A waterproof jacket is an essential item for any hillwalkers pack – not only as a means to keep the rain off, but to also act as a windproof and a barrier against the ever-changing conditions outdoors. Cue the new for autumn winter 22 Spirit Waterproof Jacket, which comes cut in an active mountain fit. Designed with walking and general outdoor use in mind, it’s a fantastic option for all-round use - with plenty of technical features to keep you protected on the move.
To help us put this new women’s waterproof jacket through its paces, we called upon the athletic prowess of experienced climber, alpinist and hiking enthusiast Jessie Leong. Based in Sheffield, on the edge of the hiking mecca that is the Peak District, served her well to escape into one of our favourite National Parks to test out the Spirit jacket’s capabilities. Having conquered Alpine Peaks over 4,000m in the past, Jessie knows exactly what’s needed from her kit to help her survive a variety of extreme elements. Here’s what happened when she put the Spirit Jacket through its paces…
Why everyone needs a reliable waterproof jacket
Stop, go, pack, unpack, repack, then go again. I’ve tested many items of outdoor clothing over the years, each in a range of environments. From the gnarly pointy peaks of the Alps, to exploring the blue ice of Europe’s largest glacier Vatnajökull (based in Iceland). For all of these adventures, the one item I don’t want to have to second guess is my waterproof jacket. Thankfully, it’s my go to item in my wardrobe, especially handy for exploring the local trails I'm lucky to be based near in the Peak District.
I personally love wandering through the gloomy moss lined walls of The Roaches and exploring the exposed heather strewn moorlands of the Peaks. This is an area with so many amazing walking trails! Now exploring in the UK is always an interesting affair, as you’ve never quite sure what weather you’re going to experience. Rain is just something you always need to factor in to plans here. Fortunately for me, Montane are specialists in waterproof jacket design for high output activities and this season they kitted me out with the latest jacket to join their range, the Women’s Spirit Jacket.
The Women’s Spirit Waterproof jacket enables you to adapt the waterproof to suit a range of activities, including walking, climbing and mountaineering. This makes the Spirit Waterproof jacket a highly versatile option, ideal for active people who enjoy multi-activities in their weekly schedule, or who just want to make the most of it, without sacrificing comfort.
I'm 5’5 and wear a size 10 of the Women’s Spirit Jacket. I have broad shoulders and hips and so finding kit that suits my frame can sometimes be difficult. I am often frustrated at brands that don’t factor in enough room for women with strong shoulders, but thankfully Montane get their fit spot on. When walking during the changeable autumn winter months, it’s of course important to make sure you have a versatile layering system. The Spirit jacket makes an ideal protective outer later and is accommodating enough for me to fit a Dart Long Sleeve Base Layer and Protium Fleece Jacket underneath. It’s also cut to be technically considerate, without being over the top.
Knowing that this is a GORE-TEX shell reinforces my confidence that I will feel more comfortable when I wear it on the move. In short, it lets moisture vapour out, without rain coming in. A fully seam taped construction puts my mind at further ease that this jacket will help to keep me well protected from any heavy downpours I may encounter.
A hood with a stiffened peak also enables you to easily adjust your jacket to help stop the elements from attacking your face and eyes - essential when you’re trying to navigate in difficult conditions! The cinchable hem with adjustable drawcord is ideal for helping you minimise heat loss and stopping any elements from sneaking in.
I like the fact that it feels like a premium jacket – it’s not so light it feels ‘crisp packet like’ but neither is it so heavy that you don't want to bring it on a fast and light mission. It’s rare to find a jacket that transitions so well from summer through to winter, but the Spirit Jacket is something I feel I could use all year around. It’s also very easily packed away without taking up much space in your backpack, so ideal for changeable conditions.
Walking on exposed moorland in the Peak District you can often be battered by gale-force like winds. Without a proper wind barrier, these can quickly make you feel very cold!
The Spirit Jacket will be my new go to waterproof jacket for all my upcoming walking adventures - both here in the Peak District and further afield, including the mighty Dolomites of Italy. When the time comes, I'll of course be giving it some TLC (see Montane’s product aftercare page to help get you started) to ensure it can continue to keep me well protected on the move throughout the seasons.
Jessie Leong reviewed the women’s Spirit Waterproof Jacket, which is also available for men this season. Need more convincing? Take a look at our dedicated Spirit Jacket blog for more reasons we believe this should be your go-to walking waterproof this season.