Expert Review: Dakine Men's Stoker GORE-TEX 3L Shell Jacket
This review is my honest opinion of the jacket, which I purchased with my own money in February of 2022.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the jacket, which I purchased with my own money in February of 2022.
The Dakine Stoker GORE-TEX 3L shell jacket is perfect for backcountry riders who want reliable simplicity and purpose-built functionality. Hardcore resort riders will also be able to appreciate the layering versatility one gets with this uninsulated, GORE-TEX shell jacket.
About the jacket I own
- Brand: Dakine
- Model: Men's Stoker GORE-TEX 3L Shell Jacket
- Size Fit: Runs true to size; I have very broad shoulders, so I had to size one up to XL
- Height: 5’5”
- Weight: 185 lbs
- Experience: 28 years of snowboarding
- When I bought this: February 2022
- Days tested: 28
- Where I’ve used it: Mt. Bachelor, Anthony Lakes, Elkhorn Mountains, backcountry, OR.
- Conditions I’ve used it in: Deep snow, extreme cold, warm spring, backcountry, pretty much everything
How it performs
What I was looking for
I was tired of swamp undercarriage when on my splitboard, and I needed the versatility that a high-quality, uninsulated GORE-TEX shell offers. I spend a lot of my time going uphill, so I need to be able to strip all the way down to the shell to keep from overheating, as well as being able to layer underneath for rapidly changing weather conditions.
Why I chose this gear
I chose the Stoker because I’ve been using Dakine products for almost 30 years and they have always met or exceeded my high expectations. I'm hard on my gear, and I use it alot. I’m also a bit of a penny pincher and expect my gear to last for many years. Dakine has always delivered on these expectations.
What I love about it
- Fit: The fit is relaxed but not too baggy. This makes for a great range of movement without any hangups. It also allows easy layering for changing conditions.
- Range of Motion: Mobility with this jacket is great. The contoured seams on the arms make for a comfortable and natural-feeling range of motion.
- Design: The pockets are the correct size for the items I need in the backcountry. I can’t stand the look or the feel of oversized pockets. Cuffs articulate well; hood has great adjustability; everything functions like it is supposed to.
- Style: Definitely a relaxed feel, but it’s not baggy. This jacket hangs nicely. Though one thing I would love to see is more color options. The stoker is limited on that front.
- Quality of Materials: The materials have a high-quality look and feel. But more importantly they are tough and do their job well.
- Durability: This jacket has held up well to dozens of days of hard use. I haven’t ripped a single stitch to date. Dakine offers a 10-year, limited-lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects within the normal scope of use.
- Pockets: There is a left-hand chest (device) pocket and two lap pockets, plus internal stretch-mesh stash pockets.
- Breathability: This jacket breathes like a long-distance runner. The 3L GORE-TEX fabric is science that works, and the un-lined underarm vents help in extreme swamp situations. This jacket really lets the vapor out.
- Waterproofing: The waterproofing has worked wonderfully. It is also easily reactivated in the dryer!
- Weight: Very lightweight and packable. I wear the Dakine Poacher RAS 42L bag, and this jacket fits very easily into the padded back panel pocket with the right folding.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Features: I don’t like the complete absence of mesh lining in the armpit vents. I understand the logic of having easier operation of the vents by eliminating extra fabric to get caught in the zipper, but I still like to have the option to open my vents without letting in all of the snow. I would also love to see the integration of a RECCO tag, since they cost almost nothing and add almost no weight.
- Warmth: It’s a shell, so layering is mandatory. I always have a good smartwool base layer and a wool-blend hoodie for a mid layer. It’s very rare that I will wear this jacket solo.
Favorite moment with this gear
This jacket really shines in the backcountry. I love that I can bring a couple layering options and be ready for any kind of weather that might creep up on me. I’ve had days where we started at four a.m. with 2℉ weather; then to have the temp shoot up to 45℉ and sunny by summit time—and I never felt uncomfortably hot or cold. This jacket lets me roll with all the punches.
Value for the money vs. other options
This is a bang-for-your-buck, backcountry GORE-TEX jacket that will provide complete versatility and all necessary features. I won’t find many other jackets this tough and well-built in the price range, the only other jacket I would recommend in this lane would be the Burton AK GORE-TEX 3L stretch hover jacket.
I am very happy that I purchased the Dakine Stoker jacket. It allows me the versatility I need for backcountry snowboarding and has all of my favorite features that I look for in a jacket.