Under certain circumstances, I’ll endorse the purchase of an outerwear garment made out of synthetic materials. My rule of thumb is that one must restrict oneself to plastic vests rather than jackets (less surface area to snag or ignite in flames). If I’m going to make the purchase, I’ll use the following synthetics selection criteria: item must be filled with real goose down (Western Mountaineering), item must make use of mile high, 100% polyester shag pile (Patagonia Retro X vest), or item must be made in the UK, be labeled a “waistcoat” and come with cartridge pockets (bonus: contrasting suede patches on the shoulders).
Here’s a photo showing a plastic vest (an old Barbour Keeperwear vest) in its proper context.
3 thoughts on “Synthetic Exceptions: Vests”
Patagonia fleece, especially the windproof stuff, is worth compromising principles on a bit, especially because it’s recycled. Great for layering with a shell of any variety, too. Only downside is that fleece doesn’t insulate well when wet.
The retro-x patagonia purchase was a major compromise for me although I find myself wearing it all the time these days. My main complaint is that it really DOES NOT BREATHE well in temps over 60 degrees..
That’s the downside of windproofing. I guess you can always open the zipper. I don’t usually wear fleece in a temperature that warm, myself.