After several days wearing this jacket in everything from heavy snow, to freezing ice rain, to wind and cold, I'd say its held its own extremely well in all conditions. For anyone looking for a technical shell without looking totally granola, the Spineology should be high on the list. The construction is bomber, and feels like something that will last for years of abuse with a little care. Being a shell it is super easy to layer based on conditions, and I've used it with everything from just a base layer, to full out down puffy underneath.
Overall I have been super impressed by so many features, but here are a few highlights:
- The 3L Goretex fabric is totally waterproof and light weight, but still incredibly durable compared to a lot of other 3L jackets. The heavier fabric also eliminates that crinkly feeling, making it quite comfortable. The taping on all seems is really well done with huge overlaps so I have no worries on leaks.
- The venting on the front of the collar, which many companies are doing now, is well done and does a great job keeping your breath from freezing over everything when its zipped up
- Pockets galore. Double hand pockets, chest, arm outside, plus great media and goggle pocket inside
- The fit is pretty standard, and as usual I had to go with the XL to get the arm and body length, which makes the width a little bulky. Little cinching though takes decent care of it.
- Stoked on the Insane Blue, super fun standout colour. Found the Orange a little too bright though.
- Small things like the in pocket draw strings, great non bulky wrist closures, waterproof zippers everywhere and so much more are well thought out in typical TNF fashion.
Few things I am not totally stoked on:
- The venting uses vertical zippers a bit more on the front of your ribs. They also don't include a mesh in the vent to control how wide it will open, and keep snow out. While it does a great job dumping heat while hiking, position and lack of mesh turn these into giant snow intake ports if you are skiing.
- They also didn't include wrist gators, which seem to be 50/50 these days, just a personal preference of mine to have them.
All in all you are getting what you pay for in this jacket, and since its the top of their Cryptic line, means you are paying for and getting a lot.