This year, 509 is allowing me to test the one-piece Stoke shell kit after testing the Allied last year. The Allied was insulated, so I was eager to move on to the benefits of a non-insulated suit.
The Stoke monosuit is a “shell”, which means it is extremely thin and light. If you’re an off-road rider and you’re used to sweating a lot, this is the right thickness for you! However, when the thermometer reads below -10/-15 degrees (depending on wind and cold resistance), you should consider putting on several layers, and even a warmer set. The exception to this rule is if you plan to go off-trail, without much of a break, you will freeze afterwards.
For this season, I’m lucky enough to have the simpler version of the Stoke set. The combination of black and white is great, not to mention that it’s not very messy! However, if like me you enjoy taking pictures of your prowess, expect to blend into the background, even more so if there are trees behind you.
The set has several pockets, including two on the hips and three on the chest (two inside and one outside). Note that my cell phone froze more than usual due to the lack of insulation in one of these pockets. This is not a negative comment, but rather a “good to know” about this type of kit. There is also a small eyelet to hang the snowmobile’s safety cord at belly level. Two huge air vents are also present under the arms.
How to choose
When you first put on the Stoke, you’ll immediately notice that the fit is very snug. If you’re taller than average, or a little overweight, consider going up a size from your usual size. If you’re not sure if you’re going for a fitted or larger size, plan on possibly putting more than one layer underneath.
Special mention to the straps that, once properly adjusted, give me the impression that the suit is a second layer of skin. A clip allows you to hook the two sides of the straps and keep everything in place. Note also that putting on the straps is easy, unlike the Allied which I never used to wear.
If you read my article last year about the Allied set, you may remember that the zippers had some issues. I have good news and bad news for the Stoke. The good: it’s better. The zippers are much smoother and the main one is only in the center of the suit instead of being “offset” for no reason. I’m also much less afraid of breaking them than I was last year. The bad news now: the main zipper is one-sided: there’s no way to “unzip” from the bottom up. If you spend the day in the woods, you’ll quickly realize that it would be quite helpful…
Still on the zipper topic, the zippers on the legs are huge. It is very easy to put on the boots first, then the suit.
My complaint about the Stoke suit is the knee pads. I appreciate that they are present, but they are so thin that they are not only useless, but even diminish the comfort when you are sitting on a snowmobile and have your knees pressed against the side panels. As long as I have this padding, I would rather have nothing to save a few extra grams. If 509 chose to add padding, it would be interesting to add some at the elbows as well.
Overall, the Stoke is an extremely comfortable suit and keeps me dry all day. Its lightness and flexibility allow me to do my moves in comfort. I also used the suit on several occasions: snowshoeing, snow removal, outdoor work. During each of these activities, I forgot that I was wearing a snow suit.
So, if you like your outfit to be fitted and are willing to live with the lack of insulation of a one-piece shell, I highly recommend that you consider the 509 Stoke for your next purchase. Aside from the one-sided zipper and the completely unnecessary knee padding, this one-piece is downright comfortable, well-made, and fun to wear on a ride!
I would like to thank 509 and MSD for dressing me from head to toe for the 2020-2021 season. If you want to buy a Stoke outfit, it’s this way!