Best Winter Vests

Crafted with the active lifestyle in mind, the best winter vests provide maximum warmth while being as light as is possible. They have the ability to roll up tightly for stealth packing, provide you with practical storage space for small carry-along items, and are comfortable enough that you’ll be tempted to wear them every day.

Vests are a smart option for those who don’t prefer the arm and shoulder restriction of coats in mildly cool temperatures. On the other hand, they make a nice insulating middle layer under a thick, water-resistant coat for more frigid adventures. They’re a stylish staple you’ll want in your closet this winter and all year round. Stay toasty with the freedom of movement to be just as active as you dare to be with these picks.

North Face Nuptse
  • North Face Nuptse
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • High-quality construction
  • Price: See Here
Patagonia Down Sweater
  • Patagonia Down Sweater
  • 4.9 out of 5
    Our rating
  • High-quality materials
  • Optimum fill-power
  • Price: See Here
Arc’teryx Cerium LT
  • Arc’teryx Cerium LT
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Drawstring stuff sack
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Winter Vests

 

 

The North Face Nuptse

The North Face Nuptse
Stay more than warm enough with The North Face Nuptse Vest. Top-of-the-line and well-made, it’s great to have on hand when temperatures begin to drop. It’s versatile and stylish enough to wear anywhere and everywhere.
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Weight and Size

While the average weight of the Nuptse, at 16.23 oz., is greater than some others that made the list, it’s a superb lightweight option that will compress and easily pack away for wintry trips. It’s a standard fit vest with a comfortable hip length that averages 27” in the back.

Pocket Space

This vest has two deep pockets that are zippered for ultimate security and an internal pocket at the chest for stowing important small items.

Durable Material and Construction

It’s constructed with a tough 50 denier x 50 denier shell that’s 100% nylon, making it resistant to tears, abrasions, wind and stains.

Comfort and Warmth

The Nuptse is filled with 700-fill goose down that’s responsibly sourced, has a double layer of taffeta on the shoulders and a high collar to preserve core warmth. Its nice, updated fit will ensure you are kept warm and comfortable in some of the most uncomfortable elements.

Extra Features

The vest includes a hem cinch cord for making simple adjustments to length and fit. Available in sizes that range from S to XXL and a wide variety of color options and combinations, you’re sure to find your ideal fit and style. Additionally, it’s media compatible.
Pros
  • The company provides a lifetime guarantee for material defects and manufacturing issues.
  • Super warmth and high-quality construction make for a product that will last for years to come.
  • The North Face is committed to ensuring that their down products are ethically and humanely sourced. 
Cons
  • It is pricier than some other winter vests, as are most items from The North Face in comparison to other names. It’s a trade-off for a dependable, valued name and product.

 

Patagonia Down Sweater

Patagonia Down Sweater
Patagonia’s Down Sweater Vest provides cozy torso warmth for the dawn patrol wave checks of winter or climbing to higher elevations. Ideal for layering under a waterproof shell or over a heavy flannel, it’s functional and easy to maneuver in. Keep your core comfortable and your arms ready for anything in this one.
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Weight and Size

It weighs in at a tiny 9.8 oz., making it an easy choice for excursions when you’ll need to pack it away to make space for other essential gear or overnight items.

Pocket Space

It has two exterior zippered pockets for storage and security. Additionally, it has an internal zippered security pocket that doubles as a stuff sack for when it’s time to pack up and the weather’s more fair. The pocket sack has a built-in loop for carabiner attachment.

Durable Material and Construction

Its shell is made with 20 x 30 denier 100% recycled polyester ripstop with a DWR finish while the lining is a similar 20 denier 100% recycled polyester ripstop with a DWR finish, making for a vest that’s wind-blocking, water-repellant, and hardy.

Comfort and Warmth

The Down Sweater Vest easily maintains core heat with an impressive 800-fill traceable down stuffing. It has a slim, athletic fit that pairs well with any active lifestyle.

Extra Features

It’s made with Vislon zippers, a zipper garage at the chin and pockets and a wicking interior storm flap at the front zipper for maximum comfort. It’s available in a large variety of sizes from XS to XXL.
Pros
  • There’s a good size selection in this vest from XS to XXL. Most other options don’t include an XS size.
  • Patagonia makes their clothing with the highest quality materials that are sustainable and traceable.
  •  It’s crafted with optimum fill-power down, creating the desirable warmth you’ll want in a staple winter vest.
Cons
  • Like The North Face vest, it has a higher price point than many other winter vests.

