Best Winter Vests 2021 (Helpful Family Guide)

Best Winter Vests 2021

Last updated on Mar 11, 2021

The winter season can be unpredictable, with one day where it's freezing, and the next, it becomes a lot warmer in just a few hours. This is where winter vests come in handy.

The right winter vest can give you that quick insulation boost without overheating or restricting your arms' movements. It is also flexible enough to be added to a layering system for extra protection. There are many vests out there with different styles and features, like puffer vests, hooded vests, insulated vests, and so on. That is why we've put together a list of the best winter vests so that you can pick what works best for you.

Best winter vest: our quick answer

Go to Comparison Table

Best overall vest

1. The North Face 1996 Retro Nuptse Vest

The North Face 1996 Retro Nuptse Vest

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material: Polyester, Nylon (Machine Wash)

Weight: 17.1 Oz

Insulation: 700-Fill Goose Down

One of the warmest and most notable winter vests on our list is the North Face 1996 Retro Nuptse Vest. It is guaranteed to keep you cozy through chilly winter days. It is a classic design that is built for both mountain and city life.

What we like

What we like about the 1996 Retro Nuptse vest is that it is loaded with 700-fill goose down to provide lightweight insulation through a wide range of temperatures. The North Face also created a Responsible Down Standard to ensure that their down comes from animals that were not harmed in the process, and added a traceability system for you to validate the source of down in their product.
The 1996 Nuptse vest features an exterior with large baffles for that classic retro look. It is composed of a shiny ripstop fabric in order to withstand daily wear and tear, and a DWR coating to aid in repelling water and other liquids. Additionally, it has a storable hood that packs into the collar, insulated hand pockets with zipper closures, an internal zippered stash pocket, a VISLON® YKK center front zip, and the hem has bungee cords to cinch it tighter and keep the cold air out. With all these features, this warm vest will surely swaddle you comfortably throughout the day.

What we don't like

What we do not like about the 1996 Nuptse vest is that it is extra puffy and the boxy design is not really a good option for extreme climbing or other intense alpine adventures, because it tends to run large, and can thus restrict your movements. However, the overall fit provides comfort and warmth. With all that being said, this down vest is available in men's and women's sizes. It is a good option and can withstand cold weather conditions. It is best used for daily trips, as a mid-layer for harsh winter days, and is also adequate for cold-weather hiking.


 

Best Vest for Kids

2. Columbia Boys Powder Lite Puffer Vest

Columbia Boys Powder Lite Puffer Vest

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material: Shell: 100% Polyester, Lining: 100% Nylon (Machine Wash)

Weight: Approx. 8 oz.

Insulation: 150g Polyester Faux Down

This cold-weather vest from Columbia is designed for kids who love to play outdoors and provides a comfortable range of movements.

What we like about the Powder Lite puffer vest is that it is filled with synthetic down insulation, which will retain its insulation. Even when wet, it dries quickly and is more resistant to moisture.

The vest is composed of a water-resistant fabric called ‘Storm-Lite DP I,' that will shed off any liquids and stains, which means that it is also very easy to clean. The vest is lined with 210T nylon taffeta fabric to make it tougher and more durable. It also features fleece-lined hand pockets, a front zipper closure, and a reflective detail that stands out. This vest has great texture and a trendy design. It is also very packable, which is good for traveling.

What we don't like about the Powder Lite vest is that the sizing is a bit small and long for children with an average body type. Although, you should always remember to measure correctly and double-check the size chart for a more accurate fit.

In general, this winter vest for kids is a good option for snow plays and chilly hikes.


 

3. Under Armour Girls' Squad Vest

Under Armour Girls' Squad Vest

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material: 100% Polyester (Machine Wash)

Weight: Approx. 4.5 oz

Insulation: N/A

This Squad vest from Under Armour has a nice sleek design, is quite portable, and will not take a lot of baggage space.

What we like about the Under Armour Squad vest is that it is not puffy or bulky. In fact, it has a loose fit for optimum comfort and unrestricted mobility. The fabric is constructed with 100% polyester, which utilizes a moisture transport system and wicks away perspiration from the body, then transports it to the surface and evaporates. This vest features a color block design, a short drop tail, an attached hood, and a full front-zip closure that comes with a wind guard and zipper garage. It is water-resistant and has a soft, brushed interior liner that traps heat for that all-day warmth and comfort.

