A tough yet lightweight windproof

This review is part of our windshells gear guide, and was first published in the April 2018 issue of The Great Outdoors.

Snugpak’s S&R Windtop was designed for Search and Rescue use, hence the name. There’s no reason not to use it for general outdoor use however. In fact it’s actually the same design as Snugpak’s Adventure Racing and RS Windtops, the only difference being the colour. (Red, black and olive respectively).

The fabric is a bit heavier and tougher than that used in most windshells though the S&R Windtop is still quite light. It’s windproof and breathable and repels light rain and drizzle. There’s no hood – the only garment reviewed without one. Instead the S&R Windtop has a high double-layer collar and an adjustable drawcord so it can be pulled in close for warmth. I prefer a hood but this collar is effective. There is a Velcro-closed opening in the back of the neck so you can store a Buff or light hat in it, making a very warm insulated collar.

The pockets are unusual. There’s a capacious zipped one that will easily hold maps and other items, an advantage of the over-head design. On top of this are two smaller pockets closed with a Velcro strap. The larger of these is big enough for a smartphone or GPS. The smaller one holds an All Purpose Adhesive Light Strip (APALS), which is a tiny ultralight red light that Snugpak says can be seen up to a mile way and which has a runtime of 200+ hours – the battery isn’t replaceable. The back of the APALS is the adhesive bit – it easily sticks to the various Velcro patches on the sleeves and front. (The patches are also for S&R teams to append unit/name badges.) One APALS is provided.

The S&R Windtop has a roomy fit. I can comfortably wear the Medium over a thick fleece. Unusually Snugpak says the Windtop can be worn over a waterproof jacket so you still have access to items in the pockets. I haven’t yet tried this.

If you don’t miss a hood the S&R Windtop is fine for year-round use.