Today we will take another look at a product from an UK based manufacturer. The Snugpak SJ9 Jacket.
Snugpak is well known for their Sleeka line of insulated jackets that kept and keeps soldiers warm for decades. During my actice duty time I privately purchased their Sleeka jacket and it simply worked.
With more and more competitors like carinthia and the dead bird, snugpak started a new line of jackets. I wanted something warm and yet sturdy for winter warfare or prolongued overwatch. So I ordered the SJ9.
The SJ series of jackets includes the SJ 3, 6, 9 and 12. The number indicates the grade of insulation. Snugpak uses their Softie insulation, a great synthetic fiber that does a great job even when wet.
The shell is made of paratex. A highly water repellent and windproof fabric. It’s comparable to a really good soft shell regarding the water resistance. So you really just need to add rain gear when you encounter prolongued, heavy rain.
I mentioned in other articles that I like dependancies. This is why I chose the really warm SJ9. The comfort zone of the SJ9 is set to – 10 degrees, the extreme zone is set to – 15 degrees. Combined with the right underwear (for example Wool power) you can push the limits even further. So far that you can use this jacket with a bivvy bag and/or a rescue blanket to create a hasty sleeping bag.
I wore the jacket outdoors and during exercises on the Danish border. At – 7 to – 12 degrees and felt always comfortable when on static positions.
I ordered a size large which is my standard size for jackets . I would recommend everyone to order a size larger. Not because the jacket wont fit. But because you will perhaps add a fleece jacket under it or you like to put it over your LBE gear. That said I really like the more athletic cut compared to the older sleeka jackets.
The jackets insulation is now quilt, enhancing the inaulating capacities of the Softie filling.
On the left and the right shoulder you find just enough velcro to fit all your patches. But the velcro isn’t stiff so you can fit e.g. a smock over it.
The sleeves have elastic thumb holes. To be honest I didn’t really used them but I know guys that like thumb holes really well.
On the left and right side of the jacket you find zippered stash pockets that fit your hands.
On the inside you got a zippered stash pocket that fits a notebook. But it is really made to fit the included stuffsack (more on that later..) and a handwarmer, a great solution when the weather gets pretty rough.
The jacket is closed with a small zipper. The zipper works in both directions. But it looks a little bit fragile to me. I never had problems during exercises but the last time I took some photos for this review the zipper had small issues. I would go up a size with this zipper. It can get a bit flimsy, especially with cold hands or gloves.
The jacket provides an elastic hem cord to tighten it up and prevent wind from getting in.
What I really liked is the hood and the way you stow it. The hood is fully Insulated and wind proof. It fits over a helmet and does a great job keeping in shape. Don’t forget that you will lose a big amount of body warmth when you don’t insulate your head. The hood is not velcro or zipper stowed but with a snap button and a piece of webbing. So you can stow it back on the go.
Now let’s talk about the stuff bag. You get a simple nylon stuffbag with a draw cord. So the jacket wont really compress. I would like to get a compression sack with this jacket because the jacket has a volume of approx 7 litres when you just stuff it in the regular bag. I hope Snugpak fixes this issue. In the meantime just order a compression stuffsack of your choice.
To be honest. When I first saw the jacket I was disappointed. The material looked extremely fragile. Every time I did things in the field or just sat by the fire I was checking the jacket for holes. To my surprise, even after a year of testing, there are no holes and the jacket still looks new to me. Great job on the material which turned out to be lightweight, comfortable and sturdy.
Ignoring the, disturbingly inefficient, included stuff sack I really love this jacket. You get a full MultiCam Insulated jacket at a really competitive price point. I would go so far that this jacket is superior to the carinthia HIG. The Snugpak SJ9 is an excellent buy.
You can get it directly from Snugpak.