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TOBE Macer Jacket Review

Every once in a while, a piece of gear comes along that makes you rethink what you thought you knew.

In my case it has been the decision to sport a monosuit for the last number of years. I tested out the TOBE Macer Jacket last winter for Mountain Sledder, and the jacket surprised me with its versatility, easy mobility and set of features. But is it enough to flip my perspective on the “monosuit versus jacket and bibs” debate? Read on!

 

TOBE Macer Jacket Review

REVIEW OVERVIEW

TOBE Macer Jacket Review
10/10
Waterproofness
You won't find better than 45K waterproof rating
9/10
Fit
Athletic fit, with enough room for a warm layer underneath
9/10
Styling
Solid, bold colours with subtle branding
9/10
Features
Nice big pockets, waterproof zippers and pit zips—but small cuffs
9.3 So Good
The TOBE Macer Jacket has a lot of upside—maybe even enough to convert some diehard monosuit converts back to the jacket and bibs combo. Its athletic fit features a longer back and a powder skirt to help bridge the gap.

TOBE Macer Jacket Review

Before we get into what I did and did not specifically like about the jacket, here are some of the “specs” of the TOBE Macer Jacket.

Waterproofness and Breathability

The Macer Jacket uses a 45,000 mm Sympatex membrane. Put simply: you’re just not going to find outerwear that is more waterproof than 45K. Period. What else needs to be said?

The way that the Sympatex membrane achieves breathability is different than other waterproof-breathable membranes, which traditionally use pores to transmit moisture from inside the garment to the outside. The Sympatex membrane uses a chemical process instead. Sounds weird, right? TOBE doesn’t offer a breathability rating, but from a real-world use standpoint, the Macer Jacket performed admirably at preventing sweat buildup from occurring inside the jacket in a variety of conditions. It’s also 100% windproof.

The Macer Jacket uses YKK Aquaguard zippers, which are the best. They’re a little stiff to operate, but that is a side effect of a level of waterproofness you might have thought exclusive to frogs and sea otters. All the exterior zippers feature an excellent rubber zipper toggle that is easy to grab and operate while wearing gloves.

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There's not point in having super-waterproof material and leaky zippers. The YKK Aquaguard zippers are a little stiff, but you can be assured that no water will find its way past them.

Interior Pockets

There are three inside pockets. One is a cheeky little stash pocket for your contraband or whatever small items you might like to place there.

On the other side is a dedicated zip-up phone pocket with a transparent touchscreen compatible lining that allows the wearer to operate their phone without pulling it out of the pocket. The future is now. BUT! Remember that electronic devices and even metallic objects can interfere with the proper operation of an avalanche transceiver if they are placed near the transceiver. So basically don’t even think about putting your phone in that pocket if you’re headed into avalanche terrain, even if it is off.

The final pocket is actually more of a wide mesh pouch that’s the perfect size for a spare set of goggles, or if the only pair your brought needs a time-out in a warm environment.

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The Macer features three inside pockets.
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The third is more of a pouch than a pocket, but it's the right size for a pair of goggles.

Other Features

On the collar of the jacket is a short, secondary zipper that allows the collar to expand slightly.

Two armpit zips feature standard zippers, which end with the same sweet little rubber toggles that make the zips easy to operate. The pit zips are mesh-lined to help keep snow out.

And yes, the jacket has a ring you can use to attach your sled’s tether. Easy peasy.

Finally, the Macer Jacket features a powder skirt with toggles that neatly attach to a pair of TOBE bibs to keep snow out. Take that, monosuit!

You can see the jacket in action in the snowmobile towing tip video below:

Things I Like About the Macer Jacket

Material

The Macer Jacket is built with a two-layer shell and a mesh liner. The material is fairly soft and supple. But the best part is how thin the shell is, which allows good mobility and doesn’t hinder the body like many thicker-shelled snowmobile garments I’ve tried. Dare I say that it is more like a ski or snowboard jacket in this way—and that’s a good thing. Still, the material looks plenty durable enough that I have no concerns about ripping or tearing. And it’s on the lighter end of the spectrum.

