Product Review: Snugpak Sleeka Reversible Elite

Ignoring global warming, John Fenna checks out some colder weather protection - the Sleeka Reversible Elite jacket

Snugpak sleeping bags, midlayer clothing and other equipment are well known and held in the highest esteem by professional users worldwide, and the company have recently launched some "Elite" models of their popular lines to provide even greater performance.

Snugpak Sleeka Reversible Elite

I have been trying out the new Sleeka Reversible Elite Jacket, based on the very popular Sleeka and Sleeka Reversible Jackets, and have been favourably impressed.

The Sleeka Reversible Elite is made from Paratex Light fabric, a fast-wicking and quick-drying highly-breathable and lightweight material made from filaments 10 times finer than human hair, that is closely woven and pretty darn water and wind resistant.

This is used for both lining and outer fabrics (the jacket is reversible, after all) and the insulation is the famous "Softie" filling, a superfine high thermal polyester yarn that mimics natural down, but is machine washable and retains a high proportion of its thermal properties, even when wet. The whole jacket can be reproofed with a branded wash-in proofing, such as produced by Nikwax, as the durable water-resistant finish to the fabrics deteriorates with age.

To help the jacket wear well, there are panels of a tougher polyamide fabric over the shoulders, elbows and cuffs (on the olive side only) to give superior wear-resistance in these stress areas.

The jacket is mainly designed to be worn with green side out - the zip closure and reinforcing placed with this in mind - giving two lower front external pockets with angled and concealed zip openings, and an easily accessible inner pocket, with a zip closure and otp flap, on the right side of the chest. The full-length zip is visible with its "drip strip" baffle behind it.

Turn the jacket so that the black side is outermost and you have two lower external angled zipped pockets almost identical to those on the green side (the only real difference is the pocket "bags" are outside, not inside the insulation and therefore not such good handwarmers) and an external left chest zipped and flapped pocket. The "drip strip" now becomes an external storm flap and the zip puller is on the right side in American style, as opposed to the left in continental and UK style. The softly elasticated cuffs, the high soft collar with its centre back adjusted drawcord, and the hem elasticated drawcord with its twin side-mounted adjustments, are not materially affected by the reversing process.

Cut to give excellent freedom of movement without excessive bulk, the Sleeka Reversible Elite Jacket comes down over the buttocks for good protection, is rated for use in temperatures as low as -10 degrees Centigrade and yet is very light (approx 750gms in size L) and packs away into a stuff sack measuring only 25cm x 14cm diameter, and that is before compression! The base of the stuff sack is made of mesh to help expel air and achieve superior compression, and I have managed to get the compressed jacket down to 15 x 15cm without much effort.

Made to a very good standard with excellent design points, the Sleeka Reversible Elite can be worn as an outer layer, or a mid layer garment, can be zipped into some waterproofs to be an insulated lining, packs away very small, is warm to wear, light to carry, is practical and function, yet smart and versatile, is two jackets (green and black) in one and comes in sizes from S to XXL.

This article appeared in the August 2007 issue of Gun Mart, and is reproduced here with permission.

You can buy Snugpak Sleeka Reversible Elite jackets directly from this site.

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