The Stio Environ Jacket is a burly ski jacket shell designed to fend off the elements while charging down the slopes. It’s waterproof, breathable, and packed with pockets.
To get us a closer look, Stio sent Man Makes Fire a review unit. This is what we learned:
Stio Environ Jacket Review
Stio is an outdoor, mountain-focused clothing company based out of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The company makes technical outdoor clothing, as well as everyday mountain-style apparel. Last year, we reviewed the excellent Stio Pinion down jacket, which also earned a spot in our guide to the best down jackets.
Stio has been producing the customer-favorite Environ for several years — but the fabrics and design have evolved over time. It’s consistently been one of the company’s bestsellers — and for good reason: It’s a bomber ski shell offered at a competitive price point.
The Environ checks all the boxes for what you want in an all-mountain ski shell: waterproof/breathable fabric, a helmet-compatible hood, pit zips, and a powder skirt. The real key, though, is how Stio puts it all together to create the Environ.
Let’s start with the fabric. Stio uses Dermizax to create its shell. The Dermizax membrane delivers a 20,000mm waterproofness rating (which is very good) and despite the relatively thick 150-denier fabric, the shell still delivers a solid 10,000g breathability rating. I was able to hit a series of long, hard runs on the ski hill this year, and I was producing a good bit of heat and body moisture. The interior of the Environ never got clammy.
Interestingly, I had placed my phone in the outside chest pocket, and after about six hard runs, I pulled it out on the lift. I always place the screen side to my body, and it was covered with moisture. I believe the Environ’s excellent breathability let water vapor escape through the interior of the jacket and into the pocket, where it accumulated on the cold screen of the phone. If you’re using non-waterproof electronics, you might want to use an interior pocket rather than the outside chest pocket. Still, I was impressed by the breathability.
In case you’re wondering, you can accumulate body moisture on your phone in the same way in warm weather if your phone is in a pocket of your hiking pants. Since most hiking pants aren’t waterproof, this should be no big surprise. In the Environ’s exterior chest pocket, which has a breathable layer next to my body, I see the moisture on the phone as an indicator of real-world breathability effectiveness.
I’m satisfied with the breathability, but what about the feel? The Environ is bomb-proof burly — and I count this as a good thing. I have full confidence that I can hit a branch — or more likely, wreck — and I won’t puncture or tear the Environ. I did go down once on a nasty patch of ice and skidded on my back for quite a ways. After close inspection, there were zero scuff marks on the Environ.
However, describing a fabric as bomb-proof can sometimes imply the fabric is stiff, and that’s not quite right here. The fabric is a bit stiffer than some of the competition, but the Stio Environ is surprisingly supple. It’s just a bit crinkly — but not so much that its annoying. The fabric’s best feature is how it induces confidence in its ability to take abuse and keep doing its job when you need it most without getting in the way. It’s pretty great, overall.
Meanwhile, what if you want a thinner, more lightweight shell that’s still tough but a bit lighter for backcountry ascents? Late last year Stio introduced the Raymer. Instead of a 150-denier fabric, the Raymer uses a 50-denier fabric. You get a similar waterproofing capability as the Environ, but the breathability rating goes up to 13,000g — so you get a small boost in breathability, which is expected given the thinner fabric overall. As for weight, the Environ weighs in at 31 ounces while the Raymer weighs in at just 18 ounces.
If you want to error toward bomber durability, the Environ is the right choice. For a lightweight shell experience, the Raymer could be a better option.
Zippers can make or break a jacket, and the Environ gets them right. The main zipper is stout and water-resistant, as are the smaller chest and hand pockets.
All the zipper pulls have small zipper pull cords attached, and while I thought they might be too small for ski gloves, I had no trouble finding and using them. In fact, they’re surprisingly easy to find and use.
One handy zipper feature is the bi-directional main center zipper. You can zip it up from the bottom for a call of nature . . . or just to help shed heat.
