By Elissa Sanchez
Photography: Elijah (Elissa) Sanchez
Most performance jackets are great for keeping dry, warm and comfortable, but the Stio Second Light Alpha jacket goes one step further. We found this lightweight (12 oz), hooded jacket to be incredibly soft and comfortable too. For several weeks, we replaced our nicely worn and comfortable cotton hoodie with the Stio Second Light Alpha, and found that it was just as comfortable. The jacket is made from a combination of Meridian stretch Mini Ripstop and 20 denier Nylon which ends up feeling unlike most performance jackets we’ve tested.
With a Polartec Alpha 60g insulated layer, the Stio Second Light Alpha is also warm but not overly bulky or heavy. The Polartec Alpha is a very permeable insulation that regulates body heat and keeps you dry when you begin to sweat. It’s definitely not waterproof, but if it does get wet, it will dry very quickly. What we liked most about the combination of materials is that it makes the jacket just the right thickness for a cool spring wind and light precipitation, making it perfect for a day hike, mountain bike ride or any other outdoor activity. When it gets too warm during your activity, it can be easily scrunched up and packed away in your backpack. There’s a zippered back stash pocket on the inside of the jacket that serves two purposes. The first is that you can stuff the jacket into the pouch and zip it up for storage. The second is that it can serve as a hidden pocket to protect valuables like your license and debit card during a bike ride or while hiking; for those of us that like to travel light.
The jacket also features an attached low-profile hood that fits snug around your head and has an elastic band around the edge. This keeps it on even in a brisk wind, but it’s a little tight over a bicycle helmet. Nevertheless, the Second Light Alpha is strong, with heavy-duty YKK zippers and a sturdy construction. The two hand pockets on each side of the jacket also have heavy duty YKK zippers.
Inside each pocket is a hem adjustment to tighten the jacket around your waist, which improves its wind resistance. The sleeves also feature an elastic band around the wrist to minimize cold air from entering. Small details like two reflective inserts on the sides of the jacket may help autos from seeing you at night, and a large chest pocket is large enough for handy items too. The best part of the Stio Second Light Alpha jacket, however, is that it is fully reversible. Our test model was a Tap Shoe (black) with a lime-green inner liner. At our local grocery warehouse store, we snagged a few energy bars that were available for taste tests. Then we reversed the jacket, walked back over a few minutes later, and asked for some more. No one suspected a thing and we got an extra protein boost for the day!
In a more serious situation, the brightly colored liner could help you get spotted if you lose your way while on the trail, and the insulation works just as well no matter which way you wear the Second Light Alpha jacket. For spring, the jacket is available in the Tap Shoe and Magnet (medium gray with yellow/orange inner liner). For the adventurous Fresh Air Junkie, that loves to do everything outdoors, the Stio Second Light Alpha jacket is a very capable piece of performance apparel. At a retail price just under $300, the Second Light Alpha can be a staple in your active apparel that works well with your other layers. Unlike other light jackets, however, this is one is comfortable enough to sleep and snuggle in, which may make your outdoor excursion that much more pleasant.
3465 North Pines Way, Suite 106
Wilson, Wyoming 83014
The Stio Second Light Alpha is a performance jacket, perfect for the active outdoor lifestyle, but is also comfortable enough to wear daily. This guy is an avid camper, rock climber, mountain biker and trail runner. The jacket was so comfortable, that he didn’t want to take it off and thought it would be cool to show the jacket standing still.