In the coldest of conditions you’re wise to use multiple layers, but could you use a waterproof windproof insulated jacket instead?
The Snugpak Torrent Extreme reviewed here does away with the usual method of two separate garments, one covering the warmth the other keeping us dry. Let’s find out if it’s a good idea or a complicated compromise.
This jacket is an upgraded version of the company’s Torrent jacket. It’s designed for tough conditions and falling temperatures. Let’s take a look:
Snugpak Torrent Extreme reviewed: key specs
- Waterproof rated at PU 10,000mm HH
- Breathable 5000mm
- Low Rating: -17°C / 1°F
- Weight: 1220g / 43oz (Medium)
Compared with the regular Torrent it’s one-third heavier and 20% more expensive. For that it will keep you warm as the temperature drops a further 7C/ 11F.
Design and Detail
Naturally it’s much bulkier to pack – perhaps not an issue as it has been designed to be worn when active, not stashed for when the weather turns against you. As with the original Torrent, Snugpak use their proprietary Paratex Dry shell over their tried and favoured Softie insulation.
- Underarm ventilation zips, with mesh inner
- Weatherproof main & pocket zips
- YKK Zips
- Deep handwarmer style pockets
- Hidden inside chest pocket
- Insulated, detachable hood with adjustable peak and dual adjusters
- Brushed polyester lined neck warmer and pockets for added comfort and warmth
- Fully adjustable hem
- Adjustable hook and loop wrist cuffs
What’s it like?
Hot. And that’s the only main consideration with this version of the Snugpak Torrent Extreme reviewed in this post . Do you really need the extra insulation? The answer might involve a little trial and error, and will be largely based on how active you are.
Waterproofing (10,000) and breathability (5,000) don’t match what you’ll get from a dedicated waterproof shell at the same price. Because it’s trying to be a waterproof, windproof and insulated jacket, it’s naturally going to be a compromise, albeit a decent one.
However, essential walking gear is never just about the numbers: Fit and features play a big part in regulating temperature, and that’s where Snugpak excel. The softie lining dries really quick, and in some ways similar to buffalo clothing, you can wear this jacket with just one layer underneath and you’ll start drying out fast.
I tested it through low-level woods at 8C and it was too hot. In a separate outing I ascended 350ft and here’s what I found: It’s hot. And hot quick! That’s not a bad thing, it’s just that I hadn’t really matched it to the conditions – which is even more essential with this extreme update. You’ll find it’s pit zips are vital in managing your heat – and work surprisingly well.
Things I liked
It feels tough under rucksack straps and I’m sure it’s built to last. Tightly finished stitching and weatherproof zips show the quality this brand is known for.
The hood is excellent and the adjustable hem pulls the long tail into place. Lined pockets are a toasty finger treat. Again it’s the details: the inside pocket is deeply buried and waterproofed, there’s also mesh inners on the underarm ventilation zips. The Snugpak Torrent Extreme is a waterproof, windproof insulated jacket made for awful weather, not just an exercise in practicality.
I took advantage of Storm Ciara and treated the jacket to sideways rain and 60+mph winds for close to an hour – and it held off the blasting moisture well.
Excellent value for money. You might struggle to get this spec – and quality – at this price when choosing two jackets. This jacket could easily become the first thing I’d reach for when packing in Winter. That said, as I’m much more active in Spring and Autumn, I feel the original Torrent might be the better choice.
Things I don’t like
It’s not packable. Well, you could but it’s huge and you’d need a compression strap or two. Maybe Snugpak could find a way around this next time? I’m also not sure if the increased warmth justifies the additional cost of £34.00.
I’d like the soft touch fabric to extend around the neck and access to the inner pocket be from outside, rather than have to open the main zip.
Also, considering this waterproof windproof insulated jacket has so many uses, the colour options are entirely tactical: green and black. I’d much prefer some colour and as the Torrent comes in a decent blue, they could have treated us civilians a little…
Can a waterproof windproof insulated jacket really do it all?
Up to a point, yes. We are all very fixated on layered clothing and using multiple layers. Now, while layering is essential if you’re highly active and in changeable weather; it’s irrelevant if you are stood still. Still, there’s one vital thing the layer system gives you that this one-jacket solution doesn’t, and that’s options.
How have you found your original Torrent jacket holds up in awful weather? Are you happy with it? Would you be happy replacing your current insulating and waterproof layers with one jacket?
Help us to find out more and leave your comments below.
The Snugpak Extreme Torrent retails at £199.00 and is available directly from Snugpak.
Disclaimer: Snugpak provided us with a jacket for this review. We are never under obligation to provide positive reviews, not are we paid to do so. Typically, we choose products for detailed reviews because they are interesting or innovative, not just because they are new.
If that’s your kind of thing, you’ll find more of the same on our other gear reviews, and on social media. See you out there.