Fit

The fit of the Macer is fairly athletic but it still features enough capacity for a warm underlayer. On a particularly cold day I wore a micro-down jacket underneath the Macer and there still was enough roominess that I didn’t feel restricted or hindered in any way. In fact, these pictures are from that particular day, with the light down jacket underneath.

In a brilliant move by the designers at TOBE, the sleeves are long enough even for riders with gorilla arms. I’m a lanky 6’3” and 187 lbs, and I appreciate being able to fully stretch out and extend my arms without the sleeves trying to ride up my arms at all. A short sleeved jacket is a deal breaker for me.

The same goes for the back of the jacket. It features a slightly curved hemline that extends lower in the back than the front. This extra length allows good coverage down the back when bending over—yup, even for the tall guys.

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The hemline extends slightly lower in the back for good coverage when bending over.

Chest Pockets

At first I didn’t like the look of the two big chest pocket zips on the Macer. But once I wore the jacket, I understood that the design is focused more on function than fashion. They are fantastic pockets! The placement up on the chest makes them easy to access, even while wearing a backpack. And the zippers are huge, which makes it super easy to get your hands in and out of the large pockets, even with gloves on.

The left-side chest pocket features a goggle wipe clipped into a short, stretchy tether. This feature is plain genius. After I discovered it was there, I found myself using the goggle wipe all the time.

TOBE Macer Jacket Review_-7
The big zippers allow easy access, even with gloves on.
TOBE Macer Jacket Review_-8
The little goggle wipe sure does come in handy.

In addition to the big chest pockets, there are two hand warmer pockets, and one small stash pocket on the left sleeve.

Styling

You either get a kick out of racetrack-inspired styling, or you don’t. I personally don’t care for the checkered flag and flames look on my snowmobile outerwear. My bedsheet are another story.

The Macer keeps it simple with a selection of four solid, classy colours—blue, orange, red and black. Branding is kept to a minimum, so you don’t look like a walking billboard.

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Very classy.

Things I Don’t Like About the Macer Jacket

Cuff Size

Although the long hook-and-loop cuff securement flap works great, it’s the actual diameter of the cuffs that I don’t care for. Unlike the other styles of TOBE outerwear I’ve tested which have always had a wide cuff, the cuff on the Macer is a little on the small size. I personally prefer to wear an undercuff glove that tucks inside the jacket sleeve, and it is somewhat burdensome to tuck the glove inside the Macer Jacket. By no means is it difficult, but just something that requires a bit more effort to do than I’d like to exert. For those who wear an “over-the-cuff” gauntlet style glove, it is a non-issue. For me, it’s a “small” gripe (hilarious, right? I know).

TOBE Macer Jacket Review_-6
The cuffs are adequate in size, but a larger opening would be more convenient.
Plastic Drawstring Toggles

The only other thing I don’t like about the Macer Jacket actually applies to all TOBE outerwear I’ve tried. My beef is with the hard plastic toggles on the end of the hood drawstring cords. When you’re flying down the trail, the drawstrings naturally have a tendency to flap around in the breeze. No big deal, right? Unfortunately, this causes the plastic toggle to violently smash into the side of your helmet intermittently, which is surprisingly loud and pretty annoying after a while. I’d marry this jacket if TOBE would use a soft toggle, or come up with a different cinching system. In the meantime, I’ll just cut them off and tie a knot.

TOBE Macer Jacket Review Summary

Okay, that pretty wraps it up. I really like the Macer Jacket, and I’m going to wear one this winter when I’m out riding for fun on my days off work. Sorry monosuit! Better luck next year.

And heck, since I’m mixing things up anyway, maybe I’ll give those dorky gauntlet gloves a go.

 

If you’re looking for a full listing of all the features of the Macer Jacket, check out TOBE’s site here.

 

– PG