Product Review: Swedish Army Tunic

by Sam Gravestock

The Swedish Army has some magnificent kit; it seems to me that if the word Swedish appears next to almost anything outdoors orientated then you can expect no nonsense, practical, efficient equipment. It might not be the most glamorous but it will be a faithful piece of kit providing years of service with no cause of complaint.

So when I got hold of the Swedish army jacket I had high hopes for it.

Let me say I wasnít disappointed! Made from heavy weight felted wool this isnít a jacket for light weight fans. However as people who know me will inform you I am no light weight (when it comes to kit). Personally I like a weighty jacket - when it is cold I find it comforting to huddle up in it feeling snug.

The 4 pocket version of the Swedish Army Tunic
The 4 pocket version of the Swedish Army Tunic

I have worn this jacket pretty much every day since I got it in December and have been grateful for it in recent weather conditions. Being made from wool the Swedish army jacket has some water resistant properties and will retain its warmth even when wet (it is advisable to have a light weight Gore-Tex waterproof for truly horrific rain).

The Swedish army jacket has a cotton liner sewn in which keeps the wool from direct contact with skin for those who do not like the itchy feeling wool can have.

Most of these jackets I've encountered have metal buttons and they all have a vintage formal cut which gives it a good retro feel for those of us who prefer that sort of thing (I am guilty of this).

The 2 pockets at the rear of the Swedish Tunic
The 2 pockets at the rear of the Swedish Tunic

The Swedish army jacket usually has four outer pockets on the front - two on the breast and two above the hips - although I have seen some with just the two lower pockets on the front. They have a button down flap to hold them shut but the hip pockets also have a smaller loop and button to keep the pockets' contents where they should be (in the pockets).

A unique feature of this jacket is that on the back of the jacket on the area that lies above the kidneys are located two pockets. These pockets have a slight bellow to them so as not to spoil the lie of the jacket when worn. I personally use them to stow a hat and gloves in. The pockets can be easily reached when the jacket is being worn.

Because of where the rear pockets are located, a military rucksack can be used with this jacket without impeding the access of the pockets. I have tried this with several different army surplus packs and they all sit comfortably above the pockets. I canít tell you how they are with commercial civilian packs as I do not own any.

The lining of the Swedish Tunic
The lining of the Swedish Tunic

Internally, the cotton liner has three pockets - one in the chest area and two lower at the bottom of the jacket.

The chest pocket will hold an A5 notebook comfortably and the lower pockets will accommodate a mobile phone or GPS (or a Mars bar, Snickers bar or any chocolate bar for that matter).

What I like about this jacket is despite the epaulettes and military buttons it does not scream army surplus so it can be worn daily for work, nipping down the shops or going down the pub for a couple of cheeky pints, the Swedish army jacket is presentable for all the above but still holds its own when faced with inclement weather and the worst the wilds can throw at it.

Mean and Green advise me that there are a few different versions of this jacket which may differ in the number of pockets or plastic/metal buttons etc, but they are all essentially the same.

This jacket has been my faithful companion throughout this previous winter and I suspect it will be for years to come.

You can buy the Swedish Army Tunic directly from this site.

April 2012