These in-between-season garments are great for keeping you warm during the cooler parts of the day, but won’t overheat you during those few hours in the afternoon when the weather is actually pretty balmy. And what’s more, puffer vests have gained a kind of acceptance in a lot of offices lately – so these are just as great for wearing out to your favorite bouldering spot as they are for throwing on before you head in for that early meeting. Whatever situation you’re trying to keep warm in, and whatever your preference or style – we’re sure that you’ll find an item you’ll like in our roundup of the best puffer vests on the market.
The Best Puffer Vests Across the Board
UNIQLO Ultra Light Down Vest
The Safest Bet
The North Face Thermoball Eco Vest 2.0
The Second Safest Bet
The North Face Nuptse 2.0 Vest
Filson Reversible Insulated Eagle Vest
The Premium Pick
Canada Goose Garson Vest
What to Look For
Fill: Like with any down jacket, the fill properties matter, as this is what you can bank on keeping you warm. While some options may offer sustainable insulation, like Patagonia’s Nano Puff vest, more traditional options from brands who put less of an emphasis on eco-awareness will typically fall somewhere along the lines of 600-750 fill-power, which is surely enough to keep you warmer in transitional weather.
Material: When it comes to the piece’s exterior, you’ll want something that’s sturdy enough to stand up against tough weather. Be it a nylon shell, weatherized treatment, or waterproof zippers, these all make a major difference. One solid example here that checks off just about every box is RAINS’ Boxy Puffer Vest, a breathable, sustainably insulated, water-and-windproof option made of nothing but polyurethane-coated polyester and nylon. This blend of materials operates alongside its double-welded seams to provide all the integral elements you look for here.
The Perfect Fit
What Do You Prefer?
Slim-fitting: These options will be a bit tighter around the torso and armholes, much like the vest you’d wear with a suit.
Standard: These straight-fitting options are more akin to your go-to pieces, and don’t cause too much bulk.
Wide-fitting: A wider look isn’t typically a result of having enhanced fill power or being warmer by any means — this is just an illusion courtesy of a much puffier exterior.
Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Vest
- As affordable as it gets in this department
- Several colors to choose from
- May fall apart on you sooner than you’d hope, but it’s $60
The Safest Bet: Looking for something that’ll keep you warm but won’t tear your checking account to shreds? Uniqlo’s Ultra Light Down Vest is a pretty solid place to start. The essentials giant’s option features a DWR treatment that sheds water, a simple baffling construction that keeps insulation from floating around, and up to several different colors to choose from. Whether you’re looking for something for traveling or just for daily wear – this is well worth a second look.
Fill: 750 fill-power goose down
Material: Water-repellent nylon taffeta
tHE nORTH fACE thermoBall Eco Vest 2.0
- Sustainable insulation
- Recycled nylon shell
- Lacks quality water protection
The Safest Bet: This ubiquitous option from The North Face sees the heritage outdoor brand utilize its special ThermoBall insulation technology that is designed to keep you toasty warm even when the skies open up with snow and rain. The garment features an internal chest pocket, nylon ripstop fabric, and a VISLON center zipper. For keeping select items secure, the vest also boasts an internal chest pocket, so you can keep all your gear on hand and within arm’s reach.
Fill: ThermoBall Eco post-consumer recycled polyester
Material: Recycled nylon
The North Face Nuptse 2.0 Vest
- An iconic piece turned sleeveless
- Ranks at the highest level of the brand’s warmth scale
- Fits a bit short
The Second Safest Bet: Sometimes, one pick from The North Face just isn’t enough. The heritage outdoor brand’s sleeveless spin on its most iconic piece of outerwear is a top-tier choice for battling harsh winds in style. The relaxed-fitting jacket-turned-vest serves as an incredibly cozy extra layer with 700-fill goose down, ranking at the highest level of TNF’s warmth scale. Plus, it’s treated with a non-PFC DWR finish to provide excellent water-repellent qualities through rainier days. And in case you have a bunch of gear on hand, its bevy of storage pockets has you covered.
Fill: 700 fill-power goose down
Material: Water-repellent recycled nylon
Filson Reversible Insulated Eagle Vest
- Sustainable Primaloft insulation
- Designed to zip right into your favorite Filson coat
- It’s reversible!
