If you find yourself spending time heli-skiing, riding in snowcats or touring in the backcountry odds are the person leading the charge, aka your guide will be wearing a technical shell-like The North Face Fuse Brigandine Jacket.
The North Face Fuse Brigandine Jacket Review
The North Face worked closely with their mountain athletes and designers to create the most technical shell we have tested to date. The easiest and best way to describe The North Face Brigandine Jacket would be it’s actually an extension of your backcountry kit.
This tool, aka shell, will not only keep you dry and regulate your body’s temperature with ease which is a given with a coat of this price point, however, what makes this jacket really stands out from the pack is when it’s used in conjunction with a backcountry backpack.
In the past TNF was known for using overlays in their fabrics, this added extra seams and stitching. New for the 2014/2015 Brigandine is a change in the weave of the jacket material featuring a raised abrasion resistance texture which is thoughtfully located in key parts of the jacket.
The North Face reinforced the shoulders, hips and under the arms of the Brigandine jacket with raised fabric that is 200% more abrasion resistant in the areas you need it most, the places where your backpack, board or skis tend to rub. Obviously, TNF has been listening to the needs and wants of their team riders.
Hows it works for Touring and Hiking?
Over the past 2 weeks, I have tested The North Face Men’s Fuse Brigandine Jacket on numerous splitboard tours and boot packs in the Tetons surrounding Jackson, WY. I found the jacket was able to regulate my internal temperature with ease. With proper layering, I was able to comfortably skin and hike without ever having to open the jacket up. I stayed nice and bundled up inside the coat just the way I like it.
I tend to look for a shell that can keep the snow off me while in the backcountry while minimizing the amount of sweat that I produce. The Brigandine Jacket was a home run in both categories.
The Fuse Brigandine Jacket is bombproof, odds are if you’re zipping through the trees you’re not going to get snagged up on a branch like you would in a down coat. The pockets are all accessible even while wearing your backpack, another TNF athlete design which makes getting to your radio, cell phone, snacks or car keys that much easier.
In fact, the two main front chest pockets (shown in the photo above) were designed to hold a radio and keep your cell phone warm while sitting against your body. The zippers look tough, maybe too much? From time to time I have noticed them getting stuck, it could be due to the cold weather we have been testing in. However, with a little wiggle, the zipper will easily do its job.
The cuffs are powerful and easily adjustable with gloves or mittens on, these things will stay in place and there is even an integrated powder skirt of course for those deep days.
After 15 winters in the mountains I have finally had the opportunity to ride in a The North Face jacket and honestly, nothing else really compares.
Truly perfect and well thought out, 5 pockets allowed me to store everything I need on my body for a day in the mountains. *Couple sizing things to note: the north face fuse brigandine jacket runs big. I am swimming in a Medium at 5’11 135lbs, who knows maybe I need to try out a small??
If you spend the majority of your time skinning and hiking in the backcountry it will be impossible to find a more technical and functional shell for slaying powder than The North Face Fuse Brigandine Jacket ($649.95)