This gear review will lead you to one item of clothing I am loving this winter: my down vest.  I hate wearing thick layers when I hike but I still want the warmth and protection.  This is why my Patagonia Bivy Hooded Down Vest is amazing.IMG_0907

  • Pros
    • Incredibly warm without the extra weight
    • Wind and water-resistant
    • Has a hood, which I’ve used many times for additional warmth
    • Amazingly warm flannel-lined pockets.  I had my hands out of the pockets on one hike and my fingers were beyond cold — so cold that it hurt to bend them — but a few moments after I put them inside these pockets, they became so toasty.  I’ve even told other people to feel how warm and soft the pockets are and they were impressed.
    • Vest comes up high to cover my neck for additional warmth
    • The zipper is really nice: It never gets stuck in the fabric and is very sturdy.  Some zippers are crap.  You know it, I know it, we’ve all been there.


  • Cons
    • This is a silly one but it annoys me: The hood is very tight which means when my vest is zipped all the way up, I cannot get the hood on or off without unzipping it first.  A hood that allowed me to slip it on and off without unzipping would be incredible!
    • This is really expensive for a vest.  I get that it it amazing but at the end of the day  — simply put — it is still only a vest.
    • Silly con Number Two is everything gets stuck to this vest: lint, hair — you name it, it will stick.  Even lint rolling is challenging because it is so attached.  It just doesn’t make me feel — what’s the word — clean? kept? nice?


  • Rating: IMG_2397IMG_2397IMG_2397IMG_2397 out of Five Vistas
    Overall, the cons are minor because this vest is a great purchase.
  • Tips when tracking down your own vest
    • Determine what season you want to wear it: If you want it for the winter, be aware that you may have on multiple layers so you might want to go up a size to fit all layers comfortably.
    • I’d highly recommend waterproof or at least water resistant vests, and windproof is a plus too.
    • To me, hoods are not necessary on a vest.  In fact, I’d probably prefer to wear a beanie instead of having an attached vest hood.  However, if this is something you’re interested in, be sure to scout for ones with a hood.

Happy trails!

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