The North Face FuseForm Brigandine 3L Jacket ReviewNovember 9, 2015
- Great pocket placements
- Small pit zips
Made of a bombproof fabric, the Brigandine 3L should last years. It’s also stretchy, so it affords dynamic riding. They got the details right, too. A truly great ski shell. It’s not a cheap ski coat, but the 3L should last longer than most, so there’s some justification for the price.
The heavy, stretchy fabric easily brushes aside tree branches, pack straps, and shouldered skis. The North Face used their proprietary Fuse Form system on the Brigandine, which weaves more durable zones (shoulders, waist for protection from pack straps, waist belt, and for shouldered skis) into a single piece of cloth that is then folded, oragami-like, into a jacket with relatively few seams. Fewer seams means fewer weak spots. A very well-built jacket.
It’s got a big, helmet covering hood, a high collar, long hem, and well-designed cuffs that can fit over most any glove. In short, it’s easy to batten down the hatches in this coat.
The fabirc breathed on par with other waterproof-breathable membrane-laden coats we tested. The pit zips are a bit on the small side.
Bells and Whistles
There are 7 well-placed pockets, including the invaluable twin drop pockets for climbing skins, etc. We like the aforementioned durable zones on the shoulders and on the lower back to prevent wear from pack straps and belt and shouldered skis. The cuffs contain some creative, minimalistic thumb loops. Hooks on the powder skirt allow the coat to link up with matching ski pants for a drier suit.
The stretch really sets this shell apart. It makes for a better-wearing rig. The coat gets all the details right—it’s everything you want in an all-around ski shell, functional on both sides of the ropes.