When Snugpak kindly offered me some of their kit to review I had a quick mooch around their website and spotted the ML Softie Smock and as Andy said to Lou 'Yeah I know......I want that one'. I simply love the look of this Smock; end of. It has been well thought out, so not only looks the DB's it has a purpose:
It is supplied with APALS - All Purpose Adhesive light Strip. Press and it emits a red light (Flash/pulse/light) that can be seen up to half a mile away
Velcro patch points - Large x 2 on the right arm, small x 3 Chest, Left Arm and rear collar
Main side pockets are, well, not a pocket as such but an opening through to the other pocket, useful for storing something like a hat, scarf or piano.
Nicely thought out chest pockets - zipped map pocket, two vertical pockets for compass, phone, satnav etc
Now I will give my personal thoughts through my experience on the PW and obviously update accordingly. Here however is the Snugpak blurb:
The Snugpak® ML Softie® Smock is ideal for both mountain and lowland ventures, all year round, from hill-walking in Dartmoor and the Peak District, to summer Alpine in Snowdonia and Scottish Winter on Ben Nevis, where the main environmental considerations are wind and cold weather:
• Hill Walking
• Rock Climbing
• Summer Alpine Mountain Walking
• Winter Mountaineering
The Snugpak® ML Softie® Smock is a tri-layer garment and uses both Paratex Micro as a face fabric, and an internal Softie® Premier fill, encapsulated with a Paratex Light lining. Designed to provide excellent thermal protection against the cold, as well as high protection against wind, the ML Softie® Smock is available in a variety of Softie® weights, for the following temperature ranges:
• ML3 (Softie® 3) 0℃ to -5℃
• ML6 (Softie® 6) -5℃ to -10℃
• ML9 (Softie® 9) -10℃ to -15℃
The ML Softie® Smock is lighter than normal expedition style jackets, and uses water resistant YKK zips, making it ideal for when size and weight need to be kept to an absolute minimum. It is ideally worn with a variety of base layers, such as the Snugpak 2nd Skinz Coolmax base layer, to move moisture away from the skin, keeping you dry and regulating core temperature.
The quick drying, Paratex Micro 100% nylon material has a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish. Water repellency can be maintained with a cool tumble dry after washing and periodic re-treatment with suitable after care products, such as Nikwax and Grangers. The ML Softie® Smock will keep you dry in a short, light shower, giving you time to find a safe place to stop and put on more effective (hardshell) waterproof layers, if required. The ML Softie® Smock can also be worn under waterproof [PTFE] membrane hard shells in severe weather, still allowing easy access to your essential equipment.
In dry, colder conditions, the cut of the Softie Smock enables you to layer effectively with additional thinner insulation, or warmer layers worn underneath so that core temperature can be effectively managed.
The ML Softie® Smock allows essential equipment to be carried centrally, with easy access when wearing a day sack, expedition pack or climbing harness, and maintains its core functionality with other essential outdoor equipment. To compliment the ML Softie Smock®, it can be worn with the Sleeka Softie® Salopettes for complete thermal insulation in extremes of temperature.
The tri-layer ML Softie® Smock incorporates a unique design, for the storage and use of essential equipment, such as map and compass, guide books, belay equipment & slings, personal essentials, as well as more modern devices such as smartphones and tablets, when completing iSeries Navigation™:
• Made in the UK. Support UK manufacturing and enjoy superior British quality.
• Unisex Design
• High-visibility, Blue/Orange Complimentary Colours
• Extremely Lightweight & durable, perfect for when weight and space need to be considered
• Windproof: The Paratex Micro fabric protects you from wind chill
• Breathable: The Paratex Micro high moisture-vapour transmission rate helps to keep you dry when you're active
• Comfortable: The Softie® Premier fill insulation is available in different weights for a range of temperatures and environments/weather
• APALS® Soft Hook & Loop Patches
• Large Map Chest Pocket, with Internal D-Rings
• Large & Small External Pouches
• External D-Ring for LED Torches, etc
• TS1 Lined Hand Warmer ‘Muff’ Pocket, adds a layer of insulation to keep hands warm
• Thumb Loops
• Hem & Neck adjuster for a better fit, helping trap warm air and aid insulation
• 1/4 Length Water-resistant YKK Zip, to help trap warm air, or ventilate
• Harness Compatible
• Customise with effective layering for colder weather or longer races.
For the entire Snugpak® Venture Range, the hood has been removed, allowing greater compatibility with other items of clothing, but the storage space remains. This allows you to roll up items such as a neck scarf, Buff®, fleece liner gloves or skull cap and store them close to hand.
• Chest Pocket
The Venture Range includes a central map case pocket in the chest area, for the storage of a full size (Large) map case, such as the SILVA® Carry Dry Map Case (265x480mm), or an iPad® mini™ within a waterproof eCase® (185x238mm). The main pocket also incorporates two D-rings to secure essential items, such as a compass or whistle, to prevent accidental loss, as well as tethering other waterproof cases so that they do not need to be carried in an unsafe position around the neck.
A large Outer-Pocket on the front of the central chest pocket, with a hook & loop security tab and a functional D-ring. This pocket can accommodate an A6 folded map, or a notebook and pen/pencil, or smartphones in a waterproof case, such as the iPhone 5S in the waterproof eCase® (105x175mm) as well as small digital cameras. In front of this is a smaller outer-pocket with hook & loop security tab, ideal for keeping your compass close to hand, or used for securing smaller energy gels, pens, pencils etc when on the move.
• Hook & Loop Patches
Throughout the Venture Range designs, there are various Hook & Loop Patches, designed to accommodate APALS® Personal Identification (PID) LEDs, or 3M Scotchlite™ Reflective Tabs to make you more visible in low-light conditions. Small APALS® patches are located on the back of the collar, as well as the left sleeve. There is also a larger soft Hook & Loop patch on the Right arm, for ID’s, Morale Patches as well as Group and Organisation Patches, allowing you to personalise your Venture Smock. Soft Hook & Loop is also available on the front of the small outer-pouch, for either an APALS® LED or reflective marker.
• Hand Pockets
The ML Softie® Smock design also incorporates a harness compatible, muff-style, TS1 hand-warmer pocket, giving you a large internal storage space if needed. It can also be used for storing other essential items and will keep them safe due to the deep pocket and side zips that prevent items falling out.
Weight - 700g
Paratex Micro® (100% Nylon)
Paratex Light® (100% Nylon)
Softie® Premier (100% Polyester)