It’s not the most comfortable option out there, and it can be a little stiff, but that’s a small complaint that gets overshadowed by the warm shell and solid construction. The Spire is a hardshell jacket fully intended to tackle rugged outdoor adventures. It doesn’t have any extra frills, but it will still get the job done.
Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of this ski jacket, who it is best for, and other similar alternatives to consider.
- Where to buy: Amazon
- Best for: Available in cuts for both men and women, this jacket is great for anyone who leads an active outdoor lifestyle and needs something that will last under heavy abuse. It provides serious cold-weather protection in any environment.
- Pros: Offers great weather protection. The GORE-TEX construction more than does its job. It’s also extremely durable and holds strong under heavy use.
- Cons: Not the most comfortable jacket, as it’s stiff and inflexible.
Why Trust Me
I’ve been skiing almost as long as I’ve been able to walk. I have skied all over the world and have decades of experience skiing on, testing, and reviewing different skis and skiing equipment. I conducted in-depth research on the Marmot Spire jacket, looking at its many design features and other skier’s opinions. Below is my detailed review.
The Marmot Spire is a jacket built to tackle intense winter conditions and tag along with you on any rugged or wild outdoor adventure. It’s a decent pick as a ski jacket, but is a little stiff and slightly uncomfortable. That might put off skiers who want an option with full mobility. For other outdoor activities like mountaineering, ice-climbing, or snowshoeing, its durability and strength can pay off handsomely.
Warmth and Weather
The Spire offers excellent weather protection on a level you would expect out of a high-end hardshell option. This jacket will keep you dry in the worst of blowing snow and other wet conditions. It also offers great wind and water resistance. The jacket’s build allows you to bundle up completely, and with the hood and zipper engaged you’ll have a snow shield wrapped around your upper half.
At the heart of the Spire’s serious weather protection is its 3-layer construction. The GORE-TEX materials used in the design gives you excellent water-repellency that delivers day in and day out. The 28,000mm waterproof rating reflects the Spire’s capability, and you can rest easy knowing that when the weather turns south, this jacket is able to handle anything that might come your way.
Even though the Spire is built to be extremely waterproof, it’s not the warmest jacket in the world. Built as a hardshell, it doesn’t actually have any built-in insulation. The 3-layer construction does add some insulation, but you will always want to layer up when conditions get cold to ensure you stay warm. The jacket is plenty cozy on moderately cold days, but without insulation you’ll need reinforcements on sub-zero adventure days.
Comfort and Fit
For all of the high marks this jacket gets in terms of weather protection, it doesn’t quite live up to the same standard when it comes to comfort. Extreme weatherproofing makes it pretty stiff and crunchy. Now, it’s not like the jacket will crumble before your eyes, but it’s not as free-flowing as some other hardshell options out there. If comfort and flexibility is your main priority, this might not be your bag.
When skiing, the stiffness can be felt during aggressive pole plants or in touring situations when your upper half is moving to help you get uphill. It has the feel of an old-school rain jacket. It’s going to keep you dry, but you may feel a bit robotic as you move around.
The fit of the Spire, however, is actually pretty nice. It comes in fits for both men and women and offers a classic ski jacket fit that sits nicely below the waist. The hood design fits especially well and adds another quality layer of weather protection and comfort when you really want to bundle up. It can be a little tight fitting in the mid-torso area, but other than that it has a fairly standard fit.
Construction and Style
The tough construction is what gives the Spire all of its excellent weather protection properties, but it also contributes to the stiffness. The face fabric is made of 100% recycled polyester, and the 3-layer GORE-TEX membrane is at the heart of the design. If you’re an avid skier, you know that GORE-TEX offers the best water and windproofing out there.
The Spire also has articulated shoulder panels that add a bit of mobility to an otherwise rigid feel. That helps keep the jacket from riding up when you’re skiing or doing any other activity. The tough hood is another stand-out feature. It fits nicely and will easily sit over any ski helmet. It can also be fully tightened for additional protection.
In terms of style, this jacket doesn’t really stand out in any way. It has a basic timeless look that, while nice, won’t get any extra attention on the slopes. This isn’t a big deal if you want quality performance and weather protection, but some people may be bummed out by the appearance.
