The Vescent jacket is designed as a ‘supremely wind resistant and breathable jacket for high output activities like backcountry skiing, winter mountaineering and hiking but does it live up to these claims? Made out of Stio’s Sphero® XT softshell fabric, the jacket is designed in Jackson, Wyoming and manufactured in Canada.
North of the border, even the most travelled and proficient gear aficionado may not have heard of Stio. The company was founded by Stephen Sullivan, the co-founder of the popular skiing and climbing apparel company, Cloudveil. After Cloudveil was no more Mr. Sullivan started Stio out of Jackson, Wyoming. Unlike Cloudveil, which was a global brand distributed in over 40 different companies, Stio is only sold in one brick and mortar store in Jackson, Wyoming and through their web site. The brand hopes to inspire connection with the outdoors through beautiful, functional products. While the Vescent jacket is made in Canada, the brand’s other products are made in Canada, the US and China.
The Vescent jacket is made with Sphero XT softshell fabric. This fabric is a durable, nylon blend fabric bonded to a polyester microfleece backer. This provides some wind and water resistance, warmth, comfort and breathability. Four-way stretch enhances both comfort and performance. A high tenacity DWR is said to keep the face dry and the hydrophobic polyester backer is there to help push away moisture.
In addition to this fabric, the Vescent is equipped with hand and chest pockets, peripheral adjust hood, adjustable hem, and fleece inner cuffs.
- YKK® reverse coil zippers Laser cut bonded zipper garages at hand and chest pockets
- Adjustable hem with low profile cord locks customizes performance
- Custom Stio™ silicone zipper pulls
- Embroidered Stio™ and Pinecone logos
- Made in Canada
- Internal microfleece insulates and seals out the elements
- Fixed hood with peripheral adjustment
- Cuffs with elasticized secondary cuff
- Two hand warmer pockets and one Napoleon chest pocket
- Mesh lined pockets help vent excess heat
The Vescent Jacket is not a hardcore technical piece suited for backcountry skiing or other high-output mountain adventures in my opinion. I found the Sphero XT fabric, while breathable didn't have quite the moisture transfer of competing fabrics and membranes like NeoShell and Gore-Tex, perhaps this was due to the insulative properties of the soft shell fabric backing. In conjunction with this, the jacket lacks pit-zips, and while most soft shells typically don't incorporate pit-zips the Vescent does have pockets which are vented. The DWR coating is adequate for light drizzle and mist, but won't protect you in a downpour nor provide a truly waterproof environment for the wearer. The hood lacks articulation; side-to-side movement is not easy and feels forced. The hood is also limited in adjustability. A single toggle on the back adjusts volume, but there are no front or side adjustments. The two hand warmer pockets are not pack or harness compatible and would be obstructed by the hip-belt of a pack, or climbing harness and also prevents them from providing venting as they are designed to do. The hem adjustment loops are large, and could prove to be a trap for ice-picks, and other climbing apparatus.
The fit of the jacket is excellent. At 6’2” the medium fit well, although felt slightly short in the torso. The Bosphorous colour is not this reviewers favourite, but luckily there is a 'Tap Shoe' black colour available as well. The North American roots of the jacket (Designed in Wyoming and manufactured in Canada) help the jacket standout from other brands that manufacture exclusively overseas.
While the Vescent is not cutout for fast moving adventures in the mountains for reasons outlined above, it is aimed more so purely at the urban adventurer in this reviewers mind.
Price: $179 US
Colours: Bosphorous (as reviewed) and Tap Shoe (black with red zippers)
Fabric: Stio Sphero™ BD Soft Shell, 85% Nylon 15% Spandex with 100% Polyester microfleece backer, 285g/m2 with DWR
Designed in Wyoming and manufactured in Canada help the jacket stand-out from a litany of jackets manufactured abroad. The jacket has a nice slim, fit (although feels a bit short in the torso for us lankier folks). A nice urban focussed jacket.
The jacket is not a technical piece designed for ski-touring or other high-output activities in the mountains. The Sphero XT fabric is comfortable but does not breathe enough for high output activities. The bottom two pockets are obstructed by the hip-belt of a backpack. The hood only has one adjustment on the back for volume, and does not have great articulation.
Fit / Mobility 1.5/2
Warmth / Breathable 2/2
Quality / Price 1.5/2
This is only our opinion. Do you disagree? Did we miss something? Are we totally out to lunch? Join the discussion in the forums here, and let us know what you think. People like/dislike gear for different reasons so chime in and we'll get a well-rounded evaluation.