Powder Cloud Likes: Stio Raymer Jacket
I ask a lot of any technical outwear, but none so much as my shell. I look to it for definitive crappy-weather protection, personal refuge, and emotional support—there’s nothing better than zipping up against wind and snow and cold, and immediately feeling warmer, drier, and safer. I expect my shell to be windproof (Montana is a breezy place), breathable (because I sweat like a glass of Georgia iced-tea), lightweight and compact (because my pack is already full of junk), and durable enough to last many seasons (because holy smokes, outerwear is expensive). The Stio Raymer has delivered on all counts over the last two seasons of regular use, and remains my go-to outer layer for stormy conditions.
Besides fulfilling the aforementioned criteria, the Raymer stands out for a number of reasons. The fit is excellent, with enough volume for layering without feeling baggy. The hood fits neatly over ski and climbing helmets and provides a good range of motion. Perhaps best of all is the four-way stretch built into the proprietary Entrant fabric, which provides a bit of softshell “give” while still acting like a full hardshell when it’s snowing sideways. I also believe this slight flexibility enhances durability, as I’ve had more than a few brushes with trees, ice tools, and the harder edges of snowmobiles with zero discernable damage. The face is softer and less crinkly than traditional three-layer hardshell, and the jacket balls up nicely for stuffing into a pack.
The Entrant fabric is quite breathable, but there are also core vents that are accessible while wearing a pack to dump heat quickly. There are minimal but well-placed zippered pockets and no superfluous features, so weight clocks in at 18 oz. (about half as much as a liter of water). My jacket still looks great after 100-plus days in the field. So, there you have it: a shell that does exactly what I ask of it. Click here to buy the Stio Raymer jacket now.
Drew Pogge owns Big Sky Backcountry Guides and Bell Lake Yurt, is the former editor-in-chief of Backcountry Magazine, and an award-winning freelance writer and photographer. He lives in Bozeman with his wife and a dingo/lab mongrel named Waylon.