Kit Review: Snugpak Softie Vest

The Snugpak Softie Vest is a lightweight, body warmer style jacket designed for wearing when a chill grips the air.

As such it’s a good piece of kit for early morning walks on summer days, when the air temperature hasn’t quite warmed up, or evenings, when temperatures again begin to drop. I wore it on a dawn photo session then during a barbecue and found it fine for both.

The sleeveless top ensured I could move unencumbered while setting up photographs, both with and without a tripod, and crouching to capture low shots of wildflowers.

The Snugpak Softie Vest also looks good, so I didn’t hesitate to don it on an evening, first to the barbecue and then for a stroll into the neighbouring village for a drink at last orders.

Stitching gives the vest V-shaped ribbing on its front and back. The sides have horizontal stitching. The effect is a slim-line look.

A folded, silver coloured Snugpak Softie Vest.
A folded, silver coloured Snugpak Softie Vest.

A lightweight insulated vest

In fact, quite a few of the fellas at the barbecue were impressed by the vest’s lack of weight—if only they’d say the same about me. The Extra-Large version of the vest weights just 410 grams. It comes in sizes from XS (280 grams) to XXL (450 grams).

Falling to below my buttocks and to the pocket line on my trousers, I found the Snugpak Softie Vest to be a comfortable length, both while I was active and relaxing.

The vest packs down well, so proved easy to carry. After the rural morning photo shoot I folded and slipped it into the outer pocket of my equipment bag.

Detail of the collar, which features a draw string, on a Snugpak Softie Vest.
Detail of the collar, which features a draw string, on a Snugpak Softie Vest.

The spec of the vest

The Snugpak Softie Vest is made from Paratex Micro fabric, a hardwearing fabric with a reputation for being windproof and water repellent. It also has the advantage that ketchup wipes away easily, in the off-chance some dribbles from a roll during a barbecue.

The inner surface is a lightweight version of the same fabric. The insulating material, known as Softie Premier, is made from polyester and supplied by a Swiss-manufacturer, Härdi. It is said to trap more air than regular insulators and is also used in Snugpak’s sleeping bags.

Both the collar and the lower hem feature drawcords, meaning I was able to tighten or loosen them to my liking.

All of the jacket’s three pockets have zips. The two outer side pockets are set back within an unobtrusive fold. The inner pocket is large enough to simultaneously carry a notebook, a couple of pens plus a smartphone.

A Snugpak Softie Vest laid out on a Union Jack.
A Snugpak Softie Vest laid out on a Union Jack.

Four colours of vest

My Snugpak Softie Vest is the silver version. I’d have called it light grey, rather than silver, if I’d been asked to name its colour and hadn’t read the delivery note. It’s also available in olive green plus two types of camouflage.

Why in A-TACS and multicam? Snugpak kit has been worn by members of armed forces around the world since the Falklands Conflict of the early 1980s.

Snugpak make this kit at a mill in Silsden, West Yorkshire, which is why I decided to photograph the Softie Vest with a Union Jack flag.

The Snugpak Softie Vest can be purchased online and has a RRP of £84.95.

Further information

Find out more about Snugpak on the company’s website.

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