When winter comes, you’ll likely need a suitable jacket. Is Snugpak SJ6 fit for the job?
The outer fabric of the Snugpak SJ6 jacket is a red nylon micro ripstop, which the manufacturer calls ‘Paratex Micro’ (sounding suspiciously similar to the renowned Pertex fabrics). The fabric works rather well and sustains prolonged use. Unfortunately, it isn’t that resistant to any kinds of rainfall – even though the jacket was supposedly covered with water repellent by the manufacturer, any kinds of droplets sink right into the fabric of the jacket.
Snugpak SJ6 is also available in black, olive, multicam, blue and red colour options. The cut of the jacket is rather loose, what makes it possible to wear additional layers underneath.
The jacket can be closed using a thin, two way, splash proof YKK zipper, which unfortunately sometimes doesn’t work as well as it should. The zipper originally eatured a puller with the manufacturers logo, but right at the beginning of our tests the puller fell off.
Inside the Snugpak SJ6 jacket you’ll find a ‘Softie Premier’ synthetic insulation manufactured by Snugpak. Unfortunately, the manufacturer provides only a generic set of informations that you’d also find for any other type of synthetic insulation, such as retaining thermal properties even when wet. According to the manufacturer, SJ6 is designed for temperatures down to 5°C (max -10°C). From our experience, the jacket works best in temperatures ranging from +5°C to -5°C (so the late autumn – winter- early spring season). On the other hand, however, the amount of the insulation used is quite large for such thermal properties, what suggests that Softie Premier has a worse performance than eg. Climashield Apex.
Sleeves of the jacket feature elastic endings which provide a good fit around the wrists. On the sides, you’ll also find thumbholes that can prevent the sleeves from sliding during activities. Inside the sleeves you’ll also find additional cuffs made of thin fabric and elastic bands, which prevent snow from getting underneath the jacket this way.
Snugpak SJ6 can be adjusted using a set of drawstrings in the collar and hem.
The collar is also a storage space for the ‘hood’, which, however, lacks any insulation and is simply a layer of a thin fabric. Small size and a very weird cut make using the hood rather uncomfortable, and it’s best to keep it hidden inside the collar.
Snugpak SJ6 features three pockets:
- Two external, on the stomach, closed with YKK zippers,
- One internal, on the left side and at the stomach height, also closed with YKK zipper.
The manufacturer has also included a small fabric bag, which you could use to store the jacket.
Snugpak SJ6 is okay. It’s not exceptional or particularly good, but it works – if it is -5°C andyou’re wearing this jacket (along with suitable gloves and hat) you should be warm. The jacket is well made, and after long use it doesn’t have any more damage or strong signs of wear and tear than the broken puller from the main zipper. The materials used by the manufacturer do their job, and even though the insulation isn’t the lightest or the warmest, or the outer fabric isn’t really waterproof, they both work sufficiently well.
In comparison, however, the same weight is offered by the (previously reviewed) Claw Gear CIM jacket, which is considerably warmer, more compressible, has a set of pit vents and can be actually considered waterproof. At the same time, Claw Gear’s jacket is also quite a bit more expensive than Snugpak SJ6, so it’s difficult to argue that the models should be exactly compared.
The major shortcoming of the Snugpak SJ6 jacket for which there can be no excuse is its awful hood, which simply doesn’t work as it should. Okay, it can be hidden in the collar, but it doesn’t matter if the hood is also small, lacks any insulation and limits your head movements!
Snugpak SJ6 jacket is okay. It works quite well when used in the suitable temperature range in the urban conditions or during mildly-intense outdoor activities that don’t require the flexibility of fully layered clothing. At the same time, however, SJ6 really needs a hood redesign, because the one you get now is a bit of a pain to use.
Special thanks for giving us a chance to test the Snugpak SJ6 jacket goes to the manufacturer, Snugpak!