CGR reviewer Dave Sarkar puts the new Haglöfs Spire jacket through some mountain challenges.
A reinforced Gore-Tex® Active Shell Jacket that is extremely breathable and durable, with details such as mountain helmet compatible hood and two chest pockets.
Value for Money ****
Haglöfs are a quality Swedish brand that have been producing mountain equipment since 1914. They are very popular in Scandinavia and have been available in the UK for quite a while.
We mentioned their new Spring collection for climber earlier in the year and having interviewed the UK team and viewed the climbing collection we can vouch for their dedication to producing equipment for climbers that is fit for purpose.
The Haglöfs Spire Jacket is a climbing specific hardshell made from Gore-Tex Active Shell that certainly feels like a jacket for climbing in. The shell is a lightweight, 3 layer waterproof garment that is made from 2 different weights of Active Shell. The main body of the jacket is constructed with 30D (Denier – the density of the material) with the shoulder and forearm area reinforced with a more dense fabric of 40D. All the seams are taped so it is guaranteed waterproof by Gore-Tex.
The cut was great for climbing in: it was a very athletic fit with minimal additions to get in the way. The cut was very good with a harness on and I had no rise when climbing in it at all, I felt complete freedom of movement. There were no pit zips which is a good thing, I feel they are not necessary for a climbing jacket as I am often not walking in it. A hardshell often stays in the pack until it gets windy, then I put it on. I’ve been using the Haglöfs Spire Jacket for most of my climbing/instructing this season and the cut is just right.
The stated weight for a Large was 380g and my test sample sized Medium weighed in at 350g so nice and light. I’m usually a 40” chest and the fit was good for that size – very little play though so try before you buy!
The sleeves were again well styled for climbing with no rise, the sleeve ends were neatly extended with a V patch which was great for tucking gloves in. A good point as sometimes on technical ice I want to have the sleeves over the glove cuffs. The sleeve cuffs were fastened with sewn Velcro patches – you can tell Haglöfs designers have put some thought into this as it’s often a high wear area and you can often open and close the sleeves as much as the jacket. The fastener was made of a double layer of jacket material and bar tacked to the sleeve.
The hood was helmet compatible although it was not so easy to adjust it on belays, etc as the toggles were not attached to the hood so I needed two hands to adjust the hood. Further adjustment was available at the back where there were two adjusters. The top one cinched the hood to the helmet whist the bottom one adjusted the collar. Once these adjusters were used the hood performed well, but it felt a little over designed for a hardcore climbing jacket. The peak was stiffened and pulled neatly over the helmet.
At the back of the hood was a rear mounted, large hanging loop which made it easy to dry. It was bar tacked to extra durability, again another nice touch you wouldn’t find on a cheaper jacket. The pockets were well sited and easy to get into with a harness on. There was no inside pocket or Napoleon pocket, this isn’t a major issue as I often just shove gloves and maps down the front when I’m wearing a harness or pack. Haglöfs have been brave with other jackets with the addition of just one pocket on other jackets in their range and I feel that one large pocket on this jacket would have been ideal. The pocket zips were YKK Aquacoil and worked well and the pull tabs were glove friendly.
The hem could be cinched with one hand as the toggles were attached to the jacket, it’s a feature that I occasionally use when it’s cold as you’d be surprised at how much warmer the jacket is when the hem in cinched. The inside collar had a laminated microfleece layer that felt good against the back of my neck, this is often useful when you have just a baselayer and the jacket on a spring climbing day.
Finally to the main zip and this was a real problem area for me when in use. I am a big zip user when climbing. I open and close the zip often for things like changing gloves as well as accessing maps and guidebooks. Although the zip did a great job of keeping the rain and snow out it felt over engineered on this jacket and I had trouble opening and closing it. The main issue seemed to be something as small and easy to change as the draft guard. The guard wasn’t doubled over to give a complete double layer. It only covered half the guard, this left an area that got caught in the zip. The zip already has a YKK Aquaguard and was covered with extra material, although this offers extra water resistance and an improved cosmetic appearance it did affect the performance, especially with gloves on. The problem would be very simple to solve and with this issue resolved the Haglöfs Spire Jacket would be a great all mountain jacket.
Is the Spire able to handle a backpack with weight from 15 to 20 kg?
I’ve been using it this winter carrying a full winter pack for 2 hour walk ins, then I’ve climbed in it all day and carried my kit back out and it’s not showing any signs of wear. If, however, you are doing that every day then it may not last for ever! The shoulder area is reinforced with a heavier weight material. Hope that helps, Dave.
Thanks for this nice and comprehensive review. I have read other reviews, and they mention the zipper problem as well. My question is though the following: what do you think is the difference between this jacket’s material and the Goretex Pro shell material used on other models? I think the latter … 3 layer GORE-TEX Pro-Shell fabric, is a bit stronger, or am I wrong?
Hi Andreas, sorry for the delay in relying we’ve been climbing! I’m still using the Spire despite the zip issue as it’s a great climbing jacket. The material on the shoulders and sleeves is of a higher Denier rating making it a little more robust in crucial climbing areas. All the best, Dave.