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Stio Pinion Jacket: Hiking Gear Review
As someone who maybe (absolutely) has too many jackets in my closet, testing out the Stio Pullover Jacket was an opportunity I did not want to pass up. Seattle living warrants having a jacket for all sorts of weather conditions, rainy, windy, snowy, ect. And when winter comes around, the layering of multiple different jackets comes into play. A mid-layer for warmth and an outer layer for protection from the elements.
To test this jacket out, I took it on a cold-weather, snowy, and misty hike outside of the Seattle Area. The hike had the perfect conditions to test some of the selling qualities that Stio highlights in their overview.
Not sure what to wear on a winter hike? Check This Out: Winter Hiking Gear
The Stio Pinion Down Pullover is a mid-layer with responsibly sourced 800-fill HyperDRY water-repellent down. But what does that mean?
Stio Pinion Jacket Specs
Let’s breakdown some of the important selling points of this pullover jacket.
Responsibly Sourced Down
While Stio does not divulge where their down comes from, the jacket is RDS Certified, Responsible Down Standard Certified. This means that all of the down that is used to produce their products comes from geese and ducks raised in compliance with the principles and criteria of animal welfare. Some of these criteria include the prohibition of live-plucking and force-feeding the birds used.
When shopping for any product that uses natural down, looking for an RDS Certification is a great step towards shopping more sustainably when utilizing animal bi-products. For more information on RDS, check out this great article by Textile Exchange.
Even after this introduction of high-tech insulation in jackets, goose down is still rated as being the best material for cold weather jackets, sleeping quilts and bags. Down keeps users warm, they’re highly packable (pack down to a very small size), and they’re lightweight. But not every down jacket is the same which brings us to the 800-fill of the Pinion Down Pullover.
Down fill can be broken down into two components, the quality of the down and the amount. The higher the fill number the higher the quality of the down and the fill weight is how much of that fill is used to produce the item. The higher the fill rating measures in cubic inches of loft one ounce that down produces. So a higher rating, like 800-fill, is able to capture a high amount of heat with less down than something with 600-fill.
However, it is not just the fill rating that contributes to the warmth of a jacket, the amount of fill used is still extremely important. A jacket with a lower fill rating could still be just as warm as a jacket with a high fill rating just because more fill is used. This would cause the jacket with a lower fill to be bulkier, heavier, and less packable.
Down ratings range from 500 to 900 and with the Pinion Jacket utilizing 800-fill while still remaining warm, moveable, and packable, its weight is great to stay active outdoors in cold weather.
A downside to down jackets is that down does not do well in humid or wet conditions. When the natural material becomes wet, even from sweat, it tends to remain wet for a long time.
An advantage that the Stio down has compared to a vast number of other down jackets is that the down used is treated with water resistant technology. The technology used on the down is the longest lasting water resistant down available.
Cold fabric is one of the quickest ways to cool the body and keep the body cold. That is not something you want when trying to recreate comfortably in winter conditions. Another way to stay warm in winter conditions even with a warm, water-resistant down jacket is to wear wool baselayers.
In addition to the HyperDRY interior down, the exterior of the jacket is treated to be wind resistant and water repelling.
So how did the Stio Pinion Jacket do?
Perhaps this is a nitpicky initial thought on the jacket but I ordered the Saddle color thinking that it is brown, but when I unboxed the jacket, I believed the color to be a dark orange. But the jacket was soft, plush, light-weight and fashionable.
I ordered the medium size. For reference, I am 5’7’’ and 170lbs and my shirt size is usually a small/medium. After reading some of the reviews that stated the pinion pullover was too tight, I decided to go with a medium size to ensure that it not only fit but that I could wear a number of layers underneath. I believe that the jacket fit perfectly.
The jacket is not structured to be smaller at the waist, so if you’re looking for a jacket with more feminine features, this jacket would not be it. The Women’s Columbia Lake 22 has great structure and is not as boxy as this jacket. If you’re looking for a jacket that has the warmth of a down jacket with the comfort of a hoodie, this is perfect. Along the bottom of the jacket there are two buttons that can be used to increase the width of the jacket. This is especially helpful for people that want their jacket a little looser around the butt.
I really liked the button feature along the bottom half of the jacket so the jacket wasn’t tight on my hips and bunching up. I also truly loved the kangaroo pouch. The fill of the pouch is the same as the jacket so it was wonderful to stick my hands in the pouch when my hands were feeling cold. It was also extremely convenient to carry my phone in the zipper pocket above the pouch since I knew my phone would be secure. On their website, they promote using the zipper pocket as a stuff sack for your jacket to make a pillow for backpacking. I have done this a number of times with my Cotopaxi Fuego Down Jacket and it works really well!
Things I liked about the Pinion Jacket
I found this jacket to be extremely comfortable and warm when using it on a hike. The 360 warmth of the pullover kept me toasty…almost too toasty. But I would never complain about that on a cold, winter hike. The hood of the jacket was spacious while still being warm. The overall fit of the jacket was great. I will continue to wear this jacket and love it!
Things I did NOT like about the Pinion Jacket
When buying outdoor gear there seems to be the notion that people need to buy the most expensive brand gear on the market. However, there is much to be said about getting outside with what you have and gear should not inhibit a person from doing so. This jacket is $275 which means it is now one of the most expensive jackets in my closet, if not the most expensive jacket in my closet.
In understanding all the factors that go into the price of this jacket, the sustainably sourced materials and production, construction to last a lifetime, and Stio’s dedication to using their gear to promote stewardship to the recreation areas where Stio was founded are all factors that increase cost. This cost however, is reflected in that.
With Stio not being a well known brand, people might be hesitant to purchase this jacket. While I think this jacket is wonderful in many ways, I would be hesitant to purchase the jacket having known nothing about the brand.
I also did not like that I thought I was purchasing a brown jacket and received an orange jacket. But I still like the orange, I would have just purchased the green option if I knew it was going to be orange.
Alternatives to the Stio Pinion Jacket
If you do not want to purchase this jacket, some of my other favorites that are closely related to this jacket are:
Cotopaxi Huego (Same Price as Stio Jacket)
All of the jackets above are jackets I regularly use and love. I told you I have a jacket problem. I probably wear the Cotopaxi Jacket and Columbia Lake 22 the most just because I think it is eye-catching in photos but they are also great jackets. The columbia jackets have synthetic fill which will make them cheaper and the Cotopaxi Huego has 800-fill just like the Stio jacket.
One of my goals for this year is to be an informed consumer. I hope this helps you make an informed decision about any jacket you might be purchasing in the future!