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  • Insulated hiking gilet
  • Premier Icon rascal
    Free Member

    On the lookout for a new insulated gilet for walking and general keeping warm duties. Given our moist climate I’m thinking synthetic might be a better option than down. Something that’s not too bulky when packed down and not megabucks! Any recommendations? Cheers

    Premier Icon mrb123
    Free Member

    Montane Men's Alpha Vest Gilet

    These look good. Or they do the Icarus gilet if you want something something bit more substantial.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Full Member

    Depends how warm you want but Endura do the Pro SL gilet with Primaloft. It’s “roadie” fit so be careful of sizing. Anything thicker/warmer I struggle with as I just generate too much heat when on the go 🙂

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    Mrs_oab has Montane Alpha jacket. It’s the business for a warm, wicking and comfortable layer.

    Premier Icon didnthurt
    Full Member

    I’ve the Endura one and I’m not overly impressed with the quality and I bought it in the sale, it functions decent enough. Wish I’d bought the OMM one instead.

    Premier Icon didnthurt
    Full Member

    Patagonia Nano Puff looks nice but not cheap.

    https://www.countryside.co.uk/patagonia/mens-nano-puff-vest-winter-2021

    I was looking at an insulated gilet for work and was drawn to the Columbia one.

    https://www.columbiasportswear.co.uk/p/mens-powder-lite-vest-WO0847.html

    Could just go Decathlon if on a budget, plus it’ll probably be worn under a jacket so brand name is probably not important.

    Premier Icon luv2ride
    Free Member

    Montane Men’s Alpha Vest Gilet

    These look good. Or they do the Icarus gilet if you want something something bit more substantial

    I’ve got a Marmot version (Alpha 60 Gilet), mine has a hood but its a marvellously versatile piece of kit. Was £50 on SportsPursuit.

    Premier Icon slowoldman
    Full Member

    That’ll be my years old North Face Nuptse vest. Yes I know NF has a bit of an image problem these days but it’s brilliant. OK it’s down but there is a simple trick by which it becomes suitable for the UK climate. Cover it up when it’s raining.

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
    Full Member

    there is a simple trick by which it becomes suitable for the UK climate. Cover it up when it’s raining…..

    ….with a  paramo torres gilet which is both (wash-in)  waterproof and has a synthetic filling that copes very well with getting wet anyway. 🙂

    Premier Icon ampthill
    Full Member

    I have the really cheap Decathlon one. It’s OK but a bit sweaty

    My Patagonia one is perfect in every way.

    Bought mine in a sale. This one I think

    https://eu.patagonia.com/gb/en/product/mens-nano-air-vest/84272.html?cgid=mens-jackets-vests-vests

    Premier Icon eddiebaby
    Full Member

    I work in Farnham. Every who walks in seems to wear Rab.

    Premier Icon tonyd
    Free Member

    Paramo Torres here, had it for over 10 years and it’s brilliant. Very warm, water resistant when treated, retains heat even when wet through. Generally use it as a mid layer on cold days, but it’s just as happy being worn over a jacket if you get caught out and need warmth in a hurry without taking your jacket off. Admittedly that doesn’t happen often in middle England, but was very useful in the wilds of Patagonia!

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Full Member

    Arcteryx Atom here. Also £50 on Sport Pursuit. Marvelous thing. Gets worn more days than not from now until spring. Great on the bike too, nice and long. wear it under the riding jacket on chilly morning rides to works, goes in the bag for the warmer rides home. Perfect “adjustment” layer.

    Premier Icon razorrazoo
    Full Member

    I’ve got a Patagonia Nano Puff jacket, pricey but it’s my absolute go to when it’s not mega cold or I’m wanting a smarter coat.  I’m hoping to see either a gilet version of this or the sweater vest on sale somewhere to stop me procrastinating and just buy one.

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge
    Free Member

    Anything with Polartec Alpha insulation ,brilliant for actual hard performance in proper conditions, breathabilty, insulation and can be machine washed too.

    Not sure if it’s up to the conditions those who walk into work in the Farnham extremities though 😉

    Premier Icon andydt82
    Full Member

    Agree on Polartec Alpha, I’ve a Rab ‘Strata Vest’ gilet made from it and it’s great (and Rab so you’d fit right in!), but doesn’t look like they make one any more.

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Full Member

    I’ve never really ‘got’ insulated gilets for general outdoors use, though they’re great on the bike. I’m sure it’s an individual thing, but it always feels to me that you’re losing as much heat from your arms as you’re gaining from insulating your core. I figure you’re better off carrying a lightweight jacket even if there’s a small weight penalty.

    Another fan of Polartec Alpha for active use insulation. The fluffy, Alpha Direct stuf is like a 21st Century evolved take on Buffalo and similar pile/Pertex stuff and just works.

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge
    Free Member

    Tbh I’d agree, couldn’t ever see myself wearing one, but just really recommending Alpha is all.

    Premier Icon stevenmenmuir
    Free Member

    I’m of the opposite opinion. I wear a lightweight softshell gilet a lot on the bike but couldn’t imagine wearing anything warmer. I have a down gilet which I wear when walking as it packs small but provides a lot of warmth when needed and I don’t like anything too bulky. Base layer, hooded fleece jacket, down gilet and waterproof in some combination.

