The Stio Women’s Second Light Alpha Jacket is a great mid-layer to add to your arsenal. Styled well, extremely versatile and comfortable, it’s no wonder that it won “Runner’s World 2016 Gear Of The Year Award.” Not sure if we have something like that in skiing, but I’d nominate this piece.
Stio Woman’s Second Light Alpha Jacket Review
Tester: Jen 5’9”, 155 lbs, size worn – Medium
Fit: This jacket has a nice slim fit to it, but not so slim that it’s suffocating. I generally wear a medium in tops (if not it’s usually due to my broad shoulders), so I’d say this jacket fits true to size. The raglan stitching on the sleeves helps accommodate my shoulders. Torso length was spot-on and hit just above the widest part of my hips. The jacket integrated well with my pack while touring, and never hiked up into an uncomfortable position. The only thing I wish was different in this fit, was a little extra length in the arms, but I do have long arms!
Style: I love the style of this piece! Due to the slim silhouette, you can get away with throwing it on with a pair of jeans and looking presentable at your local mountain-town bar. The fabric also has a high-quality richness that takes the styling up a notch from you standard “hoody.” Also, this jacket is reversible, though I wouldn’t wear the colorway tested on its bright-green side (a little too bold for me). And the black colorway reverses to navy blue, which seems a little bland. I would like to see some additional colors in this piece.
Pockets: The pocketing on this jacket is very simple and only has two hand pockets just below my waist. I wasn’t missing the chest pocket until I noticed that there is one on the men’s version of this piece. Might be nice to have the additional easy access chest pocket for a phone when wearing a backpack, as backpack waist straps typically block the pockets. But ladies with a larger chest than me are probably happy without any additional bulk in that area! The reverse side of this jacket only has one pocket on the lower back, accessed by a vertical zip pocket on the right side.
Tech: First, I’ll speak in terms that I understand and then will add in the “tech” verbiage from the brand. After first putting on this jacket, I noticed one main thing: WARMTH! It’s a very thin, light-weight mid-layer, so I was not expecting to feel so much warmth from this piece. This is accounted for by the Polartec Alpha breathable insulation, which brings us to the next thing I noticed: BREATHABILITY! I wore this jacket on a 10-degree day while touring, so of course, I get a little sweaty on the way up and at the top, I can turn into a popsicle if I don’t have a breathable piece. This jacket kept me warm, but also helped circulate some air so that I wasn’t a soaking wet human soon-to-be-icicle before skiing down! Finally, I want to talk about the stretch. I can throw tantrums when clothes feel too tight and suffocating. I’ll literally rip off whatever I’m wearing and shake out my arms and legs. Gives me the heebeegeebies (sp?). This jacket is NOT like that! It’s extremely comfortable and has just the right amount of stretch to allow for natural, athletic body movements. This is likely due to Stio’s Meridian™ AP stretch mini-rip nylon outer with an 80/20 DWR provides wind and water resistance. (I stole that from their site).
Reviewed by Jen