The Skycrest Insulated Snap Shirt and Stio Dulcet Soft Shell Pant have carried me through the coldest days of fall riding and will serve as an essential warm layer for winter commutes, mountain bike rides and cross country skiing.
There are so many options when it comes to lightweight synthetic-insulated jackets, but I found the Stio Skycrest Insulated Snap Shirt to offer a great balance of a performance and casual aesthetic. I’ve been wearing this jacket everywhere.
The Skycrest has the style of a button-down shirt in jacket form, offering a loose fit, snap front and a relaxed hem. The snap front and unfitted hem makes this jacket a good fit on the bike, providing plenty of air circulation. Between the jacket’s 60 gram insulation and windproof nylon, it had to be quite cold to wear this on a ride. As a performance piece, the Skycrest felt comfortable on an overcast 30-degree day or cooler. In a casual setting, I’ve worn the jacket into the 50s.
Synthetic insulation has several advantages over a fowl-based insulator: it’s water resistant, fast drying and less expensive. While synthetic jackets won’t pack as small as down, they’re quite compressible. I packed the Skycrest in a 4.5- by 8-inch stuff sack, and it could pack even smaller.
Both the Skycrest Shirt and Dulcet Pants have a DWR finish, helping them tolerate wet weather. Other details are loose-fitting elastic cuffs that can be pulled over your gloves to trap heat, and generous fleece-lined hand pockets. I don’t ever put anything in chest pockets, but these flap pockets are large enough to fit an iPhone 6.
I’m drawn to clothing that isn’t overly branded and there’s no text on the front of the Skycrest. You’ll find the Stio pinecone logo embroidered on the back and a small Stio tag stitched in the side seam.
The Skycrest Insulated Snap Shirt is available in Black Iris, Biking Red and Dresden Blue. Available in sizes XS-XL for $155.
Temperature management is one of the biggest challenges of riding through the winter. While a pair of waterproof, breathable rain pants offers excellent weather protection, they’re often too warm outside of all but the worst conditions. A soft shell pant is more versatile because it turns some weather, but offers far more breathability for most riding.
The Dulcet Soft Shell Pants are made of water-repellent nylon with a brushed interior. They have a skinny fit, a long cut and generous stretch. These pants are unlined which makes them suitable in a broad range of temperatures. I like keeping my legs on the warm side, so I comfortably wore the Dulcet pants over cycling shorts up into the low 50s. Doubling up over long underwear takes a little effort due to the slim fit and textured interior but the ankle zippers facilitate that by offering a wide leg opening. It’s like putting on snow pants; tuck your long underwear into your socks.
I often commute in hiking boots throughout the winter and the Dulcet’s long length and zippered ankle worked great for trapping my boot laces.
Unlike pockets on the average women’s skinny pants, these are large enough to use! My entire hand fits inside, so they’ll easily carry the essentials. The YKK pocket zippers have a catch preventing them for coming open; it’s a slight lift and pull motion to release the zipper.
The Dulcet Pant can be worn multiple days without washing. The water resistance allows mud to be wiped clean with a damp cloth. Stio recommends these pants be washed cold and dried on low. Drying is one way to to freshen up the pants DWR coating. Take a look at REI’s suggestions for keeping a DWR performing its best.
The Dulcet Soft Shell Pant comes in two colors: Tap Shoe (black) and Fallen Rock (tan). These pants hit below the natural waistline, but run true to the hip measurement. Available in sizes 2-12 for $150.
More info: stio.com
We recently published other reviews of women’s cycling clothing, including a technical hoody and cycling tights from Pearl Izumi, bibs and a wool jersey from Svelte London, and an insulated vest from Giro. Check them out!