Contributors to this thread:
Mid layer downish vest - Whitetails
I've been pondering a warmer mid layer vest. Currently I use a REI stretchy wind resistant fleece. It's ok, but I'd love something warmer. I've been looking at a few Firstlight, Sitka, Kuiu options... but not looking at the "puffy" versions. Then I tried on a NorthFace one, and realized with how light and compact compared to old school puffy/downy like vests, this could be really ideal. I'm just curious about the noise. Drawing or what not, even under my warm jacket, I could see this feeling loud. It was just so clearly 1.) warm; 2.) LIGHT; 3.) wind proof... Hiking/camping, it would be AWESOME... But in a treestand...???
Any of you try a "puffy" midlayer while stand hunting whitetails, and if so, how'd it workout?
Will, a puffy vest does increase noise. Even when covered with an outer layer. How much depends on the outer layers lining. But, for all purposes, it shouldn’t be loud enough to cause problems. Unless the collar of the vest drags on your safety harness or something weird.
FWIW, there are puffy vests that are warmer then your typical quiet vests. But, if you bought a decent wool version, you’d have the best of both worlds. Just my opinion after chasing the same rabbit around for a couple years.
WV - interesting. For reference, my outer layer (predators heavy fleece) is wind resistant, but not proof... My sense was that be it fleece wind block or puffy, that it would help mitigate that resistant v proof aspect. Do you find straight wool can do that?
You nailed it man, it's been on my mind a few years and I come close to trigger pull, then decide it's not enough better than what I'm doing and hold off... Hard to find that Goldilocks point!
Unrelated - but hope all is well with you!
I have to say that while I accepted the "traditional opinion" on the noisiness of down garments, I just haven't found it to be the case to the extent that it would be a problem. After 30 years of wool and silk and making every effort to wear the "quiet stuff", I got tired of being cold and just put on my down sweaters under wool or fleece. Any noise does come from the fabric of course and in this day and age there is a wide variety to choose from. It is definitely possible to get a quiet down sweater or vest.
Will, wool will not block the wind. Honestly though, with a decent outer layer, the wind would have to be howling to cut through to your body with a wool vest.
As far as being cold, nothing I can say about that other then wool is warmer then anything else you can buy that’s unlined. With a decent base layer, fleece or button up, wool vest and your fleece outer, it’s going to take some pretty miserable weather to make you cold.
To me, wool has never been good for an outer layer. It gets too heavy and bulky in order to work in extremely cold weather. However, it’s best served over a synthetic next to skin layer and as a vest under an outer shell. It’s also a great thing for active hunting where you can work up a sweat. It helps regulate your temps with its breath ability.
I wish I had an extra, I’d send it to you. I’d be looking for a heavy weight vest if it were me. I think it will do what you want without much fuss.
Also, I’m doing well bud. God Bless you and yours.
I have a Core 4 Element down vest I wear under my outer shell and don't notice any noise at all. What I want is one with a hood. Nomad carry's the only one I can find but I would hate to spend 110.00 and find out it's too noisy. Watching this one for suggestions.
I use a C4E puffy vest as a mid layer underneath a softshell jacket. No noise and no restriction of motion at all. I have a Kuiu Guide vest that I'll put on over my softshell so that I can add or subtract layers quickly.
I hunt in a down vest as a mid layer and I don’t have any issues with noise because of it. I am also a backpacker so ultra light gear is something I use a lot. For ultra lightweight, warmth and freedom of movement it is great
Anything with Primaloft or down is a good choice, although both will compress as a mid-layer unless your outer is roomy. Wool is good too. Fleece is fine for milder weather. I'm a vest guy and have several of all for different conditions. My go-to Primaloft vest under an outer insulated shell adds about 10 degrees. Then if it's windy and I need something else, I put on a Cabelas Berber vest with Windshear membrane over my outer and that adds another 10+ degrees and helps cut the wind.
Check out the KUIU Super Down Ultra Vest. I have the ultra down jacket and wear it under an outer layer. I'm liking it thus far and the noise is cut way down underneath an outer layer. I also use a wind proof outer layer. However, make sure your outer layer is not tight or it will take away the insulation properties by compressing the down.
The FL Uncompahgre vest is a decent comprise between warmth and bulk. I've had one and the FL wool vest for 3 or 4 years. The Uncompahgre is my go to for cold sits and is worn under a Sitka Shacket or Celcius jacket. Noise hasn't been an issue when it's under another layer.
My next wool vest is made by Feathered Friends!
Go electric. Thin when you dont need it. Toasty when you do.
Went for it and ended up getting the Kuiu that KS had noted. I can use it for hiking/snow shoeing/xcskiing, fishing, and other stuff too, so it checked off a lot of boxes. Used it last Saturday AM after we got 3-4" of snow and it was 19 degrees. Toasty! Thanks for the info all.
I love my old Cabelas Wooltimate vest. I'm sure they have discontinued it or screwed it up some way like most of their gear.
I have packable down filled vest for your reasons Will. Only problem I had was the collar rubbing whiskers, cost me a HUGE buck while drawing down on him. Solved that problem with a seamstress. Although she said she'd never do it again, feathers every where.
hawkeye - that's hilarious, the seamstress... The big buck is a bummer. I folded the collar under while hunting just in case, so the whole thing is muffled by my outer fleece.
Lost Arra - soooo true. The cabelas brand gear was AWESOME quality. Then BPS bought them. Oophta.
I wear an older LL Bean down vest that really helps with the heat retention. I try to keep the collar tucked in as it can cause some noise, but I feel it’s minimal at most. After reading Hawkeye’s story, it might be worth chopping the collar off. Hmmm.
I wear my “Sitka, Celsius Midi” every hunt
I have used a Core4 puffy vest under a softshell jacket or fleece jacket with no noticeable noise. I also use a Cabelas Wooltimate vest (with wind block) under or over my jackets. If worn over my softshell jacket it cuts down on noise from my harness rubbing on tree.
I prefer a down vest with no collar. No noise to speak of. A collar makes noise when rubbing against whiskers. You could always pick up a cheap lightweight down jacket and cut off the sleeves and collar to try out the concept. Who cares how it looks if you're only wearing it in the woods under another layer?
Jack Harris's Link
I have a Sitka Stratus vest that is amazingly warm and wind proof and one of my favorite pieces. I also have a Gray Wolf insulated and wind proof vest that has been getting used a lot this year. I bought it in XXL so that I can wear it as an outer layer and is proving to be a perfect addition on cold windy days. Neither of my vests are comparable to a puffy vest for packability, but I think they do a much better job keeping me comfortable on the whitetail stand, and that is the ultimate determining factor for me.
i do not know if you saw the "heated vest post" but I find them incredible. I do not have this one, but if I were to get another one it would be this. Looks more insulated on it's own than the one I have. You walk in, cold morning, leave it off... Might be an hour or more in stand before a slight chill sets in. Turn it on... Once temps warm up- turn it off.
It just makes sense, - it's like adding a whole additional layer, without adding the layer and you can always get extra batteries for all day sits. I find the heated vest way more versatile than any other piece of hunting gear. As I had said earlier, even on a warm day, when you dress light but know it will drop by dark and be cold - just put it on, do not turn on battery, and wear your light warm weather gear. As that night time chill sets in, just turn it on. It's like adding another jacket but you just push a button
Sitka Kelvin vest! I have used one for years both as an outer layer and underneath a winter jacket on bitter cold days. Very warm. Quiet enough to use as an outer layer.
The collar came off last night. Was not hard to do and not that much of a mess. My daughter thought it looked like a life jacket when I was done.