If anyone is looking to pickup some new outerwear soon, you might want to check out some of the products from Stoic, Backcountry.com’s new line of clothing. They are making some pretty nice soft and hardshell jackets and pants, lightweight puffies, as well as gloves. I received a couple samples to try out about 3 weeks ago and I’ve been pretty happy with them so far.
The Stoic Luft Jacket has a very comfy, extra large zipper garage on the chin.
Lightweight puffy jackets are all the rage right now and the Luft Hoody Insulated Sweater is a great option for backcountry skiing and/or around town. It’s filled with synthetic insulation, which means it should perform well in wetter environments and has a really nice, big helmet compatible hood. I’m a big fan of hoods, so a big one that doesn’t shut down all your peripheral vision and can fit over helmets and other hoods from mid-weight layers is important. A “garage” for the pull tab on the back of the hood keeps it from snagging on things and gives it a nice clean look, earning the Luft extra points. Another big chin zipper garage on the front zipper more than covers the actual zipper itself and the fleece lining on it is nicer than a lot versions you see out there that are often too small or make with more rigid materials.
I like reverse zippers…and the chest is a nice bonus.
Insulated jackets without fleece lined pockets are just unacceptable, and the Luft doesn’t let you down, and will keep your hands and fingers warm when you’re not wearing gloves. A chest pocket is a nice little extra that you don’t find on most insulated jackets either. The wrist cuffs on the Luft are rather interesting too! They have an internal gasket which keeps out the elements and a more finished, looser cuff on the outside. They are connected with a long chunk of nylon, which allows them to work independently from other, meaning…when you pull up on the sleeve, the outer cuff will move up your arm, while the internal cuff stays put down by your wrist. I’m not sure what they were going for with this, but it could help with sealing things off at the sleeve/glove interface.
This photo shows what happens when you pull up on the sleeve.
The outer cuff moves up your arm…while the inner cuff stays put.
As with most down or insulated jackets, the Luft is quilted to help keep everything in place and I like the reverse zippers. Kind of a poor man’s waterproof zipper…except they aren’t waterproof. From what I can tell, the sizing runs small and the large fit my generally medium size body well…both over another jacket and when worn alone. These lightweight insulated jackets are nice for skiing because they are low profile and fit nicer under shells than big and bulky expedition style jackets. They also pack up well and don’t make your backpack look like it’s about to explode.
Glad to see the designers at Stoic have their priorities straight.
I also got some Stoic Welder Gloves and these puppies are really nice. Again, the sizing ran a little small, but overall it is constructed nicely with welded seams, articulated fingers, two layers of leather in high wear areas, merino wool lining and a zippered, low profile gauntlet. The gauntlet is rather functional both over and under a jacket cuff and has the words “Ski Powder” on one side and “This Deep” on the other, showing that the designers have their priorities in line. High quality PrimaLoft insulation keeps things toasty too!
Welded seams perpendicular to the fingers let them bend easily.
The leather on the Welder is goat skin, and it’s both soft and durable. Avoiding putting leather between the fingers keeps the bulk factor down and ensures a comfortable fit. The welded seems are constructed across the fingers, which allows them to still bend easily. I like how the leather wraps around the tips of the fingers too, but I think it would be better if the seam wasn’t right on the tips of the fingers.
Nice goat-skin leather used on the palm…with a double layer in high wear areas.
Usually I like removable liners in warmer gloves, since they dry faster (especially on overnight trips), but sometimes they can be a bit bulky. However, for day trips when you can dry them over a heater, in the dryer, or over a wood stove, I think the Stoic Welder glove is a nice alternative.