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Lightweight fleece vest
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Matthew Reese
Lightweight fleece vest on 06/03/2014 11:04:05 MDT Print View

I'm getting ready for a trip to a Glacier in August, and am looking for a lightweight, ~5 oz, fleece vest for cool mornings, and as a layering piece. I'm taking a Stoic down hoodie for camp, but need something I can hike in. Does anyone know anything that might fit the bill? Or any company that sews custom stuff? I can see a half-zip, pullover, no pockets, design working.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Lightweight fleece vest on 06/03/2014 11:14:25 MDT Print View

I use an R1 vest that way. My large weighs 8.0oz. I've used Power Stretch vests that were similar on weight.

I don't need much insulation when actually moving unless it is below freezing. You might get better use with something like a Cap4 hoody. The MEC T2 is a bargain right now at $41 CA if you can handle the shipping from Canada.

hwc 1954
Cap 4 hoody on 06/03/2014 12:18:54 MDT Print View

Yeah, I would second the flexibility of a cap 4 PowerDry High Efficiency top -- either hoody or zip neck.

I have hiked down to 11 degrees F with one as a top layer over a lightweight Power Dry baselayer and been comfortable hiking up to 40 degrees with it as the only top layer. They are also awesome for sleeping.

In addition to Capilene 4 and the MEC option above. Marmot sells the same thing called their Thermo Hoody and Thermo 1/2 Zip.

For a 4.4 ounce option, I've been turning to the Patagonia Nine Trails jacket as the first thing I grab hiking when I need a little more. It's a non-hooded, full-zip Houdini, but with stretchy breathable fabric panels across the top 2/3rds of the back, down the sides, and under the arms. This thing is awesome for providing a bit of wind protection, a bit of warmth in the torso, and still being extremely breathable. Stuffs into it's own pocket (small of the back) and takes up virtually no room in the pack. No hood, but otherwise this is a really awesome hiking piece for a lot of conditions. With a ball cap, it would even be suitable for a little snow, drizzle, mist, or mist.

I have a couple of vests, but I don't find myself reaching for them hiking very often. When I need something extra, it's usually because there's a breeze involved and I need the extra on my arms, too.

Most of the fleece vests I have seen are Polartech 200 weight fleece (or equivalent). That's a pretty heavy fleece. Way too hot for me when I'm hiking. Maybe for around camp, but with zero wind and zero moisture protection, I don't think traditional fleece offers a lot of bang for the ounce in the backpack.

REI has a PowerStretch vest that would be lighter (more like PolarTech 100 fleece) that would be a better warmth for hiking, but I doubt that it's anywhere near 5 ounces. It's going to be more like the Patagonia R1 gridded fleece vest, which is 9 ounces compared the Cap 4 zip neck at 6.7 ounces. I can't wear PowerStretch or R1 fleece for strenuous hiking unless it's well below freezing. too hot.

Marc Shea
(FlytePacker) - F

Locale: Cascades
Re: Re: Lightweight fleece vest on 06/03/2014 12:49:46 MDT Print View

Well they aren't vests, but they are inexpensive, fleece, and they hit your weight target. My XL zip neck comes in at approx 6.2oz. Get one of the STP 35% off coupons and at that price you can cut the sleeves off yourself.

Little lighter without the zip neck

Matthew Reese
Vest on 06/03/2014 12:51:34 MDT Print View

Thanks for the quick responses. I've got a Patagonia fleece vest that I use quite a bit, both getting started in the mornings and during rest stops,--And was looking for a lighter alternative. I get cold really easily; I'm the guy who still has on a hat and gloves when everyone else is down to t-shirt and shorts. The cap 4 hoodie is a good idea. I've been thinking of "second shirt" options too, and it would also be good for sleep, as someone also mentioned.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: Vest on 06/03/2014 13:15:47 MDT Print View

I bought a Hawkes and Co down vest for ~ $25 from Costco. It's about as warm as my fleece vest and weighs about four ozs or so size XXHolyCrap.

Down side (pun intended) is that it leaks feathers. For $25 and no noticible drop in performance, I've learned to live with this issue.

If you're interested in buying one, they run very large so definitely don't size up.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 06/03/2014 13:34:27 MDT.

Just In Time
(ArcturusBear1) - F
Re: Vest on 06/03/2014 13:17:21 MDT Print View

You might be interested in my design.

It's a front only insulated 2.5 oz Apex vest that depending weighs from 2 oz to 4 oz.

Made with super breathable lining and shell, with the idea that you are already using a windshirt or jacket in combo with it. My cheaper answer to Polartecs Alpha stuff.

Packs super small, very warm for the weight. Talk to Dave Chenault, i sent him two prototypes to test. Originally i was going to make and sell them in some pre made quantities, but i figured there might not be much interest. The two prototypes i sent him, didn't have any fabric in the back at all (well, one had mesh), so as to keep back sweat down as much as possible (since most people already have a backpack on). To be honest, the first two prototypes had some issues, but i'm thinking of making one with a light fabric back, no zipper etc in front, etc which would be a lot easier for me to do. And a more wicking lining fabric for the Apex rather than 1.1 oz ripstop nylon which i used.

