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Outerwear

Skwala Carbon Jacket

A light, packable rain jacket for travel and warmer weather.
Kirk Deeter author.
Kirk Deeter
June 9, 2024
Skwala | Carbon Jacket
product description
“Built for anglers who demand flexibility and dexterity, but aren’t willing to sacrifice comfort, the Carbon Jacket is fully waterproof, truly breathable and easily packable.” – Skwala
company ethos
“Imagine if someone put the same time, thought and effort into designing fishing apparel that you put into finding fish. Someone did; we’re Skwala. We make thoughtful, dependable, comfortable gear–so meticulously built and thoroughly tested that you hardly notice it. Allowing you to focus on more important things, like fishing.” – Skwala

I keep two types of rain jackets–the heavier ones that I usually store in the dry box of my drift boat, or keep in the back of my Jeep, and lighter-weight, usually less expensive with fewer frills, jackets I travel with. The thing is, it’s the lighter jackets that inevitably end up getting the worst weather tests, because when you’re “out there” on a trip, you only have one option and there’s usually no ducking the weather by going inside.

Such has been the case with the Skwala Carbon jacket I’ve been wearing since last summer. First, it saved me on a trip down the Snake River when the wind and rain were so torrential, I could barely make out the Tetons. And more recently, I took it on a trip to England to fish the chalk streams, where we had a couple legitimate soakers linger over us for hours. Then I wore it on a boat out to the Farne Islands in the North Sea and got pummeled by another squall. In all situations, I stayed as dry as I would have had I brought along one of my super-deluxe, top-end rain coats. The Skwala Carbon isn’t cheap at $449, but it’s a lighter protective layer that can withstand the weather punishment of thicker, more expensive jackets.

Being lightweight is great for travel, stowing and so forth. I even stick mine in the golf bag when I’m not traveling. But that also means it doesn’t provide much warmth on colder, windy days. You can, of course, layer underneath (I sometimes wear a gray cotton sweatshirt, and there’s no better report card for a rain jacket, because gray cotton will reveal any damp spots). But if you know you’re going to be out in the crud when it’s cold–like spending any time steelheading–you’ll want to opt for something beefier. 

For summer fishing, or fending off tropical showers, the Skwala Carbon is a light, packable and dependable solution. I’ve also found that it breathes and can keep you cool when it's required. I’ve even been wearing it as a shell for spring skiing.

Pros

Passes the “keep you dry” test with flying colors.

Lightweight, easy to pack, or stow in a dry bag or day pack.

Smart design affords excellent range of motion for casting and other fishing moves.

Cuffs are snug and comfortable for all-day casting.

Cons

One interior chest pocket on the right, one exterior chest pocket on the left–a system you have to get used to.

Hood can be cinched, but not with much authority.

Front zipper can be hard to initiate.

Wish it were an inch longer, and snug fit overall.

At $450, a bit of retail sticker shock.

Pricing

$449 isn’t exactly inexpensive, not by a longshot, but Skwala Carbon delivers on multiple fronts. The pass-fail “keep you dry” test is a no worry. The functional comfort and smart design for fishing is solid, if not particularly mind-blowing–built with Toray Primeflex yarns for a “full-stretch face fabric.”

Craftsmanship

Clean, understated design–in a world of plastered clothing logos, a nice change of pace.

Durability

The durability and construction I feel I can vouch for, having crumpled it, caked it in mud, baked it in the sun, washed it, dried it, and more. I’ve probably beaten this jacket up more in a year than other jackets in five, and it still looks great, wears well and is impervious to rain.

  • Price: $449
  • Sizes: Medium - XXL
  • Weight: 15.6 ounces
  • Construction/Materials: 3-Layer waterproof/breathable Toray Entrant® microporous laminate, 100% Nylon Primeflex™ stretch-woven face textile, 100% Nylon circular knit backer
  • Pockets: Two zippered hip pockets, one zippered chest pocket, one zippered internal pocket
  • Zippers: YKK® Aquaguard® (water-repellent zipper that is made by laminating a polyurethane film to the backside of a zipper–makes the zipper resistant to light rain and splashes, but is not waterproof)
  • Color: Storm
  • Key features: Waterproof, breathable, packable
  • Warranty information: Skwala warranty

Skwala on why they made the Carbon Jacket:

Skwala warranty.

“We build all our products with the focused mission to deliver you a better day on the water. We stand behind every product we make so that you can be confident that your gear will deliver–hike in it, wade in it, or get rained on in it–your Skwala gear will perform. If for any reason you are not 100% satisfied with the performance of your product, you can return it within 30 days of your receipt.

At Skwala, we pride ourselves on the quality and performance of our products. If any piece of your Skwala gear fails due to a defect in materials or construction, we will repair or replace at the discretion of Skwala for the practical product lifespan.”

Likely buyers

Any angler looking for a lighter weight jacket that they plan on putting in a backpack, dry box/bag, or traveling with–or someone looking for lighter fabrics and range of motion as they fish. It’s also a versatile piece of gear that can be hiked, biked or skied in.

What others say

“Light, highly breathable and easy to move in–generally my top considerations for a packable rain jacket, or shell. I also loved the low-fi, ‘in-town’ design.” – Andrew Steketee

Conclusion

It’s not a commercial fishing-grade jacket for cold weather when the rain and sleet blows sideways. But if you fish mostly in warm-ish situations (above 50 degrees Fahrenheit), it could easily be your one and only, go-to rain top. It’s also a versatile gear piece that can be hiked, biked or skied in, without all the fishing-specific ad-ons (zingers, fly box pockets, gear docks etc.).

Well done Skwala.

Find the Skwala Carbon Jacket with our trusted partners:

Man fly fishing in river wearing Skwala Carbon Jacket
Skwala Carbon Jacket Front
Skwala Carbon Jacket zipping up
Skwala Carbon Jacket hood on
Skwala Carbon Jacket hand in pocket
Skwala Carbon Jacket Front zipper
Skwala Carbon Jacket right hand in pocket
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