Wed. Aug 5th, 2020

Spotter Up

In Depth Tactical Solutions

Living in New England, and traveling the world for work, I need robust, rugged and flexible gear that I can count on to keep me safe, dry and warm in various elements. Where I live, winter temperatures will often be well below zero (F) with roaring winds and snow. Winter storms are bookended in the Fall and Spring by often torrential rains. Good outerwear is key for me

Snugpak is a brand unfamiliar to many US consumers. In the UK, its home, however, it has become a well-known and trusted brand over the last 40 years. In great part much of that trust has been built on Snugpak’s reputation supplying kit to the UK (and other Commonwealth) military forces since the 1980’s, from the Falkland Islands War to Afghanistan. All SnugPak products are manufactured in the UK.

SnugPak’s SJ6 (Softie Jacket) is its mid-weight wind and weather resistant puffer jacket. It comes in three colors (OCP, black and ranger green) and a variety of sizes. Though it has Velcro on both shoulders, in the black and green versions, it does not give off an overly tactical vibe.

Construction

SnugPak filled the SJ6 with Swiss-made Softie Premier synthetic insulation with Paratex Micro nylon outer fabric and Paratex Light nylon inner fabric. The main zipper is water resistant and wind resistant though it doesn’t have any baffles to help with heat retention through the zipper. The hem is adjustable and the sleeves have elasticated cuffs with thumb-loops. The collar is adjustable collar with a rollaway, windproof, non-insulated hood.

Pros

This jacket is very warm. As the mid-weight in the SJ series, Snugpak rates it comfortable to 23 degrees F with a recommended low of 14F. I have worn it well in to the low 20’s while sitting still for long periods hunting and have stayed quite warm. With the addition of a good shell, it would be quite good well below 0 I suspect.

SnugPak designed the jacket to be both moisture and wind resistant. The wind resistance is excellent so far, and while I have yet to wear it in a downpour, it has kept me both dry and warm for hours on 40-50 degree drizzling days. Water beads up and runs off the Paratex Micro exterior, while snow seems to slide away. On a 25-degree 2 mile hike through the woods with moderate hills, I definitely kept me toasty. I didn’t overheat, but had I pushed my pace, it would have been more jacket than I’d have wanted.

I wish the jacket had an external chest cell phone pocket, or sleeve pocket. The two side pockets though are quite roomy and the internal breast pocket is massive. It can easily hold a pair of ski goggles or a full-size paperback. Your cell phone gets lost in it however. All of the pockets zip closed so your belongings stay where you put them.

They ship the jacket with a stuff sack for transport though I have yet to use it and with the overall bulk of the jacket, I have my doubts about how compact it can be compressed.

Cons

The jacket is on the heavy side for a piece of performance apparel. It weighs in at 5 ounces under 2 pounds, or 760 grams. That’s heavy enough that I’m not going to bring it on the chance I might need it, I’ll grab something lighter. If I need this jacket, I’ll be wearing it.

The non-insulated hood is a drawback for me as well. While it is wind resistant and has a very think fleece like lining, I would have much preferred a fully insulated hood. It just feels off for this jacket, almost like it was added as an afterthought.

Lastly, a minor annoyance – As this jacket is manufactured in the UK, like all European jackets, the zipper is on the left, opposite to what most American consumers are used to. I am constantly having to remind myself it’s not like my other jackets. Not a big deal to me, but it could be a deal breaker for some.

MSRP is listed at $249-299 though Snugpak itself sells the jacket on Amazon for $199.

Summary

This is a well-made, well-functioning piece of kit. It is a good jacket for knocking about, time in the woods or sitting for hours at a kid’s sporting event in crappy weather. It really shines when it is damp and drizzly. The jacket is a little too heavy though for an active day on the mountain, and too bulky to carry in your pack while hiking. It will perform in those environments; however there are other options that are better suited.

From the manufacturer’s website

The SJ-Series was designed to give you the perfect outer shell whatever conditions you’re facing throughout the year. All three jackets in the range are made with our high tech Paratex Micro outer and Paratex Light inner, keeping any moisture away from your skin, so you stay warm, comfortable and dry. In addition, our Softie Premier filling has great insulating properties, trapping heat and maximizing comfort. The design is tailored to fit the contours of your body, with a water resistant main zip, and a high neck design that keeps out the drafts. Each one is designed for different seasonal weather conditions.

WEIGHTS:
SM – 25oz (720g)
MD – 27oz (760g)
LG – 29oz (810g)
XL – 31oz (870g)
XXL – 33oz (930g)

Features:

  • Water-resistant main zip for greater insulation and dryness
  • Featuring a roll-away hood
  • Sleek, concealed side pockets
  • Adjustable neck & Waist
  • Velcro® patches
  • Two way zip
  • Left chest inside pocket with zip
  • Thumb loops
  • Elasticated cuffs
  • Shaped fit
  • Made in the UK
  • https://snugpakusa.com

*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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.