We've been itching to get our hands on the Brigandine jacket since we first laid eyes on it at last winter's ISPO snowsports tradeshow in Munich. Part of The North Face's renowned Steep Series, the Brigandine is pitched at freeriders right at the top of their game who're prepared to invest for the best.
The fully waterproof, breathable and seam sealed Brigandine is a burly, durable jacket designed for high end, technical freeride skiers and boarders pushing their personal boundaries and that of their gear. If you just like pottering around the pistes on your annual week-long skiing holiday, then you don't need to spank £700 on a jacket like this (trust us) but if you're a spine-riding, faceshot loving freerider partial to a spot of heli-skiing in Alaska, then you need this big mountain jacket in your life.
In our opinion, the most impressive thing about the Brigandine is the construction of the jacket. Using TNF's much-lauded innovative seamless FuseForm technology, the Brigandine delivers durability where it's needed and saves on weight in the areas that see less abrasion. The mega tough exterior integrates midweight nylon with a heavier weight nylon in the hood, shoulders, sides and inner arms to save on bulk which all makes for an impressively light yet durable jacket - a subtle balance that can be hard to find.
At 650g (Womens), the Brigandine is not exactly optimised for the ascent but it is sufficiently low profile and breathable to wear on short skins or short backcountry bootpacks to access steeper terrain. It really is all about the steeps with the Brigandine - you can tell by the multitude of pockets with a very different and specific set of purposes. Perhaps the best way to sum up the Brigandine is to tell you that it has a chest pocket with radio holder. This is basically essential if your name's Angel Collinson and you're a pro-skier filming in Alaska. It's a little less so if your name's Henry and your planning on skiing a couple of blue runs in resort before retiring for an early lunch.