 

Arc'teryx Cerium LT

Arc'teryx Cerium LT
Whether you’re casually meeting up with friends for the evening or trekking through a wintry wood, the Arc’teryx Cerium LT Vest will meet both cool weather needs. It performs well as an extra warm middle layer as well as a stand-alone top layer. It provides non-constricting comfort and outstanding warmth.
A vest like this one is basically an essential for any cold weather occasion.
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Weight and Size

The Arc’teryx Cerium LT is one of the lightest weight vests available, coming in at a miniscule 6.5 oz. It has a trim fit and is hip length at an average 69.5 cm for a size small back.

Pocket Space

It is made with two outer zippered pockets as well as an inner zippered security pocket. Attached to the inner pocket is a drawstring bag for packing up your vest during light travel.

Durable Material and Construction

The Cerium LT is crafted with an Arato 10 shell that’s 100% nylon with a DWR finish for moisture resistance. It has a sewn-through construction to decrease weight while increasing tight packability.

Warmth and Comfort

Arc’teryx uses a most impressive 850-fill good down in the Cerium LT. Also utilized for insulation is Coreloft 80 (80 g) and Coreloft 100 (100 g) synthetic insulation. It’s placed in areas more prone to moisture exposure by a technology called Down Composite Mapping, creating a user-beneficial partnership between down and synthetics.

Extra Features

The vest includes a bottom hem adjuster for tightening or shortening the hem as you feel comfortable. It is available in sizes S to XXL.
Pros
  • It’s ultra-lightweight, an important consideration for serious distance climbers and hikers.
  • It comes with a drawstring stuff sack for easily stowing the vest.
  • It has a nice fit with a long cut.
Cons
  • This vest has a higher price than some others do.

  • There have been some reports of a thin, delicate zipper, most likely for purposes of keeping the weight of the vest down.

 

Patagonia Better Sweater

Patagonia Better Sweater
No matter where you are or what your adventure, Patagonia’s Better Sweater vest provides functional core warmth to keep you going all day long. From weekend winter hiking to a busy day at the office, you’ll be equipped with a classy, sweater-like piece to keep you well-insulated in style.
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Weight and Size

You won’t be weighed down in this one. It weighs just 13.7 oz, leaving your free to move and explore in comfort. Its hip length provides ample coverage and desirable torso warmth.

Pocket Space

It has two outer zip pockets and a left zip chest pocket, providing plenty of spots to store your small gear and necessities.

Durable Material and Construction

Patagonia provides a durable, well-made product as well as a reliable repair service should life ever get the better of your sweater vest.

Warmth and Comfort

It’s free of bulk with a flat-seam construction of knitted, heathered 100% polyester fleece that resembles wool. It has a stand-up collar for optimized core warmth, soft interior fleece and a loose fit. With abrasion-resistance and shape-maintaining hemlines and shoulders, this one might stick around your wardrobe for a while.

Extra Features

Patagonia takes care to ensure they are socially and environmentally responsible during the production of their clothing. The Better Sweater Vest is dyed using an environmentally-friendly, low-impact process. It’s crafted with sewing that’s Fair Trade Certified and a bluesign system that reduces any negative impact on people and resources used in its production.
Pros
  • The quality is top-of-the-line.
  • The company behind the vest is one of the most socially, environmentally and animal-friendly ones, an important factor for many a good amount of their time outdoors and traveling the world.
  • It has a great price point for a reliable, warm winter vest.
Cons
  • Some pilling in the material may occur after much use. However, this is fixable, and somewhat preventable, with careful washing. (See FAQ for more details.)

32 Degrees Nano Light

32 Degrees Nano Light
If you need a lightweight vest that will fit comfortably over a long sleeve or under a heavier coat as an insulating mid-layer, but you aren’t ready to lay down a wad of cash, the Nano Light Packable Down Vest by 32 Degrees is a no-brainer pick. The price is unbeatable and the color options are excellent. A few of these would go great under the Christmas tree this year.
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Weight and Size

Weighing less than a pound and with a long length of 30 in., the Nano Light Vest is a comfortable option for the cold season. It compresses and packs down into an included matching bag for when you’re on the go.

