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Synthetic Vest w/ 60g/m2 Primaloft One or similar: Best Option?
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Mark Heiser

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Synthetic Vest w/ 60g/m2 Primaloft One or similar: Best Option? on 10/26/2013 09:29:25 MDT Print View

I'm looking to potentially add this piece of gear for really cold active days, or even just for hanging around in when it gets down towards 40ish.

Budget would be about $60-$100, so I'm sure there are plenty of options. But what do you like/why do you like it? And what gives me a reasonable weight for the price as well?


Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: Synthetic Vest w/ 60g/m2 Primaloft One or similar: Best Option? on 10/26/2013 09:43:54 MDT Print View

A bit warmer than 60gm2 but I love my Rab Generator vest which has 100gm2 primaloft 1 and a large comes at 8.8oz.

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Re: Synthetic Vest on 10/26/2013 10:43:59 MDT Print View

For anything active, I pile on more fleece.

For hanging around down to 30, I take a light fleece jacket and then use my rain shell and down sleeping bag to supplement insulation if needed.

Maybe a synthetic jacket would be more versatile?

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Synthetic Vest w/ 60g/m2 Primaloft One or similar: Best Option? on 10/26/2013 12:04:11 MDT Print View

Lean to a 100g vest like a Patagonia Micro Puff; otherwise a fleece vest used in connection with your wind or rain shell will be as warm as a 60g fill vest.

I have an REI Revelcloud vest that I bought because it was a used bargain. My Power Stretch vest is as warm when combined with a shell and is more breathable and even 1.4oz lighter.

My argument does hinge on use of a shell, but if you are standing around in camp or on a rest break, wearing a shell isn't a breathability issue.

I think it is interesting to look at the weights of some of the layers that you might consider for cooler weather layering:

REI Revelcloud vest large: 9.4oz
Marmot Power Stretch fleece vest, XL: 8oz
Patagonia Synchilla fleece vest, XL: 10.4oz
Patagonia Nano Puff jacket, large: 12.8oz
Patagonia R1 jacket, large: 13.4
First Ascent Power Dry base layer (grid about 1/2 of R1) large: 9.6oz

If I were at rest at 40f with a heavier LS base layer like Cap3 and a shell, I would choose the Synchilla vest for the weight and warmth. . I would probably be wearing the R1 jacket in reality. I would be wearing a beanie and light gloves too. As you can see from the weights listed, the weight differences in the vests are quite small overall.

Not forgetting the bottoms, light soft shell pants with silk weight long johns would make a good camp combo. On the trail it might work better to pull on a pair of rain pants over the soft shells for a long break if it was windy and I felt the need.

So get a fleece vest if you use a windshirt or jump up to a 100g fill vest for real warmth.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: Synthetic Vest w/ 60g/m2 Primaloft One or similar: Best Option? on 10/26/2013 12:09:17 MDT Print View


I did not spot you saying for active use, in that case I would go with Dale and Andy's recommendations of fleece.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Synthetic Vest w/ 60g/m2 Primaloft One or similar: Best Option? on 10/26/2013 12:47:31 MDT Print View

You don't need much (if any) insulation at 40f and active. Something like a cap3 base layer, windshirt, light fleece beanie and gloves, and light softshell pants are all I need when moving at that temp. A vest would be too warm. I would proably have the front of the windshirt open mistcof the time too.

Rest breaks and camp are another world for layering. You take your pack off (which is like half of a very warm vest anyway), you may be a little damp from activity and no heat from working muscles. That's where you need the thicker insulation. The 60g stuff is stylin' and nice running errands around town or walking the dog, but it's too weenie for cooler weather in camp.

If you use a windshirt, a 60g garment is just two more windshirts with a wisp of fill. They suck on the trail as they don't breathe well. If there is no wind, a fleecey midlayer will take off a little chill and make great sleep wear. Lock out the wind and convection heat loss by covering the fleece with a shell and you have the same thing as the 60g goodie plus the versatility and lower cost. Great wet weather performance too.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Vest on 10/26/2013 15:53:21 MDT Print View

For active use fleece works better IMO as its much more breathable

For static use plenty of companies make PL1 vests ... Mec, ll bean, patagucci, etc ... Ll bean is likely the price leader for pl1

The other thing to consider is that many department store brans make synth vest cheap ... Now its not pl1, but u can often pick something up for 20-30$ ... And it works well


Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Re: Re: Re: Synthetic Vest w/ 60g/m2 Primaloft One or similar: Best Option? on 10/26/2013 16:25:36 MDT Print View


Edited by rmjapan on 06/19/2015 17:18:12 MDT.

hwc 1954
(wcollings) - M
Hybrid jackets on 10/26/2013 17:33:27 MDT Print View

For cold weather hiking or snowshoeing, I've found the "hybrid" jackets really useful. Like this

Mark Heiser

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Unclear on 10/26/2013 18:35:36 MDT Print View

I don't think I was very clear in my intended use for the garment, but from the sounds of it I don't think it will affect many answers.

As an active layer I was planning on using it below freezing, maybe down to 20F with a baselayer. Colder than that I may add 100wt fleece 1/4 zip jacket. As an inactive layer (likely in everyday life) I would use it in temps down to about 40/45 with a sweater underneath or something.

Still it sounds like most favor fleece for their vests in these conditions for its breathability? I feel like with fleece I've been too warm in the low 30's with a baselayer, and then too cold when the wind gusts up. With my windshirt over top I feel I would run into the too warm issue, though I got it in summer so haven't had a chance to trouble shoot in the temps I'm talking about.

