Giro Stow

Giro Stow

Words & Photos by Seve Mustone

When I first received the Giro Stow jacket for testing, I was incredibly stoked. A waterproof jacket that looks good and packs away into a tiny size? Sign me up. I’ve personally been on the lookout for a quality riding jacket for years but I’ve never found anything that I deemed perfect. With the extremely wet winter that Santa Cruz has had, I knew I had perfect conditions to put the Stow to the test. Let’s get into the details and see how this little unit handled the wet, coastal winter.

The Lab

Initial impressions left me excited to test the jacket in some nasty conditions. I really enjoyed the no-nonsense, subdued black styling, reflective highlights, and material. The Stow is made of 100% nylon with full DWR waterproofing coating and has a nice soft interior collar.

Giro Stow

In terms of feel, the jacket is very thin but definitely gives a feeling of durability and rip resistance. It’s made of a rip-stop material which also gives the jacket a cool look and texture. It also features a quality zipper that still has not jammed on me once, which is impressive considering the amount of crap that’s been hurled at it.

When going over the specifications for the Stow, it’s clear that the jacket is a technically sound product. It does exactly what it promises very well. The Giro Stow is a solid emergency or packable lightweight outer-layer that protects against rain, cold, and wind effectively. Beyond that, it packs into an extremely small package and easily stashes into a riding bag.

The cut of the jacket is decent and offers plenty of room to move around while riding. I’m a medium shirt size but always wear a large jacket and I found that the large version of the Stow fit me well. The sleeves also have elastic closures that wrap around your wrist comfortably. The bottom of the jacket even has an adjustable hem so it can be cinched around your waist.

Giro Stow

The Dirt

I was given the perfect conditions to test the Stow. From soaking wet weekend rides in Santa Cruz to mudfests in San Luis Obispo, I felt like I was constantly reaching to get the Stow out of my pack. My under layers and skin never got wet while I was wearing the jacket, which is a great compliment to its capabilities as a barrier jacket. Beyond the moisture protection, I was continually struck by how durable the coat’s materials were after regularly brushing against bushes and rocks.

I did have a few issues with the Stow however. I noticed that while riding downhill the wind would easily get caught in the jacket. This could have been fixed with a cinch around the neck area or additional thought to how rider position would affect the coat’s performance at higher speeds. It’s possible that this could have been due to me wearing a size large, but it seemed to be more of an overarching issue with its design rather than fit.

My biggest issue with the Stow jacket is its lack of breathability. I found it extremely hot to wear while riding as it only has two small vents at the tail end of the jacket. The elastic wrist closures trap heat very easily and quickly become uncomfortable. That being said, this is a windproof shell and it’s job is to stop airflow and keep the rider warm in a lightweight and thin package. It does this well and at an affordable price.

Giro Stow

The Wolf’s Last Word

I found that the Stow is a good contender for an emergency rain layer that can live in your car, pack, or wherever. It is worth reminding you this is not designed to be a full time riding jacket as it lacks the breathability of soft shell jackets with more ventilation. It is however, a great option for a windproof shell that packs up neatly. I look forward to keeping my Stow on hand for mid-temperature rides where the descents are a bit chilly or a rainstorm may arise.

Price: $80.00;

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