Marmot Zeus Vest
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $66
Surprisingly warm for the weight. Great for layering in camp. Turns into an amazing sleeping bag pillow. Get it if you find it on sale. Not my first choice for a down vest, but it is a great product.
- Turns into a PERFECT pillow (folds into own pocket)
- Weighs 11 oz
- Surprisingly warm for the weight and amount of down
- It's Tennessee Orange -- Go Vols!
- Down shifted in collar
- No fleece lining in the pockets (but they are warm)
I'll admit it. I'm a pretty big fan of down. I have a few sleeping bags and jackets of all types, so when I found this for $66 total price in one the local outfitters, I thought why not. I got orange since I'm a UT fan, naturally.
I am 6'1" and 180 lbs, athletic, Medium to Large torso length. I got a large, and it fits very well. It's not too tight around the chest and the length fully covers over my belt and pants pockets. On me, the medium was much too short and the XL was too baggy. The arm holes around my shoulders are tight but not restricting; it takes some getting used to, but it's designed that way to help keep the heat in I suppose. There is a draw cord around the waist line. That's the only adjustment.
It's 800 fill down, and a Large vest weighs exactly 11 oz. By comparison, it's not as light or has as much down as a vest from Western Mountaineering, which I would prefer over this any day, but it was $66 so I'll take the trade offs.
I only wear down in camp after changing out of my hiking clothes. This vest is NOT water resistant at all, and it can get clammy inside if you move around too much, as any down garment does though. The material feels like it would tear easily, but it's actually pretty tough.
Over a short sleeved shirt and a power stretch fleece top, and under a lightweight Gortex shell, the vest kept my upper body warm at 30° (later 25°) on my first trip out while moving around camp, setting up my tent, etc. I found it to be surprisingly warm for the weight and amount of down. When I sat down, I layered a First Ascent BC Microtherm over it and I felt great sitting out in below freezing weather. A first for me.
On my first trip out, I also discovered that it folds into its own pocket (left side), which makes a GREAT pillow. I'm going to start leaving my inflatable pillow at home now. It also has some handy interior pockets.
Overall, I found a new piece of clothing I'll be carrying year round. I recommend this to be worn around camp or during light physical activity. During winter, it is NOT a stand alone, but would be great for layering in camp.
Downsides: The down shifts in the collar easily creating a cold spot behind my neck. It can be re-positioned, but it's annoying. Pockets are warm but not fleece lined.
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