Updated on December 7, 2021

From brisk days to the biting cold, if you’re hiking in the cool seasons, you’ll need to layer up. One of the best ways to add a layer of warmth without too much weight is by donning a down vest. Down vests are a great layer to have as they focus all their warmth on where you need it most – your core. Let’s face it ladies; we do tend to run cold, so finding the best down vests for women is certainly a must.

However, with a broad range of features and prices, finding the down vest that’s right for you can be a confusing process. That’s why we put together this helpful guide. We’ll give you the lowdown on down and share our top recommendations for the best down vests for women.

For more of our top hiking apparel recommendations, check out the Best Down Vests.


Quick Answer - The Best Down Vests for Women

  1. Patagonia Down Sweater
  2. REI Co-op 650 2.0
  3. Arc’teryx Cerium LT
  4. Patagonia Nano Puff
  5. Cotopaxi Fuego
  6. The North Face 1996 Retro Nuptse
  7. Patagonia Bivy Hooded
  8. Rab Microlight
  9. Outdoor Research Plaza
  10. Columbia Lake 22


Comparison Table - Best Women's Down Vests

For the best experience turn your device horizontally
Patagonia Down SweaterNo7.8 oz.$$4.6Read Review
REI Co-op 650 2.0NoUnavailable$4.5Read Review
Arc’teryx Cerium LTNo6 oz.$$$4.2Read Review
Patagonia Nano PuffNo8 oz.$4.5Read Review
Cotopaxi FuegoNo7 oz.$3.0Read Review
The North Face 1996 Retro NuptseYesN/A$$5.0Read Review
Patagonia Bivy HoodedYes23.6 oz.$$4.7Read Review
Rab MicrolightNo8.5 oz.$$4.9Read Review
Outdoor Research PlazaNo15 oz.$$4.3Read Review
Columbia Lake 22NoN/A$4.8Read Review
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Women's Down Vest

Patagonia Down Sweater

  • Fabric: Recycled Ripstop Polyester
  • Weight: 7.8 oz.
  • Fill Power: 800-Fill Goose Down
  • Insulation Type: Down
  • Hood: No
  • Water-Repellent
  • Durable
  • Quality, Lofty Down
  • Comfortable


The simple and sleek Patagonia Sweater Vest is a primo cold buster you’ll want to add to your insulation arsenal. This down vest sports an attractive trim fit that’s both warm and packable. The vest compresses down into a pocket making it a go-to staple you can have on hand anytime. 

Packed with 800-fill goose down, the Patagonia Down Sweater features an incredible amount of toasty insulation that will keep your core warm while effortlessly regulating your body temperature. That is, as long as conditions are mild. The durable shell of this down vest will serve you well in repelling light moisture and breezy weather, but the moment inclement weather strikes, you’ll want to reach for your rain jacket.

REI Co-op 650 2.0

  • Fabric: Recycled nylon taffeta
  • Weight: Unavailable
  • Fill Power: 650-fill-power down
  • Insulation Type: Down
  • Hood: No
  • Recycled nylon shell fabric, treated with a durable water repellent finish
  • Highly compressible—packs into its own left-hand pocket
  • Contains bluesign® materials
  • Certified to the Responsible Down Standard
REI Co-op 650 2.0


When you need a performance piece and don’t have hundreds to spend, consider REI’s 650 2.0 down vest — it won’t disappoint.

The 2.0 is offered in both men’s and women’s styles. It’s stuffed with 650 fill power down which means less warmth for the weight than our overall pick, but REI upgraded its most recent iteration with square-shaped baffles and a roomier fit that adds loft to help keep the warmth in.

What I like most about the 650 2.0 down vest is that it’s crafted from Bluesign materials and RDS-certified down, which ensures the humane treatment of birds.

Arc’teryx Cerium LT

  • Fabric: Nylon
  • Weight: 6 oz.
  • Fill Power: 850 Fill-Power European White Goose Down And Coreloft 100 Synthetic Insulation
  • Insulation Type: Down/Synthetic Blend
  • Hood: No
  • Lightweight
  • Water-Repellent
  • Quality Construction
  • Internal Zippered Pocket To Secure Small Items
Arc'teryx Cerium LT


Ultralight hikers, eat your heart out with the mouthwatering warmth-to-weight ratio of the Arc’teryx Cerium LT. This down vest practically radiates heat with its lofty fill power that optimizes insulation at a ridiculously light weight. By strategically placing the down throughout the vest, Arc’teryx was able to maximize warmth around your core. Then, they cleverly utilized synthetic insulation in specific areas more apt to moisture to keep you dry – like sweaty armpits. 

