Snugpak Softie Jacket 6 (SJ6) | Review
Traditional-style synthetic insulation means the SJ6 is warm and reassuringly solid, but also slightly weighty and bulky.
- By Jon -
'Snugpak's UK-made SJ6 is a solid-feeling, warm and damp-friendly traditional synthetic insulation stalwart, but above average weight and bulk make it less portable than the competition'
Outdoors Magic: UK-made, under-rated Swiss-made synthetic insulation, reassuring sturdiness, roll-away windproof hood, plenty of internal volume, good damp tolerance.
Outdoors Tragic: Quite heavy and bulky, slightly shapeless, non-insulated hood.
Outdoors Grabbit? The UK-made Snugpak Softie Jacket 6 - SJ6 for short - is a throwback to the days when synthetic jackets were big, bulky and reassuringly sturdy. At 730g - without an insulated hood - it's a heavy thing to lug around and the barrel-like cut didn't work for us. We'd also prefer an insulated hood. But for static stuff where you don't have to carry your jacket, the SL6 is decently warm and works well when damp. Arguably best suited to post-outing warm-up and standing about in damp, cold climes.
SJ6 Jacket Ratings
Outright Warmth [rating score="3.5"]
Packability [rating score="1.5"]
Damp-proofing [rating score="4"]
Overall: [rating score="3"]
Synthetic-filled insulated jacket / Snugpak Swiss-made Softie Premier synthetic insulation / Paratex Micro nylon outer fabric / Paratex Light nylon inner fabric / water-resistant main-zip / adjustable hem / elasticated cuffs with thumb-loops / adjustable collar / roll-away, windproof, non-insulated hood / twin, zipped hand-warmer pockets and single inner zipped pocket / made in the UK - really.
Full Review Below
Snugpak Softie Jacket 6 (SJ6) - The Fill
The SJ6 gets a healthy stuffing of Snugpak's own-brand Softie Premier synthetic fill. It's a proven insulation with - you guessed it - a soft feel, that's been used in Sugpak's sleeping bags and jackets including their well-regarded military range for years.
What you may not know, is that the insulation is developed and manufactured in Switzerland by a fabric specialist called Härdi. It's claimed to have down-like softness, but superior water resistance, more about that in a bit.
Snugpak Softie Jacket 6 (SJ6) - Performance
In some ways the SJ6 is a bit of a throwback to the old days when synthetic jackets were big, warm and bulky. At over 700g for a medium and with a fair amount of bulk, it's not a jacket you'd really want to be carrying around just in case. And it doesn't even have an insulated hood.
That said, its reassuringly sturdy and solidly filled. Snugpak rates it nominally for use down to -5˚C for 'normal' users or -10˚C for those who are 'used to Extreme Conditions'. That's all quite subjective, but it's definitely a warm jacket that copes fine down to moderate sub-zero temperatures.
The other thing it does very well, is stand up to wet conditions. Seam-free shoulders help to shrug off showers and even if the insulation does get wet, it seems to retain most of its loft. You know it's damp alright, but it doesn't collapse.
The cut is slightly basic, a little short and almost barrel shaped with a lot of extra volume around the waist area. That means plenty of space for extra layers, but it didn't work for us. We're guessing it reflects Snugpak's military background.
Our other slight quibble is with the hood. It does have one which rolls away into the collar, but it's windproof with a lightweight fleece velour lining rather than fully insulated.
On one level that gives you choices, but if the choice you'd like is to have a built-on insulated hood, then you're out of luck, though you could always upgrade to the warmer, but heavier - 1000g - Snugpak SJ9 which does have a filled hood. The windproof one is quite basic and gives limited protection.
Otherwise you get adjustable hem, cuffs and collar and a water-resistant zip, albeit without any sort of back-up baffle or storm flap which creates a bit of a cool spot in really cold conditions.
Mostly though, the issue with general outdoors use is the weight and bulk of the jacket. It's simply a little bit too heavy to stick in your pack for a long day on the hills, which means it's arguably better suited to being used as a warm-up jacket at the end of the day or for more general day-to-day use.
Snugpak Softie Jacket 6 (SJ6) - Verdict
We like the SJ6's UK-made credentials and the Softie Premier fill works well in cold, damp conditions in particular, but the jacket's decently warm, it's a little too heavy and bulky for active mountain use.
We also found the cut a little too short and barrel-like for us, though obviously that's a fit issue. And we'd prefer an insulated hood rather than the minimal, roll-away windproof one provided.
That said, if you're looking for a solid, sturdy, traditional-style warm synthetic jacket for everyday use and don't mind the weight and bulk, the SJ6 will certainly keep you warm.
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