Breaking Down the Best in Winter Vests

The temperature has finally begun to drop, as falls late arrival will undoubtedly be met with an early arriving winter. As we pack away the shorts, sandals, and memories of summer, there are a few things we can look forward to. Of course there’s the holidays, snow days, and the Christmas cookies. But breaking out the cold gear or shopping for some new winter wear is always a great time. Dust off the scarfs and boots and head to your local coffee shop for a seasonally theme beverage.

But as you dress for the winter months, you’ll want to be sure you are properly prepared. The vest has made a return to the fashion world, as more men and women are turning to this functionable attire. Keeping your core warm and your arms free has been vital to those on the move. But with so many clothing brands delivering a range of options, it may be difficult to differentiate between them. Outerwear manufactures Patagonia, Columbia, and The North Face are all well known for producing quality apparel that is designed to handle the elements. Deciding which one is right for you can be tough. To make this shopping experience more enjoyable, we’ve broken down each vest’s fit and construction to help you selected the ideal garment.

Columbia Lake 22 Down Vest

Like the other brands featured, Columbia Sportswear needs no introduction. Headquartered in the Pacific Northwest, the folks at Columbia know a thing or two about outerwear. Their latest feature, of the sleeveless variety, is the Lake 22 Down Vest. Insulated with a 650 fill power down, this vest will keep your body temperate comfortably regulated whether you are on the move or not. It’s polyester shell is water resistant and you can even pack this vest into one of its zippered hand pockets for easy storage and travel. Of the three vests featured, this has the most relaxed or loose fit. It is also slightly longer in length than the other two, which could allow for it to be tucked in if used as a layer in the cold climate.

The North Face Aconcagua Vest

It should be of no surprise that infamous outerwear manufacture The North Face would produce a versatile vest built for the elements. Constructed from a water repellent shell, with 550 filled goose down, and synthetic-insulated side and shoulder panels. This unique design prevents the chill from getting to your core and keeps that ever important body heat close by when out in cold. As you would expect from an environmental aware brand like The North Face, the jacket uses more than 50% recycled materials and the carries the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) by Control Union.  The fit on this vest is slightly slimmer than the Columbia, and also shorter in length. Works great for everything from holiday shopping in the city to hiking in the back country.

Patagonia Nano Puff Vest

Windproof, water resistant, and extremely efficient is exactly how you would describe the Nano Puff vest from Patagonia. The 100% recycled polyester shell and lining comes with the durable water repellent (DWR) finish. Unlike The North Face and Columbia vests, the insulation is 100% synthetic, made from top of the line PrimaLoft Gold polyester. What this means from a consumer standpoint is that this vest will keep you remarkable warm, whether it’s wet or dry. For those that are really active or moving indoors and out, you may find synthetic insulation is too effect at retaining heat. If this is your primary use, a down vest could be a better option. The Nano Puff is also much thinner and more form fitting than the other vests, making it ideal to be used as an underneath layer if you are exposed to long periods of low temperatures. Complete with an adjustable drop-tail hem and an internal pocket that doubles as storage bag, this Patagonia vest is a perfect choice if you are looking to add some extra warmth to your wardrobe this winter.

written by Dylan Hamilton, Sports Unlimited

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