Pocket Space

Its zippered outer pockets ensure any small items you’re carrying along stay where they should and keep hands tucked in from the wind and chill outside.

Durable Material and Construction

The inner lining is 100% nylon and the shell is 72% nylon and 28% polyester, making it resistant to wind, rips and stains.

Warmth and Comfort

It features a stand-up collar for maximum core warmth and comfort and it’s insulated with 90% 650-fill down and 10% feathers. It’s warm, light and non-bulky.

Extra Features

The Nano Light vest includes an adjustable drawstring at the hem and is available in sizes S to XXL.
Pros
  • Whoa, what a deal!
  • It’s easy to condense down for light travel.
Cons
  • It does have less down than some of the others.
  • It may run a bit small, in which case you’ll need to order a size up.

Columbia Sportswear Flash Forward

Columbia Sportswear Flash Forward
Columbia’s Flash Forward Down Vest will keep you toasty warm on chilly days this winter or on your next higher elevation excursion. Its sleek trim cut is slim-fitting and stylish so that you can throw it on for frosty morning commutes, stops at the coffee shop or evening runs and feel totally comfortable without a heavy bulk weighing you down.
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Weight and Size

The Flash Forward vest is made with a long torso and a snug fit so that it hugs your core comfortably and attractively.

Pocket Space

It includes two zippered hand pockets at the sides for ideal warmth and storage, as well as two large interior pockets that can store a cell phone, gloves or other small items you may need to have on hand.

Durable Material and Construction

This vest is made with a 100% polyester lining and a 100% polyester taffeta shell, creating a durable, water-resistant and wind-resistant addition to your winter wardrobe.

Warmth and Comfort

Stuffed with 650-fill down and made with a collar that rises up on the neck, it will keep you snug and cozy all winter long. It has an active fit with hem and armhole binding to provide a sleek look and feel.

Extra Features

There are bright and vivid color options available.
Pros
  • It has an excellent price for the quality.
  • It’s lightweight with a comfortable, attractive fit.
Cons
  • The trim cut will work best with thin layers underneath. Those needing more room in the bust area of the women’s may need to order a size up.
  • It’s filled with less down and thinner than some of the others. It may best be used as a late fall or mild winter vest, or as a mid-layer.

North Face Aconcagua

North Face Aconcagua
Whether you’re at work, around campus or out fishing, this vest is versatile enough for casual or active wear. Throw it over a t-shirt on cool days or add a coat on top for the really cold ones. It has a slimmer profile and lighter weight than the Nuptse. It’s timeless, a great pick for all ages and locations. It may become the go-to vest in your closet.
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Weight and Size

The relaxed fit Aconcagua has a comfortable back center length of 27.5 in. and weighs an average 13.4 oz., enabling you to roll it up and tuck it away easily when on the go.

Pocket Space

It has two zippered hand pockets and a secure zippered chest pocket for extra storage space.

Durable Material and Construction

The body is crafted with a tough 40 denier 53% recycled polyester, 47% polyester finished with a DWR to prevent moisture saturation.

Warmth and Comfort

The insulation is 550-fill responsibly sourced goose down in this breathable, non-restricting vest. It also includes 150 g of Heatseeker synthetic insulation at the sides and shoulders to prevent heat loss at these colder spots.

Extra Features

The Aconcagua is manufactured with over 50% recycled materials, making it one of the few environmentally-friendly and earth-conscious picks available.
Pros
  • The vest comes with a lifetime guarantee from The North Face against material and manufacturing defects.
  • This one is a more affordable vest from a higher end name with top quality products.
  • It’s attractive and versatile enough for everyday wear.
Cons
  • It isn’t made with 100% down. There is some synthetic insulation used in parts of the vest.

Outdoor Research Transcendent

Outdoor Research Transcendent
Outdoor Research’s Transcendent Down Vest is super light, compressible and made with goose down for proven warmth in the lowest of temperatures.
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Weight and Size

It weighs in at light 9.4 oz. with a 70 cm average back length for a lightweight, packable winter vest.

Pocket Space

It’s made with two secure zippered pockets and a zippered chest pocket. It packs down simply into one of the pockets for multi-day adventure trips.

