Best Men's Down Vests

Updated January 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

32 Models Considered
20 Hours Researched
3 Experts Interviewed
199 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for Best Men's Down Vests

A down vest is arguably one of the most versatile outerwear pieces a man can own. It provides freedom of movement that is impossible to achieve while wearing a coat, yet it is still extremely effective at providing warmth.

The right men's down vest can allow for full range of motion, provide adequate warmth, and make you look fantastic. When choosing a vest, there are a few key ideas to keep in mind. For example, “fill power” is an oft-misunderstood term that it helps to clarify when talking about an item containing down. “Hydrophobic down” is specially treated down that you might be interested in, depending on what you like to do outside. And not least important, a down vest can look fantastic when paired with the right pieces, such as a pair of great jeans and hiking boots.

In this article, we highlight the features you should consider when shopping for a men’s down vest. We also provide information about some of our favorite men’s down vests, so if you’d prefer to get some quick recommendations to make shopping easier, we’ve got you covered.

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A down vest is ideal if you need to do an outdoor winter chore like chopping wood because it allows you to retain your full range of motion while keeping you warm.

Key considerations

Size

The best fit for a down vest is close to the body, but not so snug that movement is restricted or the down is compressed. If you are going to wear layers beneath your vest, you may need to go up one size. Don't get a vest that is too big, however, or it won't effectively insulate you.

Fill power

The concept of fill power can be boiled down to this: the higher the fill power, the more warmth provided. For example, a vest with 1 pound of 800-fill down will be warmer than a vest with 1 pound of 600-fill down.

Weight

The less a down vest weighs, the more you will like wearing it — as long as it provides adequate warmth. Additionally, a lightweight down vest will be easier to compress if you need to pack it for hiking or camping.

Hydrophobic down

A down vest that consists of “hydrophobic down” contains down that has been treated to repel water rather than absorb it. This is important because down loses its ability to keep you warm once it gets wet. Purchasing a down vest with treated down can help ensure you will stay warm if the vest gets wet.

When traveling, a vest may be a better option than a winter coat because it takes up less packing space.

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Features

Outer material

Even if you won't be using your down vest for camping and hiking, an outer material that is tear-resistant, windproof, and waterproof is ideal. Durable polyester or nylon are two solid options.

Zippered pockets

Zippered pockets are often preferred so you do not lose what you place in them. While most vests have two side pockets, a few also feature a chest pocket for added convenience.

Warmth detail

While a down vest is fairly good at helping keep your core warm, there are three additional features you may want to consider.

  • A high collar to help keep warm air from escaping around your neck
  • A drawstring closure to help keep warm air trapped inside
  • Elastic cuffs around the arms to help keep warm air against your body

Style detail

If you want a down vest with a little extra style, there are four additional features to consider.

  • A tapered waist to help define your shape
  • A V-neck, which adds a bit of class but may detract from warmth
  • A two-tone design, just for a little pizzazz
  • A reversible vest, so you essentially have two vests in one
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Did You Know?
It is just as easy to get dehydrated in the winter as it is in the summer. If you are wearing a vest, you are probably active. Continue to hydrate in cold weather, even if you are not thirsty.
Staff
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Accessories


Jeans: Levi’s Men’s 517 Bootcut
You can’t go wrong with a pair of bootcut Levi’s with your down vest. These 517s are available in a range of washes and are tailored to fit nicely through the seat and upper leg.

Compression shirt: Men’s Under Armour ColdGear Compression Crew
Under Armour makes some of the best compression shirts, and we love this cold-weather crew for its stylish appearance and layering possibilities.

Hiking boots: Men’s Timberland White Ledge Ankle Boots
If you’ll be hiking in your down vest, consider this sturdy pair of waterproof Timberlands for your next adventure. They come at a reasonable price and are valued for their durability.

Men’s down vest prices

Inexpensive: A lightweight, budget-priced down vest will cost between $20 and $40. In this range, you won't find many slim-fitting models with a tailored look; the fit tends to be more bulky or boxy.

Mid-range: In the $40 to $80 price range, you will find men's down vests with a greater emphasis on style, allowing the wearer to achieve a slimmer, more put-together look. Many of these vests are lightweight yet still provide adequate warmth.

High-end: While you could spend $200 or more, between $80 and $140 is what you can expect to pay for the typical high-end vest. These vests tend to be more rugged — something you would feel comfortable wearing in extreme conditions. Many vests in this upper range tend to be quite stylish, too.

If you want to look stylish, fit, and slim when wearing a down vest, consider one that is tapered at the waist.

Staff
BestReviews

Tips

If we carefully choose what we wear, we can tell the world a great deal about who we are without ever saying a word. Here are a few tips on how to present your best self in a vest.

  • Remember it's not about conformity. Style is about individual flair. You are the best you there is, so choose the clothing that expresses that to the world.
  • Take advantage of the long season. You can wear a vest from fall to spring. Take advantage of that extended period to get creative with your look.
  • Don't overdo the layering. Too many layers might add bulk where you don’t want it. Three visible layers is a good rule of thumb.
  • Jeans are your go-to. Jeans have a way of tying together a rugged look, and that includes any outfit that features a down vest.
  • Don't neglect accessories. The right knitted hat might be all it takes to make that down vest work for you.
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Follow all instructions on the care label of your down vest. While machine washing is usually okay, hot-air drying could melt and damage the outer material of some down vests.

FAQ

Q. How does a vest keep your extremities warm?

A. One of the most common questions you get asked when wearing a vest is, "Aren't your arms cold?" When the temperature drops, your body increases blood flow to your core to protect your vital organs. This reduces the blood flow to your extremities, which means they get cold. A vest is designed to keep your core warm so your arms (and legs) can still receive the adequate blood flow needed to stay warm.

Q. When can I wear a vest instead of a winter coat?

A. Two key factors can help determine when it is best to wear a vest: temperature and activity. For example, if it is cold outside but you are active, a vest is fine. On the other hand, if it is cold and you are not engaged in any sort of physical activity, a vest might not be enough to keep you warm.

Q. What is the Responsible Down Standard?

A. The Responsible Down Standard (RDS) is an organization devoted to protecting animal welfare, educating companies (so they understand what is actually in their products), and providing credible certification for companies that seek to adhere to cruelty-free down sourcing practices. Some of the best down vests for men adhere to the RDS.

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The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
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