Last month we reviewed one of our favorite products of the season, the Stio Basis Shirt. A technical base or mid layer, the Basis Shirt is a welcome departure from the standard pull-over layers which have been around for eons. To compliment the Basis, Stio offers the Hardscrabble Jacket, the next level of weather protection in an insulated soft shell. Constructed of Sphero™ Soft Shell fabric, the 90% Nylon and 10% Spandex blend offers just the right amount of four-way stretch for optimal mobility while affording a durable exterior complete with a water resistant DWR finish. The interior of the jacket is lined with Primaloft® ONE™ Synthetic insulation for maximum warmth without adding an unusual amount of bulk.
Technical apparel has long been paired to design aesthetics which make those garments appear best suited to the hills, but a bit too techy for our treks through everyday life. The Hardscrabble’s classic styling makes it seem right at home at your local watering hole, as well as in the backcountry. I think it also makes for a superb travel jacket. That versatility adds to the jacket’s already exceptional value at under $200.
There is a simplicity and utility to the Hardscrabble that I find very appealing. The cut is cleanly designed with no pomp or circumstance and even the color options are subdued and timeless. In an age of welded seams and exotic zippers, the Hardscrabble eschews those elements in favor of more traditional snaps and closures. It’s a jacket with purpose and appointed with just the features you need, and nothing more. This isn’t to say it’s low-tech, either. The Pertex® Minirip Nylon lining for example is a key component in the jacket’s overall comfort. This is going to sound ridiculous, but I’m easily annoyed by poorly designed linings. If they’re not slick enough, or carefully fitted within the jacket, they bind against mid -layers reducing mobility. Plus, they’re often the first part of a well used jacket to fail. The hardscrabble is as well designed on the inside as it is the outside. That is the mark of premium jacket in my mind. I also like how the length of the jacket falls just below the waist. That again improves mobility without sacrificing coverage. The tailoring and quality of construction is also top notch.
The Hardscrabble on its own is a much welcomed addition to my backcountry and in-town arsenal. Paired to the Basis Shirt, it’s a powerful combo whether atop a set of skis or my favorite bar stool or camp chair.