As a runner, I have tried many coats/jackets that claim to be the best thing for runners. While there have been a couple of highlights, often times I have discovered that most jackets are simply cumbersome and seem to almost be someone’s afterthought. It’s as if someone has been trying to force a shoe on to a foot that simply does not fit. Enter Montane, a 21 year old company that specializes “in clothing for serious mountain professionals.” Montane believes in producing high quality, endurance stretching, ultra-tested products so you can go #FurtherFaster.
I received the Montane Spine Jacket on December 20th. In 8 days I have worn it for 7 runs. The only time I did not wear it was for a day run that simply didn’t seem to warrant it. With that said, here are some quick take-aways.
The jacket is super light, super thin and very packable. The hood is somewhat fitted and is cut in such a way that it does not interfere with peripheral view and yet completely covers your head. The adjustable cuffs are easy to adjust over gloves. The ventilation “pit zips”, located where you might expect, under your arm pits, are a nice touch given the typical lack of breathability of waterproof jackets. There is one lone pocket on the chest. I put my phone in to test the space and it fits perfectly, although I did not try running with my phone in the pocket.
My first run was a night run. It was 15 degrees (Fahrenheit) when I took off with a subtle 10 mph wind. I wore a compression t-shirt followed by a thin base-layer, then the Montane jacket. Because of the wind I wore the hood up to keep the cold hair off my neck where my beanie does not cover. The cuffs ensured a nice weather tight seal so that no cold air ran up my arms. There are also adjustment cords at the waist that help keep the cold out and the heat in. My initial thoughts following that first run were good, especially in how the jacket kept my body heat from escaping given the external temps.
The jacket has a very nice athletic fit and does not shift, bounce around or flap. That might not sound like much but a running jacket should be something that is never bulky while still providing some level of wind and/or water protection. It’s also important to find a jacket that has some breathability even when it is trying to block everything out.
My next few runs saw me experiment with the pit zips for the sake of better breathability. By simply zipping them down halfway, the coat became much more versatile, even in temps nearing 40 degrees, which is typically too warm to wear a jacket for long, unless it is pouring rain.
Speaking of rain, I was fortunate to get in one run where rain was a factor. The coat did exceptionally well, keeping my upper body completely dry for the duration of the run. The hood is probably the star of the show in these situations because under no circumstances will you fear that the wind or rain will whip it off your head. Because of the fitted nature of the hood, it seems to grab your head like a beanie and allows you to run without concern of losing coverage. The built-in rigid bill in the front of the hood also works flawlessly with a headlamp, providing coverage while ensuring your light is not blocked from working.
All in all, this is an exceptional jacket. When you first wear it, you might feel like you are wearing a rubber raft liner, due to the Gore-Tex fabric, but the feeling goes away quickly as you recognize how nicely it fits while you run! If you are a “pocket” guy, this is not your jacket. If you are looking for a high quality, lightweight, waterproof, windproof, packable, good looking, minimalist running jacket, look no more.
Product: Montane Spine Jacket – $278.93 at REI