Durable Material and Construction

A 20 denier 100% polyester ripstop shell and a 44 denier 100% nylon embossed taffeta lining gives it a hardy wind and water resistance while you’re out in the elements.

Warmth and Comfort

The Transcendent Vest has 650-fill goose down insulation throughout. It’s a standard snug fit for technical and casual wear that will keep the cold out but won’t hinder your movement. It pairs well with a hoodie and can also serve as your light mid-layer underneath a sturdy shell.

Extra Features

It includes a carabiner loop for easy attaching, an internal front storm flap and an elastic drawstring adjustable hem. As with most of the other options, it’s available in a variety of sizes from S to XXL.
Pros
  • It’s a bit less expensive than some of the other top name options on our list and on the market.
  • The vest offers excellent warmth without being bulky.
Cons
  • It may run small, in which case you would need to order a size up from your typical fit.              

Ibex Wool Shak

Ibex Wool Shak
For temperature-regulating comfort, a natural feel and a sharp look, the Ibex Wool Shak Vest is a winner. It provides a reliable layer of warmth without the heavy weightiness layers can sometimes have. It’s fully functional for all types of active recreation as well as indoor events. Whether your day involves hunting, camping or business travel, the Shak Vest won’t let you down.
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Weight and Size

The Ibex Shak Vest is ideally made to be warm without unwanted bulk and heaviness. It weighs just 11.32 oz. and has an average L size back length of 30 in., providing good coverage for the entire core area.

Pocket Space

It is made with a zippered security chest pocket for important items like an iPod or key, a big plus for activewear.

Durable Material and Construction

The Shak Vest is made with wool, which is proven to be an incredibly hardy winter material. It can stretch and compress without losing its shape, insulating abilities or comfort. Additionally, it can handle and recover well from any moisture that may saturate it. A wool item is one you can count on for years to come.

Warmth and Comfort

The Shak Vest is made specifically with 100% Merino wool, which is even more comfortable than typical wool. Merino wool, designed to be less itchy to the touch, is finer, softer and quicker to dry. The vest is breathable, as it absorbs and then releases unwanted moisture so that you can stay dry and just the right amount of warm. It is a semi-fit, which is a more relaxed fit so as not to constrain range of movement in the torso and arm areas.

Extra Features

It is available in a good range of sizes from a S to an XXL.
Pros
  • Its 100% wool construction makes it a smart buy if incredible winter warmth is your goal.
  • It handles moisture positively, air-drying without odors and wicking excess moisture away from the body.
Cons
  • It doesn’t have hand pockets at the sides for storage or hand warming.

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer
Ideal for winter running, climbing or simply walking the dog around the neighborhood, the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Vest provides a great fit and exceptional warmth for a four-season, outdoor lifestyle. It allows for desired freedom of movement for adventurers and casual outdoorsmen alike.
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Weight and Size

At a mere 5 oz., this is our lightest winter vest option. Those with ultra-light gear needs will swoon over this one. It can compress down and be stored within one of the available pockets. It’s an active fit with a center back length of 27 in.

Pocket Space

It includes two good-sized zippered pockets for holding onto small items or keeping hands warm when the temperatures get low. The vest itself can fit into either of the pockets for easy storage and travel.

Durable Material and Construction

The vest is made with a special Ghost Whisperer 7 denier Whisperer x 10 denier ripstop fabric. It’s a light, tight-weave 100% nylon fabric that’s water-repellant and windproof.

Warmth and Comfort

The Ghost Whisperer is filled with 48 g of 800-fill RDS certified down. It’s a Q-Shield down in which a permanent water-repellant has been added to the down fibers to prevent the clumping and compressing of wet down. The quilted pattern of the vest helps it to not only maintain its shape but trap heat wherever the vest lies.

Extra Features

It includes an interior toggle hem for adjusting and a built-in loop for attaching. It’s also available in sizes S to XXL.
Pros
  • It packs incredibly well due to its low weight and compact compression.
  • It provides non-bulky wear that feels like you’re not even wearing it.
  • This vest keeps your core optimally warm and comfortable all at once.
Cons
  • There have been some complaints about flimsy and caught zippers.