I could make you one for 50 including shipping.

Mitchell Ebbott
(mebbott) - M

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: Re: Lightweight fleece vest on 06/03/2014 13:17:39 MDT Print View

I have a couple fleeces that were part of a work uniform at my old job. They're pretty lightweight, probably 100wt if I had to guess, and have a half zip with a collar (like those Terramar ones). I cut the sleeves off of one and it now weighs 6.1 ounces.

I'm sure you could find something similar at a thrift store. Fleece is fleece, there's no point spending lots of money on it.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Lightweight fleece vest on 06/03/2014 13:22:16 MDT Print View

I've seen oodles of fleece vests at my local thrift store.

hwc 1954
Terramar on 06/03/2014 13:51:04 MDT Print View

I used to have a shirt like the Terramar shown above. It's actually lighter than 100-wt fleece. Really more of a shirt. Super comfortable.

I lucked into a couple of TJ MAXX closeouts on a Marmot PowerStretch 1/2 zip that is an an older thinner PowerStretch variant -- not the current variety with a tightly woven outside finish.. More of a shirt weight, fleecy on both inside and out. Still stretchy. A lot like those Terramars. Pretty darn comfortable.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Lightweight fleece vest on 06/03/2014 14:02:32 MDT Print View

It's not fleece, but warmer per oz, and only 5 oz:

This is what I hike in a lot. Once I am moving I can pretty much be comfortable down to freezing with this over a silkweight crew.

Just In Time
(ArcturusBear1) - F
Re: Re: Lightweight fleece vest on 06/03/2014 15:03:41 MDT Print View

Site says the Montbell vest in medium is 6.6 oz. Over 1.5 oz is a somewhat significant discrepancy even if you have a small size (though better for them if it actually weighs less than the stated weight).

Edited by ArcturusBear1 on 06/03/2014 15:04:31 MDT.

todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: Lightweight fleece vest on 06/03/2014 15:40:45 MDT Print View

Like one of the above, I just cut the sleeves off an old Nike 100wt fleece crew. Weighs less than 6oz in Large and it's been great. Since fleece doesn't unravel you don't have to hem it once cut.

I might cut it down the front like a 1/4 zip and sew on two buttons - wouldn't have to do a formal button hole, just cut slits wide enough! I've been happy with it and it took no sewing skill.

Matthew Reese
Montbell vest on 06/03/2014 16:53:50 MDT Print View

I thought seriously about the Montbell vest, but one thing I like about fleece is how breathable it is. When I take a break and have worked up a good sweat I want something that will breathe.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Montbell vest on 06/03/2014 17:00:09 MDT Print View

Have you seen one? These are pretty breathable - thin synthetic insulation sandwiched between non-waterproofed nylon.

Also..its a vest its naturally breathable. :-)

On the other hand I love fleece vests and have about 10 of them.

Edited by millonas on 06/03/2014 17:13:33 MDT.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Re: Lightweight fleece vest on 06/03/2014 17:04:40 MDT Print View

"Site says the Montbell vest in medium is 6.6 oz"

Yes, that is correct and what mine weighs. I read it off my spreadsheet instead of checking again myself. Typos are a good way to cut down on base weight.

Edited by millonas on 06/03/2014 17:06:56 MDT.

Ito Jakuchu
(jakuchu) - MLife

Locale: Japan
monbell fleece vest on 06/03/2014 17:16:55 MDT Print View

I have a Montbell Chameece Vest. A very thin fleece, layers very nicely and the whole vest weighs 153gr. (5.4 ounces).

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: monbell fleece vest on 06/03/2014 17:42:14 MDT Print View

Since this is BPL, where we always take everything to extreme, I suppose there is also the Patagonia Nine Trails vest. This think is 2.9 oz. It is made out of the same material the Houdini is made of, but with the back made of microfleece for extra breathability. They discontinued it, but there are still some being sold on ebay and other places.

But fleece has more soul - like a wearable teddy bear.

Edited by millonas on 06/03/2014 17:43:36 MDT.

Matthew Reese
Chameese vest on 06/03/2014 18:18:45 MDT Print View

They don't make the chameese vest anymore, correct?

Ito Jakuchu
(jakuchu) - MLife

Locale: Japan
Re: Chameese vest on 06/03/2014 18:25:44 MDT Print View

In Japan they do. But Japan and USA Montbell do differ a bit sometimes.

edit - seems like it is not up on USA site. Hope they bring it back next season.
For what it's worth I bought another one with sleeves and ΒΌ zip and just cut the sleeves off. No need to stitch even (the fleece/chameece doesn't unravel). They're great because they're so light, only one tiny pocket, no drawcords, nothing. The only thing I can wear while active too.

Edited by jakuchu on 06/03/2014 18:41:42 MDT.