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The new Stio Objective Pro Jacket is a technical GORE-TEX-based ski jacket shell. It’s waterproof, breathable, and designed to handle most any backcountry ski or snowboard adventure.
To get us a closer look, Stio sent Man Makes Fire a review unit. After wearing and testing the Stio Objective Pro Jacket and Bib while skiing in cold, windy, and sometimes rainy conditions, this is what we learned:
Stio Objective Pro Jacket Review
Stio is an outdoor, mountain-focused apparel company based out of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The company makes both technical outdoor clothing — like shells and jackets for skiing — as well as everyday mountain-style apparel like down jackets and fishing/have-a-beer shirts.
The Stio Objective Pro Jacket is the first jacket in Stio’s line to use GORE-TEX. Why is this important? GORE-TEX is the industry leader when it comes to waterproof, breathable fabric for outdoor apparel. There are several excellent competing fabrics, but GORE-TEX remains — arguably — the best.
Breathability in a jacket is hard to definitively test because there are so many variables when it comes to real-world use, like movement and massive changes in internal and external temperature and humidity. In my experience, what I can say is this: Almost all high-quality breathable waterproof jackets available from reputable sellers these days are very good . . . and every GORE-TEX-based waterproof breathable jacket I’ve worn and tested has been excellent.
If you want the very best, it’s hard to beat a well-made item built with GORE-TEX.
Why Don’t All Manufacturers Use GORE-TEX?
The downside to GORE-TEX is that it’s expensive. It requires a business partnership with the GORE-TEX brand to use various GORE-TEX fabrics, and even then the resulting apparel has to be approved by GORE-TEX’s quality control teams. What this means is that only high-quality clothing makers end up working with GORE-TEX.
This is not to say that you can’t produce a great ski shell without GORE-TEX. In fact, I’ve tested and reviewed plenty of great breathable jackets that don’t use GORE-TEX, including the burly Stio Environ and the lightweight Raymer ski shells.
Back to the Objective Pro: Specs & Features
The 3-layer fabric uses recycled materials and a 70 Denier Plainweave exterior with a DWR coating. In terms of durability and suppleness, it’s thinner and more supple than the Stio Environ and a bit stiffer and thicker than the Stio Raymer.
I (accidentally) hammered through some small frozen aspen trees while skiing, so much so that I expected to see some tears in the Objective Pro — nope. Nary a scratch. Personally, I really like the suppleness of the Raymer but prefer the Objective Pro for the extra durability. Incidentally, the Objective Pro jacket weighs about 21 ounces while the Raymer weighs about 18 oz and the Environ comes in at a whopping 31 oz.
If you want burly, go with the Environ. If you want an affordable lightweight shell, go with the Raymer. If you want the best all-around performance, go with the Objective Pro.
Plenty of Pockets
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: We like lots of large, useable pockets.
With the Objective Pro, you get two oversized front pockets on each front side. That means you actually have four large chest pockets. Because the pockets overlap one another, you don’t actually get to use the full volume of each pocket if you’re packing any bulky gear. But they are large enough for 750-mil soft water bottles. Plus, because they’re positioned mid-torso, they are pack-or-harness-friendly.
Note the pass-through zip and stash pocket.
But wait, there are more pockets. The right side exterior pocket includes a pass-through zipper that lets you get into an interior base layer pocket. If you’re wearing the Objective Pro Bibs, this pass-through pocket lets you access a pocket on the chest portion of your bibs. Nice.
Meanwhile, you also get an interior stretch mesh goggle-sized stash pocket, plus two smaller zippered stretch mesh pockets. While you do not get a sleeve pocket for an RFID-based lift pass, Stio does include a small pocket at the lower left front of the jacket that will serve the same purpose.
The built-in hood is helmet-compatible and fully adjustable. I found the fit to be surprisingly good. When turning my head with a helmet on, I was able to retain nearly all of my field-of-view before I started getting into the side of the hood. Hint: If your hood is completely loose, you might need to tighten it on the sides and back to fine-tune the fit.
Stio always uses excellent zippers, and the Objective Pro zippers don’t disappoint. Your chest pocket and pit-zip zippers are reverse coil zippers that are very water-resistant and work well. The main zipper is larger and slightly less water-resistant, but it’s backed by a storm flap to channel and mitigate any possible seepage.
To seal out snow, the hem adjusts easily to cinch down — but there’s no built-in interior powder skirt.
Objective Pro Bibs Review
The Stio Objective Pro Bibs are, I have to say, pretty fantastic. For starters, they’re made from the same waterproof/windproof and breathable 3L GORE-TEX PRO Shell fabric.
The design is super comfortable. The shoulder straps are easily adjusted. The upper chest and back have stretch woven panels that give you a trim but expandable fit.
You get two handy chest pockets, which you can reach from the right-side pass-through pocket on the Objective Pro Jacket. You also get two upper thigh pockets.
The left side of your upper leg features a big zippered vent to let you dump heat fast. What about the right side vent? It features a two-way zipper that goes all the way up to your armpit. So this vent doubles as a drop-seat feature that makes it a bit easier for backside calls of nature. I haven’t had a need to test this particular design out yet, but it appears to be the kind of access you might need when you’re trying to stay warm.
Objective Pro Fit
Overall, I thought the size XL review unit fit was spot on and consistent with other Stio men’s XL jackets. It is a bit relaxed to allow for layering and movement.
I found the Objective Pro Jacket to fit very slightly looser than the Raymer Jacket and nearly identically to the Environ Jacket. However, because the Objective Pro is lighter and more supple than the Environ, it feels better on with slightly improved range of motion. I’m not sure if this is Stio fine-tuning the cut or just the fabric differences.
Either way, I’m splitting hairs here for those of you who have other Stio jackets.
The sleeve length should be perfect for most active skiers. (I have extra long arms, and I’m pretty happy with the sleeve length.)
Interestingly, Stio hasn’t created a specific women’s version, but the company did introduce new GORE-TEX shell jacket and pants for ladies: The women’s Credential Jacket and Credential Pant. To me, the most interesting difference is the use of GORE-TEX 3L Warm fabric, which has a bit of stretch built in as well as a soft, brushed, flannel-like interior texture.
Of course, the Credential Pant is a snow shell pant, not a bib.
The Stio Objective Pro Jacket and Objective Pro Bib are Stio’s top-of-the-line backcountry ski shells — and they don’t disappoint. The 3L GORE-TEX PRO Shell fabric is excellent, and the fit-and-finish is flawless. The Objective Pro series is legit and practically begs for backcountry dawn patrol runs. As for me, it’s far more capable of handling rugged backcountry terrain than I am — but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the awesome breathability and windproof-waterproof construction. Whenever I’m able to stack up some fast runs, the GORE-TEX is quite nice. Very highly recommended.