Pop up the high collar and cinch down the hem cord at your waist to seal in the heat. With premium-quality like this, you’ll find the price to match. However, if you’re an avid hiker looking to stay warm and active, you’ll appreciate every last pricey plume.

Patagonia Nano Puff

  • Fabric: Recycled polyester ripstop
  • Insulation: Synthetic
  • Weight: 8 oz.
  • Fill Power: 60g PrimaLoft Gold Insulation
  • Hood: No
  • Brick quilting pattern for stable insulation & durable thread for abrasion resistance
  • Center-front zipper has wicking interior storm flap
  • Two zippered handwarmer pockets
  • PrimaLoft Gold Insulation Eco is water repellent and retains 98% of its insulating ability even when wet
Patagonia Nano Puff


If you’re looking for something that feels similar to down but breathes better and dries quicker, consider the Nano Puff.

Patagonia designed the Nano Puff as a versatile, sleek, and affordable down vest option. This vest features highly advanced PrimaLoft Gold Eco insulation that makes for a great three season piece that layers well, is decently warm, and packs down small.

What I like most about the Patagonia Nano Puff Vest is its considerably slimmer-looking profile when compared to down alternatives in its class.

Cotopaxi Fuego

  • Fabric: 20-Denier Giant-Ripstop Nylon
  • Weight: 7 oz.
  • Fill Power: 800-Fill Power Goose Down
  • Insulation Type: Down
  • Hood: No
  • Bright And Bold Design
  • Affordable
  • Water-resistant Finish And Down
Cotopaxi Fuego


You can recognize Cotopaxi a mile away with their fun bold and bright designs. If you’re looking to add some flair to your drab cold-weather wardrobe, the Cotopaxi Fuego will heat things up. Zip into this vest and let your core warm up with the lofty insulation. The durable water repellent nylon will fend off any moisture in the air while the dual internal and external zippered pockets protect smaller items. Other than the eye-popping color pattern, another one of the features that will catch your eye is that the premium down is also water-resistant. This adds a bit more peace of mind when you’re out romping in drizzly conditions. 

You may think twice, however, about the flashy color and elastic binding around the hem and shoulders. With regular wear, we’re a tad worried the elastic may stretch. And if you’re not ready to blow your incognito mode, perhaps you may want to go with a more earthy color.

The North Face 1996 Retro Nuptse

  • Fabric: Recycled Polyester Taffeta
  • Weight: N/A
  • Fill Power: 700-Fill Goose Down
  • Insulation Type: Down
  • Hood: Yes
  • Packs Into Chest Pocket
  • Vintage Design
  • Hood Stows In Collar
  • Moisture Protection


If you’re nostalgic for a time when vests had large baffles (the squishy squares that hold the down in place) and the bulk to match, you’ll appreciate The North Face 1996 Retro Nuptse throwback. Loft is not a problem with this super plush old-school style vest. The wide baffles provide stellar warmth, leaving you to feel like you just wrapped up inside a cozy blanket. Combine that comfort with the durable, water-repellent exterior and stowable hood and you have the ideal layer for hiking on a cold day. While minimalist and agile hikers may argue this vest is too hefty, those who prefer to wrap up in something big and cozy will appreciate the heavier relaxed fit.

Patagonia Bivy Hooded

  • Fabric: Nylon Canvas
  • Weight: 23.6 oz.
  • Fill Power: N/A
  • Insulation Type: Recycled Down
  • Hood: Yes
  • Durable
  • Beefy Construction
  • Adjustable Insulated Hood
  • Attractive Design


Working outdoors in less than ideal conditions requires tough apparel that can take a beating. The Patagonia Bivy Hooded Vest is up to the challenge. This beefy down vest is constructed from a rugged, pliable canvas that repels light rain and wind. Stuffed inside the wide baffles you’ll find 100% recycled down which seals in the warmth while you’re plowing through the trail. 

With western-style yoke shoulders, the Patagonia Bivy Hooded Vest was built to handle heavy loads. Secure your small items in the internal pocket, then block out the weather with the full-length front zipper, metal snap buttons, and adjustable hood. While it would be nice if the side entry hand pockets also had zippers for securing items, you probably don’t want stuff poking you in the belly when you’re working away. If you work hard and play harder, the heavy duty Patagonia Bivy Hooded Vest may be right up your alley.

Rab Microlight

  • Fabric: Pertex Quantum Nylon
  • Weight: 8.5 oz.
  • Fill Power: 750-Fill European Goose Down
  • Insulation Type: Down
  • Hood: No
  • