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The Stio Pinion Down Sweater is an excellent mountain-ready down jacket — it’s lightweight, appropriately durable, and has water-repellant down. Better yet, it has a near-perfect fit that’s great for layering underneath or over the top.
To get us a closer look at the Pinion Down Sweater, Stio sent Man Makes Fire a review unit. This is what we learned:
Stio Pinion Down Sweater Review
Stio is an outdoor, mountain-focused clothing company based out of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Stio produces everything from high-end waterproof, breathable shells for skiing to shorts and trail shoes that exude a laid-back mountain-style vibe — while still being suitable for wilderness use. As Stio puts it, the company makes clothes for true outdoor enthusiasts for both the “epic and everyday” moments of your life.
The Pinion Down Sweater is, of course, is designed for epic adventures and everyday needs.
To start, the Pinion is filled with high-quality, ethically sourced 800 fill power goose down. The down itself has a HyperDRY water repellant coating, which helps the down resist moisture. If you use the Pinion Down Sweater as a layer underneath a ski shell, for instance, the HyperDRY down will stay lofty and resist the moisture produced by your body as you work hard. (If you’re truly hardcore, you’ll probably want a synthetic layer instead of down, but for most of us recreational enthusiasts, the benefits of down are hard to beat.)
The best down jackets are made with high-quality ultralight shells that let the down easily loft. You also want tight weaves to ensures that the down stays inside your jacket. The Stio Pinion uses excellent 20d Pertex Quantum Shadow Rip Nylon fabric with a durable water repellant coating.
What’s really cool about this particular Pertex fabric is that it has a typical square ripstop-style weave, but it’s tight and smooth without any raised threads. It gives the shell an understated slight texture that looks great — but again, true to Stio’s roots, performs out in the woods, too.
As for overall weight, our size XL review unit weighed in at a very respectable 11.25 ounces.
A lot of lightweight down jackets skimp on the zippers — at least, they have a tendency to use very small, ultralight zippers in an effort to help shave weight. The problem is, these zippers don’t always handle outdoor abuse and they are some times harder to use. If, for example, your fingers are cold and you’re trying to layer up in a hurry because a mountain storm just came screaming in, ultralight zippers can be a pain in the butt to get started properly.
I like burly zippers. To be fair, the Pinion zipper doesn’t look burly — it looks like it’s a zipper of the perfect, correct size. It’s when you compare the zipper to other high-end tiny zippers that the Pinion zipper becomes down right awesome.
What about pockets? You get two zippered hand pockets, plus two generous interior stuff pockets.
Interior stash pocket.
Stio Pinion Down Sweater Review: Fit
One of the best features of the Stio Pinion Down Sweater is the fit. The fit is trim, but I think it’s pretty much spot-on. If you’re in shape, it’s perfect. If you have a typical average-sized belly, you’re still likely good to go. Basically, most down jackets fit a little bigger in the torso than they need to, but the Stio stays closer to a true XL jacket size. I would not recommend sizing up unless you’re really packing a buildup of too many beers.
As for layering, the Stio Pinion Down Sweater is definitely trimmer than your average down jacket . . . but there is plenty of room for 1-2 layers. If you’re wearing the Pinion over a single shirt, you won’t have too much extra space — which means the Pinion is going to feel warmer than larger, more ill-fitting jackets. I could wear a wool base layer and a fleece pullover underneath the Pinion just fine.
What about shells over the Pinion? The Pinion’s trim fit shines best when you want to layer a shell or rain jacket over it — you don’t have a bunch of extra fabric to get crushed or folded, which makes doing things like going to the bathroom in a frozen outhouse on a ski hill much easier.
What about the sleeves? I wear an XL and the Stio is one of the few down jackets that has a sleeve length designed for true active use. I have long arms, so this is awesome, but for everyone with average length arms, the takeaway is this: You can lift your arms above your head or simply drive a pickup with your hands on the top of the steering wheel without your sleeves scooting up your forearms.
As for warmth, I could wear the Pinion with a t-shirt in temps down to around freezing and generally felt pretty warm. With two layers underneath, my comfort range dipped to the teens — at least if I was walking around and moving. The Stio competes very well against similar weight high-end down jackets, even those that cost quite a bit more.
The only downside to the Stio Pinion Down Sweater is the lack of a drawcord at the hem; however, because the sized-right trim fit is very good, you won’t usually need a draw cord to seal out drafts. In case you’re wondering, I’m about 6’3″, 215 pounds and the Stio Pinion Down Sweater is one of the best fitting down jackets I’ve ever worn.
Stio Pinion Down Sweater Review: The Verdict
The verdict should be pretty obvious by now. The Stio Pinion Down Sweater is easily one of the best outdoor-focused lightweight down jackets. The quality of down is excellent, as is the Pertex Quantum Shadow Ripstop shell. The overall fit is trim, and the quality of construction is spot on. All-in-all, the Stio Pinion is a can’t-go-wrong lightweight down jacket perfect for the sidewalks and bars of a mountain town — but it’s capable off-trail in the mountains, too. Highly recommended.