Swazi the Hood
- By Pete Moore
- 345 Comments
- Last updated: 21/12/2018
As an all-weather hunter, I have a range of clothing that covers all seasonal and temperature requirements. Big camo coats aside, one of my favourite items of upper wear is the ubiquitous hooded sweatshirt (hoody).
The hoody is a true piece of design genius, good as an under-jacket garment and by itself the perfect lightweight solution that can offer good thermal protection. I’ve used several of the more traditional types over the years, made of a medium/heavy material, but new to me is Swazi’s ‘The Hood’. They are a New Zealand company founded and run by Davey Hughes, who specialise in outdoor clothing for hunting and similar requirements and I have tested some of their wares before and not found them wanting.
The Hood is based on their simplistic Bush Shirt, which is identical apart from the fact Swazi has added an integral hood. Davey has this to say about it: “I was camping out on a really windy, cold morning, wearing one of our global favourite garments, the Swazi Bush Shirt, which has been in our stable for 23 years, when I came up with the idea to add a hood. The Hood was designed to act as an extra collar, stopping the wind going down the back of your neck and that’s where the name came from.”
Made of 280-gram polar fleece, it’s lightweight at just 14oz (large size) and provides warmth and protection when out in the field. It shows a pullover build with a long neck zip for easy putting on and removal, which also offers the ability to close or open the upper chest and neck area as required. The zip goes all the way to the top and ends in a 2” stand-up collar. The hood section is very generous in cut and features a draw string with lockable toggles and can be cinched down around the head and face, so offering even more protection.
The cut is longer at the back, so easily covers your kidney and lower areas, which is to be appreciated as can be imagined. The arms are generously cut too for easy movement and end in close-fitting cuffs to keep the wind out. Storage is limited to a large, 7 x 9” inside single pocket on the left breast with exterior access by a horizontal zip. It’s big enough to hold a compact set of binos or an LRF and documents with ease!
In use, The Hood proved a highly effective garment, being light in weight, warm and offering flexible performance whether as a standalone garment or an under layer. In the autumn, it was good enough on its own for most of the day and is nice to drive in. If I had one negative, it would be the lack of lower pocket, as I’m used to a pouch type at the front. However, performance, practicality and ability scores far higher than extra storage. Sizes are generous and come up slightly bigger than you might think; I’m no Tinkerbell, yet the 3XL was a generous fit. Swazi products are available from select outdoor and gun shops, or can be ordered direct from New Zealand; see their website.