Overall Fit and the Helmet-Compatible Hood
The overall fit of the Stio Environ is a standard relaxed fit that is designed to accommodate a base layer and a midlayer. The sizing in our men’s XL was spot on for me (I’m about 6’3″, 220 lbs). I was able to wear the Environ comfortably with a wool base layer and the Stio Pinion down jacket. When I wanted a bit more insulation, I wore the wool base layer, a fleece pullover, and the Stio Pinion down jacket — and that remained flexible and comfortable, too. Of course, hard-core skiers will likely wear synthetic midlayers instead of goose down jackets due to moisture.
Side note on the fit: My skiing buddy had a previous generation Arc’teryx Sabre shell in size XL and the overall fit was very similar.
Meanwhile, what about the sleeves and hood? The sleeves are plenty long and include a generous swath of velcro on the wrist for easy adjustability. In fact, I have long arms and sleeve length is a common issue for me — not so with the Environ.
As for the helmet-compatible hood, I was surprised at how much I liked it. It fit easily over my ski helmet, and offered generally good visibility when turning my head to the left and right. For over-the-shoulder looks, it would reduce my sight picture somewhat, but not terribly.
In addition, when using the hood over a helmet, the collar remains comfortable.
Stio achieves this by using a collar design that remains separate from the hood itself. In fact, you can zip off the hood entirely if you don’t want it. Nice. Sure, most guys are going to just leave the hood attached, but I can see ditching it for warmer bluebird days and nice spring skiing days.
The hood zips off.
The hood is adjustable for fit.
The collar has a soft tricot lining.
More Features: Powder Skirt and Pit Zips
Stio includes, as you would expect, a built-in powder skirt, which is snap-adjustable and works well. Note: If you don’t want a powder skirt, Stio offers a more minimalist design option — the Environ XT. The hood and collar are all one piece and you lose a chest pocket, but you get the same burly 3L Dermizax waterproof/breathable shell fabric.
Back to the Environ: The generous pit zips are awesome and include two zipper pulls each, so they’re easy to find and open.
Pockets & Pricing
The Stio Environ really shines with its pockets. First, you get two easy-to-access exterior chest pockets. I like having easy access to my phone, and the chest pockets work well. When it’s really cold, I’ll drop a hand warmer in the pocket to help maintain battery life. If I don’t need the phone handy, I’ll transition it to an interior zippered chest pocket to keep it warmer.
Here’s a cool design point: You get two interior pockets. The left interior pocket is zippered while the one on the right is stretchy mesh that’s good for goggles, a balaclava, hat, etc. Both are situated below the two exterior chest pockets, which means that if you use both pockets, they won’t stack up on each other. Very smart.
Stio also included two large exterior hand pockets. They’re fairly tall on the inside and are big enough for a soft water bottle.
The zipper pulls are easy to use with gloves.
Right side interior pocket.
Left side interior pocket.
The only pocket that the Environ is missing is a sleeve pocket for using an RFID ski pass. This is only a consideration if you ski in a place that uses RFID passes . . . but also has problems with their readers catching signals. You should be able to place the pass in the left-side chest pocket and go through most readers just fine, though.
As for pricing, the Stio Environ comes in at a midrange-plus to high-end price range — the Environ is regularly priced at $449. You can find lesser shells for less and competitive shells for $100-200 more. In overall performance and durability, the Environ will handily outperform lesser shells while competing very closely with everything else.
Stio Environ Review: The Verdict
All-in-all, the Stio Environ Jacket is an awesome waterproof/breathable ski shell with relatively burly but flexible fabric. The fit and finish is fantastic and its on-the-mountain performance is excellent. Stio also gets the details right: the sleeves are long enough to keep you covered while active, and the cuffs offer a wide-range of adjustment. Six pockets let you organize your stuff. The helmet-compatible hood fits well, plus it zips off if you want to trim your profile. Very highly recommended.