Eddie Bauer's First Ascent has slowly but surely…
Price Paid: $110
Eddie Bauer's First Ascent has slowly but surely over the last 2 years built itself a quality line of outerwear that competes very nicely with Patagonia, Marmot, and Mountain Hardwear. Although it may not achieve the cool status of The North Face and doubt you will see young people on High School and College Campuses sporting their gear. But I think in terms of quality and price point it competes very nicely with the above brands.
Speaking of quality gear I'm reviewing their Downlight Vest which is essentially their Downlight Sweater minus the sleeves (surprise!).
It's 800 fill down that leaks very little compared to my Marmot Zeus Vest or Patagonia Down Sweater. The material (Nylon) is not the strongest and like most Down Sweaters/Vests you probably should avoid going off trail through brush or trees unless you're wearing something over the vest to avoid rips (although EB does have a pretty nice lifetime guarantee). It is water resistant and performs pretty decent in a light snow or rain storms.
The fit is a bit athletic so you may want to jump up a size to be on the safe side. I usually wear a large but jumped up to an extra large and the fit is perfect.
As far as bells and whistles, well, there really aren't any. No drawstrings for adjustments or inside pockets to speak of. There are two fleece lined pockets on the outside and chin guard for the zipper. For the money paid one would expect at least one inside pocket or a Napoleon pocket in the front.
The First Ascent Downlight Vest is a very nice piece of equipment. Is it the the best down vest out there? Definitely not, but considering the quality, the EB lifetime guarantee, and fact you can nab one on sale more often than its competitors, it's a model to strongly consider.