66° North Snaefell Jacket | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Waterproof Jackets

66° North Snaefell Jacket | Review

The Icelandic brand’s top shelf waterproof jacket with top level breathability

Why We Chose The 66 North Snaefell NeoShell: Great breathability, useful features, quality build

You know a product is going to be good when it picks up both an ISPO Award and a Scandinavian Outdoor Award, as this did. Admittedly that was way, way back in 2011, but in our eyes, the product is still very relevant. Why? Because it’s Polartec NeoShell waterproof system, along with the overall functionality, really is top quality

Who Is The 66 North Snaefell Jacket For?

This is a classic hiker’s jacket, the kind of one you want to be wearing over the course of one of those drizzly, unrelenting days. In our eyes, it’s optimum season would be summer; on those mild but still wet days when you have to wear the jacket all day long and therefore need something that’s not going to get too clammy. There’s plenty of room to fit an insulated jacket underneath it as well though, so you’d still get good use out of this when the colder seasons come round.


The waterproof fabric featured here is Polartec NeoShell. If you’re not familiar with this, it’s worth giving this video that we put together a watch.

There really aren’t many fabrics out there that can beat NeoShell when it comes to breathability. It’s made up of millions of nano fibres all tangled together but with spaces and chambers between them that air – moisture laden air – can flow through. Air traveling through from outside does occur, but it has a negligible effect – in other words, wind isn’t a problem. Air escaping from the inside, on the other hand, makes a crucial difference.

“The Snaefell has all the details you’d want from a waterproof jacket for hiking.”

Polartec have never given an official number for the moisture vapour transmission rate (MVTR) for NeoShell, but common outdoor industry estimates put it at around the 30.000g/m2/24h mark. For years outdoor enthusiasts tolerated ratings of around 20.000. Even 28.000 was, and still is, considered to be premium level. So with that in mind 30.000 is a very decent number.

With its hydrostatic head measurement of 10,000mm, it’s not the most bombproof fabric out there by any means. Still, it’s definitely waterproof. For context, UK manufacturers are allowed to claim a fabric is waterproof if the HH is 1500mm, so NeoShell is well above that, though it sits along way below the likes of Gore-Tex Pro which measures up to 30,000mm.

The NeoShell fabric adds a nice amount of four-way stretch to this jacket as well. It’s almost like a softshell. And you don’t get so much of that annoying swishiness as you get with a lot of waterproof jackets.


The Snaefell has all the details you’d want from a waterproof jacket for hiking. First up there are a number of pockets, including two handwarmers (that double as vents), one small zipped one on the sleeve where you can store a lift pass if you’re using this for skiing and then there are two small pockets on the inside for your valuables.

The hood will hold well even in particularly rough weather thanks to its dual adjustment and there’s also a stiffened peak that provides good coverage when the heavens have opened.

On the cuffs you have Velcro tab adjustment while a drawcord lets you cinch in the hem when you want to lock in any warmth.

Tester’s Verdict

Will Renwick, editor of Outdoors Magic

“I’ve used this quite extensively now, most notably on a long and very wet and windy day in the Brecon Beacons right in the middle of winter, and I’d say it’s cemented its spot as my go-to day hiking jacket. It’s mainly the breathability that impresses me most about it. It’s genuinely noticeable how airy it feels in comparison to say, you’re standard Gore-Tex jacket.

“While it might not have a particularly high hydrostatic head I have had absolutely no problems with the level of waterproof protection – it’s always kept me dry.

“I also really like the way that it’s cut. The hem is quite short on the front (compared to most jackets) just touching the top of your trousers pockets but then it drops down on the backside far enough to prevent it riding up over a backpack hipbelt. For me, a 5 foot 10 and fairly slight size medium, it fitted perfectly, and with enough space underneath it for my puffy down jacket.

“I’ve read in forums about issues regarding Polartec NeoShell’s longevity and unfortunately, with only about 8 months of testing under my belt, I can’t really testify for or against that at the moment. What I can say is that I haven’t had any issues so far.

“The two-way zip will be handy for any climbers out there as it means you can throw the jacket on over a harness. The handwarmer pockets can also be accessed while you’re wearing a harness or backpack hipbelt, which is useful.

“At 510g I would say this is a little on the heavy side for the kind of long distance backpacking I like to do. I tend to want to stick with something around about the 200g mark. That weight isn’t an issue when it comes to day hiking though.

“Price? Well, €450 is a heck of a lot for a waterproof jacket, but that’s NeoShell – for high functionality, comes a high price tag!”

66 North Snaefell Jacket

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