Wrapped up warm: Finding the right winter vest

Winter Vests

Wear it underneath or as a warming outer layer between seasons: A warm, lined winter gilet is highly versatile and can be combined in several different ways in a layer system. Here are some tips when looking for the right winter vest.

The versatility of winter gilets

Winter vests are made of a very warm insulating material and the outer material is generally also windproof thanks to a dense weave. This makes them perfect to wear as a second layer or even an outer layer. Whilst some thicker jackets can restrict movement in the shoulders and arms, a lined winter vest fits nicely underneath a hard or softshell jacket in unreliable, cold winter weather. If the temperature has not yet reached below zero, then a winter gilet can be the perfect warming layer and protection against the cold wind. When worn over a pullover or fleece, it gives you room to move without weighing you down.
Winter gilets are easy to transport, as they have a very small pack size. Keep it in your backpack or bag so you can pull it on whenever you need it. Cool summer evenings in the cabin or cold moments on the climb: The right winter vest will keep you warm.

Sizes and cuts of winter vests

A winter vest, like other items of functional clothing, should fit tight to the body to provide the best insulation and guarantee breathability.
Women's models have a tailored cut. Some models are cut longer at the back which makes them especially comfortable on a bike. A winter vest should be tight-fitting so it can be comfortably worn as an additional layer under a winter jacket in extremely cold weather. You should only choose a more casual fit if you know you will only be wearing it as an outer layer.

Which material: down or synthetic?

Like any good winter jacket, these winter gilets are insulated using either a down or a synthetic lining because of their weight and ability to insulate.
While down is second to none in terms of insulation, weight and pack size, synthetic fiber lining has better weather resistance. Synthetics are better for sports activities and changing weather conditions (especially in rain). For frosty temperatures and stop-start activities (climbing followed by belaying, skiing followed by sitting in a ski lift) down is the better choice.

Features of winter vests

Winter gilets offer several practical features and details that make your time outside in colder weather a lot more pleasant and enjoyable. As well as soft lined hand warmer pockets, some models also feature an adjustable collars for braving stormy weather. Some variations have thin, elastic inserts under the arms (higher breathability), while others feature a hood. The former are better as a mid-layer and the latter as an outer layer.

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