The Snugpak ML3 Softie Smock is a lightweight, insulated piece of outdoor clothing developed for use during climbing, hill walking plus other activities exposing individuals to cold weather.
Disclosure: Stuart Forster, the author of this article, was supplied with a Snugpak Softie Mountain Leader’s Smock in order to facilitate this review. Snugpack did not review or approve the post. Some of the links below, marked with a (£), are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
The smock, which you pull on over your head, was developed with input from experts including mountain leaders, climbing instructors, military personnel and professional navigators: the ‘ML’ in the name of the smock stands for ‘Mountain Leader’. It is designed for use in a variety of weather conditions and a mixture of terrains, providing protection against wind and effective insulation to temperatures of between 0°C to -5°C.
Comfortable and lightweight outdoor clothing
This is an extremely comfortable piece of kit to wear. The durability and lightness of the fabric makes it a pleasure to wear in place of a fleece or as part of layering. I’ve tested the smock outdoors and was impressed by the protection it offers against cold and wind but also enjoyed wearing it while sat indoors at my computer during chilly spring days.
Breathable Paratex lightweight fabric makes the Snugpak ML 3 Softie Smock windproof yet enables perspiration to wick away rapidly. The material is water repellent and effective in showers. In extreme conditions this piece of kit can be worn under waterproofs.
Thumb loops on the elasticated cuffs allow you to pull the sleeves down over your wrists for extra comfort and protection against cold.
Hardwearing fabric and wind protection
The close weave of the external fabric is said by the manufacturers to be hardwearing yet it remains soft to the touch. It zips up to chin level, offering a cosy sense of protection on blustery days.
Importantly for me, when I’m photographing outdoors, the Snugpak ML3 Softie Smock gives me freedom of movement and doesn’t restrict my movement as I pan to follow birds crossing the sky or get down low to photograph plants or insects with a macro lens.
YKK zips give access from each side to a deep pouch-style pocket on the front of the smock, which also has a zippable map pocket that’s protected by a flap. A strip of Velcro closes the compass and equipment pockets on the centre of this piece of clothing, the Snugpak ML3 Softie Smock (£):
Brite-Strike APAL illumination
You’ll also find Velcro strips on the arms of this smock, enabling you to wear identification during expeditions or make use of Brite-Strike All Purpose Adhesive Light (APAL) strips, lightweight illumination that can be set to flash or emit a constant light. These enhance the visibility of the wearer in low light conditions, so may be beneficial to safety on roadsides.
Snugpak equipment is used by military forces around the world, including by British, Australian and American service personnel. Softie products have been used in all major conflicts since the Falklands War. A camouflaged version of the ML3 Softie Smock – Camouflage has been designed for military use.
As a piece of kit for heading outdoors in Britain’s changeable climate I find the Snugpak ML 3 Softie Smock to be highly recommendable. It also packs down well, so doesn’t take up much room if you decide to carry it.
See the Snugpak website for more information about the company’s range of outdoor clothing and equipment, including sleeping bags, tents and rucksacks. Snugpak started to produce their first insulated vests in 1977. The Softie range was launched in the early 1980s for lightweight, insulated sleeping bags.
Snugpak’s clothing and equipment is British-made. The company’s manufacturing base is a factory at Silsden, West Yorkshire, in a mill built on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales during the 19th century. The quilting of Snugpak products is undertaken using computer-controlled technology before individual pieces and sewn together. Quality control checking is undertaken by hand.
Take a look at the Snugpak website to find out more about the product specifications of the ML3 Softie Smock.
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