Marmot Spire Jacket -

First Look

Price:

£200

Weight: 688

grammes (medium, including snowskirt @ 65g

Features: Gore-Tex Performance Shell

mountain jacket. Angel-Wing Movement to allow full range of motion,

DriClime lined chinguard, ERG hood adjustment system, adjustable

drawcord hem, Gale-force hood with laminated wire brim, helmet

compatible, integrated laser-drilled pocket backing, micro-stitched and

taped seams, Pack Pockets with water-resistant  zippers,

Pit-Zips, zip-off powder skirt


What's It

For?

New for autumn 2008, Marmot's Spire is an all-round mountain waterproof

shell jacket with a helmet-compatible hood and a zip-out snow skirt

that give it the ability to be used for climbing and skiing. It use

Gore-Tex Performance Shell rather than the lighter, more flexible

Gore-Tex Pro Shell, but that helps keep the price down despite the

array of top-end technical features.


The Techy

Bits

Gore-Tex Performance Shell is pretty much what the old Classic Gore-Tex

was, it has a knitted rather than the woven backer of Pro Shell, which

makes it slightly heavier and slightly less breathable. That's where

the economies stop though, the design of the jacket has many of the

same features as Marmot's top-end shells costing significantly more.

These include the Angel Wing sleeve cut, designed to prevent the hem

from lifting as you reach up high or in front, Marmot's laminated and

wired hood and even pocket liners with laser-cut holes to improve

breathability. The pockets are sited high to clear pack belts and

harnesses.


How It

Performs

This is very much a preliminary test, but first impressions

are positive. The Performance Shell may lack Pro Shell's silky drape

and add some weight too, but the pay-off is a sub-700g jacket that

feels reassuringly tough and durable. An impression underlined by the

chunky main zip that feels indestructible.

Marmot Spire hood
marmotspire03.jpg

The cut leaves enough room for a fleece or soft shell underneath, but

isn't overly voluminous and while it's on the short side, it wasn't -

for us at least - overly short. Basic features seem to work well, the

hood clears a helmet and unlike many US-designed shells, the laminated

and wired peak seems sturdy enough to cope with UK conditions, backed

up with a decent enough helmetless fit that moves with your head.

The sleeve arrangement does seem to work, with the hem staying in place

despite much hand waving and raising. Ditto the high-cut pockets and

pit-zips. Of course, we haven't been able to use the Spire in winter

conditions yet, but it looks promising.

InitV

Tough feeling, shortish-cut, US-designed jacket that looks to have the

capability to cope with UK conditions. It doesn't have the silky

mobility of a Pro Shell garment with its slippy, slidey woven backer,

but many users will positively like the sturdy feel and easy to use

features and adjusters. Lots of bang for for the buck. More later, but

looking good so far.

Pros: Nicely designed

with protective hood, sturdy fabric and top features including pit-zips

and helmet hood.Pros: Shorter than

some jackets, not as flexible feeling as Pro Shell.