Criteria Used For The Evaluation

Comfort, Size and Fit

Layers on top of layers in winter time can become cumbersome and constricting, but we don’t want to be confined to the indoors when those temperatures are dropping just to stay reasonably comfortable. For the most desirable winter vest comfort, you will want to look for a vest that won’t hinder your range of movement. It will be one that will allow you to move freely during all types of activities. You want a fit that’s snug enough to keep you warm, but plenty flexible and giving enough so that you have ample room to climb, run, cast a line, paddle, lift a rifle, or whatever it is that you do. There are many options out there that will suit these needs perfectly.

The weight of your vest may not be an issue for you, and that’s fine. Some vests are a little heavier and have more bulk to them while others, like those on our list, are light in weight and effortless to wear. If you’re expecting to wear it for outdoor activities, like cycling, running or hiking, you may want to consider a lightweight version. Those that are lighter will be easier to pack as they compress down very small, they will be easier to maneuver in and they’ll remain breathable and comfortable whether you’re in or out of doors.

 

The length of your vest is another factor to consider. A vest that’s too short will allow torso heat to escape and it may decrease the amount of middle coverage during high movement activities. You don’t want to suddenly feel an icy draft as you set up your tent for the night, or as reach for that next high rock ledge. Checking the back length and knowing your own torso length would be wise before making a good winter vest investment.

Furthermore, you want to choose a vest that’s made of soft but durable material. Shells made of polyester and/or nylon are commonly used, as they are versatile, comfortable and strong. Also, make sure you’re choosing one that has strong zippers that will last a long time. You don’t want to trade sturdy zippers for an item that’s light in weight. If it no longer zips, it isn’t going to help you stay warm! And finally, you’ll probably want some pocket space for your snacks, keys and cell phone. Interior and zippered pockets are absolutely a plus for maximum security on all your winter ventures.

Commonly Used Fill and Fill Power

Winter puffer vests are lightly stuffed with a fill that insulates, trapping body heat and keeping warmth right where it needs to be, snugly against your body on chilly days. Down and synthetic insulation both trap air in the free space between the fibers, thereby providing extra warmth. Both are effective insulators, however, there are some differences to take into account.

Down

Down is a high-performance insulator proven to perform well in extreme cold. It is usually sourced from geese and ducks around the world. It can compress tightly, allowing for greater fill at a lightweight. Its easy compression also makes it packable, a perfect option for extended journeys, low-key trips, and distance backpacking and climbing. It is a long-lasting insulator, with the ability to be compacted and misshapen over and over again while maintaining its original shape, fluff, and insulating properties.

Responsibly-Sourced Down

For many who live active, outdoor lifestyles, caring for the planet and animals we share our outdoor spaces with is important. Sometimes, to obtain down feathers, the animals are live-plucked, a painful and cruel process.  In addition, the waterfowl are sometimes force-fed for fattening, as they are primarily raised for meat. Feather gathering is, after all, a byproduct of the large meat industry. After the processes of gathering down and the poor treatment of the animals were reported and opposed by animal rights groups, a few companies raised their down standards. Patagonia and The North Face, for instance, now have ethical standards in place to ensure that the down clothing you purchase from their companies is responsibly sourced. Waterfowl connected to these brand names are now humanely treated and traceable. If these are important factors for you and you are willing to pay the price for higher standards, you’ll get what you pay for.

Synthetic Insulation

Synthetic insulation is man-made fine fiber that is manufactured to be very similar to down. They don’t have quite the insulating power of down, as it’s hard to replicate what nature has done so naturally, but they come in close behind when it comes to warmth retention. This type of insulation will lose shape a bit more quickly than down, and therefore, it won’t be as long-lasting. However, synthetic does outperform down when it comes to moisture. While down clumps when wet, synthetic doesn’t. If your wintry conditions are going to be icy or snowy ones, synthetic could be the way to go unless you have really great shell protection over your insulating material. Furthermore, articles of clothing stuffed with synthetic insulation are typically less expensive than those with down insulation. It’s a good choice to have on hand if you plan to spend any time outdoors this winter.

