509 Stoke Mono Suit Review
So here is my 509 Stoke Mono Suit review!
Like many sledders, I’ve had enough snow shoved down my back over the years to learn that a mono suit is the surefire way to avoid that unpleasant experience. So now with every outerwear manufacturer pumping out onesies to meet that demand, it is past time to see how 509 fares with their mono suits.
Looking for a review of the 509 Allied Mono Suit instead?
509 Stoke Mono Suit Review
Snowproof, Waterproof, Breathable
Let’s get the important stuff out of the way first. How well does the Stoke mono perform at its number one task?
The Stoke mono uses a 20K waterproof, 20K breathable membrane to keep its wearer dry from outside and in. A membrane rating of 20K/20K is good. It’s not the best out there, but is far from the worst, which can be rated as low as 5K for waterproofing and breathability.
The Stoke mono uses a three layer construction, which I like. There’s no loose inner layer of mesh or fabric to add weight or get in the way. Three layer construction also makes it easy to add or remove your own layers of insulation.
On the tag, 509 talks about “Fusion Welded Seams” that are claimed to be “flatter, dryer, with less bulk than normal sewn and seam-taped seams”. I don’t know about all that—they look like they’re taped with the same material as used on the inside of the suit. Anyway, I’m going to chalk this one up to “who cares”, because, really—they’re seams.
In terms of the real-world performance, I worn the suit in warm, heavy snow conditions and felt nary a drop of moisture. I have gotten a little warm at times when working hard to get the sled unstuck, but that’s to be expected—more on the venting situation later.
Long story, short—you’ll be just fine in this gear unless you’re a profuse sweater, or it’s pouring rain (late spring stormy trail ride in Revelstoke anyone?), in which case maybe a garment with a higher waterproof breathability rating might be in order.
The 509 Stoke Mono Suit has a fairly athletic cut. I’m not talking spandex tight, or even high-school levels of trendiness here, but certainly less excessive bagginess than most mono suits out there. This is great because:
- It keeps the weight down
- Less drag when I’m hauling ass down the trail
- Less bulkiness
- I’m agile like a fox
The Stoke Mono Suit XL is just tall enough for my 6’ 3” height (gawd, how many cm is that again? I should know this by now…standby…looking up online conversion…entering info…okay, 190 cm). I do feel a little pulling on the back when I bend fully over at the waist, but this is normal for a guy my height in a mono suit.
This brings me to my next point, which is that the stretchy “5TECH Pro Stretch” fabric actually works! I can feel it stretching when I bend over, preventing me from feeling like I’m being choked out by a mixed martial artist. Great job 509, that fabric is pretty fantastic! Big fan here.
The suspenders in the Stoke Mono Suit are obviously well thought-out. They really nailed the sweet spot in the comfort-functionality-bulkiness triangle.
The shoulder portion of the strap is wide and thin. Both the front and the back of the suspender straps can be adjusted for perfect positioning. The back straps are stretchy, where you need it. There’s an adjustable sternum strap that is small but gets the job done. And the suspenders are completely removable if you don’t want them at all. Nailed it.
This suit has got your venting, alright? Mesh inner thigh zips. Check. Mesh airpit zips. Check. Crotch zipper at the bottom for when things go nuclear? Check.
And every zipper on the Stoke mono is a waterproof YKK coil zipper. You can’t ask for more than that.
Collar and Hood
I personally like the low cut of the Stoke collar, but my Mountain Sledder colleague Sean doesn’t. It’s nice to have full, unrestricted range of movement when I’m wearing a helmet, including the ability to look down and see what I’m doing when it’s time to relieve the ol’ bladder.
But, as Sean would point out, it’s important to wear a neck tube or balaclava or something to provide some insulation or else your neck is going to get cold while you’re whipping down the trail chucking 3″ paddles at 100 km/h.
An additional gusset zipper allows you to expand the collar with an extra stretchy bit of material. This feature is better than it sounds.
