Testing conditions while in Japan. Julie Weinberger photo
It was early February and my friend Julie and I were compiling a half-assed packing list for our upcoming trip to Japan. After canvassing our friends who had ridden Hokkaido in the past, we knew we would need to prepare for every potential weather scenario: neck-deep powder, wind-ravaged ridge lines, and wet, catchy snow at lower elevations. It felt like we were being challenged to pack for an entire season. That’s when it hit me: no way in hell was I going to be able to fit all of my gear into the confines of one carry-on and one checked bag.
I needed an all-in-one. Something with the warmth and waterproofness of my monosuit combined with the versatility of my shell pants and jacket. But where exactly was I supposed to find this magic bullet?
TOBE introduced the Fingo collection as part of their 2.0 gear release, a range of outerwear redesigned to focus on function and durability. I’d been head-over-boots in love with my TOBE monosuit, so when I found out they were coming out with a women-specific jacket and pant combo, I ordered without hesitation. They arrived only a few days before Julie and I left for Japan and I packed them, unworn, hoping they would prove to be every bit as warm, comfortable, and durable as I have come to recognize the brand for. Always trust your instincts!
Unexpected bonus: these bibs are flattering as hell! Julie Weinberger photo.
Indestructible on the Outside, Comfortable on the Inside
TOBE’s Fingo Wmn Bib is everything you’ve ever wanted out of a pair of snow pants, and then some. For starters, they’re bibs, which eliminate the potential for any gaps that might let snow in. But they also come with stretch fabric around the zipper and back to make them remarkably easy to get in and out of. (Read: It’s possible to take bathroom breaks without taking off all of your upper layers.) TOBE’s signature loose fit makes these a dream to tour, ride, sled or bar-hop in. And it’s worth noting that more than one stranger stopped me on the sidewalk to compliment me on these bibs.
The Fingo Wmn Jacket also has a great fit and room to spare. As someone with the body proportions of an orangutan, I sometimes have trouble finding jackets that are long enough in arms and torso. In this jacket, my sleeves stayed firmly over my gloves at all times—a tall-person problem only some of you will understand. With extra room in the shoulders, I was able to move freely while the tapered, adjustable waist kept the wind and snow out.
As for performance, both the jacket and pants locked out wind (at the top of Asahidake), snow (in neck-deep powder at Moiwa) and rain (at lower elevations in Nagano), even after being exposed to these elements for days on end. I put this setup through the ringer over the ten day stretch we spent riding in Japan. And while everyone else was hanging their gear around the woodstoves at night, all I did was shake mine out a few times and they were ready for the next day. The two-layer design and fully sealed, reinforced seams make them about as impenetrable as my fishing waders.
10 days of riding conditions like this, 10 days of perfectly dry gear.
More Bonus Features than a Will Ferrell DVD
The other thing you’ll notice about the Fingo collection is TOBE’s attention to detail. Function was a high priority for the 2.0 gear and it shows. For one, they hid a breathing vent inside the collar. It is unseen when the jacket is fully zipped, but unzip a couple of inches and you’ll be able to breathe easier while keeping the elements off your face. It was a feature I didn’t know I needed until I got used to it and then went touring in one of my old jackets. Honestly, it’s a game changer.
Disclaimer: At first, I found the jacket collar very stiff and scratchy on my chin. So much so that I had to wear a buff the first week to keep it from chafing. I did break it in after several days of riding and now the collar is pliable and soft.
Other bonus features include mesh-lined under-arm vents, an integrated phone pocket that works with touch screen, the softest wrist gaiters you’ve ever felt, a removable hood and powder skirt, and five additional pockets for all my snacks.
Oh and here’s a fun fact: did you know that Kevlar is five times stronger than steel on an equal weight basis? This is the stuff that bullet proof vests are made of. And also what the Fingo bibs are reinforced with on the knees, cuffs and inner calves. Whether you’re working on your power-slides or getting gnar 150 days a year, you’ll be hard pressed to put a hole in these.
Testing the Fingo jacket/bib combo in the Wyoming backcountry. Sam Cook photo.
The Bottom Line: These are TOBE's Swiss Army Knife of Women's Outerwear
For deep days, my monosuit has always been my go-to on account of its warmth and unyielding protection against the elements. Of course, a one-piece doesn’t make sense if I’m going touring or if I need to pack something that could double as streetwear. This is where the Fingo collection shines: these pieces are endlessly versatile.
The abundance of adjustable and removable features make it ideal for any cold-weather situation. And while the price tag falls on the higher end of the of the spectrum ($429.95 MSRP each), performance outerwear of this level has never been available at this price point—especially for women.
Bottom line is, if you need gear that holds up to repeated use in harsh conditions, TOBE designs some of the most durable technical gear on the market. If you’re after one outerwear kit that can do it all, this getup is the Swiss Army Knife of women’s outerwear. Wherever your adventures take you, the Fingo Jacket and Bib will be your favorite winter sidekicks.
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