What we don't like about this cold weather kids' vest is that it runs a bit large and does not come in a lot of colors for kids to choose from. But in general, this is an affordable vest, which is sufficient to be added to a layering system, and flexible enough for short hikes and winter walks.


 

4. Mallimoda Boys Girls Lightweight Down Vest Puffer

Mallimoda Boys Girls Lightweight Down Vest Puffer

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material: 100% Polyester (Hand Wash and Dry Clean)

Weight: Approx. 8 oz

Insulation: Down

Mallimoda is a European trademark that mostly manufactures casual wear and outerwear for women and children. Although it is not a household name, their products are beautifully made and fashionable.

What we like about this kid's vest from Mallimoda is that it can be used for both indoor and outdoor activities, whether for a day at school or a cold-weather adventure. This is one of the best down vests for children as it will provide them warmth and comfort throughout the spring, autumn, and warm winter seasons. It can also be added to a layering system for colder winter days. It features a full front button closure, hand patch pockets, and a high neck design for keeping the cold out and for extra protection.

What we don't like about this Mallimoda down vest is that the button closure is not very durable, so you have to be careful when snapping it on and off. It may also run a bit large for toddlers, but overall, this is a good lightweight and affordable option that suits winter school days, and is very packable when travelling.


 

Best vest for women

5. The North Face Junction Vest

The North Face Junction Vest

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material: 100% recycled polyester

Weight: 10.32 oz

Insulation: 100 g Heatseeker™ Eco

The Junction vest is one of the more sustainable options from the North Face brand. It is designed simply, but with sufficient features that make it versatile enough for a wide range of weather conditions.

What we like about the Junction vest is that it is made with recycled polyester. This polyester is constructed with the same material that is used in plastic bottles, which is recycled and reused instead of being dumped on a landfill. The lining, solid print, and heather are all made of recycled polyester with a durable water-repellent (DWR) finish. Besides, this vest is filled with 100g of Heatseeker Eco insulation, a high-performance, hypoallergenic, and tough insulation that is also made of recycled polyester fiber. The Junction vest features a high collar for additional warmth and protection, a zip-up front closure, and zippered hand pockets, all of which utilize durable VISLON® zippers from the YKK Fastening Products Group. This sustainable vest is suitable for cold-weather activities and will provide additional warmth when added to a layering system.

What we don't like about this cold weather vest is that it is a bit thin. However, this can mean that it is very packable and lightweight for traveling. This North Face Junction vest is a sustainable option for light winter activities as it is water-resistant, provides ample warmth, and fits true to size.


 

6. Columbia Women's Heavenly Vest

Columbia Women's Heavenly Vest

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material: 100% Polyester

Weight: Approx. 14 oz

Insulation: Synthetic Down

The Columbia Heavenly vest for women is designed with a body-skimming fit that does not cling and will not restrict any movement. It is a stylish vest that you can pair with any pants or leggings and can be easily layered over sweaters or underneath jackets.

What we like about the Heavenly vest is that its synthetic down insulation is combined with Omni-Heat thermal reflective technology to provide warmth to your core. Its inner lining is comprised of a metallic dot pattern to retain heat while the breathable fabric works to wick moisture away from the body and evaporates through the outer fabric. The shell of the vest is Storm-Lite DP 100% Polyester, where the water beads and rolls off, making it resistant to water.

This heavenly vest features two zippered hand pockets, a hidden stash pocket in the interior, a front zipper closure, and a classy lined full collar that goes high enough for extra warmth around the neck and is flexible enough to lay flat. It also has contoured torso seams that give this vest a very athletic vibe and a sleek look.

What we don't like about the Columbia Heavenly vest is that the amount of insulation is thin and is not suitable for wearing alone when it gets a lot colder. However, Columbia made the outer shell a little bit thicker so it blocks the cold wind and allows your core to stay warm. The inner lining also adds to the warmth but hinders its breathability.

In conclusion, this Heavenly outer vest is a lightweight option that will give you a very stylish look, will add warmth to your layering system, and will also be comfortable during winter walks or for running errands.


