by Diane Spicer
This My Trail Co vest review is brought to you for one, and only one, reason:
My Trail Co provided Hiking For Her with a women's down vest to test on the trail.
All of the comments, opinions and photos in this review belong to Hiking For Her.
HFH uses My Trail Co hiking gear and outdoor clothing for three season hiking, and has written previous reviews:
In addition, Hiking For Her is a My Trail Co affiliate.
If you make a purchase through the links on this page, HFH will receive a small percentage of your purchase price.
It's important to put some thought into selecting each of the pieces of your hiking layering system.
Two reasons for thoughtful decisions:
Okay, that sounds great in theory.
How do you pull it off?
You ask some questions!
All it takes are a few pointed questions to size up a piece of clothing for possible inclusion in your layering system:
So let's ask, and then answer, these questions in this My Trail Co vest review.
A down vest can be used in two ways on the trail:
... you want a vest with these features:
This vest ticks all the boxes!
It felt roomy enough to allow me to bend and twist while taking my backpack on and off.
But the vest was form fitting enough that I could pull my rain jacket, or a fleece hoodie, over it without feeling like I was trapped inside an overstuffed pillow.
We're not building the space shuttle here.
But let's look carefully at the construction and materials anyway!
700-fill duck down, weighing 95 grams.
Okay... so what does that mean for you?
700 fill refers to how "fluffy" the down is when you measure and compare it under controlled conditions (the technical term is "loft").
FYI: Fill numbers run between 900+ (really warm but expensive) to the low end of quality, around 400.
Ducks and geese have figured out that trapping air against a warm body can be efficient and nearly weightless, and humans have borrowed the concept (and the down).
What it really means for you:
There is a lot of discussion in the blogosphere about the source of down:
humane treatment concerns focused on how the down was obtained.
Nylon is a typical material to use for an outer layer of hiking clothing.
It has useful properties such as durability and lightness, and can stop wind when layered with down, as in this vest.
On any vest you're considering, check the stitching and zipper quality.
The nylon shell material is featured in three different My Trail Co vest colors:
Depending on which device you are using to read this My Trail Co vest review, it will look bright yellow (but not mustard yellow), or a greenish yellow.
Out in natural light, I found it to be somewhere in between, and a nice change from what's currently on the market in women's hiking vests.
Women hikers tend to run a bit colder than their male hiking companions, so the first thing I recommend to a new female hiker is a vest.
But sometimes a woman balks at having to carry "extra" clothing.
If you're thinking you really don't need to carry or wear a down vest, consider this:
Total vest weight: 7.5 oz
Basically, it weighs nothing on your body.
But here's where the punchline comes in:
It buys you a lot of comfort and a welcome margin of safety on chilly trails (700 fill power) without costing you a lot in weight.
This is where your personal preferences come to the forefront.
Do you hike on moderately wide, well marked trails where you're not required to make large motions and sometimes tricky maneuvers around obstacles?
This directly feeds into the next set of questions:
Do you like your hiking clothing roomy and able to accommodate at least one layer below, and another above it?
My impression of this My Trail Co vest is that it can fit into your hiking wardrobe as a form fitting vest if you order your regular size.
But the vest will accommodate a layer or two beneath it, if you order up one size.
A note to women who think down vests make them look
Yup, a plump down vest definitely adds a bit of bulk to your profile.
And for the record, this is one of the more streamlined vests I've seen.
I liked the microfleece lining in the pockets, such a nice touch for cold hands.
Did I wish for an internal pocket to stow my gloves and headband?
The vest rolled up in a snug little ball inside my backpack, but came out ready to go after a brief fluffing.
And there's something so comforting about pulling on a down vest and feeling your body heat radiate back to your skin.
So if you're looking for a layering piece for your clothing system, this vest definitely has merit.
And wouldn't it make an excellent (and thoughtful) gift for a trail buddy?
Hiking vest = hiking happiness on chilly trails.
This one will make you smile :)
My Trail Co Vest Review