The Snugpak SJ6 Jacket wants to be serious about keeping you dry, warm and comfortable in harsh weather. So we put this UK manufactured £119.95 jacket to battle against storm Katie to see just how suitable it really is.
The initial striking thought from first wearing the SJ6 (short for Softie Jacket 6) and subsequently glancing in the mirror to see how it looks, is that it shies away from the visually acute blandness of everyday outdoorsy gear, and instead this newest redesign looks, dare it be said, rather fashionable. It’s a more tailored fit than many jackets in this segment and the herringbone ribbing compliments the overall look superbly. It emphasises the shaping around the arms, shoulders, neck and waist. This also serves practically too, in the hope to lock out the outdoor conditions from your upper body. Little details we appreciated were things like the two front pockets being discreetly embedded and hidden into the jacket. Furthermore, the main zip is water-resistant and the entire jacket can be condensed into a supplied bag. The olive green shade of ours is definitely our favourite colour choice - but the staple black, blue, red, silver and two camouflage options are there too.
Wearing the Snugpak SJ6 is sort of like wearing a soft pillow all over your upper body. Thanks for this go to the Softie Premier lining, which we’re familiar with as it’s used in the Snugpak Chrysalis 3 sleeping bag. This amount of insulation is generous, but because it's combined with the internal breathable Paratex Light we can happily stand around in warm supermarkets with it on for hours without feeling stuffy or bothered. We’d rate it highly suitable for summer downpours, making it an all-season jacket for Britons. Weighing 880g in our jacket's small size, it’s a little heavier than the respective similar competition; although this is unnoticeable in comfort terms when wearing and for long treks it takes up little space in its bag.
Receiving the jacket in early March we thought there might not be much scope for severe weather testing in the UK, and then came along storm Katie - treating the SJ6 jacket to some whopping downpours of rain and tremendous wind. Expectations about the windproof character of the jacket could be thought to be lower than the Paratex Micro outer fabric really offers. This is because the material is deceptively thin and light. Nevertheless Storm Katie, with her 60mph winds, smashed through jeans to create shivery legs, but the upper body, with the Snugpak SJ6 equipped, was calm, cosy and warm. Temperatures down to -10°c, on the extreme end, are stipulated for the SJ6 jacket, and comfortably -5°c is suggested by Snugpak. Temperatures of just 4°c are the lowest we’ve experienced yet, although being in the high winds it felt within the freezing range. Nevertheless the three layer design kept us warm in the storm.
The lightweight roll-away hood stored within the collar of the jacket is perfect for drizzly countryside weekend walks and shopping trips. It’s an elasticated hood design for a strong over-head hold, but wouldn’t be advisable to use in prolonged harsher cold gusts with violent rain. This is because it’s not padded and the lack of insulation would be evident in cold trekking conditions, etc. The rest of the jacket shielded well from the stormy rain due to the the Paratex Micro; just as we'd expect from a tent maker. Droplets repel quickly, so your car seats remain mostly dry when you dash into them. It resists liquid at all costs! On a side note, our SJ6 jacket, like all clothing, has been lashed against granite and concrete unintentionally, and the Paratex Micro outer hasn't ripped or actually shown any wear from this at all. As a matter of fact, every Snugpak product we’ve ever reviewed has always impressed where material quality and craftsmanship is concerned.
Thoughtful pocket placement ticks another important credential off our list for any clothing item. The two exterior zipped side pockets may be elusive in design, but are easy to access thanks to long zippers. They’re secure options for your immediate possessions like smartphones, wallets and keys. Internally there’s one larger pocket on the left that could fit smaller books, chargers, etc.
This made in the UK Snugpak SJ6 jacket is the company's all-seasoner for anything from summer drizzle to the hectic icy winter cold, rain and wind. Not to neglect to mention that it’s a fashionable cocoon for your body too, and still retains the practicality of being able to live in a compact bag when not needed.