- Not as puffy as your average option
The Upgrade: If you’re looking for something more versatile, then this is it. The heritage brand’s reversible option is designed to zip directly into certain Filson coats, deeming it capable of bolstering your go-to garment — if you happen to own anything from Filson, anyway. Best of all, its insulation is fully sustainable, boasting 100g of PrimaLoft Gold, akin to some of our guide’s greener brands. For enhanced warmth, it features a cotton flannel pocket lining and a plush wool blend collar.
Fill: 100g Primaloft Gold
Material: Cotton, wool, polyester, and nylon
cANADA gOOSE garson Vest
- Supple suede lining
- A statement piece
- You’re paying $525 for something without sleeves — at least you’ll be warm, though
- Fill-power is pretty lackluster considering the price
The Premium Pick: When it comes to Canada Goose, you really can’t go wrong — unless we’re talking affordability. Nevertheless, the luxury label’s handsome Garson Vest serves as the space’s top-tier option when it comes to looks and construction. That said, it is a bit lacking in the fill department, only having a 625 fill power compared to previous options that feature higher digits for a fraction of the price — but you’re paying for more than warmth here. Virtually anything in the brand’s outerwear catalog serves as a statement piece, and this vest is no less.
Fill: 625 fill-power goose down
Material: Nylon, polyester accents, and suede lining
Best of the Rest
Keep On Puffin'
Patagonia Nano Puff Vest
When we think of puffer vests, this is honestly one of the first options that come to mind. Patagonia, the Ventura, California-based outdoor gear brand, has been producing comfortable and warm down and puffer jackets for a long time now. This example from the brand is no exception to that rule. The shell is made from a Pertex Quantum ripstop nylon that is both water-and-wind-resistant (thanks to its DWR finish). For warmth, the vest is filled with the synthetic PlumaFill which will keep you warm even when wet. Add this in with a couple of zipper pockets and you have yourself something special.
Fill: PrimaLoft Gold Insulation Eco
Material: Water-resistant recycled polyester
Arc’Teryx Cerium Vest
Arc’Teryx has made the rounds across the fashionable end of social media in recent years, but we’ve been on it long before gorpcore was even a thing. The technical giant’s Cerium Vest is the redesigned take on its Cerium LT, offering many of the same premium insulation properties while having a much more streamlined look and durable construction. Most of all, it’s as sustainable as ever, thanks to the Canadian outfitter’s use of recycled nylon, a bio-derived lining, and responsibly sourced down.
Fill: Coreloft synthetic insulation and 850-fill power goose down
Material: Nylon and recycled dope dye nylon
RAINS Boxy Puffer Vest
RAINS has made a major name for itself in the fashion community, often serving as a (relatively) accessible alternative to many other luxury down-filled pieces while still honing its technical prowess to a tee. As its name suggests, the brand’s fully waterproof Boxy Puffer Vest boasts a very boxy silhouette that’s bolstered using featherless tech and signature stitch-free woven chambers, making it extra streamlined, protective, and warm. In case that’s not enough, it’s finished with double-welded seams for maximum weather assurance.
Fill: Thermore Ecodown
Material: Water-repellent polyester
cRESCENT dOWN wORKS dOWN Italian vEST
You might remember the jacket that Hopper wore in the last season of Stranger Things, and Crescent Down Works is to thank for it. The USA-bred brand uses a water-resistant blend of cotton and nylon to construct this blacked-out beauty, then fills it with 5 ounces of (roughly) 700 fill power goose down that’s been ethically sourced. To top it off, the Down Italian Vest features a set of down-filled hand pockets to ensure your mitts are warm, with no need for gloves.
Fill: 700+-fill-power goose down
Material: Cotton and nylon
sTONE iSLAND paCKABLE lOOM wOVEN chAMBERS r-nYLON dOWN-tc vEST
When it comes to outerwear, we have a hard time rounding out this guide with a brand that isn’t Stone Island. The Italian pioneer’s blindingly colorful option undergoes a unique dyeing process that grants life to over ten stylish colors you can add to your wardrobe — but that’s not all. Style aside, the technical clothier prides itself on offering superior protection, boasting PFC-free anti-drop treatment for battling rainfall and innovative padding courtesy of direct feather injection, the latter of which was treated to stay intact through the dyeing process.
Fill: 90% Eiderdown and 10% feather
Material: Polyamide and nylon
The Best Men’s Down Jackets
Want to tack some sleeves on? We feel you. Our guide to the best down jackets is here to help.