Size: Extra Large (regular length, 31-inch inseam)
Fit: Park Fit (extra room through hips, thighs, knees, and cuff)
Reviewer: 6’0”, 160 lbs. (Street pant size: Waist 32-34”, Length 34”)
Color: Glo Green
- Waterproof, breathable, fully seam sealed
- Recco® avalanche rescue reflector
- StretchVent™ gaiter with gripper elastic and boot hook
- Inner thigh vents with mesh gussets
- Chimney Venting™ system
- Handwarmer zip pockets
- Flap cargo pockets with Lot Lift System
- Back pockets
- Clip-integration belt loops
- Adjustable waist tabs
- Cuff-zip gussets
- Fabric: Shell: HyVent® 2L proweave, Insulation: Mesh and Thermoliner
- Avg Weight: 900 g (31.75 oz)
- Inseam: Reg 31”, Long 33”
- Guarantee: Lifetime Warranty
Test Locations: Alta Ski Area; all across the Wasatch; Niseko, Japan; Whitefish, Bridger Bowl, and Moonlight Basin, Montana
Test duration: 175+ days (going on their third season now; 97% of time worn has been skiing)
There is no question that I have a special place in my heart for gear that performs exceptionally well at a fraction of the price of the latest and greatest.
This is my third season in The North Face Fargo Cargo pants ($170), and I have more than 175 days of skiing in them. During this time, I’ve also had a couple of other pairs of significantly more expensive ski pants at my disposal (Oakley Unification Pro pants: $480; Trew Trewth Bibs: $420), yet I find myself consistently grabbing my Fargo Cargo pant as I race out the door. They are waterproof, breathable, easily adjusted to accommodate temperature fluctuations, and incredibly comfortable.
The North Face is able to keep costs low on the Fargo Cargo by using its own proprietary 2L HyVent polyurethane (or PU) coating, which combined with a supple nylon outer layer and a durable water repellent (DWR) outer coating makes for a waterproof, breathable fabric. But as Sam Shaheen explained in BLISTER’s Outerwear 101 article, there are benefits and drawbacks to using this technology.
On the upside, PU laminates offer high performance and durability, can’t be fouled, and are very cost effective. On the flip side, PU laminates have their limitations concerning breathability because of the thickness of the coating. (These are obviously generalized statements, and I personally didn’t have any issues with breathability, which I’ll get to in a moment. But it’s worth noting).
The inside of the Fargo Cargo offers a mix of mesh and Thermoliner, a light insulating material that is strategically placed throughout the pant, including the entire rear portion (covering the butt, back of thighs, and knees); the front and side of the knees; and the entire front hand pockets.
Pockets / Features
In addition to two zippered, insulated front hand pockets, there are two Velcro, non-insulated back pockets, and (as you might have guessed) two Velcro, nylon-lined cargo pockets.
The Fargo Cargo also offers a stretchable gator constructed mostly of nylon and a small portion of breathable fabric along the uppermost section. This breathable fabric allows for cool air to flow up the pant leg when the zippered, mesh-lined inner thigh vent is opened. This is what The North Face calls their Chimney Venting system.
The external portion of the cuff is also expandable to fit around your boots in a looser fashion—just unsnap a button for an additional two inches or so of cuff circumference. Either way, the gator and cuff of the pants fit very well over any ski boot, but you have to be a little careful not to clip the bottom of the pants into your bindings.
The pant also has a Recco avalanche rescue reflector for a little bit of added comfort when skiing avalanche terrain inbounds. Recco recommends two reflectors on the individual for best performance, however, so keep that in mind when considering its relevance and your next jacket purchase as well. And note: Recco reflectors do not replace avalanche transceivers.
The Fargo Cargo offers a “Park fit”: a looser fitting, unrestricting, park- or freeride-style that will allow you to contort yourself in any number of ways. So if you are looking for a slim fit, you’ll need to look elsewhere or size down.
I have the regular length (31-inch inseam) size extra large, and I love the fit. But I am thin and have long legs, so I could probably use the long length (33-inch inseam) in either XL or L and be quite happy.
I usually wear XL ski pants (in Burton, Obermeyer, Preditor, and Oakley), though my Trew’s were size large (and were a touch small on me), and in comparison, the Fargo Cargo runs true to size. If you’re not used to a looser park fit, though, you might find them to run a little big.
Either way, there is an adjustable Velcro waist tab on each side to dial in the perfect fit, and two buttons securely close the waist of the pant. The waist also offers belt loops, which can also be used to interface with TNF jacket powder skirts.