Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Vest vs Jacket
Display Avatars Sort By:
Sanad Toukhly
(Red_Fox) - MLife

Locale: South Florida
Re: To Warm A Sanad on 11/27/2009 22:05:50 MST Print View

lol Volaine...

Well, the fox is my favorite animal because of its ability to adapt to nearly any environment. They have the largest geographical range of any land carnivore on earth. I suppose I hope to be able to survive as many environments as a fox can.


Edited by Red_Fox on 11/27/2009 22:08:17 MST.

Brian Blackley
(biasbrian) - F

Locale: West Tennessee
Jacket would be warmer on 02/01/2013 10:38:56 MST Print View

Your question was which would be warmer, vest or jacket, if made of the same materials. The answer has to be the jacket, the same way pants would be warmer than shorts even if both were made of the same material. The vest might be "warm enough" and the jacket might restrict arm movement. But which is warmer? The one that covers the larger area of your body with a protective layer of down. I don't see how it could be otherwise, but I am not a scientist by trade.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Jacket would be warmer on 02/01/2013 11:21:13 MST Print View

If you compare equal weight vest vs jacket, that is the insulation is thicker on the vest - you take the arm insulation and put it to your torso, then the vest would be warmer, because your torso is a higher temperature than your arms

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Vest vs Jacket on 02/01/2013 13:19:59 MST Print View

A vest provides more warmth for the weight, and you get some gains as far as volume, but it depends on how it is used. If you are already packing long sleeve base and mid layers and a windshirt, then your arms have good coverage and the vest is taking care of core warmth.

Jackets are certainly easy and practical. I use vests a lot for summer and warmer shoulder seasons, but if I know it is going to be cold (like below freezing), I'm going to reach for a jacket.

I do like a vest for my day hiking CYA extra layer. In midsummer that might be a Power Stretch vest or a light Primaloft puffy. That would be coupled with a long sleeve button down shirt and/or base layer and I always have a windshirt. If it is a little cooler, I would be wearing a long sleeve base layer like Cap2 or medium weight Power Dry and would add a Power Stretch hoodie. The base layer/hoodie/vest combo coupled with windshirt or rain shell will handle some pretty nasty weather. Vests allow better arm movement and help avoid feeling like the Michelin Man. A fleecy vest will keep a cold rain shell off your shoulders which I think adds a lot of comfort and the combo has good moisture transfer/breathability properties. I found an MEC Dry Power pullover 1/2 zip vest (like Patagonia R1) that I find really handy.

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
real world on 02/02/2013 09:37:02 MST Print View

the arguement of the vest being just as good b/c of the extra insulation over the torso sounds great online and makes sense when reading a forum. however, i don't share that when it comes to real life application, for me personally. i can wear a vest down into the 30's, even a little into the 20's and be ok. however, once the temps get into the teens (or lower) the cold really just becomes biting on my arms. to the point where i find vest useless and i'm trying to tuck my arms into my vest.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: real world on 02/02/2013 11:30:32 MST Print View

I agree with you Josh, vest is good down to even a little into the 20s.

I sometimes go down to 20 with a vest, but that's probably pushing it. And maybe it will be 20 on one night when I get up, so I'll stay in my sleeping bag a bit longer and wait for it to start warming up.

Buck Nelson
(Colter) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
I think a jacket will be warmer on 02/03/2013 08:11:15 MST Print View

I see people wearing parkas and jackets, not vests, here in a Fairbanks winter. The Inuit have always worn parkas. Those Denali and Everest photos don't show people wearing super puffy vests.

Tanner M
Re: Re: real world on 02/03/2013 13:13:51 MST Print View

I will agree with Josh, Jerry, and Buck. As well, Dale W.'s first paragraph pretty much sums my experience. I understand the points made about super puffy bays and core temperature in extremis and will just accept they are true.

I like vests and will wear them with other layers on the arms and be happy. I am not happy with very little or nothing on my arms. If it is chilly and i have on a vest with windbreaker and t-shirt, i am more happy to add a bit to my arms rather than add more to my torso...

I think it might be worth considering variable weights between arms and torso. You want the warmest thing for the weight.. The warmest (balanced with most comfortable) might be, say, 2.5 oz/yd in the arms and 6 oz/yd in the torso. I realize you want down but weights of synthetic materials is the easiest way to make the point... I just grabbed the weights of the top of my head but they also illustrate the point.

Now.. What the balance of fill distribution should be.. Who knows? See several manufacturers use variable fill and advertise the weight of synthetic fill. This might help you to determine a ratio of torso to arm fill. You might want to cheat a bit more to the torso as i do think more to the torso versus the arms is better and the manufacturers might be a little conservative in that they realize people might not buy a jacket that seems to have very lightly insulated arms...?

I just don't think a super thick vest only is best.. If it were, why waste all the sleeping bag fill on your legs? If super puffy torso is the complete answer, take the fill in the legs and put it in your torso.. :)

PS - I didn't realize this was such an old thread! The more recent comments do seem to be in favor of the jacket. Reading the thread, i remember thinking the comments on page two were more in line with what i would recommend. Those are the new comments. Interesting the different feel in the responses between November 09 and now... Or, maybe, it is my imagination. :)

Edited by Tan68 on 02/03/2013 13:53:56 MST.

Martin RJ Carpenter
(MartinCarpenter) - F
Balance on 02/04/2013 08:13:32 MST Print View

It is obviously a balance that you're after :) Yes, with equal insulation round them, you lose more heat through the core than arms etc. Equally obviously that ratio reverses if you massively insulate your core and not anything else. (Legs of course at some point too.).

The vests win when you're only trying to add a relatively moderate amount of overall insulation. So either just not much needed overall or something like a synethetic jacket/down vest combination. Or even down/down I suppose but I'd not be surprised if people didn't already under insulate the arms in down jackets.

Multiple garments will naturally have an attached weight disadvantage, almost certainly outweighing the vest/jacket thing. Nicely flexible for some cases though.