The front and back ends of winter in the Northwest are brutal times to try to stay warm. Heavy winter jackets are just too much for some parts in the day, and lighter down jackets offer warmth but don’t generally hold up against the rain that hits for a few hours when the temperature darts above freezing. Fortunately, there are a few jacket options that are perfectly suited for both deep-freeze conditions and those occasionally wet shoulder weeks. The Stio Hometown down hooded jacket is one of them.
As you can tell by the name, the initial selling point is that the jacket’s down, which makes it both light and warm. Indeed, the Stio Hometown uses sustainable sourced and processed Allied Titanium down, to the tune of 800 fill power. Translation: it keeps you nice and toasty regardless of the conditions.
There are two things worth noting about Titanium down in particular. First, it’s incredibly clean. By that, I mean it doesn’t poke through the shell and shed valuable insulation in the process, as you often find with down jackets. It still happens, but much less frequently than I’ve experienced before. Second, it’s not all sourced from geese or ducks, but from “a variety of sources.” On the surface this sounds a bit sketchy, but the down’s from Allied, and their dedication to responsible sourcing is trustworthy. Coming from multiple sources also means the manufacturer could be a bit pickier about the 800 fill-power down they were choosing, which maximizes the loft, warmth and durability you get in the Stio Hometown down hooded jacket. I can be a pretty finicky guy, so it’s nice to know somebody else down the supply chain was being picky on my behalf.
All the down in the world can keep you warm, but the material’s known for letting people down when it gets soaked by rain or melting snow. Not so with this jacket. I wore the Stio Hometown down hooded jacket in multiple snowshoeing treks to test it in sub-freezing snowy conditions. I took it out on a couple of forested hikes with dry, blustery winds. I even tested it more than a dozen times in city settings where the rain came down Northwest-style by the gallon and horizontally. In every case, the Stio Hometown kept me warm and dry while the jacket itself kept its form and loft.
Several people looked at me sideways when they saw me outdoors wearing the jacket without a waterproof shell. Their confusion was warranted; not everyone knows “waterproof” and “down” can even co-exist in the same sentence. So when I told people the Stio Hometown down hooded jacket had a waterproof exterior, I saw quite a few raised eyebrows and skeptical smiles. But make no mistake, the jacket’s Pertex microlight shell beads and repels water like nobody’s business. You can see it in action in my tweet from a couple of weeks ago:
— Cold Outdoorsman (@Cold_Outdoors) March 10, 2016
I noted a similarly waterproof shell in my review of the Outdoor Research Floodlight jacket, but the water had a tendency to get “ground into” the shell in areas where the material rubbed against itself (arms against sides, for instance) or where backpack straps hit the shoulders. I didn’t notice anything like that during my tests of the Stio Hometown down hooded jacket. And, remember that Allied down I mentioned earlier? It’s also the “HyperDRY” version, which means it driers faster than untreated down and maintains a higher loft even when wet. In short, the Stio Hometown down hooded jacket is truly built for three seasons in the Northwest.
That said, I did miss a few creature comforts that the Floodlight offered. For one, the rigid bill on the front of the Floodlight’s hood was a great feature when the rain really came down, because it kept the water off my face. It was also a nice shield against the wind at times, because I could just drop my head down and have it act as an additional windbreaker. The men’s Hometown down jacket goes the stretchy and form-fitting route instead, which is great at accommodating a helmet but makes your face more prone to the elements when you’re not wearing one. Another attribute I missed was the Velcro-adjustable wrists, as the Stio Hometown opts instead for stretchy wristband material. This mimics Stio’s approach to the hood, which makes total sense from an industrial design standpoint. But it felt less durable and weather-resistant over time as I repeatedly stretched the material to pull gloves off and on based on weather conditions.
Fortunately, the fleece-lined pockets are both crazy soft and warm, so if it wasn’t raining I was actually able to stuff my hands into the pockets and skip gloves altogether. I’ll be totally honest: that’s not something I often experience. Normally my hands get so cold that I absolutely need to have gloves on. Having the freedom to go outdoors sans gloves, knowing that I can pop my hands into the pockets if they feel chilly – and have them actually warm up! – was remarkable.
So, long story short, between its waterproofing, windproofing, 800 fill down and a weight of just 20 ounces, the Stio Hometown down hooded jacket is one of the best three-season jackets I’ve tested. Not only does it tackle the elements, it also man-handles outdoor activities with a combination of light weight and warmth. I tested it to focus on winter warmth, but it packs down small enough that it seems just as appropriate to take along with you for those cold mornings and nights outdoors in spring and fall adventures as well.
The Stio Hometown down hooded jacket was provided for review. All opinions and words are my own and honest, and the article contains no affiliate links.
Stio Hometown Down Hooded Jacket
- 800 fill down keeps you warm regardless of the conditions
- Better waterproofing than I've seen on other down jackets
- Inner pocket acts as a stuff sack for packing
- Down in the hood helps keep your head warm
- Stretchy wristband approach accommodates all gloves but doesn't seem durable
- Form-fitting hood opening exposes your face to the elements