As much as I rail against and lament the popularity of gear content here (and elsewhere), I do like gear a lot. In particular, boldly innovative gear, like the Montane Spektr smock.
My medium weighed 210 grams once I cut off some useless stuff (tags, lumbar cinch as mentioned below). The fabric is event, which I’ve never used before, and given the weight of the garment surprisingly stiff and substantial feeling. There’s been some discussion on BPL about the extent to which a stiff shell fabric adds warmth in high winds by resisting the pump effect of moving warm air away from the core and out the sleeves and neck. And on a purely affective level, looking at crap weather for my trip this weekend, the burly fabric is confidence inspiring.
The Spektr is also the most athletically cut commercially available shell I’ve ever tried on. Mine has the sleeve length of a typical large, the shoulders and chest of a medium, and the lower torso of a small. I’m not exactly a beefy guy, and if I were any thicker in any respect I’d need to size up. As is, I like it, especially the long sleeves and torso.
The zipless tornado closure will attract most of the attention, and it is a peculiar creature. As can be seen above, it velcros, rolls, and hooks shut. Quite easy to use, apart from the velcros tendency to further shut itself. I’ve never liked zippers, as they take away from the drape of a garment, and add a failure point (though anoraks make this much less likely). Montane gets points for making a WPB shell without a single zipper.
The tornado is a good idea, but it might need a bit of refinement. The roll closure results in a lot of fabric layers, and when combined with the hooks I doubt it saves much if any weight over a #4 zip.
Even worse, as can be seen below the orange bartack, there is a fair bit of superfluous fabric. From feel, it seems that Montane rolled all the layers of the tornado, velcro and all, and sewed it shut on the bottom few inches. In the near future I’ll be sorely tempted to try to pick it apart and put that fabric to functional use.
On the note of odd widgets, the Spektr (as can be seen in the BC.com photos, linked above) has this odd fixed lumbar cinch cord built in. Given how trim the torso it, I have no idea why the hell this is there. Worse, it seemed like a potential pressure point with a pack on. fortunately, it’s easy to remove with a seam ripper.
So, the fit and fabric and general clean design get the from-the-couch stamp of approval. The various extra goofy crap gets the thumb down. Best endorsement of all: I’m psyched to use it this weekend.
Bonus: M making egg drop soup!