By Kim Fuller Published in Elevation Outdoors
There is one definite essential to own when you live in a mountain town — or any place where snow can fall or drastic temperature drops can occur. Irrefutably, that must-have item is a down jacket. Everyone is used to the puffy look by now, and once you go goose feather you never go back.
Stio’s Hometown Down Hooded Jackets are the perfect piece in the puzzle of layers needed to maintain a mountain lifestyle. The men’s and women’s versions of the jackets are slightly different — just enough to make a good “his and hers” match. His has a front breast pocket that distinguishes it from hers, and hers is made with a special outer fabric that adds a sweet touch of sheen. Both have adjustable hoods and nicely sized down-filled baffles (although the women’s jacket has slightly larger baffles), so heat stays in when it’s cold all around you.
With a down jacket, I want to feel just as comfortable and warm wearing it on the side of a ski slope as I would running errands in the winter, and a bonus if it has a flattering fit. This lightweight outer layer is as functional as it is mountain fashionable — an ideal combination for the jacket that will serve you in your backcountry kit and as an everyday cold-weather companion.
The features in the Hometown Down are ideal for every extra ounce of cozy and convenience. While staying at a backcountry hut in Colorado, I stood on the porch wearing the jacket — holding a coffee mug in one hand and with my other in the right-side fleece-lined zipper pocket. I kept my essentials safe and sound in the interior breast pocket, and when it was time to skin out, I packed the jacket inside of itself with the inner stash pocket that doubles as a stuff sack.
The down producer, Allied Feather & Down, sources their down responsibly, and maintains a high standard of low environmental impact in their production process. So, not only does a Stio Hometown Down Hooded jacket look sharp and keep you cozy, you can actually feel good about wearing it too.Pros: As Stio’s signature 800-fill down insulator, in the backcountry the Hometown Down Hooded Jacket snuggles you in while you take off your skins or start down on a chilly descent, and is also an ideal layer on the way to après ski for warm comfort and style. Water-repellent goose down from Allied and weather-durable exteriors makes for a reliable piece when you’re out in the elements.
Cons: The nylon-based outer material of these jackets could rip if you slide a ski edge across it or fall on ice. Also, darker down feathers inside can sometimes be seen through lighter colored jackets — spots that can be mistaken as stains.
Where I took it: On an overnight backcountry hut trip above Vail Pass in Colorado, followed by a visit to an afternoon art gallery and lunch in Vail Village.