The Stio Hometown Down is a solid option for those needing an everyday use jacket, one that has value in the backcountry and practical features for walking to work, transitions while touring, or clearing the deck of last night’s roof slide. It’s lightweight and moderately packable, but the fit was inconsistent and it doesn’t breathe as well as its competitors. It can function well as an extra layer to pull from the pack when a shell isn’t enough, and the price makes it well worth picking up for exactly this purpose. In the end, Stio has made a middle-of-the-road multi-use jacket that looks really nice, and fights off most of what winter can dish out.
Inside the Stio Hometown Down is HyperDRY water-repellent down developed by Allied Feather and Down, a long-established, Bluesign-approved industry supplier and one of the world’s first to audit and document ethical down sourcing and manufacturing standards. The HyperDRY is 650-fill power down with an 80/20 ratio of white goose down to feathers. It’s wrapped in Pertex Microlight, 30-denier mini-ripstop nylon with an 80/20 DWR finish (80/20 = 80% of water repellency sustained after 20 washes).
The combined materials offer a nice balance of comfort and technical credibility, and our primary tester remarked that this jacket actually deserves the “great in town and in the mountains” cliché so common to today’s outwear marketing.
The exterior of the Stio Hometown Down proved tough against use in an array of conditions, as one tester used it while working in a crawlspace to repair a mid-winter plumbing issue. It repelled wet snow and moisture, and did an adequate job of staving off wind.
The HyperDRY held up its end of the bargain for keeping the tester warm with a minimal mid-layer during sustained winter conditions in northern California. With a 650-fill, temperatures into the mid- to low-20s F required heavier base-layers. The high collar in the non-hooded version wrapped snugly around the neck to seal in the warmth, and the inch-wide wind-flap behind the zipper helps as well.
This is where the technical limitations of the Hometown Down become apparent. While the high, soft-lined collar is snug and warm, unzipping it is ultimately the only method of moderating internal temps during cold-weather activities. Releasing tension on the hem adjustment helped somewhat, too.
The lack of a two-way zipper or core vents became apparent to the tester during a short, lift-served hike at Squaw Valley. Thus, the jacket needs to be smartly layered and is probably best for anaerobic use cases, such as downtime at backcountry winter camps, insulation in the hut, and lapping the local resort.
The medium fit long on a 5’9’’ tester and slightly short on a 6’3’’ tester, however, the sleeves and shoulders sat nicely on the taller user, suggesting that the jacket runs big. That said, the non-slim, “regular” fit doesn’t constrict base layers, and the coat manges to maintained a more streamlined, less-than-puffy look. Hem adjustments and inset handwarmer pockets kept the jacket aligned with the waist and core. However, on the shorter tester, the medium was bulky across the chest, and felt as if the weight of the coat hung squarely off of the shoulders.
Stio’s Hometown Down jacket can’t compete with the more technical jackets in the test but manages to boast a decent collection of go-everywhere features. The lack of a hood is a plus for those who don’t appreciate the extra bulk, and the high collar offers a nice compromise. It can pack inside its interior pocket to about the size of basketball. There’s another, smaller internal pocket under the left side, an exterior stash pocket at the chest, and easy-to-grab zipper pulls unique to Stio. The lined, side-mounted, handwarmer pockets offer depth and gloveless warmth, and the cord locks at the hem stayed in place during moderate physical activity.