When The North Face asked me to review the Haines Tuxedo, a one-piece, I was at first, a little sceptical. I had visions of something day-glow with an elastic waist and faux belt like my dad got in the 70’s and used to wear well into the 90’s. I’m sure he’s still got it somewhere. Sure the practical aspects of a one-piece are great, no snow gets in and you stay dry in even the wettest conditions. But who can put up with all the taunts and humiliation?
The North Face Haines Tuxedo is not my father’s Onesy. Inspired by Team North Face big line skiers Jeremy Nobis and Scot Schmidt, this fully seam sealed GORE-TEX® Pro Shell 3L is a one-piece suit that still offers bomber protection in the worst conditions but with the great look of a jacket-and-pants combo.
This suit is loaded with features and actually looks great. The Lodge Strap system, built in suspenders in the back of the jacket, even makes it possible to minimize the jacket when chillin’ in the sun or workin’ hard in the up track. The jacket is still attached to the pants—not zip removable, but it is possible to take the arms and torso out of the jacket while still wearing the Lodge Straps and dial in the additional breathability when needed most. These straps along with the internal waist gaiter make it possible to load up the ample pockets and not feel like the seat is drooping around the knees. All this, without the wrinkled bacon look of the elastic waist synch from my Dad’s onesy.
The one thing this suit is not short of is pockets. It has an internal stash pocket and an internal media pocket with a slot to allow headphones out without losing your i-pod or letting snow in. It’s also got an internal goggle pocket for tucking away those useless snow matted goggles from all the face shots you’re getting in the neck deep pow—or is it the multiple face plants? Either way, you’ve never been drier.
It’s got dual chest pockets and dual Zip hand pockets (jacket) with Polyurethane (PU) waterproof, laser-cut, bonded zips for complete dryness. It’s also got a bicep accessory pocket with detachable goggle cloth, which I found super handy and can also double to carry your lift pass in an easily accessible, but un-flapping spot, for a resort day. The pants also have dual zipped deep hand pockets and dual zipped roomy cargo pockets. If it only just had a shovel and probe pocket, it would make my pack obsolete.
The chest and cargo pockets also come with coloured gussets which are relatively invisible when they lie flat but when pockets are loaded and bulging the cool colour scheme shows.
The pants have a built in StretchVent™ gaiter with gripper elastic and even cuff-zip gussets for getting over the fattest boots. Nothing going up the leg equals drier feet and is a perfect integration with the Chimney Venting™ system.
The thing I was concerned about most was breathability for touring, even with the guaranteed breathable GORE-TEX® Pro Shell. The Haines Tuxedo features forward rotated pit zips, the TNF famous SuperVent™ drop seat in case of a nature call, which can also be partially unzipped to provide for thigh venting on the uptrack. The TNF Chimney Venting™ system draws cool, fresh air in at the hems and lets warm, moist air escape at the top. A free fit is cut generously through the seat, thighs, knees, and cuffs for maximum mobility and flexibility, even when droppin’ the knee. Bottom line, I was surprised how much air I could move through the suit to keep it from becoming a slimming internal sauna suit.
The North Face Haines Tuxedo has all of the finishing you’d expect from The North Face Summit Series. The stitching is impeccable and everything is seam taped and RF welded. There are abrasion layers on the interior of the cuffs, both arm and leg. There are also velour abrasion patches in areas of potential rub at the top of the zippers for cheek rub and along the back of the neck to prevent against neck rash. From heavy duty Cordura cut-resistant edge guards to protect against ski edge cuts on the pants, to adjustable, helmet-compatible fixed hood, the designers of the Haines Tuxedo have thought of everything. I particularly like the one gloved hand zipper pulls and one hand hood, neck and waist tensioning systems.
The Haines tuxedo also comes with a Know Boundaries Snow Safety label indicating a backcountry essentials check list as well as Dual Recco® avalanche rescue reflectors.
My recommendation for the best use of this piece would be on a resort, sled, cat or heli day when you want to shred large but still stay dry. Maybe that 55 degree slackcountry hero line that you’ve been dyin’ to wow ‘em on. Bottom line, if you’re looking for something bomber to keep you warm and dry in the wettest deepest conditions, and look great doin’ it, try the Haines Tuxedo from The North Face. I promise it’s not your father’s Onsey.
Price: $999 CDN
Weight: 998g / 2.2lbs
Colour: Tibetan Orange, Black
Styling. Fit. Bells and whistles
- The weight, which, although not too bad, can be expected with all the bells, whistles, zips and additional material;
- The breathability, which still can be an issue on a warm day or with a naturally warm person even with all the venting;
- The versatility, which means that the jacket doesn’t zip off the pant—it can be pushed around to the back with the internal suspenders on but then it’s on your back, under your pack, on the up-track.
Fit / Mobility 2/2
Waterproof / Breathable 1.5/2
Quality / Price 1.5/2
This is only our opinion. Do you disagree? Did we miss something? Are we totally out to lunch? Join the discussion in the forums here, and let us know what you think. People like/dislike gear for different reasons so chime in and we'll get a well-rounded evaluation.
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