Warm as toast

The fine people at Snugpak sent us their Solar Flare jacket for inclusion in our winter jacket review to be published later in the year. However, we couldn't resist telling you all about it now.

If you've ever been curled up in your tent on a cold winter morning, reluctant to venture out and thinking how great it would be to stay in your lovely warm sleeping bag all day, this could be just the thing for you. For the Solar Flare recreates the cosy feeling of a sleeping bag, while you're on the move. We gave it an early test in January during a day in the Angus Glens when blizzards were raging. The sensible thing to do would have been to stay at home and watch Today with Des and Mel, but we were anxious to get out.

The Solar Flare was donned and immediately all thoughts of exposure leading to hypothermia and premature loss of extremities were forgotten. This jacket is just so warm yet, unlike a duvet jacket, it is very lightweight and flexible and easy to walk in. Nothing seems to penetrate the close woven waterproof Pertex Endurance 5000 outer, which is also highly breathable. We were well impressed with the performance in what were horrendous winter conditions - high wind, low temperatures and heavy, wet, driving snow.

The Solar Flare's inner filling is Travelsoft, an ultra lightweight, high loft insulation designed for Snugpak's Travelpak range of clothing. Thermally insulated 'finer' fibres are used which have excellent compressibility. By design, these travel orientated fibres provide an even lesser bulk of fill than that of other fibres used by the firm, yet still are able to perform highly efficiently.

Other features of the jacket include fully waterproof taped seams, adjustable hood, double storm flap down the front zip, self sealing thumb loops, two zipped outer pockets, one zipped inner pocket and a bottom hem adjuster. The Solar Flare weighs in at around 700 grams, depending on size (it's available in sizes from small through to XXL). It comes in two colours - black and red (pictured) or blue and black and costs £99.99. We give it a big thumbs up!

For more info, log onto www.snugpak.com