The hood on the Stoke Mono Suit is permanent. That’s fine with me because I like to be able to throw up a hood at lunch or break time when it’s snowing. It’s pretty low-profile, and besides I think outerwear without a hood on it looks kinda naked (the weird kind, not the good kind).
I have mixed feelings about the wrist cuffs.
But first, let me applaud 509 for making the sleeves long enough that my gloves don’t pop out when I stretch forward. Thank you!
Another thing I like about the cuffs is the asymmetrical cut. The outer part of the cuff (top of your hand) is longer, which provides more protection from snow getting in. The underside is cut a bit shorter so you can still bend your wrist easily. Neat idea!
On the flip side, I find the cuffs not quite wide enough to get a glove tucked inside as easily as I would like. This gets frustrating when you’re taking gloves on and off regularly throughout the day (for example: eating, taking pictures, firing off satellite messenger t-bombs, etc).
One innovative feature that I wanted to like desperately is the Speed Cinch closure on the wrist cuff. It’s a little cinch buckle that automatically pulls your cuff snug when you’re operating the traditional hook-and-loop closure on the cuff.
This is a pretty genius invention that does a great job of holding your cuff securely closed. And it does work well! My problem with it again goes back to the ease of quickly getting gloves on and off. Once it’s cinched, it does the job so well that it becomes a bit of a pain to get it un-cinched quickly if you’re doing that all the time.
So if you’re the type of rider who isn’t taking your gloves on and off very often throughout the day, you’re going to LOVE the Speed Cinch. It’s just not for me, personally.
The ¾ leg zips are awesome. I don’t understand why they call them ¾ leg zips though, since they go all the way up to my hips. Maybe there are people out there whose legs end at their armpits? Weird, man.
Anyway, I digress, but the reason I like the leg zips so much is that they make it very easy to get boots and knee guards or braces on and off while you’re wearing the mono suit.
The boot gaiters get about a 5 out of 10 for me. Good try with two adjustable sizes and a lace attachment loop, but even the smallest size is too loose for the size my boots. This causes the boot gaiter to stretch and slide up over the back of my boots and let snow in when I’m stomping around in deep stuff (which I like to do).
This has been a problem with just about every pair of pants, bibs or mono I’ve ever tried though. The easy solution is to wrap a ski strap around the gaiter, and they won’t budge all day.
The Stoke mono comes with some little foam pads inserted into the knee area of the legs. For riders who don’t already wear a knee guard, this should do a little bit to take the sting off a knee impact or keep you slightly warmer on the trail.
But I can’t personally tell you how well they work because I wear knee guard protection, so I took the foam out before even trying it. Sorry.
Hey man, if you’ve stuck with this review this far, thanks, you’ve been though a lot. I’m going to keep it short and sweet for some of these next few features, because they’re pretty standard really.
Chest Pockets. There’s one on the outside and one on the inside. They hold stuff.
Thigh Pockets. These are down by where the pockets on your pants are. Also capable of holding things.
Internal phone pocket. This is neat, because you can put your phone in there and the clear material is touchscreen friendly. I typically don’t use these pockets because your phone should be turned off and not close to your avalanche transceiver to prevent interference. But if you’re going for a trail ride and want to jam out to some Jamiroquai, I can see that it would be pretty handy.
Just a couple of last random points here.
The Stoke mono features 600D reinforced panels on the inner boot cuff, where mono suits tend to get into altercations with running boards. That’s really the only place where extra durability is required in my opinion.
And finally, in case you’ve read this entire review wondering but what about a kill switch D-ring?! Does it have one of those?
Yes it does.
Alright, thanks for sticking with this one. It was long, but it was easy to write because the 509 Stoke Mono Suit really surprised me with how good it is.
Perfection doesn’t exist in snowmobile outerwear, but this one is getting pretty close. If the 509 Stoke mono was just a little bit lighter, and a little bit more waterproof and breathable, and the cuffs were a little bit wider, and the boot gaiters were just a little bit more adjustable, it really would be pretty perfect in my book.
In the meantime Stoke mono wearers will certainly be happy with all the upside it does have, including some innovative features like the awesome 5TECH stretchy material and Speed Cinch cuff closures.