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Down Insulated Vests

Top Picks

How we choose: The best down insulated vests highlighted here were selected based on 37 reviews of 27 products. Our top picks are those that are readily-available in the United States and have received the highest overall ratings from reviewers.

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The North Face Nuptse Vest

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (7 reviews)

I have found this vest very warm and it can be used on many different situations. I live in Finland, and this winter it has been extremely cold, the temperature has dropped below -25 C. But with Pumori Fleece and Nuptse vest under my TNF Mountain jacket it was feeling fine. And the Nuptse is a good vest to be used on brakes etc. In -5 C you can ski with only a T-shirt or some base layer under your shell jacket, but when you stop it gets very cold very fast. In those situations I have found the Nuptse Vest to be very good when dressed over your shell jacket.

Read more: The North Face Nuptse Vest reviews (7)

Patagonia Down Sweater Vest

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

This is a great vest for everyday use, but is also durable enough to use in many outdoor activities. Made from light and fluffy 800 fill down, this vest keeps your core warm and can pack down smaller than a softball.

Reasons to Buy

  • Very warm
  • Compact - includes
  • Nice zippered pockets
  • Lightweight
  • Durable

Reasons to Avoid

  • Down comes out periodically
  • Expensive

Because Patagonia makes gear that's out of my price range, I either have to save up some money for a while to get what I want, or I have to wait for things to go on sale (or sometimes both). At $179 MSRP, this vest was way out of my price range until last year when my local gear shop had a promotion. I own a Patagonia fleece (here's the review: https://www.trailspace.com/gear/patagonia/synchilla-snap-t/#review32187) and it's lasted for over 10 years so I was confident in purchasing this vest.

Read more: Patagonia Down Sweater Vest review (1)

MontBell Alpine Light Down Vest

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

Well fitting super light core insulator.

Reasons to Buy

  • Light
  • Good fit
  • Large armpit holes (helps breathability)

Reasons to Avoid

  • Short hem (torso) length

This vest is 800 fill with a lighter ripstop shell with dwr finish. It has  two internal dump pockets, (great for gloves or something you want to keep warm or dry out) and two fleece lined zippered hand pockets (down on the outside of the hands when inserted.) It has a drawstring hem with cord locks and a 3 inch fleece lined collar. I got a medium and the fit is snug (5.10  175 lbs) but the larger arm holes alow lighter layering underneath without restriction. The larger arm holes also allow great armpit venting and this makes it a great layering piece.

Read more: MontBell Alpine Light Down Vest review (1)

Eddie Bauer Downlight StormDown Vest

user rating: 4 of 5 (1 review)

A good 800 fill goose down vest with DriDown DWR treatment.

Reasons to Buy

  • Excellent quality European 800 fill down
  • DriDown DWR treatment
  • Elasticized arm holes
  • True to size
  • Zippered pockets

Reasons to Avoid

  • Collar could use a bit more fill

I first bought an Eddie Bauer First Ascent light down jacket five years ago and have been very happy with it. I've used it for hunting, skiing (a lot), and winter backcountry hiking as well as around town (see my avatar). I decided I needed a vest that would be warmer than my 300 weight fleece vest so I bought the EB First Ascent mainly because I wanted DWR on all my down garments going forward and I trust First Ascent quality. This vest has DriDown DWR treatment on the down which is what I have been looking for.

Read more: Eddie Bauer Downlight StormDown Vest review (1)

REI Down Vest

user rating: 3.5 of 5 (1 review)

The is a good quality down vest that is available at a very reasonable price that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to anyone looking to pick up a down vest to put in their pack.

Reasons to Buy

  • High quality construction
  • Very light
  • Low cost
  • Great REI warranty

Reasons to Avoid

  • None

I have been very focused on reducing the base weight of my pack and one area that I made a lot of changes to was what insulating layers I would bring for my summer hikes in the Sierras. My upper layer of clothes now consists of a base wicking shirt, a pullover lightweight fleece, a wind shirt, a down vest (the subject of this review), and my lightweight rain parka. With this collection of clothes I can handle anything I could encounter in the Sierras during July and August. For my down insulating layer I first considered bringing a down Patagonia jacket that I own that has served me well, but it weighed 12.5 oz's and with my focus on weight I went looking see what I could do to reduce that weight without breaking the bank.

