I’m always searching for the next piece of perfect gear or the next great company to support. This is either a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it. As the cooler weather approached, I found myself once again researching my “next” purchase. On this particular occasion I was on the hunt for a new down jacket, or is it a down sweater?
I’m not really sure I know the official difference. I’m going out on a limb and saying a down sweater is going to be less optimal for “cold” temperatures than a down jacket and more suited to moderately cool/cold temperatures. Perfect for most Texas weather.
I’m not going to get into the pros and cons of down versus synthetic in this article, but I will highlight just a few of the reasons I wanted down for this particular purchase.
- Awesome warmth to weight ration
- Tends to be more durable/long-lasting (in my opinion)
- Extremely compressible
- Super lightweight
So, after much research and deliberation, I settled on the Stio Pinion Down Sweater. Stio is a relatively new company I’ve been buying from over the last couple of years. They are based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and make a variety of clothing for casual and outdoor activities alike.
- Weight: 11 ounces
- Insulation: AlliedFeather™ HyperDRY™ Water Repellent Down, 90/10 White Goose Down, 800-Fill
- Lining: Pertex Quantum® Shadow Ripstop, 100% Nylon, 20 denier, 37 g/m2 with 80/20 DWR
- Cuffs: Elastic binding
- Pockets: 2 exterior, 1 interior
- Fit: Trim/Athletic
- Zipper: YKK Vislon
- Country of Origin: China
- MSRP: $249
- Street Price: Cheaper with email subscriber discount
- Insulating layer
- Pretty much any outdoor activity
In the Field
My personal uses thus far have been limited to daily/casual wear, camping, and a week-long fishing trip in Minnesota. I have not used it during any “active” activities.
The Pinion Sweater has primarily been serving as my day-to-day jacket and I’ve used it comfortably in temperatures from the 20’s to mid-50’s. I know that is quite a large range in regards to temperatures, but it’s true.
On the colder end of the above range, I found myself having a few layers underneath such as a t-shirt and flannel which added to the warmth. Nothing any more than that. On the upper end of the range, I would typically have a t-shirt only. I will say, with the 50-degree temperatures the wind was almost always blowing which created a lower “windchill”.
On my week-long fishing trip, this jacket was worn as a stand-alone piece as well as an insulating layer underneath a Mountain Hardwear waterproof shell. It worked great as both and I found it easy to regulate my temperature during long days out on the water.
I’m not going to discuss every little detail of this jacket (at least I don’t think so), but I do want to briefly discuss a few of the features worth mentioning.
The Pinion Sweater has pretty narrow, horizontal running baffles. I know what you’re thinking…who cares? Well, I’m a nerd and I care. I tend to prefer smaller or narrow baffles because they tend to hold insulation in place much better.
I’ve found the larger or more spaced the baffles are the more likely the insulation is to settle. The baffles on this jacket tend to have good spacing and the down seems to “stay put” really well.
The cuffs on the Pinion Sweater utilize elastic binding to help create the seal. I find they are adequate, but I do wish they were a little tighter on my wrists. I seem to feel a slight draft from time to time.
There are two external, zippered pockets on this jacket. There is nothing fancy about them, they just do their job. They are nice and deep and I do like the fact they have zippers as opposed to an open design. I like being able to stash things in there knowing they will stay put once they are zipped up.
The internal drop pocket is nice and deep and is placed on the left side. It is kind of roomy, which makes me feel like it would not be very secure for most things. I keep the included stuff stack in there and it has fallen out on one occasion when I had the jacket laying in the seat of my vehicle.
The main zipper is a YKK Vislon model with at silicone puller. The zipper functions smoothly and I have never experienced zipper creep…you know, that scenario where the zipper “creeps” down on its own while you are wearing it.
The collar is about 2.5″ tall and does a good job of keeping out the wind when zipped up fully. However, it’s not so tall it is annoying or awkward feeling.
I really like the fit of this jacket. It has a nice athletic cut which really takes a lot of the bulkiness away. This is my preferred fit for jackets like this because it makes it much easier when being used as an insulating layer. I would even say it could stand to be a little more trim in the torso. However, that’s a fine line to walk.
I’m 6’2″ tall and 180 pounds and bought a Large in this jacket. Maybe it’s just me, but I seem to have a slightly longer torso and arms which is evident when buying gear. I’m also really particular in regards to how my stuff fits.
The Large has just the right amount of sleeve length and the torso is long enough to not slip up during activities. It also works well wearing a pack and it’s long enough that the back didn’t start riding up during activities. I haven’t had any issues with drafts.
All in all, I give this jacket two thumbs up. It’s warm, packable, lightweight, and can be used in a wide range of temperatures. For me, it works perfectly for the winter weather I’m exposed to.
The price is a little on the steep end but is on par with some of the other big names in the outdoor gear world. However, we do pay a premium for 800-fill down regardless of manufacturer. I paid $210 with shipping and tax and up to this point, I would pay it again.
The Pinion Sweater has a great look and is equally at home in a work environment, in a casual setting, or in the outdoors. The men’s version is offered in 4 different colors and none of them are so wild they limit themselves to outdoor use only.
What down jacket do you prefer and why?