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Re: Unclear on 10/26/2013 19:09:17 MDT Print View


Edited by rmjapan on 06/19/2015 17:17:40 MDT.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Synthetic Vest w/ 60g/m2 Primaloft One or similar: Best Option? on 10/26/2013 19:53:46 MDT Print View

I like a synthetic vest paired with a heavier weight mid layer and lightweight baselayer. I have an Arc Teryx Atom LT that I've been really happy with and would pair it with a power stretch fleece mid in the temps you're talking about.

Is it better than a fleece vest? Maybe, maybe not. I will say that the fleece is cheaper.

Ryan Bressler
(ryanbressler) - F
Re: Synthetic Vest w/ 60g/m2 Primaloft One or similar: Best Option? on 10/26/2013 20:37:56 MDT Print View

There is a nice brooks range vest on sierra trading post for a great deal if you have an email list coupon.

However, for your active layer down into the 20s use I would look at a thinner griddy fleece layer like cap 4 or r1 1/4 zip or hoody. You'll probably just sweat under primaloft layer and have cold arms with a vest but griddy fleece has a pretty great comfort range.

I generally find a thin primaloft layer is best as a booster layer to wear up high or when the wind picks up as it really doesn't let much air through or breath much at all. I'll often wear a micropuff vest or nano puff pullover for the first bit after a summit stop until i warm back up and get out of the wind.

Another option though maybe more expensive would be to take a risk on a Polartech Alpha garment like the rab strata vest or jacket. Alpha is supposed to breath much better then primaloft but not be as warm.

There are also hybrid primaloft garments with fleece under the arms that could work. Black diamond has a hybrid vest in their new line with scholar sides and primaloft insulation in the rest.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
vest on 10/27/2013 05:01:02 MDT Print View

one of the things you need to ask yourself is

- will you be wearing the vest UNDER your windshell
- or OVER your windshell, perhaps using it as a partial windshell as well

theres a different in applications ...

for wearing it under a windshell, a fleece works much better IMO ... as you dont want to be wearing a synth vest + windshell over if youre worried about "breathability" ... think about it ... the vest is "venting" into an enclosed environment, and youre sweat has to pass through THREE nylon layers (2 on the vest + the windshell) ... in such a case fleece would be work better ... of course you would need to take off your windshell off each time you wanted to put on/off vest, losing heat in the process

now if you want to use it over a windshell ... think "belay vest" .... then you want a synth ... without a shell non-windproof fleece loses quite a bit of "warmth" in a wind ... this also works well when you arent wearing a windshell but want a bit of core wind resistance ... the use of a vest makes more sense in this way since the holes at the arms spill into the cold fresh air ... basically you are using the climbers "action suit" concept, there is much less faff as you dont need to take off a layer to put on the next one

now a word about those synths with side fleece panel ... the way to use it IMO is in very cold or semi static conditions (or youll overheat), for me they are much too warm for continuous exertion ... also use them by themselves when active ... if you wear em over or under a windshirt it negates much of the benefits of the side panels as youve just added an additional less breathable nylon layer to the fleece panel ... and you still have THREE nylon layers over your torso and back ... i own and use an atom LT

one note about synths used actively ... they are very easy to sweat and overheat in if you dont carefully thermoregulate yourself ... the danger in wearing insulation in winter when moving is that quite a few people dont even realize how much they are sweating as their face stays cool while their torso pumps sweat into their jackets ... i think everyone when they first started in winter has experienced soaking a winter jacket with sweat because they overheated ... you often dont notice how much sweat is lost because the insulation will absorb it all

ive seen situations where a sweated out synth froze and became an ice scupture ... with fleece you can usually pull it apart and still use it

it all depend for WHAT and HOW you use it ...


Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Synthetic Vest w/ 60g/m2 Primaloft One or similar: Best Option? on 10/29/2013 12:04:30 MDT Print View

Interesting, seems like you guys layer up heavier than I do when active.

I'm about 5'10, athletic and 170 lbs and with a cap 2 baselayer, stoic wrath windshirt, and light softshell pants (OR Ferrosi) and I'm good down to about upper 20s or low 30s with wind when on the move (i.e. summiting a 14er in October). Add gloves if I'm scrambling or using poles - rocks and metal are big heatsinks. A headband can be nice too, but that's more of an 'extra' comfort item and it's a bit of faff, so I usually don't bother. Hats are too warm usually. I move up to a micro grid fleece like cap 4 when it gets colder.

Like Ryan, vests don't work very well for me - you just end up with cold arms, and I agree, 60g vests don't make much sense - use fleece instead at those weights.

I only like vests in really cold conditions when doing stop and go sports like skiing, when you already have a few heavier layers on. The lack of arms on the vest helps a lot with mobility. I use my 100g vest when it's around 0 degrees.

Edited by lindahlb on 10/29/2013 12:13:15 MDT.

Mark Heiser

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Thanks! on 10/30/2013 13:02:11 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the feedback everyone.

Eric, my thought with the synthetic vest is that I probably wouldn't need to wear a windshirt at all with it.

That said I think that with the advice I've received I might investigate further into fleece as a vest option. I don't think I'll encounter temps low enough to consider 100g as an active layer, and it sounds like if I got a full zip fleece vest paired with a windshirt my venting options should keep my body temp pretty well regulated

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Thanks! on 10/30/2013 16:48:04 MDT Print View

Check out the Melanzana Hard Face vest. I've got one and its great. The face fabric is smooth so it layers nicely and blocks wind a little better than regular fleece. Its also got some good stretch to it and the big back pocket is awesome (though admittedly useless if you're carrying a pack). Mine weighs 10.3 ounces in size Medium Tall.
I've also got an Atom LT vest that I usually bring simply because it packs smaller.