The Spire comes with some additional features that add functionality to its great weather protection. The Gale-Force Hood is one such upgrade. It is fully helmet compatible and comes with an effective ERG Hood Adjustment System.
The jacket also has a zip-off powder skirt that you can use to your advantage when the snow gets deep. You can also remove it if you don’t need it. Beyond that, there’s a RECCO avalanche rescue reflector for safety considerations if you’re venturing into the backcountry. There are plenty of inner and outer pockets as well.
Price and Value
The Marmot Spire comes in the mid-to-upper end of ski jacket price. It’s not the most expensive model out there, but it’s definitely not a budget option either. If you’re looking for serious water and wind protection, the jacket is a good value option. That’s especially true if you can find it on sale. However, if you’re looking for a high-end ski jacket there are other options that are more comfortable and make for better value.
What I Like
What stands out about the Spire is the excellent protection from the elements it offers. The GORE-TEX design gives you outstanding wind and waterproof capabilities and makes it an effective option to keep you dry, no matter how big of a blizzard you find yourself in. If you want to stay dry, this jacket will provide you with some of the best protection around.
The rugged build also makes it extremely durable. You can beat this jacket up without worrying about it ripping or tearing. That’s especially great for the average skier, and it should be able to take on any condition no matter how tough. This jacket is built for heavy use, and that’s something I really like.
The Spire’s hood is another awesome trait. When conditions get bad, you’re going to want the extra protection that a high-quality hood provides. This hood delivers. It easily fits over any size head, even with a helmet on, and can be fully cinched down for added protection. It’s an awesome design that I really enjoy.
What I Don’t Like
The biggest downside of this jacket is how stiff it is. We touched on that earlier in the review, but it’s worth mentioning again because there are options out there that offer serious weather protection alongside serious comfort. If you want the best of both of those worlds, you’re going to want to explore other options. I won’t say that this jacket is uncomfortable, because it does its job well, but it’s not an option built with comfort at the forefront of design.
The other thing I don’t like about the jacket is the outer boxes. They sit up a little high, in my opinion. This more comes down to personal preference than anything concerning performance, but there’s something off about where they’re placed. I also don’t like the claret/dry rose color option, but I’m not really a fan of red.
If you want to explore a few other quality jackets that offer great weather-resistance and make for good alternatives to the Marmot Spire, check out these recommended options.
- Marmot JM Pro GORE-TEX Jacket – This is another Marmot model that’s worth checking out if you’re a fan of their gear and want something that compares pretty closely to the Spire. You get the same three-layer GORE-TEX build for excellent weather protection, but with more of a cold-weather focus. A great option for cold or heavy snow situations.
- Mountain Hardwear High Exposure GORE-TEX C-Knit Jacket – This is another GORE-TEX jacket that offers high-end protection from wind and water, but it’s more comfortable and definitely more flexible than the Spire. It’s not as rugged or durable, so there is a trade-off for that comfort, but this jacket still makes for a good backcountry option because it’s lightweight, breathable, and comfortable.
- Patagonia PowSlayer Jacket – If you want a jacket that offers high-end comfort and weather protection in the same package, the PowSlayer (review) is well worth exploring. This jacket is expensive, but it can provide you with everything you need to stay warm and comfortable during the winter. This is another GORE-TEX based jacket that’s both breathable and flexible.
Is the Marmot Spire really that stiff and uncomfortable?
It’s not ridiculously stiff or uncomfortable, but it’s noticeably stiffer than other similar options and isn’t a recommended option if comfort is one of your main concerns. It’s still made of fabric so isn’t a rigid piece of plywood, it’s just not the most flexible fabric out there.
What sizes are available?
The Marmot Spire comes in versions for both men and women. It ranges from XS to XL. You can check out the size charts listed on the EVO description to find what size best matches your body.
Is the Marmot Spire insulated and waterproof?
It does not come with any built-in insulation, so you will want to layer up when conditions are really cold. However, it is fully waterproof and does an excellent job of keeping you dry when it’s snowing.
The Marmot Spire is a decent ski jacket that offers excellent protection from wind and snow. The three-layer GORE-TEX construction gives you a serious line of defense against precipitation when the elements hit hard. That does result in a stiffer jacket that might not be ideal for anyone who wants comfort and freedom of movement when they ski, but it’s a durable and effective option that lives up to high-end performance standards.