 

7. Kari Traa Women's Rothe Vest

Kari Traa Women's Rothe Vest

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material: 100% Polyester (Machine Wash)

Weight: Unavailable

Insulation: Duck Down

Kari Traa is a champion freestyle skier who won several Olympic medals. Her hobbies include knitting beanies and customizing her own ski attire. Using her passion, she decided to turn her skills into a business in 2002, and so Kari Traa was born — a brand for girls, by girls.

What we like about the Kari TraaRothe Vest is that it can keep you warm during cold weather temperatures. Its insulation ratio is 60/40 down, which means that you'll stay comfortable at around 3 to 4°C. For extremely cold temperatures, you can layer this over a sweater or underneath your winter jacket. It features a fixed hood for extra protection and is wide enough for wearing a beanie. The collar is also high enough to add warmth and protect your neck from the elements. It also has hand warming pockets, a back placket that comes with a zip garage, a ribbed hem, and is equipped with YKK zippers.

The Rothe vest has a stylish printed inner lining and it is designed with a slightly long and slim fit, making it snug and comfortable.

What we don't like about the Rothe vest is that it may run a little bit small for women with larger physiques, which means it can restrict movement and there will be no adequate space for layering underneath. We are also not quite sure whether you will love the main front zipper that goes all the way up, past the mouth and up to the nose. Although it can keep you warm during hikes and long runs, most people might feel that it's too much.

All in all, this Kari TraaRothe vest does a good job at keeping you warm and has a stylish look that most women will love. Plus, it is lightweight enough for outdoor activities.


 

Best vest for men

8. Arc'teryx Men's Atom LT Vest

Arc'teryx Men's Atom LT Vest

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material: 100% Nylon (Machine Wash)

Weight: 5 to 8 oz

Insulation: Coreloft™ Synthetic Insulation

One of the best insulated men's vests was designed by Arc'teryx. This vest is very versatile. It can be used as a winter work vest for the office or cold-weather runs, and is excellent for all-day wear while hiking.

What we like about the Atom LT vest is that it is very lightweight. Indeed, it just weighs around 5 ounces in small size and up to 8 ounces in men's large size. It gives a snug fit over a base layer and has fleece-lined stretch panels on the sides for extra layering underneath. It can also be compressed into its own pocket and is small enough not to take up too much space in your backpack. The Atom LT features Coreloft insulation, which is made up of synthetic fibers and offers warmth while being breathable. It is also quick drying and compressible. The outer shell is constructed with a ripstop nylon fabric that stretches and adds to its flexibility. The outer layer is also water-resistant due to its Tyono 20 face fabric that is treated with DWR finish. Besides, the stretch side panels are made with Polartec Power Stretch with fleece lining for insulation enhancement and for allowing a wide range of movements, making this vest suitable for any strenuous activities.

This men's winter vest features fleece-lined zip pockets, an inner pocket, and an insulated baffle to prevent cold spots. It also comes with a collar that has a fleece backing for additional warmth, and an elasticized hem and armholes to minimize the loss of heat and to keep the cold air out.

What we do not like about the Arc'teryx Atom LT vest is that the YKK zip does not lock and tends to slip down whenever it's only zipped halfway. Plus, the inner pocket zip is not reversible and may be tricky to open and close. Additionally, its collar is hard to keep down when unzipped.

All in all, this is still one of the better choices for men's outdoor vests as it has a simple design, and is lightweight and packable enough for travelling.


 

9. The North Face ThermoBall Eco Vest

The North Face ThermoBall Eco Vest

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material: 100% Polyester

Weight: 14.1 oz

Insulation: SyntheticPrimaloftThermoball Eco

The North Face ThermoBall Eco is one of the best men's vests on the market. Its design has recently been updated, and being eco-friendly makes it even more outstanding.

What we like about the ThermoBall Eco vest is that it uses 100% post-consumer recycled polyester for its insulation. The fibers in this type of insulation mimic goose and duck down, but trap heat efficiently without adding weight. Its insulation is equivalent to a 600-down fill power, which means that this synthetic alternative can keep you warm during cold winter days. Additionally, it retains its insulation even when wet. Its outer shell is made with durable nylon and polyester, which is treated with a DWR coating. It can withstand daily wear and tear and is resistant to water and stains.

