Welcome to the twelfth installment of Sliding Scale, a series in which we bring you a single product for every budget. This month we’re rounding up responsibly-made Down Vests. Check out our eleven favorites after the jump.
Kicking things off is the Cheakamus 800 Down Vest from Taiga. It’s designed and made in Vancouver, insulated with 800-fill-power European goose down, has a “downproof” nylon shell (meaning the tips of the feathers won’t poke through), two zippered outer pockets, one zippered inner pocket, and only costs $98.95 CAD / $74.50 USD.
Next up are two affordable, American-made options from Luke’s Ultralight. There’s the $149 LUL Argon Down Vest, which is insulated with Hyper-Dry Water-Resistant 800-fill-power goose down, has a Superlight Argon 10denier nylon shell, and weighs a mere 4.2 oz. And there’s the $169 WPB Pertex Down Vest, which is also stuffed with Hyper-Dry Water-Resistant 800-fill-power goose down, and has a snow / rain resistant WPB Pertex shell.
Designed and made in Canada, the premium down filled London Vests from OSC Cross are lightweight, slim-fitting, and can be packed into themselves for easy stowing. Both glossy and matte finish versions are available, each of which comes in multiple colors, and all versions / colors are now on sale for $210 CAD / $158 USD.
Patagonia has two down vest options, both of which are priced at $179. There’s the performance-styled Down Sweater Vest, which has a 100% recycled polyester ripstop shell and 100% traceable, 800-fill-power down insulation. And the vintage-inspired Bivy Down Vest, which has a wind- and water-resistant nylon canvas shell and 100% traceable, 600-fill-power down insulation. Both vests are responsibly made in Vietnam, and come in an array of colors.
Another eco / ethical option are the St. Moritz Down Vests from Ecoalf. Designed in Spain, and responsibly made in China, the vests have a water-resistant, 100% recycled polyester shell (made from plastic soda bottles), and 650-fill-power, 40% PrimaLoft / 60% water-repellent down insulation that’s veterinary certified “No Live Plucking” and “No Force Feeding.” Chicago’s Notre has them in four colors for $185.
Coming in at $215 is the 850-fill-power Flash Vest from California’s Western Mountaineering. It’s made in North America using down sourced from free-range mother geese who are never live-plucked or force-fed, and only weighs 5 oz. A Canadian-made, slightly heavier (6.5 oz) collared style called the Flight Vest is also available for $10 more.
PHD, aka Peter Hutchinson Designs, is a British Company that designs and manufactures a range of down outerwear and sleeping bags in their own UK factory. They have several vest options, including the 900-fill-power European goose down insulated Minimus Vest. And the pull-over style, 1000-fill-power European goose down insulated Ultra Down Vest, which, despite having the highest fill-power of any of the vests on this list, only weighs 150 gm / 5.3 oz. Prices range from $222 – $267.
Of course, no down outerwear round-up would be complete without a Canada Goose mention. They have an array of styles to choose from, including the 625-fill-power Vanier Vest, the lightweight, 800-fill-power Hybridge Lite Vest, and the 625-fill-power Freestyle Vest. All styles are expertly made in Canada using responsibly sourced down, and come backed with a lifetime guarantee. Prices range from $245 – $345.
Crescent Down Works
Crescent Down Works only has one vest style, the Italian Vest, but every CDW stockist gets to put their own spin on the design, so the options are plentiful (as are the prices). Some personal favorites include the contrast-lined 60/40 ones at Freeman Seattle for $260. The diamond-quilted, roll-collared one at Independence for $298. And the contrast pocketed 60/40 ones at Indigo and Cotton for $325.
Rocky Mountain Featherbed
Rocky Mountain Featherbed used to be an American company (it was founded in Jackson, Wyoming in the 1960s), but is now a Japanese one (after going out of business in the 1980s, a Japanese vintage collector bought the licenses and revived it in 2005). While the ownership (and nationality) of the company has changed, the core designs, and emphasis on quality have not. Now made entirely in Japan, the company’s vests (and other down goods) come in an array styles, ranging from classic to modern, and lightweight to heavy-duty. Superdenim has a great selection of pieces, and prices range from $285 to $485.
And finally, rounding out our list at $295, is the American-made Down Cruiser Vest from Filson. It’s got ethically sourced, 550-fill-power European goose down insulation, water-resistant 8.5 oz oil finish Cover Cloth body with 11-oz oil finish Shelter Cloth pockets and seat reinforcement, and a stand-up wool-lined collar. Two colors are available.