While many companies claim their products are extremely durable, my outerwear generally gets destroyed in one season - but this time I think I've met my match with the Fingo Jacket by TOBE Outerwear.
Who is TOBE Outerwear? TOBE Outerwear is a brand that NS users might not be familiar with. The company began in 2001 by Tomas Berntsson, a winter-sport enthusiastic who was fed-up by the lack of durability in winter outerwear. He decided to create a solution to the problem and thus created the brand TOBE. Their signature monosuits can be spotted from miles away thanks to their bright color schemes.
The new 2.0 collection goal is simple: durability, functionality and high-performance in the backcountry. TOBE generally markets their high-end outerwear to the snowmobiling community, so I was excited to review their women-specific Fingo Jacket as a skier.
The first time I wore the jacket I was actually in the high desert of Joshua Tree. The weather was snowy, windy and freezing - not ideal for climbing, but ideal for breaking out the new teal jacket. It was a REALLY good call to layer with. I took off the snow skirt, zipped up the hood and was content to continue scrambling on rocks in Wonderland. Adding the jacket as the final layer definitely helped protect me from the elements (plus it was the only item I wore that wasn’t torn up by granite, so A+ for durability already).
I am 5’9 and weigh 140 and the medium is excellent for my size and build (I have real broad shoulders). However the Fingo Jacket ranges from 2XS-XL for any body type. I would recommend sizing the same as for other outerwear jackets so there's room for layers underneath. While the torso fits nicely, the sleeves are about two inches too long - either I have an abnormally short wingspan or the measurements are off. I rolled back the sleeves which worked alright, but it was a bit inconvenient.
The Fingo Jacket is not insulated, though it’s easy to fit four layers of clothing underneath. For me, a puffy, a sweatshirt, a long-sleeved top and a base layer fit nicely. There was still plenty of mobility and with the fitted style and adjustable waist I didn’t look like a giant teal puffball. I looked like a stylish teal puffball. On colder days I am confident that the jacket would be able to fit more layers underneath.
In the snowy mountains of the Sierra Nevadas the Fingo Jacket performed just as well as it did in the high desert. It kept me warm from the cold, dry from the snow and protected against the hellish winds. One particular heavy powder day I decided to ski with my old Gore-Tex jacket and it felt flimsy in comparison. Even in the backcountry the jacket was just as versatile. I quickly found that underneath the arms are large vent zippers that helped prevent my body from sweating buckets while I was touring. Another small detail the designers added into the jacket is small laser-cut holes on the face packet - an extra element I didn’t realize I had been missing out on. It makes it much easier to breathe through the fabric when the jacket is zipped all the way up.
There are four exterior pockets as well as a specific interior pocket designed for smartphones. It's generally not ideal to reach into the inside of the jacket to use a phone, but the clear pocket material allowed me to use my phone without taking it out. It was great because my phone never died from the cold and I could keep listening to music while skiing.
TOBE outerwear manufactures a material which is a combination of Cordura and SympaTex. Known as a durable fabric, Cordura is used for the shell of the jacket to protect against holes and abrasions but the material itself is not waterproof. SympaTex is used along with the Cordura to add 100% wind and waterproof resistance. I am always a little hesitant to confirm that a product is 100% anything - but the Fingo Jacket might just take the cake. The company owns a state-of-the-art testing system in Germany, which individually tests the resistance level before they are sold on the market by simulating heavy rain from all different directions. Even the zippers are a YKK Aquaguard water repellent type.
Translation: Their material gives Gore-Tex a damn good run for its money.
I have not been able to test the jacket in wet snow conditions such as in the Pacific Northwest, but based on the simulation and my experience so far I would say the jacket goes. If there is a defect then TOBE’s warranty guarantee on their 2.0 outerwear will replace or repair the piece at no extra cost to the original purchaser.
The full cost for the Fingo Jacket rings in at $429.95 - a moderate price range for high-end outerwear. (In comparison an Arc’teryx Gore-Tex shells cost more than $700.) For someone on a budget, this might not be the jacket for you. However, for someone in the market for a jacket that has the durability to last many winters, I couldn't recommend this jacket enough. The fit is sleek, the style is timeless and the versatility is unmatched.