Besides, this vest features an exposed Vislon center front zip, an internal chest pocket and covered hand pockets with zipper closures, and a hem cinch-cord for adjusting the fit. It is very warm, comfortable, and surprisingly compressible, contrary to most synthetic insulated vests. Thus, this vest can be packed down into its own pocket. It can be used as an outer vest during fall and spring, and as a mid-layer for activities you engage in under harsher winter temperatures.

What we do not like about the ThermoBall Eco is that it is a bit heavy and is not really suitable for the backcountry. Although it does not have a lot of features, this vest is still one of the best winter vests to add to your layering system. Plus, it is eco-friendly and warm enough for outdoor use.


 

10. Marmot Men's Zeus Vest

Marmot Men's Zeus Vest

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material: 100% Polyester (Machine Wash)

Weight: 10.01 oz

Insulation: Goose Down

The Marmot brand has been around since 1974, and was founded in Colorado by a local resident and two university students who all desired to make their own equipment for mountaineering. Marmot is now globally distributed and is one of the most reliable brands for outdoor gears.

What we like about the Marmot Zeus vest is that it is insulated with high-quality goose down that has an 800 fill power and is treated with Down Defender. This Marmot Down Defender offers extra moisture protection. Indeed, it stays dry 10 times longer and dries 30% faster than untreated down. This treatment is said to be so durable that it allows the down to repel water for over 20 washes. It also helps to prevent the down from losing its loft, thus increasing the vest's ability to keep you warm and comfortable, and making it last longer. The vest is also packable so you can stuff it in its own pocket.

Other features of the Marmot Zeus vest include zippered hand and interior pockets, an elastic drawcord hem for a more secure fit, and a collar that rises up to the chin for full neck warmth and protection.

What we don't like about the Zeus vest is that the hand pockets do not have any fleece lining, which can be a good feature for keeping the hands warm, especially on colder days. Although the down fill on the outer fabric of the pockets provides adequate warmth, having fleece-lined pockets would be better. There is also a flap on these pockets that may get caught in the zipper if you are not careful. Other than that, this insulated men's vest is great for layering, is very packable, and light enough for hikes and trips.


 

Best Heavy Winter Vest

11. Filson Down Cruiser Vest

Filson Down Cruiser Vest

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material: 100% cotton shell; 100% nylon lining (Spot Clean)

Weight: 30 oz

Insulation: Goose Down

The Filson brand, or the C.C Filson, was founded in Washington in 1897. The founder moved to Seattle, Washington, in the 1890s to open a small loggers' outfitting store, and then ventured to make clothing and blankets for the influx of consumers who passed through Seattle to Klondike Gold Rush. After the gold rush ended, the company shifted to supplying gear for outdoor activities. The Filson Down Cruiser vest is one of their heavy winter vests as part of their line of ultra-premium products.

What we like about the Down Cruiser vest is that it is well-built and functional. It is filled with ethically-sourced and traceable 650-fill goose down. The shell is made of Filson's Oil Finish Cover Cloth, and the pockets and lower back are reinforced with Oil Finish Shelter Cloth, which is 100% cotton that is densely-woven and soaked in a paraffin-based wax. This material makes the vest more wind-resistant and water-repellent, and able to withstand daily wear and tear. This heavy winter vest weighs around 30 ounces and features a ripstop-nylon lining with mechanical stretch, a button-front closure that comes with a standing collar, and a drop-tail hem for extra coverage. It also comes with flannel-lined handwarmer pockets, snap-flap chest pockets, and a slotted utility chest pocket. This vest can be worn on its own in cooler temperatures or underneath a jacket when it gets a lot colder.

What we do not like about Filson's Down Cruiser vest is that it is a bit bulky and therefore does not pack very well. You also cannot wash it in the machine because it breaks down the Oil Finish. You cannot professionally dry clean it or spot clean it with soap and water either, as the vest may lose its water-repellency or change colors. It is recommended to wipe clothing made with this type of fabric with a damp cloth or brush away the dirt with a scrub brush.

Overall, this Down Cruiser is a good outer vest for camping, walking around town, snowshoeing, and is suitable enough as a winter work vest because of its durable fabric construction and its plentiful pockets.


