The best insulated vests combine warmth and style. Versatile, durable and elegant, they can withstand fluctuating temperatures, keeping you warm and dry in style.
You could say that sleeveless outwear has undergone a renaissance in the past few years. Once associated only with farmers and fishermen, today you’ll find them everywhere, from the countryside to the catwalk. These padded vests, waistcoats and gilets tend to be made from an insulating fabric like fleece, down or sherpa. They provide the perfect insulation for when the weather can’t make up its mind and most, but not all, are waterproof. We’ve cherry-picked five of the best insulated vest brands on the market, based on versatility, quality, design and price.
Patagonia is famous for fleece. It follows, then, that their insulated vests would offer some of the best protection on the market. The Classic Retro–X Windproof Vest is its best-seller, made from 50% recycled sherpa fleece. The bonded windproof membrane keeps your core warm in even the windiest conditions and the contrasting navy and cream thick pile means it’s as stylish as it is sturdy. There are a dozen different vests to choose from though, including the lightweight ‘Down Sweatervest’ and the ever-popular ‘Men’s Micropuff’.
Shop at Patagonia.com
Natural Man is a US-based business specialising in outdoor clothing and equipment – so their insulated vests are built to withstand tough conditions. As the name suggests, products are made with mostly natural materials, such as merino wool, virgin wool, bamboo and leather, with an aim to eliminate synthetic materials and packaging from the process altogether. The Mackinaw Wool Button Vest is a classic, made from 100% virgin wool and is equally suitable for field sports, wilderness activities and day-to-day use around town. All vests include pockets – in this case there are five – so it’s practical too.
Shop at NaturalMan.com
The North Face
A go-to cold weather brand for millennials, The North Face insulated vest range includes lightweight down, heavy-duty puffers and fleece numbers. The Denali Jacket first made an appearance in 1989, designed for climbers. The contemporary iteration is made from recycled polyester fleece that’s quick-drying, swear-wicking and warm. It’s tough enough to stand up against repeated backpack wear too. Serious outdoor enthusiasts should consider the Black Series Three Layer Vest, which combines groundbreaking FUTURELIGHT™ fabric with unrivalled breathable waterproof protection. It features serious-looking fear hoops, mesh side panels and webbing adjustments too.
Shop at TheNorthFace.com
Japanese retailer Uniqlo offers a handful of wallet-sparing insulated vests. Budget they may be, but they’re hardwearing, warm and stylish too. There’s a range of different vests to choose from but the ‘Ultra Light Down’ is the real highlight of the collection. Designed to work as both outerwear and innerwear, they feature a water-repellent coating, weigh around 235 grams and can be rolled up and packed into a handy pouch for when you’re on the go. Perfect for days out in precarious weather conditions.
Shop at Uniqlo.com
With over 160 years of experience providing top-notch fly-fishing equipment and game-shooting clothing, Orvis are old-school experts in outdoor clothing. The brand was founded in Manchester, Vermont in 1856 and now offers high-quality and affordable accessories, apparel and equipment. There’s a wide variety of insulated vests to choose from, for a wide range of purposes. The recycled drift vest, made from 100% recycled polyester is chevron quilted, featuring tricot-lined handwarmer pockets and a DWR-treated shell for water repellency. The Briar waistcoat is unrivalled in durability, made from a touch Bedford cord stretch cotton that’s commonly used for workwear, microfleece lining and stretch to allow for wider movement – it’s bramble resistant too.
Shop at Orvis.com