The best men's down vest

Erica van Blommestein

Down vests keep you warm while still allowing for a full range of motion, making them ideal for active lifestyles and outdoor winter chores like chopping wood.

Looking for a way to keep warm without feeling too constricted? A men's down vest is a great solution. Between a sleeveless design and high-performing natural insulation, men's down vests deliver a combination of warmth and freedom that's hard to match. If you're in the market for a men's down vest, you'll have plenty to consider, including size, fill power, weight and more.

Need a hand choosing the best men's down vest for your lifestyle? Then read on. You'll find everything you need to know in the guide below. To point you in the right direction, we also included some awesome recommendations. Our top pick, the Eddie Bauer Men's Downlight Vest, is lightweight yet rugged, with a nifty design that folds down into its own pocket for storage.

What to know before you buy a men's down vest

Size and fit

A men's down vest shouldn't be too baggy or too snug. A fit that's too loose is unlikely to provide adequate warmth, whereas one that's too tight can impede range of motion and cause the down fill to become compressed. Ideally, you should aim for a fit that lies comfortably close to the body. If you plan to wear layers underneath your vest, it's a good idea to choose one size up.

Fill power

Fill power refers to the loft of the down and is directly linked to warmth. The higher the fill power of a down vest, the more insulation it provides. To break it down, a vest with one pound of 800 fill down will be warmer than a vest with one pound of 600 fill.


Lightweight down vests tend to be the most comfortable to wear, provided they're warm enough, of course. When it comes to hiking or camping, a lightweight option will also be much easier to compress, saving valuable space in your backpack.

Hydrophobic down

If getting wet is a possibility, you might want to consider choosing a vest with a hydrophobic down fill. Hydrophobic down is specially treated to repel water rather than absorb it, helping you stay warm and dry even if your vest gets wet.

Men's down vest features

Outer materials

Outer materials that are water-resistant, windproof and tear-resistant are worth looking for even if you don't plan to use your down vest for outdoor activities like hiking or camping. Strong polyester and nylon are equally popular options.

Zippered pockets

Zippered pockets provide secure storage for small, everyday essentials and eliminate the possibility of items accidentally slipping out. The majority of men's down vests feature two side pockets, but some may have a breast pocket as well.

Extra warmth

Down vests generally deliver excellent warmth and insulation, but there are a handful of additional features worth considering as well. To keep warmth in and cold air out, look for a high collar, drawstring closures, and elasticated cuffs.

Style variations

Want a down vest with a little extra style? A tapered waist, a two-tone or reversible design and a V-neck collar are just a few features that can elevate your look. However, it's important to note that V-neck vests won't be as warm as collared models.

Men's down vest cost

Lightweight, budget-friendly men's down vests typically start out at between $20 and $40, while higher-quality and more stylish models tend to cost anywhere from $40 to $80. Rugged, high-end down vests made for extreme weather can set you back anywhere from $80 to $200.

Men's down vest FAQ

Won't my extremities still be cold if I wear a down vest?

A. Many people are surprised to learn that wearing a down vest can, in fact, help keep your arms warm as well. When temperatures drop, the body's first response is to protect vital organs by directing blood flow to your core. This results in a reduction of blood flow to the extremities, making them more vulnerable to cold. By keeping your core adequately warm, your arms will receive enough blood to stay warm. In extremely cold conditions, layering up is always an option.

What does the Responsible Down Standard stand for?

A. The Responsible Down Standard, or RDS, is an organization committed to promoting animal welfare by educating companies on humane practices and providing credible certification for those that comply with cruelty-free down sourcing practices.

Which men's down vest should I get?

Best of the best men's down vest

Eddie Bauer Men's Downlight Vest: available at Amazon

Our take: This rugged yet lightweight down vest provides warmth without limiting range of motion, making it a top choice for active lifestyles.

What we like: Windproof and water-resistant. Features a tough, tear-resistant outer layer. Comes with tricot-lined zippered pockets. Left pocket acts as a built-in storage bag and even comes with a nifty carabiner clip-in loop. RDS certified.

What we dislike: A few users stated that it was lighter than expected.

Best bang for your buck men's down vest

XPOSUREZONE Men's Packable Lightweight Down Vest: available at Amazon

Our take: This authentic and well-tailored down vest comes with a price tag that's hard to beat.

What we like: Nylon shell and lining is durable and highly water-resistant. A 90% duck down fill delivers good insulation. Raised collar and elasticated arm openings offer extra warmth. Easily folds down into the included carry pouch.

What we dislike: Duck down fill isn't quite as warm as goose down.

Honorable mention men's down vest

Columbia Voodoo Falls 590 Turbo Down Vest: available at Amazon

Our take: A premium lightweight down vest from a trusted brand that delivers a great blend of style and comfort.

What we like: Durable nylon outer layer is highly water-resistant. Made with 80% duck down fill. Features an adjustable hem, a large inner pocket and zippered outer pockets. RDS certified.

What we dislike: Fill power isn't particularly high, and you may need to layer up in colder conditions.

Erica van Blommestein is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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