Montane Spirit waterproof jacket review: high quality reliable rain protection

This streamlined waterproof jacket checks all the boxes for us, from the robust protection of its 2.5 layer fabric to its lightweight packability

Montane Spirit waterproof jacket
(Image: © Julia Clarke)

Advnture Verdict

This is a superb, lightweight waterproof jacket ideally suited for hiking that delivers high performance in a simple, classic package


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    Lightweight and packable

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    Comfortable with plenty of room for layers

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    2.5 layer waterproof and windproof protection

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    Two map sized hand pockets

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    Fully adjustable hood with stiffened peak

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    Adjustable hem and cuffs


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    No recycled materials used

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    No chest pocket

You can trust Advnture Our expert reviewers spend days testing and comparing gear so you know how it will perform out in the real world. Find out more about how we test and compare products.

Meet the reviewer

Julia Clarke wearing the Helly Hansen Odin 1 World Infinity Shell Jacket
Julia Clarke

Julia is a seasoned backcountry enthusiast. Growing up, the Munros of the Southern Highlands were her stomping ground, before she headed across the Pond to the US for university. Here, she developed a love for the great American outdoors. She revelled in testing her mountain craft against Colorado's famous 14ers. Now in Scotland, she's got the perfect testing ground for hiking clothing and equipment, especially when it comes to waterproofs...

Montane Spirit waterproof jacket: first impressions 

Montane’s Spirit waterproof jacket offers reliable rain and wind protection in a classic cut that’s more technical than meets the eye. A 2.5 layer construction using Gore-Tex PacLite makes for an extremely lightweight jacket that you’ll have no problem packing away for any hike or camping trip. The sturdy construction is only a few grams heavier than their ultralight Phase Lite jacket, and the Spirit comes in a similar classic cut but at a better price. 


• List price: $259 / £190
Gender specification: Men’s and women’s available
Sizes: Men’s S - XXL / Women’s XS - XXL
• Weight: 330g / 11.6oz (women’s small)
• Materials: 100% Polyester
• Colors: Black, Eucalyptus, Saffron red, Saskatoon Berry, Oak green, Flame orange, Electric blue
• Best use: Hiking

To help fend off the rain, the jacket's got adjustable cuffs, hem and hood with a stiffened peak, as well as the taped seams and waterproof membrane you’d expect from a quality hard shell. I found that the two zipped hand pockets were big enough to carry a map but beyond that, they’re focused on serious wet weather protection rather than technical bells and whistles, and this jacket kept me dry in Scottish drizzle and a deluge. It’s cut so that you can easily wear it over several layers and, though it might not be as breathable as some jackets intended for running, it’s certainly adequate for hiking. Other than the lack of recycled materials used in construction, I really can’t find anything to gripe about in this jacket. 

Montane Spirit waterproof jacket: in the field 

Montane Spirit waterproof jacket

Living in Scotland, I’ve already had ample opportunity to test it out against the rain (Image credit: Julia Clarke)

I’ve been wearing, and really loving, the Montane Phase Lite waterproof jacket for the last six months or so, and in the Spirit, which I’ve been testing out for a few weeks, I’ve found a similar jacket in terms of looks and quality, at a better price. Living in Scotland, I’ve already had ample opportunity to test it out against the rain, and worn it over my fleece as an outer layer on some milder spring hikes, too.

Here’s how it performed:

Sizing and fit

This jacket fits true to size – I’m a small and that’s what I tested – and is built for layering. It’s not snug or baggy, and certainly not flappy in the wind, but streamlined and I can easily and comfortably wear it over a fleece or even a down jacket. With all the adjustable features, you should easily be able to tailor yours to fit. 

Montane Spirit waterproof jacket

It’s not snug or baggy, and certainly not flappy in the wind (Image credit: Julia Clarke)

Waterproofing and breathability

I’ve tested this out in a good, drenching Scottish downpour (or three) and needless to say, it’s watertight. Between the material, construction, adjustability and a hood that stays up on me without needing adjusted, it keeps even a sideways rain out. If I have it zipped all the way up, the collar comes up to my nose and between that and the stiffened peak, I don’t get the cold wind headaches I sometimes do if my face is exposed. The only think i can think of to mention is that you can’t get the hood up if it’s zipped all the way up, so I suppose it’s conceivable that you could get a little damp in the seconds it takes to unzip the collar and lift the hood, plus the adjustments cords for the hood are hidden inside the collar, meaning you need to unzip to get at them, but I’ve found the hood stays up anyway so I haven’t needed them.

As for breathability, I think this is adequate for cool and cold hiking. I am aware that the PacLite membrane isn’t as breathable as the Active membrane used in the Phase Lite, but for me, this is a hiking jacket so I wouldn’t be necessarily moving super fast in it, though I can see it getting a little warm in hot weather.

Montane Spirit waterproof jacket

The waterproofing is as good as you'd expect (Image credit: Julia Clarke)


It’s a really comfortable jacket thanks to the fit and small details like a soft chin guard, reinforced cuffs and concealed drawcords that don’t slap me in the face on a windy day. 

Weight and packability

At 330 grams, this jacket is heavier than the Phase Lite, but only barely (by 30 grams). It’s still impressively light for a jacket that isn’t fragile at all. The fabric is ever so slightly stiffer than the Phase Lite, but this still easily squashes down to about the size of a soft ball. 

Pockets and storage

Honestly, two zipped hand pockets big enough for a map are usually enough for me, since I always have more pockets in my other layers. If you’re considering this for winter sports and really like having a chest pocket for your ski pass, you could argue that is a drawback, but for hiking I think it offers plenty of easy-access storage. 

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.