I don’t know how to wear a vest
- This topic is empty.
Oct 12, 2011 at 9:22 am #1280496
I don't own one, and I have no idea where it would fit in my backcountry adventures. I'm curious to hear about the benefits and intended uses.
Conceptually, I don't understand them. Especially, the ones really really stuffed with down. If my core is that cold, won't my arms be too? Do you use them to supplement your sleeping system for the summer season? Wear while hiking? etc
I'm really really curious, and wondering if I'm missing out on something.
For moving in moderate to cold temperatures, I'm usually fine with a windshirt over my baselayer. For cold hikes, or when stopped, the full on down puffy jacket comes out. Is there room to substitute a vest in there to lighten up the load?Oct 12, 2011 at 9:38 am #1789549Ozzy McKinneySpectator
For most of the summer, I find a full on puffy to be a bit much, hence the vest. they are nice for cooking and doing chores in because the sleeves don't bother you, and they complement a quilt well in a sleep system. Also, the baselayer/vest/windshirt is a lightweight combo that can handle some colder temps.
2 points for awesome thread title.Oct 12, 2011 at 9:40 am #1789550rubmybelly!BPL Member
@sleepingLocale: The Cascades
"I don't know how to wear a vest"
Zipper goes in front…….Oct 12, 2011 at 9:41 am #1789552
"Zipper goes in front……."
Now if I could only figure out which hole(s) my arms are supposed to go through.
I like this…we're making progress.Oct 12, 2011 at 9:43 am #1789553W I S N E R !BPL Member
I like vests for the following reasons:
-I don't get cold that easily; insulation on my core is typically enough unless it's getting real cold (below freezing)
-Good for climbing in cold weather; arms are not restricted
-Good for fishing in cold weather; no sleeves to soak when handling/landing fish.
-Not going to burn your sleeves when tending fires.
-Generally, I like having my arms free for chores…less claustrophobic, no worries about tearing stuff.Oct 12, 2011 at 9:44 am #1789555rubmybelly!BPL Member
@sleepingLocale: The Cascades
"I like this…we're making progress."
Ozzy's right. Vests are great for hanging out in camp in cooler temps, before things get too cold. Generally, when it's a touch too cool for just a windshirt, it's not cold enough for a full-on puffy. A vest fits this niche very nicely, keeping your core warm but not overheating you, which a jacket might.Oct 12, 2011 at 9:46 am #1789558James holdenBPL Member
when moving …. a fleece vest in colder temps …
also a vest is a lot quicker and easier to put on for belays …
ever notice that when putting on and off layer in the snow/rain, the sleeves often get wet? …Oct 12, 2011 at 10:14 am #1789575
In cold temps your arms are cooler than your torso
thus, your torso will lose more heat per surface area
Insulation around your torso will prevent more heat loss than around your armsOct 12, 2011 at 10:27 am #1789582
Thanks for all the relevant info guys! Craig, awesome list of potential uses. This has definitely sparked an interest for me.Oct 12, 2011 at 11:07 am #1789598Richard FischelBPL Member
"when moving …. a fleece vest in colder temps …"
perfect for over a base layer when it's cold and youa re trying to stay cool, but burning lots of cals and a windshirt would be too much. this is an old cycling vest that's windstopper in the front and regular fleece in the back. it's the only windstopper garment that i take into the field.Oct 12, 2011 at 11:15 am #1789605Hobbes WMember
Clothing & insulation for every active sport all follow the same principle: protect the core (ie torso).
For example, surfing wetsuits have used variable combinations of neoprene thickness for decades. Typically, winter wetsuits will have either a 4/3mm chest/torso, while the arms & legs are 3/2mm. More obvious are 'spring suits'; not only do they use a 2/1 ratio, but they have both short sleeves/legs. (Or, as my non-surfing wife refers to them, 'jumpers'.)
As Jerry notes, the name of the game is to insulate your torso. Having insulated arms (as in a jacket) makes as much sense as having insulated pants. IOW, if you have a down jacket, why not down pants? The net effect is the same.
Vests provide a practically perfect layering component. First, you have your long sleeve/leggings base; then a SS shirt & short pants. Next is a lightweight fleece/wool, then perhaps a windshirt and or rain shell.
Last, but not least, is the down vest. If used in conjunction with the fleece/wool (wear the vest underneath), along with the wind/rain shell on top, you've got a great system that can take you down to freezing using Richard N's clo/activity charts.Oct 12, 2011 at 11:22 am #1789609Steven McAllisterBPL Member
@brooklynkayakLocale: Arizona, US
There is some well known research about how you body should have approximately twice as much insulation on your core and head than your arms and legs.
If your core or head gets cold, your body reduces blood flow to your extremities and you end up with uncomfortably cold hands and feet.
And so the saying "If your feet get cold, put on a hat"
So a warm core and head is more important than warm arms and legs.
Having puffy arms and legs can be annoying when you are trying to use those arms and legs hiking or working around camp.
The more you get used to wearing a vest, the more you realize that the arms and legs are less important.Oct 12, 2011 at 11:32 am #1789618David OlsenSpectator
@owareLocale: Steptoe Butte
A down vest is a great way to add a whole bunch of warmth to an insulating system.
