Stuart Forster reviews a Snugpak Softie Mountain Leader’s Smock.
Disclosure: I was supplied with a Snugpak Softie Mountain Leader’s Smock to facilitate this review. Snugpack did not review or approve the post. Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
The Snugpak ML3 Softie Smock is a lightweight, insulated piece of outdoor clothing. It was developed for use during climbing, hill walking and other outdoor activities that expose people to cold weather.
The smock was developed with expert input from 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.
This is a piece of clothing which you pull over your head. It provides protection against wind and effective insulation to temperatures between 0°C to -5°C.
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 rather than a fleece or as part of layering. I’ve tested the smock outdoors and was impressed by the protection offered against cold and wind. I also wore it sitting indoors at my computer on chilly spring days.
Breathable Paratex lightweight fabric makes the Snugpak ML 3 Softie Smock windproof. That material also 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 manufacturer says that the close weave of the external fabric is 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 provides good freedom of movement. It doesn’t restrict my movement as I pan to follow birds crossing the sky or get down low to photograph plants and insects with a macro lens.
YKK zips give access from each side to a deep pouch-style pocket on the front of the smock. It also has a zippable map pocket that is protected by a flap. A strip of Velcro closes the compass and equipment pockets on the centre of this piece of clothing, the Snugpak MML3 Softie Smock (£):
Velcro strips on the sleeves
You’ll also find Velcro strips on the sleeves of this smock. That enables you to wear identification during expeditions. Alternatively, you can 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 are likely to be beneficial to safety while walking along roads.
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. The mill on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park was built 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.
Thanks for visiting Go Eat Do and reading this review of the Snugpak Softie Mountain Leader’s Smock. Looking for outdoor clothing? You may also enjoy reading my review of the Snugpak Softie Vest (SV3 Gilet) review
Take a look at the Snugpak website to find out more about the product specifications of the MML3 Softie Smock.
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A version of this review was originally published on Go Eat Do on 5 May 2015.