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Vest or down hooded jacket?
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roberto nahue
(carspidey) - F

Locale: san fernando valley
Vest or down hooded jacket? on 02/04/2011 23:53:12 MST Print View

What do you think? And why? When do you prefer just a vest over the jacket?

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Vest/Jkt on 02/05/2011 04:56:22 MST Print View

Warm weather: Down vest (thin), no hood to potentially hang out and get wet.
Cool weather: Down or synthetic jacket (medium warmth), no hood for same reason
Cold weather: Down jacket (thick) with hood.

For 3 season use I don't like hoods because they're a pain to keep tucked inside your rain jacket if you're in rainy wet weather and there's no real advantage to having one. A nice fleece beanie or balaclava can do the same job at a similar weight and it's removable so you don't have to worry about it if it's raining. In the cold winter months I do like a hood because the below freezing temps mean it's easier to keep dry and because a warm down hood is almost mandatory at night.

Edited by dandydan on 02/05/2011 04:57:20 MST.

Stephan Doyle
Re: Vest or down hooded jacket? on 02/05/2011 10:41:05 MST Print View

I wear my down vest when I can. It's lighter and packs up smaller. Combined with my shell, it's more versatile than an UL jacket, but probably just as warm.

I take one of my down sweaters when the temps demand it. Sometimes that means just the EB FA jacket, others my Nunatak hooded sweater.

I know "when I need it" isn't helpful, but I don't follow any rules about it. I look at the weather forecast and ask, "Do I want the extra weight and bulk of one of my sweaters, or do I just grab the vest?" I think having both to choose from is great, but plenty of folks dig their Montbell EX Lights and at that point, why would you go out and buy a vest?

Jerry Wick
(JerryW) - F

Locale: Illinois
Vest With Separate Sleeves on 02/05/2011 11:15:14 MST Print View

My 3-season insulation has recently evolved into a vest with separate sleeves. I like the flexibility this offers.

The vest alone may be all that's needed some evenings.

The sleeves can be worn alone, joined together across my chest and back with some narrow elastic - I find that my arms can be cold while backpacking(the pack insulates my back, keeping my core warm). Also while sleeping, wearing just the sleeves lets me hang my arms out of the quilt without them getting cold. The sleeves can also be slid over my feet if they get cold during the night. Many uses for insulated sleeves.

The combination of vest and sleeves obviously works just like a jacket. Put the sleeves on, then slip the vest over the top for a good seal.

I made my own using Climashield insulation(vest-5.7oz., sleeves-4.9oz.), but Jack's R Better sells down sleeves.


eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
hooded jacket on 02/05/2011 11:42:27 MST Print View

more versatile ... youll only be using it at stops anyways unless its polar bear temps

now a synth vest ... thats a different story

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Vest or down hooded jacket? on 02/05/2011 13:05:48 MST Print View

Patagonia Micro Puff vest and Power Stretch hoodie. A down vest is nice for low bulk and weight--- if the precip and humidty are low.

Down hooded jacket for sub-freezing stuff. Terrible in cold rain.

john Tier
(Peter_pan) - M

Locale: Co-Owner Jacks 'R' Better, LLC, VA
Don't have to choose on 02/06/2011 08:02:53 MST Print View

Vest , hood , jacket, parka, sleeves , sleep socks ....You do not have to chose...All these optiona are available by combining your favorite UL vest (montbell inner for me at 4.3 oz) and JRB Sleeves and JRB down hood...Use in any of the afore mentioned roles/combos...Heaviest combo the parka is under 12 oz.

Remember I'm biased ... But I use this combo to great utility year around in part or in full.


jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
re on 02/06/2011 08:35:39 MST Print View

Do the JRB sleeves attach to the vest?

roberto nahue
(carspidey) - F

Locale: san fernando valley
Re: Don't have to choose on 02/06/2011 09:23:16 MST Print View

I like this. It would probably look weird but it def works. Thank you and the guy before for suggesting this.

Stephan Doyle
Re: Don't have to choose on 02/06/2011 11:02:06 MST Print View

John, the "down parka by parts" is a neat idea. Broken into components, you get versatility.

The only hesitation I would have, other than the extra fabric weight, would be the lack of versatility in down fill. After you add UL vest + sleeves + hood, what if you still want more warmth? Have you found it enough to do heavier vest plus the same sleeves and hood?

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Sleeves on 02/07/2011 00:18:56 MST Print View

IMO, if it's cold enough that you need to add sleeves and a hood to a thin down vest, then the vest is not provide enough insulation for the torso in these temps. My point is that if it's too cold for the ex-light vest, you need sleeves, a hood and more torso really an entire warmer jacket.

I bet if you add it up, a warmer jacket to layer over your vest (or to use instead of the vest) probably weighs and costs the same (or less) as adding sleeves and a hood to your down vest. You also keep things simpler by having one piece of clothing instead of four. It's true that having removable parts is more versatile, but I'd rather keep things simple.

For example:

JRB Sleeves: 5oz & $80
JRB Hood: 2oz & $60
Montbell Ex-Light Vest: 4oz & $130
TOTAL: 11oz, $270


Montbell UL Down Inner Parka: 9oz & $175

From looking at the JRB site, the JRB sleeves appear to be designed to work with one of their sleeping bags that has arm holes. So in this situation you already have a ton of torso insulation and you just need something to keep your arms warm too.

Edited by dandydan on 02/07/2011 10:14:06 MST.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Re: Vest/Jkt on 02/07/2011 07:53:01 MST Print View

Dan said "Warm weather: Down vest (thin), no hood to potentially hang out and get wet.
Cool weather: Down or synthetic jacket (medium warmth), no hood for same reason
Cold weather: Down jacket (thick) with hood."

^ this is pretty much how I approach it as well

I'd add that if my tromping around was in a wetter environ (I'm in the Rockies) I'd probably look at syn for the warm and cool weather

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
faff on 02/07/2011 08:56:13 MST Print View

the main reason to get a down vest IMO is to avoid faff ... which means its as easy to put on and take off as possible ... vest avoid this especially if you are carrying gear and wearing gloves in that you can easily put it on/off without catching the sleeves ... IME they also work well in wetter or snowy conditions as a booster layer in that sleeves are very likely to get wet ...

if your going to get attachable sleeves and hood ... this defeats the purpose IMO ... as mentinoned above you might as well get a jacket .... not only will it be lighter, it will be cheaper ... and there are less gaps to lose heat through (think sewn though vs. baffles but on a larger scale)

and it avoid even more faff

now a synth or fleece vest ... thats a different story ... you can actually hike in those