Swix Cyclon Packable Wind Jacket ReviewMay 14, 2016
- Terrific wind protection in dry weather
- Excellent venting and breathability
- Packs into its own pocket
- Does not perform well in rain
- Sleeves ride up in high wind
- Heavier than comparable jackets
- Side pocket design flaw
Swix, longtime purveyors of Nordic ski equipment, are extending their market this spring to lightweight trail-running apparel. The roomy-fitting Cyclon Wind Jacket (also available in a convertible 2-in-1 vest/jacket option) is a noble debut that shines most with its wind protection and superior breathability. However, it did not hold up well in light rain, so we recommend it for dry, cool, windy conditions.
In high wind, this jacket is a machine, keeping the chill at bay without sacrificing the ventilation that many lightweight shells give up in the way of fending off wind. However, at the first sign of rain, the material quickly wets out and turns into a soggy, heavy bag, rather than properly beading water up as its DWR finish should be able to do.
Although the material itself is a bit heavier than others in this test, the Cyclon offers excellent breathability, thanks to its oversized, mesh-lined back vents and a couple laser-cut holes at each armpit. Even during higher intensity efforts, it sheds internal heat well and feels pleasantly airy on the inside.
Unfortunately, Swix may have some work to do on this front before trail runners will really embrace this jacket. Lacking thumbholes, and in spite of lightly elasticized cuffs, the baggy sleeves tend to ride up when running directly into a strong head wind. The hood doesn’t stay put particularly well either, even after engaging its shockcord (which, irritatingly, flops around loosely behind while running) and leaves the forehead exposed. Two roomy pockets offer nice gear stowage, including a small zippered pocket at the rear right hip, and an open, shockcord-adjusted pocket at the left hip. If caught in a storm, though, don’t forget to cinch up the left pocket—even if empty—or else it will fill up with rainwater and turn into a sloshing saddlebag. Durability-wise, a few seams on the stash pocket have already begun fraying and unraveling.
The Cyclon runs big, with a fairly boxy fit. Some women will enjoy this, though others may prefer a slightly more tailored, athletic cut. Overall, it does offer great, full coverage, with nice, long sleeves and a gently elasticized drop hem in the back. Roomy as it is inside, there is no restriction of motion anywhere. In really high wind, without a shock cord to cinch up the hem, the bagginess can become a liability if wind sneaks inside and results in a billowing effect.
This jacket is on the heavy side in this category—about an ounce more than comparable offerings from other brands. Nevertheless, it’s highly packable into the left-side, shockcord-adjusted pocket. The pocket is significantly larger than the total volume of the jacket, so it doesn’t exactly function as a proper stuff sack that maximizes gear compression—but as far as a convenient, integrated storage option, it gets the job done.