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Waterproof Jackets

Marmot Spire Jacket | First Look

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.

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.

 

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