 

Best vest for winter work

For office:

12. Smartwool Hudson Trail Fleece Vest

Smartwool Hudson Trail Fleece Vest

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material: 45% Polyester, 45% Wool, 5% Nylon, 5% Other Fibers (Machine Wash)

Weight: 12.6 oz

Insulation: 45% recycled wool

Another Smartwool product on our list is the Hudson Trail Fleece vest. Smartwool mainly uses treated merino wool for its products, and is marketed as performance apparel.

What we like about the Hudson Trail vest is that it is composed of merino wool with fleece integration, making it stylish and warm enough for the cold weather. The recycled wool fleece is soft against the skin and keeps you insulated. It is odor-resistant and has antimicrobial properties, so it will not require as much washing. Besides, this vest features two front pockets with welts covering the opening of each pocket, and a zippered chest pocket.

This vest is versatile and roomy enough for layering in colder temperatures, but is also slim enough and suitable for winter errands, to wear at the office, or even just to walk around town.

What we don't like about the Smartwool Hudson Trail Fleece vest is that the wool in its fabric construction is only 45 percent. Wool is best for warmth and durability, so most may expect more wool in this vest.

Overall, this winter vest has a casual look for indoor and outdoor ventures, is lightweight and not bulky, and is quite warm and comfortable.


 

For outdoor work:

13. Carhartt Men's Duck Vest Arctic Quilt Lined V01

Carhartt Men’s Duck Vest Arctic Quilt Lined V01

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material: 100% ring-spun cotton duck (Machine Wash)

Weight: 15 oz

Insulation: Synthetic Polyester

The Carhartt brand has been one of the most respected manufacturers of American workwear. The company is family-owned and was founded in 1889 in Michigan. They are known for using robust fabrics and for their high-quality construction. The V01 Duck vest is one of their rugged quilt-lined arctic vests.

What we like about the Carhartt V01 Duck vest is that its shell is forged with a tough ring-spun cotton duck fabric along with Carhartt's warmest arctic-weight synthetic insulation, making this vest excellently durable and warm. It is also wind-resistant and water-repellent.
The vest features heavy-duty triple stitched seams, a drop tail, two large front pockets, and an inner pocket with hook and loop closure. It also has a brass center-front zipper that is big enough to work with gloves on. This main zipper closure has an inside storm flap for preventing cold spots.

The vest also features a 100% nylon quilted polyester lining and rib-knit collar to make it a great layer underneath your jackets and coats. Furthermore, this vest also has elastic side tabs at the waist and a kidney flap. The Carhartt V01 Duck vest will surely be your go-to workwear for outdoors during winter. It will keep you warm and will not restrict your movements. It is made with quality materials that are durable enough to withstand work elements.

What we do not like about this vest is that it is a bit stiff and needs time for breaking in. If you want to break in your vest faster, Carhartt suggests trying to wash it a few times following their care instructions, without using bleach or fabric softener. This vest is also designed for repeated treatment after subsequent washings to maintain its water-repellency.

Overall, this winter work vest is one of the best options for working outdoors. It is tough and rugged and offers adequate features for workwear.


 

Best vest under $100

14. Therm Kids Hydracloud Puffer Vest

Therm Kids Hydracloud Puffer Vest

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material: 100% Nylon Shell; 100% Recycled Polyester Lining (Machine Wash)

Weight: 6 oz

Insulation: Ultra-fine Poly Padding

The Therm brand was founded in 2015 in New Zealand. It is committed to producing quality and functional outdoor gear for kids. Their mission is to make versatile products that are suitable enough for a wide range of outdoor adventures.

What we like about the Hydracloud puffer vest is that it has a waterproof nylon outer shell with a 3,500mm rating, which means that it can resist heavy rain and light to substantial snow. Its yoke is constructed with a 100% recycled polyester Bedford shell that has a 10,000mm rating for waterproofness and wind-resistance. This vest is insulated with ultra-fine polyester padding and soft mesh lining that are comfortable and soft against the skin, thus providing warmth and breathability.

The Hydracloud also features front zipper closures, zippered pockets with fleece lining, reflective details on the front and back, and a high collar for extra protection and warmth.

