Snugpak as a brand is one that’s been around for much of my hillwalking life. In the past I’ve owned Snugpak sleeping bags, and got on with them very well. I really love the fact that Snugpak are not only based in the UK (on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park actually), but that they actually make the products right there, in a factory housed in an old mill building, making them an important employer in the Silsden area. Now that has to be applauded.

Snugpak recently sent me a Softie Search and Rescue Smock, and a SV3 vest to test and review. As many of you will know, my reviews are based on my own, unbiased thoughts and experiences of testing outdoor kit in real situations, and I’m sorry to say that I didn’t get on at all well with either the Softie smock or the SV3 vest.

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The most notable thing about both tops was the sizing. I hate to criticise a small UK business, but the sizes sent were at best bizarre. Both were sized ‘Large’ which is my usual size in all things outdoors-clothing, but both the smock and the vest were absolutely huge. They hang too low, have far too much room in them, and the smock has arms that swallow my hands if I let the material fall naturally. Something to be aware of if buying directly from Snugpak. I actually sent the vest back and asked for the Medium, and even that is a little on the too-big side for me! The original Large vest sent was in black, which looked great, but the replacement in Medium was actually a camouflaged design that looks like it is aimed at the hunting-shooting-fishing fraternity, rather than a hillwalker, and other than for testing purposes I’ll not be wearing it again for that reason. This is a shame, as both the smock and the vest are nicely made, and are certainly very warm – but they would be warmer still if they fit correctly.

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Based on these sizing issues I’ve not really been able to test either garment properly, which is a pity. They do seem to offer quality, but I do also wonder about the pricing. The smock is marked up at £192.50, and the vest £84.95. This seems quite high for a synthetic-fill garment. Having said that, other users (with a correctly-fitting garment) may find that both the vest and the smock are so hard-wearing that they do indeed offer great value for money. I’d be interested to hear from others on these garments.

For more information on the Snugpak range, visit Snugpak

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