Snugpak Sleeka Elite: Product Review

Snugpak Sleeka Elite Header

The Snugpak® Sleeka Elite is a robust and highly effective insulated jacket, which has been proven to withstand the test of time and the battlefield.

Product Overview

The Snugpak® Sleeka Elite, or more affectionately known within military circles as the Softie jacket, is the third generation of the famous Snugpak® Sleeka Jacket range. Originally designed in the late 1980’s for use by a wide range of military units, it has since morphed into a much-loved outdoors jacket for both military personnel and civilians alike. The original Softie Jacket first shot to prominence during the First Gulf War, when a photo emerged in a newspaper of a British Special Air Services (SAS) soldier wearing the jacket (photo right), deep behind enemy lines in Iraq. Since then, it has been the ‘go to warm kit’ for a wide range of soldiers within NATO and outdoor enthusiasts. However, the actual origins of the Sleeka Jackets owe their creation to the jackets worn by US offshore oil rig workers, in the North Sea in the late 1970’s. As the original design of the Sleeka, was based on the bodywarmers the US workers used in the harsh winter temperatures.

Snugpak Softie Photo
SAS Soldier in Softie © Snugpak UK.
Softie Specs

Product Specs/Features

Material: Outer/Inner shell is made from a lightweight Paratex material, which is windproof and water-repellent. The shoulders and outer arms have a reinforced covering, to protect against wear and tear. The zippers are YKK and has a flap, to prevent wind from penetrating to the body. 
Insulation: Patented Softie® (where the slang term of the jacket derives) filament, which is 10 x finer than human hair and randonused that creates extra voids and lofts to trap more warm air inside.
Cuffs and Collar: The cuffs have are elasticated, to trap in body heat. The collar has an elasticated drawstring, with a plastic locking toggle with a button.
Temperature Range:  23°F / -5°C (comfort) | 14°F / -10°C (extreme).
Weight: 29oz (X-Small) to 40oz (XX-large).
Pack Size: 10 inches x 7 inches (compressed).
Breathability/Windproof Rating/Water Repellency: 10,000 g/mm2 | 3 CFM | 10K

Product Evaluation

I purchased my first Softie jacket, some 18-years-ago, when I was a recruit in the British Army. And, it has stood the test of time. But, like the Softie jackets before the Snugpak® Sleeka Elite, they really are a force to be reckoned with. Snugpak have done another outstanding job, in producing an insulated jacket which is not only robust but also able to withstand the rigors of the outdoors. Whether  you are using the softie as warm kit when you are resting by the fire on the evening, or if you are wearing it while you hike/perform tasks. The Snugpak® Sleeka Elite is the ideal jacket, and at a reasonable price of $119.95 you really can’t go wrong. And what’s more, there aren’t too many jackets which can boast (as the label shows to the right), that it has been test in war, and never been beaten. That is one great thing about Snugpak®, when they design something, they design it to last. There was even talk at one point that the US Government were considering to amendment US Law, to allow the US military to use the Sleeka Elite, as it is made in the UK. But sadly, it never came to fruition. 

Seriously, no matter what challenge you can throw at the Sleeka Elite, it will withstand it. And that has been proven countless times, from the First Gulf War to present conflicts. Considering that the person who designed and developed the Snugpak® brand, based his idea off of bulky US bodywarmers, they have not done too bad. The success of the Sleeka Elite speaks for itself, and its pedigree has been ingrained on the battlefield and the countless soldiers who has worn them over the years. Another great thing about the Sleeka Elite, it now comes in two reversible versions. The first is black and olive drab, the second is olive drab and desert sand, which allows for use in multiple environments. Also, when packed away, it fits into a compression sack, which can them be cinched down to make it even smaller (photo right)! It really does save space in your rucksack, which is what they were designed to do! Gone are the days of the bulky filament insulated jackets, and welcome to the age of space saving materials, which continues to stay one step ahead of rival brands. 

Snugpak Product label

The Final Word

So if you are looking for a well made and durable insulated jacket for use in the outdoors, then look no further then the Snugpak® Sleeka Elite Jacket. A jacket with a reputation that has been hard fought for on battlefields far and wide, and reputation that has spanned nearly three decades! Unlike many other well known insulated jacket brands, when Snugpak® launched the first sofites, the made sure it was ready to fulfill the needs of the consumer. Granted, we are now on the third generation of the Sleeka range, but not much has changed since the first. The only alterations was to the stuff sack, which included compression straps. The shoulders and outside of the arms have been reinforced to allow for excessive wear and tear from rucksack/bodyarmor/webbing straps, which to be honest shows the integrity of Snugpak®, as many other companies would never have done this just to create more sales. And finally, the pockets have been made a slightly deeper and wider, and an inside pocket has been added. Other than that, the overall design of the jacket, has remained the same. 

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