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge
    Free Member

    I’d only ever wear down for sitting eating on a day hike, or once the tents up if on an overnighter, and in both cases I’d want sleeves!. 🙂

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Full Member

    I’m of the opposite opinion. I wear a lightweight softshell gilet a lot on the bike but couldn’t imagine wearing anything warmer.

    I wouldn’t wear a down or Primaloft-type gilet on the bike, but Alpha works really well in cold conditions ime. Either over a jersey on the road or layered under some sort of shell for extra core warmth.

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Full Member

    there’s “active” and “active”, htough. For mtb, say a solo 1.5 hour thrash, bouncing off the rev limiter with no stops – it’d have to be well below zero for me to wear the synthulated gilet. But for longer steadier rides, road rides, commuting at not-breaking a sweat speeds, it’s useful at single digits.

    Real benefit for me is being able to keep your core toasty when needed, for cold, less active stretches (non-tech mtb downhils, flat or down road sections) with zip done up to the throat, then when you get going again, being able to unzip to below your sternum to dump heat out from the shoulder holes and the back at the drop of the hat and keep pushing.

    And also keep a little bit warm if you have to stop and wait for someone to fix a flat or hit their bike with a rock for bit.

    I’m sure it’s an individual thing, but it always feels to me that you’re losing as much heat from your arms as you’re gaining from insulating your core. I figure you’re better off carrying a lightweight jacket even if there’s a small weight penalty.

    If your effort’s constant in a constant temperature, I’d probably agree, but if your effort, generated heat and windchill exposure is varying a lot, as above, quick regulation trumps it, I think. I’d rather keep a windshell on and vary the insulation over the top. Doesn’t really work as well for hiking with a backpack, as the straps and the back keep most of the insulation tight to you whether you want it to be or not.

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge
    Free Member

    there’s “active” and “active”, htough. For mtb, say a solo 1.5 hour thrash, bouncing off the rev limiter with no stops – it’d have to be well below zero for me to wear the synthulated gilet. But for longer steadier rides, road rides, commuting at not-breaking a sweat speeds, it’s useful at single digits.

    Which is all great, but the OP hasn’t mentioned cycling?.

    Premier Icon boblo
    Free Member

    I use the OMM one apres bike. Bought it during lockdown for standing about outside cafes last winter. Very compact and warm enough for the above without getting frostbite.

    OMM Rotor

    For back/bike packing, I have a PHD Ultra gilet or a Haglofs Essen jacket which are both super light/compact but sadly, down.

    PHD Ultra

    Haglofs Essen

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Full Member

    Which is all great,

    true, but rascal wanted reco’s, I gave one, other people went all STW and started saying he shouldn’t really want what he said he wanted, and I weighed in on that bit. As well as also saying I wouldn’t wear it hiking! (with a backpack)

    Premier Icon CountZero
    Full Member

    ….with a paramo torres gilet which is both (wash-in) waterproof and has a synthetic filling that copes very well with getting wet anyway.

    If it’s raining, I’d want more than another gilet just to keep the gilet dry. Or are you a rufty-tufty Bear Grylls type of guy who gets wet just for the sake of appearance?
    My most worn gilet is a Fox Racing fleece one in yellow and grey I bought in a little cycle shop in Chamonix years ago. Intended for cycling, it has a full-width rear pocket with zips either side that I’ve never used, but no hand-warmer pockets. Or didn’t – I had a seamstress friend put two pockets in with chunky plastic zips, which transformed it, it’s one of my single most worn items of clothing. And if it gets a bit too chilly or rains, I put an actual jacket on over the top. Like any sensible person would do.
    I’ve got an ultralight down gilet from Uniqlo, which is really good, and a North Face Nuptse, along with a Nuptse jacket that I bought with my share of a lottery win at work many years ago.
    Oh, and another down gilet I bought around 1980, from a jeans shop in Bath – that one gets worn a lot as well, usually over a jacket.

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Full Member

    it’d have to be well below zero for me to wear the synthulated gilet

    I like ‘synthulated’, not heard that before. Neater and less confusing than ‘synthetic down’ or ‘lofting synthetic fill’ etc 🙂

    Anyway, for hiking use, I still find a synthulated jacket more useful than a gilet. Something else people rarely consider when comparing down and synthulated lightweights is that although down as a fill has a better warmth to weight ratio than more synthetic alternatives – the mad expensive Patagucci stuff is comparable – most down-filled garments have stitched-together baffles which both form cool spots with thinner insulation, but are also wind permeable thanks to the stitch lines. Which means a synthulated jacket with a fully windproof outer can actually be functionally warmer and more efficient than a down equivalent.

    My most used synthetic lightweight is a showroom sample Rab Xeno with the original Pertex Quantum GL fabric, which is both very light, but also surprisingly warm. I’d rather have a jacket like that than one of the down-a-like microbaffled things with blown synthetic insulation that ape down for fashion reasons, but make no functional sense. Down (mostly) has to be that way, synthetic doesn’t.