This vest appeals to a lot of parents because of the sustainable materials in its construction, such as the rPET fabric that is produced from 100% recycled plastic. This fabric construction makes this vest durable and surprisingly comfortable.

What we do not like about this puffer vest is that it only comes in two colors—deep violet and navy blue. A lot of kids like to choose brightly-colored clothing, and for picky dressers, this might not be a good option. However, this is one of the most eco-friendly choices for a kid's winter vest. Plus, it is warm and extremely resistant to wind and water, which is perfect for snow plays and winter outdoor activities.


 

15. Columbia Women's McKay Lake Down Puffer Vest

Columbia Women's McKay Lake Down Puffer Vest

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material: 100% Polyester (Machine Wash)

Weight: 8 oz

Insulation: Duck Down

The Columbia Women's McKay Lake is one of the most affordable women's winter vests on our list. It is manufactured by a reputable company that has been creating innovative outdoor equipment since 1938.

What we like about the Mckay Lake vest is that it is equipped with Columbia's Heat Seal technology, which eliminates baffled stitches to prevent cold spots and to seal in warmth. The filling consists of 80% duck down and 20% duck feather that is RDS certified, which means that the down and feathers are from animals that were not harmed in the process. The insulation has 650-fill power, which is considered good quality to provide you warmth throughout the day. The shell and lining are 100% Polyester, making the vest lightweight and water-resistant.

The McKay Lake vest features a front zip closure, chin guard, zippered hand pockets, and a binding at the armhole and hem to ensure zero cold spots. It is designed to have a body-skimming fit with plenty of room for layers underneath and has an adequate length that does not restrict any movements.

What we do not like about the Columbia Women's Mckay Lake puffer vest is that it does not come in a lot of colors. Plus, it has a body-skimming fit so it may run small for most, especially for full-figured women. Other than that, this vest is a good purchase for women who want something lightweight and not bulky that provides optimum warmth for cold days.


 

16. Caterpillar Men's Arctic Zone Vest

Caterpillar Men's Arctic Zone Vest

Click to view on amazon.com.

Material: 100% Polyester (Machine Wash)

Weight: 9 oz

Insulation: Synthetic Polyester

The Caterpillar brand (CAT) is a California-based, Fortune 100 corporation founded in 1925. It started as a tractor company and sold machinery and engines and is now known to be the world's largest construction equipment manufacturer. To this day, they also sell clothing and workwear boots.

What we like about the Caterpillar Arctic Zone vest is that it is insulated with heavy-weight polyester insulation and polyester lining. Its outer layer is constructed with micro-peach polyester fabric with a water-resistant finish, making this vest durable enough to withstand cold and wet weather. This vest is built with a front zip closure that has an inside storm flap and beard guard. It also features inner zippered breast pockets with a slot for an earphone or headphone wire to pass through. It also has two low reach-in hand pockets with a zipper closure. Additional features include an insulated stand-up collar, adjustable draw cord and cord locks at bottom sides, and spandex-bound armholes for keeping the cold out. Regarding the fit, it leaves ample space for layering underneath and the length is just below the belt line, which means it does not ride up and exposes your belly from the cold, and also allows full arm mobility.

What we do not like about the Arctic Zone vest is that it runs a bit large. However, this leaves room for wearing layers underneath, although some may still choose to size down for a more snug fit.

Overall, this vest offers a proper amount of insulation without being too bulky. In addition, it has functional features and it is a good option for low-impact outdoor activities during the cold weather season.


 

Best winter vest: Comparison table

FotoWinter Vest Material Insulation Weight
The North Face 1996 Retro Nuptse Vest

1. The North Face 1996 Retro Nuptse Vest

Polyester, Nylon (Machine Wash)700 Fill Goose Down17.1 Oz
Columbia Boys Powder Lite Puffer Vest

2. Columbia Boys Powder Lite Puffer Vest

Shell: 100% Polyester, Lining: 100% Nylon (Machine Wash)150g Polyester Faux DownApprox. 8 oz.
Under Armour Girls' Squad Vest

3. Under Armour Girls' Squad Vest

100% Polyester (Machine Wash)UnavailableApprox. 4.5 oz
Mallimoda Boys Girls Lightweight Down Vest Puffer