Fill Power

The higher the fill power, the lighter and fluffier the fibers. The lighter the fibers, the more that can be packed into a given space without increasing the weight. For instance, 800-fill down and 600-fill down may both weigh one ounce. However, the 600-fill down will take up more space, thereby decreasing the amount of fibers it takes to reach that one ounce. The 800-fill down will pack in more compactly, providing more insulating coverage in that same one ounce. In order to achieve the same coverage as the 800-fill, the item with 600-fill would need to increase its amount of down. This would increase the weight, making an item that’s a bit heavier and, perhaps, bulkier. While all down is an incredible insulator, the very best choice (if it’s within your budget and needs) would be that with a fill power of 800 or more. However, as down is the best fill insulator, a lower fill power is still a good one. Deciding which one you need will depend on your outdoor activities, the temperatures you foresee and how comfortable you are (or aren’t) in the cold.

Fill in Grams

Also, the amount of insulation placed into a vest can vary among models. The greater the amount of filling, the heavier and warmer the vest will be. For instance, a vest filled with 200 grams of 650-fill down will be thicker and cozier than a vest filled with just 50 g of the same fill power down. Check the amount of grams of down placed into a vest if possible, in addition to the fill power of the down in the vest. A lighter fill will be ideal for early spring or fall weather, whereas you’ll need a larger amount of fill for deep wintertime activities.

 

FAQs

 

Q:  What are the warmest and hardiest types of insulation for active winter wear?

Wool

Wool is a stand-alone material that effectively traps dead air and uses it to insulate the body. Wool handles moisture, humidity and wet conditions exceptionally well. It absorbs moisture from the body and then releases it to the outside dry environment as your body warms, maintaining just the right amount of interior heat and dryness. However, if it becomes overly saturated it would need to dry out before being comfortable to wear outdoors again. It is a quick-drying material. It is odor-resistant, due to its moisture-wicking properties. Bacteria that create odors cannot thrive where there is a lack of moisture. Furthermore, wool has incredibly strong fibers that can be stretched and pulled many times over without damage or becoming misshapen. Merino wool is a higher-end wool that is finer than typical wool, creating a softer, less itchy fabric. Its fine fibers also make it even quicker to dry.

Fleece

Fleece is another stand-alone material. It is warm, similar to wool, but it is much lighter and thinner. It is non-bulky, soft and lightweight. Fleece is versatile and easy to use as a mid layer in colder temperatures or as an outer layer in milder ones.

Down and Synthetic Down

Down and synthetic down are not a material, but fine fibers used as the inner insulation in clothing and other items such as coats, vests and blankets. They are a warm, desirable insulation for winter days. Down tends to be more warm than synthetic, but it does clump without easily returning to its natural shape when wet. Synthetic is not as warm as down but doesn’t clump when moisture saturates it. Both are incredibly effective and highly used insulators in winter wear.

Q:   How do you properly wash and dry a down vest?

Because down feather fibers can clump and become uneven in a garment, it is wise to be mindful of the washing process to prevent issues. Most vests, though, are made with a quilted pattern that helps to maintain an even spread of down throughout, even with washing.

To ensure your vests last for seasons and cold climates to come, machine wash your down vest with warm water and on a gentle cycle without fabric softener. The soapy softener can saturate the feathers inside, potentially causing odor problems and/or longer drying time. Use a front-loading machine if possible, or a top-loading machine without a middle agitator. The agitator could damage the vest. You want to avoid a washing machine full of feathers. If using a top-loading machine that does have an agitator it is best to place the vest in a mesh bag before washing. Tumble dry on a low heat setting with sock balls or tennis balls. The balls basically beat the garment back into shape for an effective and even dry and a well-maintained shape. The drying time could take longer than the drying time of a load of typical clothing items. Do not iron your down vest.

Q:   How do you properly wash and dry a vest made from wool or fleece?

Wash by hand in cold water or separately on a gentle cycle in a washing machine. This will prevent pilling, which can occur in these types of fabrics due to frequent washes and heavy friction against other materials. Lie the vest out flat to dry.

Q:  What can I do if my vest already has some pilling in the fabric?

Pilling can occur in your fleece and wool fabrics. It happens when pieces of the fabric pull away from the garment and collect together in tiny clumps on its exterior in a noticeable manner. It typically happens when there is friction between the piece of clothing and another item, like a backpack or an outer shell layer. It can also occur with frequent or rough washing, use or handling. However, your vest can recover from pilling. A pill shaver or sweater stone, which can be purchased in many stores and online, removes those excess small balls of fabric that have worked themselves up in a most unappealing way on your favorite vest. In the future, wash and dry carefully as described above.