Last season, I had the privilege of being dressed head-to-toe in Tobe.
It’s something special for me as I witnessed their increasing popularity while growing up. I remember when they were among the pioneers reintroducing one-piece garments, a unique concept at the time. Needless to say, it was a successful gamble!
Tobe Novo V4 One-Piece
My initial impression of inspecting the Novo V4 was undoubtedly, “Wow.” It’s a bit challenging to describe, but the quality of Tobe’s chosen fabric resonates in every part of the garment.
As the lower legs endure friction against the snowmobile, branches, and unseen obstacles, Kevlar reinforcement is added.
The oversized zippers provide easy access to multiple strategically placed pockets, allowing ample space for accessories. To illustrate, there are two pockets on each side at the pant level. Additionally, a practical solution is found in the chest pocket, where a cloth for wiping glasses is conveniently stored.
Details That Make a Difference
Another thoughtful detail, often overlooked by other manufacturers, is the second zipper that enlarges the neck opening without unzipping the coat. It’s all in the details!
Another aspect that stands out: is the suspenders. They distinguish themselves with great comfort, excellent quality, and easy adjustment. To top it off, they come with an attachment that keeps them securely in place.
A Small “But”…
Personally, I prefer putting on my boots before the one-piece. I was delighted to see the long zippers at the bottom of the legs, allowing for a wide opening.
However, I was quickly disappointed. It’s nearly impossible to put the boot on at hip level within the one-piece. It’s as if the inner layer is too small around the thighs to accommodate a boot. I attempted to put my boots on before the suit about ten times and succeeded only once.
Nevertheless, putting on the suit “foot-in” is super easy; nothing to complain about in that regard. Simply put on the boots afterward.
Reflections on Insulation
While it’s challenging to test the long-term durability of a set in less than a season, I did my best to put the Novo V4 to the test. It’s a success; it hasn’t faltered. The zippers still function as new, and there’s no sign of premature wear or tears. I believe Tobe rightfully deserves its reputation.
Pros and Considerations of a Non-Insulated One-Piece
Note that this one-piece is non-insulated. Although it provides relatively good wind insulation, you should prepare for additional layers on colder days.
As I age, I realize I’m becoming more sensitive to the cold. Consequently, most of the time, I have to wear more than two layers. I believe it’s a sign that I should perhaps opt for a better-insulated set in the future.
That said, the greatest advantage of a non-insulated set is the freedom of movement provided by the thinner fabric. Everyone is different, and Tobe understands this by complementing their range with insulated sets.
Concerning the helmet, I tried the Vale model. The helmet’s construction is very good, and the fabric chosen for the interior is extremely comfortable. Even with a balaclava, you can feel the small “cushion” that the fabric provides.
Personally, I love the “Glacier” variant of this helmet, which offers a very different look from the black helmets that most people wear. It does get a bit (a lot) dirty, though! That said, it is available in a variety of different colors. The helmet provides plenty of ventilation, especially around the mouth, which gives the impression of less suffocation when riding off-piste.
Adjustments Needed: The Challenge of the Plastic Breath Deflector
However, one annoyance I found is with the supplied breath deflector, which is made of plastic on both sides. Although it effectively blocks the wind when snowmobiling, the fact that the plastic provides no insulation lets the cold pass to the face. Therefore, you should plan for a balaclava that covers the mouth.
As a result, it becomes a rather quick annoyance as you either have to remove it or adjust it under the mouth when riding in more demanding off-trail terrain.
Another improvement needed is with the strap. The buckles often get caught in the strap that goes up to the helmet, making it difficult to quickly fasten the helmet. As we tend to remove our helmets relatively often off-trail, this can become irritating.
Stylish Pairing: Vale Helmet and Aurora Goggles
The Vale helmet was paired with the Aurora goggles, which have a quite unique look. They promise to offer a very wide field of vision and do not disappoint in this regard.
However, as is also true for vertical vision, it gives the goggles an almost square look. It’s not something that personally bothers me, but I believe it’s worth mentioning as the look is a bit quirky.
The goggles are genuinely great. They provide a wide field of vision and are comfortable thanks to their all-around foam. Paired with the breath deflector, no fog gets in.
Disappointment for Glasses Wearers
The reason I chose to test these goggles is that Tobe mentions you can wear prescription glasses underneath. Unfortunately, the goggles won’t revolutionize things for those who wear glasses while snowmobiling.
Firstly, inserting the branches of our prescription glasses under the helmet is quite a challenge. Moreover, putting the goggles back over the glasses is a surgical operation that’s not worth it. If, in addition, you have glasses with a slightly larger frame, there’s no chance it will work.
That said, if you have prescription clips like Youzee, you won’t have any difficulty inserting them into the goggles. I must admit that this combo is genuinely interesting.
Nimbus V2 Boots
I always find it difficult to write about boots, and I believe that’s a good thing. If I had a lot to say, it would probably be a bad sign! After all, what we want is to put them on in the morning and not think about them until the end of our day.
Equipped with two Boa fasteners, the Nimbus V2 boots are very easy to put on and are particularly comfortable inside. Their build quality seems impeccable to me.
Buying Tips: The Importance of Measurements With Nimbus V2 Boots
I tested these shoes in various climates, and I never felt cold feet. On the contrary, I had to opt for thinner socks on warmer days.
If you want to order Nimbus V2 boots, pay attention to taking accurate measurements or, even better, visit your local Tobe retailer. They tend to run small.
In conclusion, I had the joy of putting on my Tobe clothes and not thinking about them until the end of the day. In my humble opinion, that’s probably one of the best compliments one can give.
When I reflect on my rides from last season, I recall the comfort of my clothes and the efficiency of the one-piece… Every element is carefully in place and works perfectly.
The Vale helmet has a few things that might be worth revisiting, but it wouldn’t stop me from recommending it. The same goes for the Nimbus V2 boots and the Novo V4 one-piece.
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