    Premier Icon aP
    Free Member

    Just to weigh in, I have a lightweight Fjall Raven insulated gilet, which is not too warm, but warm enough. If that makes sense, also bigger warmer ones for sitting still in the cold home workspace.

    Premier Icon kimura54321
    Free Member

    @rascal – have a Craghoppers one, packs pretty well and sees pub layer/walking/rock climbing duties as it warm for the weight and is synthetic.

    Also cheap enough so you won’t cry if it gets properly brambled…

    https://www.craghoppers.com/compress-lite-v-vest-blue-navy-poseidon-blue/

    Premier Icon cat69uk
    Free Member

    New Alpkit Sierra looks decent? I have the Filoment which at least 5 years old and can recommend.

    Premier Icon rascal
    Free Member

    OP here.Gilet def not for high-effort biking.

    I did try a £20 Decathlon synthetic gilet on last Sunday to see if it’s worth paying 4-5 times that amount – I think it probably is.
    Rab stuff is good but it def seems to be the brand to be seen in ATM so that’s why I don’t want to go down that route.
    Narrowed it down to a Paramo Torres and a Mountain Equipment Superflux.
    Not tried either on and getting to a supplier is a PITA…are their sizes ‘normal’?
    I’m large in most stuff so hoping the sizing is accurate…can anyone verify this?

    Premier Icon mikertroid
    Free Member

    My Paramo has been worn so much it needs surgically removing!

    https://www.paramo-clothing.com/en-gb/explore-range/product/mens-torres-medio-gilet/

    I got mine on offer but I think it’s so good it justifies its full price.

    Premier Icon blurty
    Full Member

    Rohan do a good one – a bit more ‘town’ that ‘country’ though perhaps

    Premier Icon Futureboy77
    Free Member

    Narrowed it down to a Paramo Torres and a Mountain Equipment Superflux.
    Not tried either on and getting to a supplier is a PITA…are their sizes ‘normal’?
    I’m large in most stuff so hoping the sizing is accurate…can anyone verify this?

    I’ve had a ME Superflux for a year or so. It’s a good gilet and plenty warm enough for me. I’m a large in most stuff and the same applies to Mountain Equipment – that’s why i have loads of ME stuff, it fits me spot on.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Full Member

    I bought a Finisterre synthetic gilet to put in my backpack for the mountains in winter.

    Only did that once or twice TBH, but I wear it most days for dog walking, popping to the shops etc. Soooo comfy and well-designed.

    That was half price off SportPursuit, I’m sure they have many other similar garments now.

    Premier Icon stevious
    Full Member

    Just my 2p on a couple of the recommendations up there ^^

    The endura gilets are definitely cut for cycling, so have quite a high cut at the front. They’re a great garment on the bike but don’t feel or look great off the bike, so wouldn’t recommend unles cycling was the prime use.

    The OMM rotor is probably the best warmth/weight ratio thing I’ve ever owned. I don’t think it would last well if I wore it under a rucksack lots. Also worth noting that omm tend to have a more athletic cut than most outdoor brands.

    Premier Icon ampthill
    Full Member

    I love my Patagonis nano air

    https://eu.patagonia.com/gb/en/product/mens-nano-air-vest/84272.html?dwvar_84272_color=BLK&dwvar_84272_size=L&quantity=1&gclid=CjwKCAiA4veMBhAMEiwAU4XRr5ov1DOgZELhmoxb7QFVdipNxcM99QSNTTPkAe0f5UvNUKlIskow_xoC9msQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

    Although I didn’t pay full retail

    It’s all personal preference but I like an insulated gilet. I have a similar jacket but I like the for these reasons

    Much easier fit under a water proof or combine with other layers
    Quicker to take on and off
    No fragile fabric on the elbows and arms

    However if it’s a gilet day then I think you want a long not short sleeved base layer

    Premier Icon benp1
    Full Member

    I love an insulated gilet. I have many – at least three down ones (PHD x 2, craghoppers) and four synthetic ones (OMM, TNF, Rab, Terrex), those are the ones that spring to mind anyway. Non insulated gilets and insulated jackets in a different category. Have a few fleece gilets too, and Rab VR which is in a separate category 🙂

    I find gilets more useful than jackets as they layer well under waterproofs and jackets

    To be honest the main thing is fit. If it’s too loose or the arm holes are too baggy, you’ll pump all the heat out as you’re moving. Its more of a problem in a gilet than a jacket. My OMM Rotor vest is about 120g, that’s roughly the weight of a windproof gilet. So huge benefit for the pack size and weight

    Premier Icon dovebiker
    Free Member

    I’ve got the Overland Hauler gilet for Crimbo – now seems to be sold out (again):

    Hauler Wool Insulated Gilet

    Retro-tastic and you can never have enough pockets!

    I’ve also got a Polartec Alpha gilet which is superb for active wear – rolls-up tiny, will even fit in the back pocket of a bike jersey.

    I’ve also got a down one that I bought in MEC in Vancouver for buttons and still going strong after 15 years

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