Gear Guy

What Are the Best Insulated Vests?

I’m looking forward to spring skiing—and to staying comfortable without a heavy jacket. What do you recommend for those days when a hardshell is overkill?

What Are the Best Insulated Vests?

Photo: Basel101658/

Whether stuffed with goose down or synthetic insulation, the classic insulated vest is a versatile tool in any cool-weather wardrobe. Vests make a good outer layer on warm ski days, and they function as a midlayer under a shell in bitter, windy weather on the mountain. Either way, they’re no hassle to pack.

Our favorite vests all weigh under 10 ounces and stuff into one of the hand pockets of the vest itself. That means you can carry the pouch in your pack during the rest of the year. Pull it out to make breakfast on chilly mornings on the trail, or when the campsite is winding down at the end of the day, or anytime your core temp needs a bump.

L.L. Bean Ascent Packaway
Outdoor Research Men’s Transcendent
Mountain Hardwear Nitrous
The North Face Women’s Blaze

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