Read more: REI Down Vest review (1)

MontBell Superior Down Vest

user rating: 4 of 5 (1 review)

Great for layering! Montbell’s UL Down Vest is a great addition to a layering system that will help keep you warm while weighing about the same as your average t-shirt. It is not the top of the class, but for the price, weight savings, and effectiveness, I say it is a good choice.

Reasons to Buy

  • Light
  • Large zipper pockets
  • Packable
  • Great for layering

Reasons to Avoid

  • Sizes are a bit big
  • No elastic on waist
  • Little to no wind protection

I have had my vest for over 2 years now. It went with me on the first 1,000 miles of the AT and on several overnight and weekend trips locally. If I am not wearing it I have it rolled up and in the stuff sack that was included with it. I do my best to take care of all my gear and may go a bit OCD with it sometimes. This tends to lead to my gear lasting a very long time. This vest is available for men and women in a variety of colors and sizes. It has a ripstop ballistic nylon shell and 800 fill power goose down.

Read more: MontBell Superior Down Vest review (1)

Eddie Bauer First Ascent Downlight Vest

user rating: 3.5 of 5 (1 review)

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!).

Read more: Eddie Bauer First Ascent Downlight Vest review (1)

Mountain Hardwear Phantom Vest

user rating: 5 of 5 (2 reviews)
discontinued

I love my Mountain Hardwear Phantom Vest! It’s lightweight, making it a good choice for outings when I want to bring along some core insulation, but don’t need a fully insulated jacket. I tend to have a cold thermostat when resting or sleeping, but heat up quickly as long as I’m moving. The Phantom Vest finds the perfect balance.

Reasons to Buy

  • Lightweight
  • 800 fill-down packs small
  • Puffy
  • Good warmth-to-weight ratio

Reasons to Avoid

  • It's a vest for your core, not full insulation
  • Puffy, not for a svelte look

While it’s lightweight and not too bulky, the 800-fill down keeps me plenty warm while riding cold, windy chairlifts in places like New England and Colorado, without overheating me on the runs down. And due to its weight and small compressed size it also makes a good just-in-case layer for backpacking or hiking in cold weather or for wearing around camp on cold evenings. I have my vest in shark (a very dark grey-black color) and while the vest is obviously a technical outdoors piece, I don’t feel conspicuous wearing it around town during Maine winters, though it is a bit puffy.

Read more: Mountain Hardwear Phantom Vest reviews (2)

Big Agnes Late Lunch Vest

user rating: 4 of 5 (1 review)
discontinued

** Please see the addendum at the end of this review Big Agnes has applied their knowledge of down to their foray into apparel. The women’s Late Lunch Vest uses 700 fill power DownTek water repellent down, and they have applied their Insotect Flow vertical baffles which are designed to keep the wearer warm. While the down does shuck water, and the vest is warm, a major drawback is the vest’s fit. Warmth, durability, quality—fantastic! Fit…mmm – needs some tweaking.

Reasons to Buy

  • Nylon sheds water
  • Feathers don’t mat when damp
  • Durable
  • Very arm
  • Fairly packable
  • Deep pockets are high enough to be accessed while wearing a pack
  • Good layering piece
  • Inner stash pockets

Reasons to Avoid

  • Tight arm holes
  • Elastic piping doesn’t fit shoulders well
  • uncomplimentary cut
  • Doesn’t fit female figure well

Company Specs Mid-weight down vests with contoured fit and drop tail 700 fill power DownTek water repellent down Insotect Flow vertical baffles contour to your body to provide a more comfortable fit and keep you warmer Flow Gates eliminate down shifting to keep uniform insulation coverage Lightweight nylon rip-stop shell is wind and water resistant Adjustable drawcord at hem seals out wind Main zipper includes interior no-draft flap and a zipper garage at chin Fill Weight: 3 oz / 78 g Vest Weight: 9.5 oz / 269 g Fit & Comfort This test vest is a medium, and the actual fit of vest was fine in how it fitted shoulders and hips.

Read more: Big Agnes Late Lunch Vest review (1)

More Reviews of Down Insulated Vests

Trailspace reviewers have shared 37 reviews of 27 different down insulated vests.

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Other Types of Vests

Find more vests reviewed in these related categories:

Synthetic Insulated Vests

Fleece Vests

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