Specialized’s Trail Wind MTB jacket packs down tiny but still provides useful on or off bike protection on colder, drier days and it’s relatively sweat free too. It’s not cheap or easy to put on though and it's no defense against damp.
While Specialized uses a full zip on its slightly more expensive, water-resistant Trail SWAT jacket, the Trail Wind jacket uses a half-zip ‘anorak’ style. That saves bulk so the jacket can be packed easily into the single zipped hand pocket on the lower left side.
You still get a ‘scuba’ style hood that fits under a helmet and the sleeves are a decent length. Cuffs and lower hem are lightly elasticated to stop them riding up or getting draughty. The cut is also designed to be more casual than the SWAT jacket so it’s more forgiving if you’re larger. It’s definitely not overweight itself though with our medium men’s sample clocking 123g on the scales.
The 100 percent recycled fabric is definitely skimpy rather than sturdy in appearance, but the sample we got last year hasn’t got any more holes than it started with. You do get a grid of 24 laser-cut perforations across the back panel either side of a stealth reflective strip though.
When combined with the thin fabric, the vents seem surprisingly effective at boosting the breathability of the Trail Wind jacket. It certainly took longer to get clammy when working hard than the Specialized Trail Rain and Trail SWAT jackets I tested at the same time and we dried out faster when effort levels dropped too. While it obviously doesn’t open up as much as a full zip, the half-zip still makes a difference on climbs as the wind blows round to the vents.
Windproofing is still decent on fast descents or blowy summits and while it doesn’t keep out water, it slows down penetration from light showers and splashes. Having a hood to pull under your helmet makes a big difference to overall warmth and comfort when the weather turns crap too.
Sizing is more generous than the SWAT jacket so you can fit more layers underneath or look less ‘aero nerd’ if you wear it off the bike. Women’s versions come in three colors too, while blokes just get black. The half-zip does make it harder to pull on than a full zip jacket and oddly, here where it would help most, Specialized doesn’t use the short side zip it does on other jackets. The fact that this more obviously ‘trail’ styled jacket doesn’t get the reinforced sleeves of the tighter fitting SWAT jacket is weird too.
The upside is that because it packs up so small and light it’s no bother to take ‘just in case’. Our sample from last year has survived bag/pack/inside frames life fine and it gets brought along on all sorts of outings from singletrack epics to shopping trips. There are no straps or loops to help stow it once it’s bagged though and you can get very similar jackets for less cash.
Specialized's Trail Wind jacket can provide useful extra wind chill protection and heat retention, especially if you pull the hood up. It doesn’t really defend against the damp though and you can get similar emergency anoraks for less money.
Tech specs: Specialized Trail Wind jacket
- Price: $130 / £100
- Sizes: XS-XXL in men’s and women’s fit
- Options: Black (pictured) in both men’s and women’s fit. Harvest Gold and Smoke in women’s only
- Weight: 123g (men’s medium)