OVERVIEW: Another great classic from Mammut! The Stratus…
Fabric: DWR Ripstop Nylon
Fill: 60 g/m MTI Performance
Price Paid: $55
OVERVIEW: Another great classic from Mammut! The Stratus Vest is versatile, packable and warm and one of those gear that grow on you over time as you realize how necessary it is.
Great for when it's not too cold for a full on parka, but fleece or softshells aren't enough after the sunsets. I've carried and used this piece 12 months out of the year and its so light you wont know its in your pack until you need it.
COMPARISONS: This is a one of a kind item and its closest competitor (in the US) is Patagonia's ultra delicate and cute Puffball Vest and North Face's burly Optimus Vest. I've tried out the Puffball Vest and found the Stratus to be more durable and much better fitting (The protective collar of the Stratus zips all the way up to your nose and the hemline can be extended low enough to cover and protect your delicates-The puffball lacked those features).
SIZING NOTE: Mammut's European cut clothing usually tend to fit smallish so I ordered a large and immediately found I needed a medium (which is my normal size).
When the weather heats up this MTI Stratus Vest compresses into the chest pocket and becomes the size of a large apple.
BUYERS NOTE: At a local shop I noticed Mammut updated this vest and the winter 06/07 models where a little thinner and lower quality (loose stitching, cheaper zippers, etc...) than the winter 05/06 model I own. I'm not sure the reason for the downgrade, but now MAMMUT no longer makes the vest so they are now sold online at various dealers for low prices. This is good but be sure to ask what year vest you are getting and remember my review is based on the 05/06 model Stratus Vest.
BOTTOM LINE: Definitely recommend this rare and hard to find item! If you see it on sale anywhere be sure to not pass it over.
Update: October 28, 2007
One great looking vest. Just bought this vest again (my second one) last week from an outlet online dealer. I wore it out on a Schooner transport (sailing) along the Long Island Sound this weekend during a really cold rainstorm (40F w/ strong winds and heavy downpour) and it kept me reasonably warm under my disapointingly thin Patagonia Supercell Jacket. I was very impressed since we were exposed to the elements for over 24 hrs. Apparently, MAMMUT redesigned the Stratus line for the 2007/2008 winter season (shown in the picture here) and updated this vest as well.
And it is designed to fit more athletic and slimmer cut. But the high collar still comes up to your nose and ears and the flexible hemline (covers your butt when not cinched up) is still protective as before. So its all good. The newer vest feels lighter as if there is less insulation inside but the warmth is the same as before. Also the DWR Nylon shell is very water repellant and resistant.
I also like that the new colors MAMMUT picked for the new line are finally modern. Gone are the bright blues, neon oranges/greens and now the Stratus Line comes in black, dark blues, reds, and grays.
My only complaints are the zipper on the chest pocket (which is also the stuff/stow-it pocket) is really big relative to their other zippers. I know it's nitpicking but it feels odd every time you reach for that zipper.
Another more serious concern is the cheap stitching that MAMMUT seems to implement on their products. This is the second item I own that the stitching seem to come loose on its own. After the first day out I noticed a few threads come loose on the hemline creating a little opening there. The damage could also be a result of the vest being put to very rough use the first time out. However, I went over the rest of the vest and saw everything else was well stitched.
Other than that minor mishap everything is perfect with the Stratus Vest for both function and style and I plan on picking up some more items from MAMMUT. I think the Extreme Logan GTX Proshell will work nice with this vest.