4. Mallimoda Boys Girls Lightweight Down Vest Puffer

100% Polyester (Hand Wash and Dry Clean)DownApprox. 8 oz
The North Face Junction Vest

5. The North Face Junction Vest

100% recycled polyester100 g Heatseeker™ Eco10.32 oz
Columbia Women's Heavenly Vest

6. Columbia Women's Heavenly Vest

100% PolyesterSynthetic DownApprox. 14 oz
Kari Traa Women's Rothe Vest

7. Kari Traa Women's Rothe Vest

100% Polyester (Machine Wash)Duck DownUnavailable
Arc'teryx Men's Atom LT Vest

8. Arc'teryx Men's Atom LT Vest

100% Nylon (Machine Wash)Coreloft™ Synthetic Insulation5 to 8 oz
The North Face ThermoBall Eco Vest

9. The North Face ThermoBall Eco Vest

100% PolyesterSyntheticPrimaloftThermoball Eco14.1 oz
Marmot Men's Zeus Vest

10. Marmot Men's Zeus Vest

100% Polyester (Machine Wash)Goose Down10.01 oz
Filson Down Cruiser Vest

11. Filson Down Cruiser Vest

100% cotton shell; 100% nylon lining (Spot Clean)Goose Down30 oz
Smartwool Hudson Trail Fleece Vest

12. Smartwool Hudson Trail Fleece Vest

45% Polyester, 45% Wool, 5% Nylon, 5% Other Fibers (Machine Wash)45% recycled wool12.6 oz
Carhartt Men’s Duck Vest Arctic Quilt Lined V01

13. Carhartt Men’s Duck Vest Arctic Quilt Lined V01

100% ring-spun cotton duck (Machine Wash)Synthetic Polyester15 oz
Therm Kids Hydracloud Puffer Vest

14. Therm Kids Hydracloud Puffer Vest

100% Nylon Shell; 100% Recycled Polyester Lining (Machine Wash)Ultra-fine Poly Padding6 oz
Columbia Women's McKay Lake Down Puffer Vest

15. Columbia Women's McKay Lake Down Puffer Vest

100% Polyester (Machine Wash)Duck Down8 oz
Caterpillar Men's Arctic Zone Vest

16. Caterpillar Men's Arctic Zone Vest

100% Polyester (Machine Wash)Synthetic Polyester9 oz

FAQs

Can you wear a vest in the winter?

A vest is best for milder temperatures and for staying active in colder temperatures. It is suitable for a lot of winter activities because it keeps your core warm and offers your arms a wider range of movements. When the temperature is much colder, a vest is great as a mid-layer between a base layer and an outer jacket or coat. A vest is a versatile piece of clothing that you can use on its own in warmer temperatures or as part of your layering system when it gets colder. It is also good to wear a vest in winter because it vents out heat readily, unlike jackets that seal you up.

When sleeping during camping trips, a jacket can be uncomfortable and restrictive. On the contrary, a vest is a great inclusion to your sleeping attire in a sleeping bag for added warmth without feeling confined. Vests are also great for winter hikes, bicycling, running, setting up camp, or outdoor work because these activities are vigorous enough to keep your body temperature up. In conclusion, you can definitely wear a vest during the winter season as it regulates your body temperature, whether you are indoors or outdoors.

How should a winter vest fit?

Vests vary in fit. Some may come short or long, or tight or loose. The fit is important to consider, especially when you want to use it as part of your layering system.

A vest should silhouette the overall shape of your body without restricting your movements. It should not be too tight around the armholes so that it would not cut your arm's blood circulation. It is also better to choose a vest that is not too long as it tends to bunch up when sitting, and not too short because it will rise when you stretch or bend and will create cold spots.

The fit mostly depends on your preference. For instance, if you want a thin, thick, or puffy vest, you should choose one that is not confining. If you choose to have layers underneath, the vest should have adequate room to accommodate your base layer. You should always keep in mind that a vest should feel snug and not too tight. It should also provide you with a wide range of movements.

BUYING GUIDE

You should know and consider some things when choosing the right vest.
Indeed, there are vests for many types of activities, and knowing what to look for will give you the best value for money. Let us share some tips so that you can find what's best for you.

