Swedish brand Haglofs is one of Scandinavia’s biggest and best-known outdoor gear makers, with a well-deserved reputation for producing reliable and innovative kit.
In recent years, the brand’s focus has perhaps catered more for ‘fast and light’ trail runners, hikers and backpackers, particularly with the success of the L.I.M (‘less is more’) series, focused on minimalist and lightweight yet functional kit.
But Haglofs also has plenty of heavier big-hitters in its back catalogue. One example is the Spitz jacket. When this top-end hard shell first appeared back in 2007, it was something of a revelation. Unashamedly geared towards technical mountaineering, it became a firm favourite amongst climbers and alpinists.
The brand rebooted it again in 2017, to a similar effect. Luckily, we haven’t had to wait a further decade for the next-gen version, which reappears in the product range just in time for winter 2023.
Haglofs Spitz GTX Pro review
Haglöfs Spitz GTX Pro review: price and availability
The Haglofs Spitz GTX Pro is available now directly from Haglöfs UK for a recommended retail price of £550 (approx. $678/ AU$ 1,044). The brand only sells in Europe through its website, but it's not unlikely you can get hold of its products via third-party retailers. For the best prices in your area, check out the price widgets at the top and bottom of this review.
Haglofs Spitz GTX Pro review: specifications
- Weight: 540g/19oz
- Materials used
- Main fabric: 40D 3L Gore-Tex Pro Most Breathable (100% nylon face with ePTFE membrane and tricot knit backer)
- Zoned panels: 70D 3L Gore-Tex Pro Most Breathable, bluesign-approved fabrics, with PFC-free DWR
- Sizes: Men’s S-XXL, Women’s XS-XL
Haglofs Spitz GTX Pro review: design and features
Though this is undoubtedly a winter-ready waterproof shell, Haglofs hasn’t lost sight of the fact that low weight is always a factor for mountaineers. As such, this jacket tip the scales at just over 500g or 19oz (men’s size L), which is not too hefty for an all-season outer layer.
This is no minimalist, streamlined shell, though. On the contrary, it has a full gamut of technical features. Instead, the weight savings largely come from the fabrics used in its construction. The Spitz employs zoned three-layer Gore-Tex Pro Most Breathable fabrics in two different weights: a 40D main fabric with tougher 70D panels in high wear areas. This ensures it remains suitably rugged while also offering class-leading weather protection for difficult conditions and good lifetime durability.
As mentioned, it’s fully kitted out, too. You get a helmet-compatible hood complete with a stiffened peak and dual rear volume adjustment, which allows you to cinch it in tight with or without a climbing lid. It protects the face very well and still offers a good field of vision thanks to peripheral cutaways. Low-profile cord locks ensure a tight and weatherproof seal around the lower half of the face, and though the elastic drawcords are placed externally, they don’t flail around wildly and catch you in the eye.
Other features include two sets of zipped vents – one set under the arms and another at the upper torso. This makes it easy to dump heat fast if you do work up a fug and means that both vents can be opened without being obstructed by rucksack straps.
When it comes to pocketing, the jacket has two vertical Napoleon-style chest pockets on either side of the main zip. They are wide and fairly deep, offering plenty of practical storage. That’s just as well since the jacket has no lower hand pockets – an indicator of its more technical focus. There is also a zipped lower sleeve pocket, which is of limited use for mountaineering but good for a ski pass. Inside the jacket is a stretch mesh dump pocket (just about big enough for a pair of gloves or mitts), with a smaller secondary zipped pocket.
As you’d expect, the cuffs and hem are fully adjustable, and the big fabric cuff tabs are easy to use with gloves. The two-way main zip can be opened from top or bottom for easy access to a harness or midlayers and is backed with an internal storm flap. A bottom press stud prevents zip creep, and a soft microfibre chin guard prevents irritation.
Haglofs Spitz GTX Pro review: performance and comfort
The cut is fairly trim-fitting, but the patterning and articulation are excellent. This means minimal bunching or excess fabric yet good freedom of movement overall. It is worth noting that the cut is
shorter in the body than other shells on the market, presumably so as not to impede the movement of the lower limbs for more dynamic activity. On the other hand, the sleeves are very long – great for rangy climbers, perhaps less so for those without an enormous ape index.
As is the same with virtually all Gore-Tex Pro shells, the fabric is stiff and a bit crackly. And unlike some of the latest Gore-Tex Pro shells on the market, the Spitz doesn’t use stretch panels for added mobility. It does mean this jacket feels a bit stiffer and more rigid than some rivals, with an audible swish and rustle. It’s not really an issue, though.
On test, it held up well throughout a Snowdonia winter when it was subjected to strong winds, heavy rain, a fair dump of snow and freezing sleet. And despite being winter-ready, this is a jacket that is still a viable option for year-round use. It’s reasonably light and packable, which means you won’t resent carrying it in a pack on milder hill days – unlike heavier and burlier rivals.
Haglofs Spitz GTX Pro review: verdict
Thanks to that Gore-Tex Pro fabric, this shell is reliably waterproof and windproof, even if you’re out in the foulest winter weather. But it’s more breathable than some of the other burly winter-grade shells out there. It’s also reasonably light and packable for year-round use. The technical features make it a great companion for climbing and mountaineering, and we reckon it’d also work for skiing, snowboarding and winter sports too. Our only real caveat is with the fit. It’s fairly trim, not the longest cut in the body, and some might find it a bit long in the arms too. But if it suits your body shape, there’s little to fault.
Haglofs Spitz GTX Pro review: also consider
The Spitz is a top-end waterproof that competes squarely with other premium shells. Its combo of 40D/70D Gore-Tex Pro fabrics is a little lighter than the 40D/80D weights favoured by many rivals like the Rab Latok Mountain, the Mountain Equipment Lhotse and the Montane Phase XPD. You could, therefore, argue those shells are a little tougher. It’s not going to make a huge difference to durability, though – and means the Spitz probably has the edge in breathability terms. It also packs in a few more features as a result, without adding too many grams to the jacket’s final weight. Ultimately, which shell you pick should come down to fit. If you can, try them all on and pick the one that feels most comfortable.
Alternatively, you can save a fair bit of cash if you don’t need the top-of-the-range waterproofing and breathability of Gore-Tex Pro. After all, standard 3-layer Gore-Tex works almost as well in most conditions, and the latest generation of Paclite Plus isn’t far off either. And if you’re prepared to consider other waterproof membrane technologies, including own-brand or ‘in-house’ membranes, the choice becomes almost endless. Down the grades, there are cheaper, lighter and more packable Haglofs shells like the Roc Flash, the standard Roc (both 3L Gore-Tex) and the eco-friendly Roc Mono (which uses the brand’s own PFC-free Proof membrane, made entirely from recycled polyester).