“Stoic” is the house brand of Backcountry.com. I can’t say I frequently buy house brands for a variety of reasons, but I’m learning Stoic is one brand I can have faith in.
As with a lot of online retailers in the middle of summer, Backcountry.com is making room for their new fall lines of merchandise. This means 2011/2012 gear can be purchased far less expensively. One of Backcountry.com’s sister sites, which often has better selection and cheaper prices, is DepartmentofGoods.com. In mid-May, I noticed several pieces of down gear were on sale and thought I’d take a look.
What I found were three very nice garments made of 850-fill goose down with a Pertex shell. If you’re a lightweight backpacker, these materials should immediately draw your attention as often they are only used by those willing to charge you a premium price.
Hadron Down Vest (6.8oz/$45)
Hadron Down Anorak (8oz/$69)
Hadron Down Cardigan (7oz/$55)
Taking a hard look at them, it was clear designers thought long and hard about making a good product. Design is roomier, like most American products (and unlike European products…Montbell, Westcomb, Rab, etc.). Each features a nice waist drawstring and a slight drop tail which I’ve always found worthwhile. Stitching is tight and down is consistently filled throughout. Materials are extremely appealing and superfluous features are kept to a minimum. For example, only the vest has a full zipper. I think my only gripe is that the cuffs on the Anorak and Cardigan are gigantic and unnecessary, although no doubt would aid in keeping the user warm.
Because this is a year-end sale, colors aren’t great, but I don’t find them to be bad either. I had ordered all three garments in a green color. I ended up with two which were green and the vest was an eggplant color. It was discouraging to not get exactly what I wanted, but the eggplant isn’t bad enough to remotely care. Besides, I’ve never been a leader in fashion and thus far the trees haven’t complained.
I’m really quite happy with these purchases because each item is really top notch for a great price. When I compared the weights, materials and fill to other major brands, I noted that these items were comparable or arguably better. I also like the fact that Backcountry.com sends each item in its own biodegradable bag with drawstring. It’s a nice touch.
Consequently, if you’re in the market for a Pertex/down sleeping bag, check out the Stoic Somous 30 (19oz/$224). The Stoic Merino 150 Bliss ($34) is also a nice lightweight merino wool summer shirt with a great deep zippered collar for venting and chest pocket.
This sale won’t last forever and colors and sizes are limiting with each day, but take a look.