In 2015, The North Face released the Fuse Brigandine Jacket as part of its Steep Series (a backcountry specific collection) with it soon becoming the go-to-choice for off-piste skiers. Since then The North Face design team and their pro athletes have developed and refined the jacket for its re-release this year.

We take a look at how this jacket has evolved and what makes it so good in backcountry terrain.

Key Features

A man and women wearing a waterproof coat

  • Steep Series
  • 3-layer GORE-TEX with FuseForm construction
  • Exaggerated ergonomic 3D engineering
  • FuseForm minimal seam construction with woven-in reinforcement
  • Helmet compatible hood
  • Aquaguard watertight zips
  • Venting zips
  • Stretch mesh goggle and stash pockets
  • Stretch powder skirt with pant snaps
  • Integrated gusset and elastic thumb loop cuffs

3-layer GORE-TEX With FuseForm Construction

A GORE-TEX jacket shoulder

This jacket uses a tried and tested GORE-TEX membrane in conjunction with a FuseForm outer and a comfortable and protective inner. It is the first time TNF have used this combination, and the results are impressive.

Reinforced areas around the hood, shoulders, sides and inner arms provide extra protection in high-abrasion zones - with a minimal increase in weight.

Thicker, sturdier threads are intertwined with mid-weight fibres to create a more durable fabric

Helmet Hood

A ski jacket hood

The hood is large enough to envelop a ski or snowboard helmet - sheltering you from wind and rain while a riveted cord-lock system ensures that it isn't flapping about or blocking your view.

Powder Skirt and Stash Pockets

The inside of a ski jacket

It's important to keep yourself warm, dry and comfortable on long sessions in the backcountry. One fall in powder and you can have snow down your pants, up your back and in your goggles. The powder skirt stops snow getting inside and can clip into compatible The North Face Pants.

Just above powder skirt you'll find zipped stash pockets (big enough for a few snack bars) and a goggle pocket.

YKK Pit-Zip Vents

Zip Vents

It's essential that you can rely on your equipment to work in the backcountry environment where a small malfunction can prove costly. The North Face designers took heed of this and made sure to use YKK zips throughout the jacket. This may not sound revolutionary, but YKK (Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha) prides itself on carrying out every part of the zip making process in-house - ensuring class-leading performance in every zip that leaves the factory.

Almost all the zips on this jacket have an aqua guard linings on them, helping to prevent water entering the jacket while giving plenty of ventilation.

Austrian Freeride World Tour skier Fabio Studer puts the Fuse Brigadine through its paces skiing some B.C powder

Overall Verdict

If you are going to be spending a lot of time in the backcountry and you want a jacket that can take a beating and still keep performing, then the Fuse Brigandine is an excellent choice. It has all the features you need for long sessions off-piste; it keeps you dry and comfortable and looks great.

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Posted by: Pete F Tagged as: Ski Equipment,Mountain Innovations