Athlete review: Simon Roberts on the Spine Waterproof Jacket

Up and coming Welsh ultra runner Simon Roberts has had wins in some of the most challenging ultra runs in the UK recently, including the Dragons Back, Spine race and Cheviot Goat. Eager to compete with the very best Montane kit possible, he took to the Cheviot hills with our versatile Spine waterproof jacket. Here’s what he thought… 

The name alone got my attention, Spine Jacket. Being a huge fan of the Montane Spine Race, I had to give this jacket a go! 

This is the new and updated version of Spine Waterproof Jacket from Montane. It’s been reworked, its lighter and offers great protection from the elements. It’s a key piece for kit for fast paced mountain activities at high intensity. Its offers brilliant weather protection in the very wet and very windy conditions with its Gore-Tex Active protection which at the same time offers high level of breathability for those intense racing or training sessions. 

I gave it a good test on the Cheviot hills, going for a bit of a course recce leading up the Montane Cheviot Goat race this December. It’s the perfect location to put this jacket through its paces and is very fitting as this area is also featured on the Montane Spine Race as well. It’s a very exposed part of the country and gets some of the worst weather in the UK. 

Key features 

The day started off dark and grey with light rain showers throughout. The Spine Jacket was worn straight away. There were a few hours of rain showers which was no problem for the Spine Jacket, kept me and my base layer totally dry. 

If you want to race quick, without being bogged down with weight, this is the jacket to go to. It weighs just a mere 245g making it super lightweight and with a good comfortable close fit so you can move fast and nimble but still be assured you’re getting great weather protection. Its striped back to achieve the light weight but still has all the necessary features. 

  • It has 2 large map pockets on the front of the jacket, perfect for things like, well maps! Hat, gloves and some snacks. These pockets are mesh lined, so when opened can supply some good ventilation when things start to heat up on your session, which I quite handy and can save you taking the jacket off. 
  • Adjustable hood so protects your head from the rain and wind. The toggle can adjust the hood size to it adjusts to suit your head and won’t be blowing about in the wind. 
  • Elasticated cuffs to ensure a good fit around your wrists, this will help to stop the wind and rain from getting up your sleeve. 
  • Adjustable elasticated waist draw string, can be adjusted to provide a good fit around your waist area. This will help reduce heat loss and will also stop the element from getting in. 

With its stripped back weight, it’s a soft material which is very packable, in between shower storms, I took the jacket off to store in my Montane Gecko race vest, the jacket can roll up very small and fit into the pack without taking up too much space, perfect for those fast days running in the hills. 

It has a sleek, close fit but still allows room to wear a warm mid layer underneath for those very cold conditions. Later, in the day the wind picked up and temperature dropped. Fighting the high winds, I managed to put on the Fire Ball Jacket to wear as a mid-layer underneath the Spine Jacket. The fit was good and comfortable, I could still move fast and nimble. 

When the wind picked up, I made use of the hood to protect my head, using the toggle to adjust the hood, it was a great fit, and I could run about in high winds and the hood will stay in place and not course any distraction. 

Overall verdict 

So, after my day out in the Cheviots, running about in the wind, rain and mud, I think this is the perfect jacket for those 1-day ultra-running races or just a long run training session where you are likely to be battered by the wind and rain. It offers great protection from the elements with the Gore-Tex active technology, the jacket kept me and my under-layers dry all day. The Spine jacket has a minimalistic and agile feel to it, perfect for moving fast through the hills and very packable when the shell layer is not needed so can be easily stowed in a race vest. 

Perfect for the 1-day races I will be using this jacket as my shell layer for the Montane Cheviot Goat race and will also pack in for the Montane Dragons Back race if substantial wet weather is forecast as it won’t take up much room or weight in a drop bag. I will also be taking the jacket as part of my Spine race kit. I think it’s the perfect back-up shell layer for the Spine Race and I will wear it if we get mild days on the Pennine Way when we are not getting battered by the January Northern Storms! 

Feeling inspired? This waterproof jacket was also recently named 'Best on test' by 220 Triathlon, check out the review here. If you need more convicning, don't miss fellow ontane athlete Kat Robert's Spine jacket review

For more information and to buy the Spine jacket, head to our dedicated webpage for more details. For those seeking more options, don’t miss our full range of men’s waterproof jackets