Vests are one of the most overlooked pieces of gear. They can be integrated into an elaborate layering system during the cold months, or used as a solo layer on top of a flannel during the shoulder seasons. Even better, wearing a vest gives you more pockets without adding the bulk of a jacket. So we picked five of our favorite down vests. There’s something for you on this list, whether you’re looking for a performance-minded layer or something that makes a statement when you’re rambling about town.
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer ($170)
The Ghost Whisperer is an essential vest because of its warmth to weight ratio and the 800-fill water-resistant down stuffing.
Fjallraven Ovik Lite ($200)
The high collar and chest pocket give this vest, which is made from Fjallraven’s bomber G-1000 fabric, a sporting look.
REI Co-Op Down ($40)
REI packs 650-fill down insulation inside a nylon shell with a DWR coating to give you all of the down vest essentials in a budget-friendly package.
Howler Brothers Rounder ($135)
Howler Brothers goes vaguely western with the Rounder, which has a thin fill of Primaloft One insulation in a rip-stop outer shell. We like the touch of corduroy on the shoulders and the front snap pockets.
The North Face Novelty Nuptse ($180)
This 700-fill down vest with large baffles gives you a retro look without going full “That ‘70s Show.” And we dig the fun colorways.