, it's only 970g even with such a tough material.  Rolled up, it can be fitted into the hood, for a total volume of about 6 or 7 litres.  It does not shine like most technical clothes.  It's silent and soft to the touch. I don't know what kind of textile has been chosen for this anorak, but it's something I had ever seen before : a water repellent material that is not shiny at all, tough, and silent.  As far as color goes, it's just in the good earth/stone/mineral tones, with just enough green in it to allow a good blending in with your surroundings. Sitting down still, you can easily look like a patient rock in this.

Only one pocket : a BIG binocular pocket on the chest (left side, lefties are neglected :)).  I'd have prefered this pocket to be on the bottom part of the anorak, is even if I'm right handed I shoot from the left shoulder...  so this coat is not usable for me in any activity related to (shoulder) guns.  But again, it's almost just me...  90% of people are right handed.  Democracy spoke :)

Rain resistance

Resistance to rain is...  perfect.  Nothing gets is.  It's an armor.  Nothing more to say.  The extra-long cut protects the thighs, butt and groin area.  You can sit down on the coat and not get your ass wet.  With gaiters, it's basically just perfect.

After many hours walking under cold pouring rain : the inside of the coat is totally dry

Not a drop got in...  which is not surprising, in regard to the top notch finition, and high-end materials...

Wind blocking properties

I hiked in -18°C temps, with very strong winds last weekend in the Devoluy.  The wind cutting capacities of the Swazi Tahr anorak are really impressive.  Having no zips and pockets makes the whole garment extermely windproof.  Nothing gets in.  Once again, an armor.
Little video for you to get the feel if it : going through a pass with a nice venturi effect : constant 80 or 90km/h winds...  you can hear it in the microphone...  I did not feel the wind at all.  Everyone was freezing on their feet except me :)


Breathability is excellent.  However, having no zips under the arms, and with the elastic cuffs, its not possible to ventilate the anorak at all.  This makes the coat not really usable for hiking or any intense activity, unless you wear very little layers underneath and facing very cold conditions.  This anorak is made for static or semi-static, low intensity activities.  Like hunting :)  It would be interesting that the cuffs be a little looser so that you can pull the sleeves up, or ventilate the forearms arms a bit.

Survival class in the Devoluy.  Photo : Plumok.


Toughness is almost always the weak point in lightweight waterproof clothing...  For that matter, I must admit I'm amazed.  I've never been careful...   I trash around a lot in bushes and abrasive environments, and with the Swazi Tahr anorak I did as usual.  I remember, among many things, one brutal contact with a dry, dead pine branch that left me with a blue and red mark on the skin for days.  This impact made a gray mark on the anorak.  It worried me a little...  actually it was wood particles : the branch had "written" like a pencil, on the garment without going through. The toughness/weight ratio in this anorak is really impressive.


Tha Swazi Tahr anorak really is a unique piece of gear.  Allying good ergonomics, toughness, silence, and perfect weather protection, it's really built for hard and infamous weather.  Lighter, more protective and just as tough as heavy military ponchos...  plus it breathes.  The toghness/weight/protection ratio probably is among the best on the market.  Except  for the cuffs (a bit too tight) and hood (lacking a string behind the head), I really am not able to find a real problem with this garment : at last, an anorak built for real life outdoors...  and not only to go downhill three times in a high class ski resort :)

Conclusion : :doubleup: :doubleup: :doubleup:

« Modifié: 22 mars 2010 à 15:15:39 par Mathieu »
"Grand, gros, lourd, sale, fort et bête" ;)

Stages survie CEETS


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