We don’t need no stinking sleeves
Big Agnes Thorpe ($180)
“Just substantial enough to maintain a comfortable core without sending my body temperature into overshoot,” one tester said of the Thrope. This pullover’s PrimaLoft Gold Active insulation and stretchy armholes for unfettered movement have made it a key part of our layering strategy for high-output days in the mountains.
Marmot Origins ($200)
We like vests because they’re freeing, with no fabric around the arms to constrict. But that doesn’t mean we’re opposed to adding that fabric back elsewhere. Take the Origins, which comes with a water-resistant hood. The large baffles are stuffed with 700-fill down, and the whole thing packs into its own pocket when the mercury rises.
Canada Goose Freestyle ($425)
Admittedly pricey for a vest, the Freestyle is exceptionally comfortable, with a body-hugging fit, a long hem in back, and a suede liner. Canada Goose went easy on the military styling it’s known for, so you won’t look like a Special Forces wannabe when you wear it around town. But with burly outer fabric, 625-fill duck down, and big drop pockets, the Freestyle is ready for action nonetheless.
Toad&Co Allie Fleece ($129)
At 31 inches long, the Allie provides ample coverage whether you’re chilling on a snowy park bench or enjoying late-night après. The plush fleece exterior feels buttery smooth, while the Tencel-polyester interior adds stretchy comfort and moisture-wicking prowess. Just don’t take it ice climbing—the Allie is best at mild urban pursuits.
Smartwool Smartloft 60 Hoodie ($160)
Like most things made by Smartwool, this vest has technical chops without making you look like an outdork. It’s a little loose around the hips, which testers appreciated, and recycled wool insulation, merino side panels, and DWR-treated nylon on the front and in back provide warmth, weather resistance, and breathability.
Eddie Bauer EverTherm Down ($199)
This vest sits halfway between the Canada Goose and the Big Agnes, pairing the heat retention of down with the low profile of a synthetic, courtesy of Eddie Bauer’s Thindown insulation (down clusters pressed into a sheet). The EverTherm can be worn on its own on mellow days, but the thin build makes it perfect for layering.