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Boulder-based apparel maker Spyder has a long standing reputation for performance gear with a distinct look. Until recently, they skewed more towards the racing world and a more technical appearance. With their new Freeski line, they’ve gone back to the drawing board to expand their appeal to a new audience. The Spyder Jagged GTX Shell Jacket occupies the vital spot in the line as a high-performance and versatile outer layer built to last years of abuse. Every skier/rider needs a great shell to get them through a season. Keep reading for our full review of the Spyder Jagged Jacket.
Fit of the Spyder Jagged GTX Shell Jacket
A good shell should allow plenty of movement and space for layers to handle the season’s variable weather conditions and the Jagged Jacket does a solid job with this. I always pay particular attention to the armpit area because if it is too tight, it will be uncomfortable when moving your arms around to pole plant. With my base layer and micro-puff jacket on under the jacket, I did not feel too constricted. I am fairly broad shouldered but someone with truly strong shoulders and arms might be a little tight. The Jagged GTX Shell Jacket also passed the arms overhead test, barely rising up when I swung my hands above my head. As a long-torsoed 6’1″er, I often find jackets to be too short for me; thankfully, the size large Jagged Jacket was plenty long and it didn’t ride up on the chairlift or while making turns.
With most smart skiers and riders wearing helmets, it’s a good thing apparel makers create helmet-compatible hoods and the Spyder Jagged GTX Shell Jacket is no different. The hood provides plenty of space for a large helmet and can be cinched down with tensioners at the bottom and back. Also important is to have plenty space around the neck so that it doesn’t make you feel claustrophobic or strangle you when you have multiple layers on; no problems to report here either.
Performance of the Spyder Jagged GTX Shell Jacket
The Jagged GTX Shell Jacket uses a Gore-Tex 3L membrane for waterproofing while maintaining breathability when you get moving. All of the seams of the jacket are taped and YKK Aquaguard zippers keep the hand pockets dry. While I didn’t experience any sort of downpour in my testing, my experience with modern Gore-Tex combined with DWR coating is that it can withstand heavy moisture without issue. All waterproof/breathable layers will eventually soak through but the durable weather repellent helps keep moisture from accumulating. Just remember to refresh it every season.
Spyder doesn’t provide a numeric breathability rating for the fabric of the Jagged GTX Shell but I found it to perform similarly to other higher-end hard shells. When I was hitting bumps and building up a sweat, I never got clammy or felt like the jacket wasn’t releasing warm air. The easy to access dual-zippered underarm vents helped when I wore one layer too many on a warmer early-season day. However, I do wish that the zippers were a little longer for dumping lots of air when needed.
Spyder Jagged GTX Shell Jacket Features
– Polyester plain weave 3L with Gore-Tex Laminate and DWR
– Rocco avalanche rescue system
– Fixed helmet compatible hood with adjustable opening
– All seams taped
– Watertight YKK Aquaguard hand pocket zippers
– Underarm ventilation system with watertight YKK Aquaguard zippers
– Removable powder skirt with snaps, gripper elastic and stretch panel
– Adjustable cuff tabs
– Drawcord adjustable hem
– $600 US MSRP
I love having numerous functional pockets in a shell and the Jagged Jacket does not disappoint here. The wrist pocket is great for an RFID ski pass, some chapstick or other small essentials. There is a large exterior chest pocket that also has a place to secure your phone so it doesn’t move around as you shred all the gnar. It was big enough to accomodate my large iPhone 11 Pro Max with a (thinnish) case on. A cord pass through keeps headphone cables tidy, although we recommend never skiing/riding with two headphones in your ears for safety reasons. Spyder also included a nice little goggle wipe attached to an elastic tab in this pocket.
If you like to keep your phone tucked away inside the shell, there is also an interior zippered chest pocket on the other side. The opening is JUST big enough to slip my large phone in but I wish the zipper was a little longer for easier access. A cable pass through is included here as well. Also inside the shell are two mesh pockets, which are great for keeping your goggles while at apres or a compressed puffy vest when you overdress, like I did. Finally, the two hand pockets are a reasonable size and are placed high enough to still be accessible while wearing a backpack with a waist strap. Fleece lining would be nice but it adds weight, so I can understand the decision. A strap to attach your keys is a nice touch.
Spyder Jagged GTX Shell Jacket Review Summary
I love what Spyder is doing with their Freeski line and the Jagged GTX Shell Jacket is a great representative of this. It’s a little kitschy, but I actually like what Spyder did by “covering up” their own logo with faux Duck tape. The idea is that it’s not about the brand, it’s about the function of the jacket and the fun had by those wearing it. The overall style is very cool and I received lots of positive feedback from others. Although it is a matter of personal opinion, I feel the two tone design with contrasting zippers fits the freeskier’s look perfectly. The Jagged GTX Shell Jacket performs well and makes for a stylish and functional outer layer to get you through the season.
For more information on the Jagged GTX Shell Jacket and other Spyder products, visit www.backcountry.com/spyder.