Snugpak has long established itself as a reliable, combat-backed, and practical gear. It is one of those companies which has been seen in the forefront of trade shows and on deployments, yet have not boasted, commercialized or screamed about themselves. It has quietly worked in the background of supply chains and standard issued gear rosters for over 40 years.
I have used Snugpak products since the first time I saw them in the ADS catalog. The product range is quite diverse, and covers clothing, tents, shelters, packs and more. What has been even more impressive to me, is that the company remained a home-based, UK made brand, and kept an incredible value throughout the years.
We were sent the SJ-6 SOFTIE jacket in Multicam, among other items. The SJ-6 SOFTIE is probably equivalent to a layer 5 US GI issued jacket, but in my opinion rivals with the larger Level 7 permaloft parka. The SJ6 is a waist length jacket, with a slightly extended tail section. I found that this adds a measure of wind shear, and particular comfort when warn with a duty or war belt. Instead of pushing the whole garment up, the SJ6 sits comfortably, and can be tucked in the complimentary storm gear trousers, or set over the belt.
The outer layer of Snugpak SJ-6 is a Paratex rip-stop fabric, which is wind and water resistant, soft, and as importantly – quiet. Whether using Snugpak clothing for every day wear, comfort, battle, hunting or recreation, the fact that there is no noise or snags during movement is a huge plus. The feeling when wearing this jacket in full kit is that it’s instinctively integrated and seamless. The bottom hand pockets easily accommodate gloved hands, and whatever items need to be accessed in a hurry. Once again, worn in full kit these are just below the lower edge of the plates, and are naturally functional. The inside chest pocket is a silky smooth larger pocket, which will easily hold anything the size of a medium memo book, with cover. Zohan would be happy to wear this for the silky smooth factor alone.
The silkiness actually comes from the soft Paratex fabric, and the overall comfort and warmth is achieved with the layer of exclusive Softie insulation, exclusive to Snugpak, and similar to what is used in their sleeping bags. Some of the listed benefits of this technology are that it retains heat when wet, has a high loft value, and a naturally soft feel. The lightness and warmth combination of SJ-6 can not be overstated. With a base layer and moderate activity, the Snugpak SJ-6 will easily keep you warm at 10-15 degrees Fahrenheit. With a solid base and mid layers, the temperature tolerance can be as low as negative 10 degrees. Adding to the list of features is the fact that the SJ-6, like many Snugpak garments, is packable, and comes with its own stuff sack. Whatever your use for this jacket might be, the level of performance, light weight and packability make it an easy go-to item.
Other practical features of the SJ-6 include a stow away hood and cuffed sleeves. The hood is not lined, and for my preference this is a plus. Head wear is more preferred in work environments, and a water and wind layer in a form of an emergency hood is ideal in this case. The sleeves allow for an additional part of insulation of the hands, and make kit donning a lot faster. I found the stitching and seams of the SJ-6 superb, with no snags or loose threads. The only thing I had to get used to when testing the SJ-6, is remembering to positively seat the zipper pieces together. Much like the US issued storm gear, this is a tough zipper, but if not matched properly can take a second to slide. Other than that, the zippers are quiet and smooth.
Rounding out the least, is a large hook and loop panel on the right sleeve. Two points of draw string easily cinch the bottom of the jacket to keep out the wind, or sit it above the duty belt. Much like every other Snugpak piece of kit I used, I was impressed with the SJ-6 SOFTIE, which is also an attractive piece of clothing on its own. In a solid color – available in black and OD green, it is as low key and functional on a trip to the store, as it is in the field. At under $300, and with a solid track record of combat applications, the SJ-6 SOFTIE by Snugpak is a great value.
I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer via Spotter Up so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.
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