It fills up the gaps under a parka, even an insulated one.
Most also add nice
hand warmer pockets for times you are wearing the vest on the outside.
I really like how they take up little room in a pack and I find I am less likely to leave
a vest behind when I might leave a full coat at home.Oct 12, 2011 at 11:42 am #1789621Rick DreherBPL Member
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
"Having puffy arms and legs can be annoying when you are trying to use those arms and legs hiking or working around camp."
This cracked me up because I immediately imagined camping with the Michelin man, his arms jutting outward uselessly as he wrestles with a tent.
Anyhoo, I'll just add that a fiberfill vest makes an ideal middle layer for colder weather hiking. I prefer them to fleece because the layers slide easily without binding or bunching up. Either option seems to dry equally fast.
For keeping warm in camp or at rest stops, a down vest is very attractive–a lot of warmth for little bulk or weight.
RickOct 12, 2011 at 1:56 pm #1789666spelt with a tBPL Member
@speltLocale: Rangeley, ME
Less bulk on the arms, just enough warmth, armholes to let extra heat escape, high warm collar (fleece ones at least. Not so much for puffys), no worrying about sleeve length when sizing, no bothersome cuff closures, *and* they are COOL.
Well, so says me. I'm wearing one now and I'm cool, so it must be so. ;)Oct 12, 2011 at 2:20 pm #1789674Elliott WolinBPL Member
@ewolinLocale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
Concerning MYOG, vests are a bunch easier to sew than jackets with sleeves.Oct 12, 2011 at 3:15 pm #1789693
"Concerning MYOG, vests are a bunch easier to sew than jackets with sleeves."
That's for sure
Sewing sleeves on is difficult, at least for me. Getting them to look right and right and left to look the same.Oct 12, 2011 at 3:29 pm #1789700Nico .BPL Member
@nickbLocale: Los Padres National Forest
In warmer months, I will often bring only a vest as my insulation piece. I like the freedom for my arms and as others have said multiple times, keeping the core and head warm are the most important factors.
In winter (still not cold by most of your standards), I'll layer a down vest over a down sweater for added core warmth. Works fine for me down into the low 20s/teens and it's a lot more flexible (and cheaper to use what I already have) than just (buying and) bringing one heavier, warmer parka.Oct 12, 2011 at 3:58 pm #1789709Mike MBPL Member
I wear a fleece (R2) as part of a winter system, adds needed warmth while on the move but still breathes well
I haven't incorporated a down vest into any 3 season use, but I can see the utility if temps aren't too coolOct 12, 2011 at 4:27 pm #1789724
Down to 32F – I wear long sleeve base layer and maybe eVent jacket while hiking and add light synthetic vest (3 oz/yd2) around camp
Down to 20F I replace synthetic vest with down vest or synthetic vest that's twice as thickOct 12, 2011 at 4:46 pm #1789734Tim ZenSpectator
Konrad — nice thread. I am with you on this. A vest seems like a great way for companies to make almost as much as they do for a jacket.
I like them skiing or driving. If I need more core warmth I just wear another short sleeve shirt.
Vests do look cool — the Jeep of out-door clothing.Oct 12, 2011 at 4:56 pm #1789739Joslyn BloodworthMember
I find that my puffy vest is my most versatile piece of clothing in my pack. I have a REI Revelcloud Synthetic Vest and when I was trying to decide what insulation system to get, I asked the same questions. I decided I liked having a vest because it works so well with my lightweight fleece that I'm very attached to.
For winters it's good for hiking in because it has fleece sides that breathe but still has the warmth and light weight of a puffy and I went with a synthetic puffy vest because I wanted it to hike in but I didn't want to worry if I got a bit sweaty or in case of precipitation. Basically it goes on when I stop and when I got to bed. It's really great for when it's a bit too cold for just my fleece but not cold enough for my puffy jacket and I like it better than a light jacket because it adds warmth to my core without adding bulk to my arms.
I have to say I agree with you about the really super puffy vests. If it's that cold outside I'd just as soon have sleeves but I love having a light puffy vest in my pack.Oct 12, 2011 at 4:58 pm #1789741spelt with a tBPL Member
@speltLocale: Rangeley, ME
Ouch. No one tell my Subie, ok?Oct 12, 2011 at 5:01 pm #1789742Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
I agree that a light down or synthetic fiber vest is likely the most versatile.
You can buy separate sleeves from a few cottage gear companies and sew in Velcro (fuzzy soft side) into the inside of the vest arm holes, the scratchy Velcro on the outside of the arm tops to mate with the vest.
This give you the versatility of having a vest and jacket without the weight of carrying both.Oct 12, 2011 at 5:32 pm #1789754Tim ZenSpectator
Spelt — the Subie is authentic! I wish I still had mine.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Our Community Posts are Moderated
Backpacking Light community posts are moderated and here to foster helpful and positive discussions about lightweight backpacking. Please be mindful of our values and boundaries and review our Community Guidelines prior to posting.