Insulation types

Down - This is the warmest type of insulation, a high-performance insulator that performs well in extreme cold weather conditions. It comes from goose or duck down and feathers. It is more lightweight and compressible, which allows a manufacturer to add a greater fill. However, down is less breathable than synthetic and retains more moisture when wet.

Responsibly-sourced down - Many outdoor enthusiasts know how important it is to care for the planet and the animals. To acquire down feathers, animals have to be plucked, and this could be a painful and cruel process. Sometimes, they are also force-fed. That is why a lot of manufacturers now have ethical standards to ensure that the clothing that you purchase is sourced from humanely-treated animals.

Synthetic insulation - This type of insulation consists of man-made fibers that only mimic down feathers. They don't have as much insulation power as down but retain warmth and are more breathable. They also do not soak up moisture quickly. Synthetic insulation is much cheaper than down and is more suitable for high-impact activities.

Merino wool - This is a more premium natural form of insulation that comes from a specific breed of sheep, called Merino sheep. This insulation regulates temperature, provides warmth, and is very comfortable against the skin. It also has the ability to wick moisture and stay dry. It is popularly used for base layers and is suitable enough for cardio exercises or high-intensity activities.

Fill power

For down insulators, you can easily measure the quality by looking at its fill power. The higher the number, the lighter, fluffier, and greater the insulation. And if the fibers are lighter, it is easier to compress the vest without adding weight. However, a lower fill is still of good quality because down is one of the warmest insulators.

For synthetic insulators, the measurement of warmth comes in grams. Merino wool also makes use of grams or designations like lightweight, midweight, and heavyweight.

Weather resistance

The shell's material and coating determine the vest's level of weather protection.

Most vests have a polyester or nylon shell that performs well in repelling light to moderate wind and rain. Some outer shells are treated with DWR (durable water repellent), which allows water to bead up and roll off the vest. Merino repels moisture naturally but will eventually soak through overtime. Look for vests that can insulate even when wet, but keep in mind that these vests cannot be 100% weather-proof because of their sleeveless design.

Breathability

Breathability is also important when choosing vests. This measures the ability of a vest to release moisture from your body through the fabric, and then let it evaporate on the surface. This is important because any moisture trapped inside the vest may condense and make you feel cold or sweaty, depending on your activity. Thus, look for vests with adequate breathability, and vests that feature venting solutions. Additionally, synthetic insulators provide better breathability than down insulators. Merino wool is also a good choice for aerobic activities, with regards to its breathability level.

Durability

Most winter vests have polyester or nylon outer shells. These materials resist daily wear and tear. The thickness of polyester and nylon is measured in deniers. The thicker the material, the more durable and heavier the vest. However, a heavier and tougher vest is more suitable for climbing and hiking trips. Some vests don't have any denier measurements but can still be extremely durable and thick, depending on the fabric construction and the type of technology infused by the manufacturer.

Weight

Weight is another important factor to look out for, especially when travelling, backpacking, or hiking. Heavyweight vests are mostly used as workwear while lightweight vests are more for casual occasions or wearing at the office. However, some heavyweight vests are versatile enough to be used for any outdoor activities.

It is also important that the vest is compressible enough to be packed for light travels.
Down vests are easily packed down without losing any of their soft insulating properties. Many brands also include a stuff sack for you to easily stash it down in your bag. Additionally, most vests pack down into their own pockets, making them easier to carry around.

Fit

Vests do not come with sleeves, thus, they are easier to fit in than full jackets. Some vests tend to run large, boxy, and puffy, while others are designed to have a body-skimming fit. A lot of vests are also stretchy enough to adjust to your form.

As previously mentioned, vests are mostly used as layering garments, and if you want your vest to be versatile enough to use it in warm and cold weather, you have to choose a size that will leave enough room to accommodate your base layers and will not restrict mobility. Remember, a vest should fit snug, but not confining.

There are a lot of vests out on the market, so you have to choose the best, depending on the type of activity that you plan to use yours for. Look out for notable features that you will need, and carefully assess the size that will perfectly fit your body type. Also, remember to follow the manufacturer's guide or care instructions a these will allow the vest to benefit from a longer life span.


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