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.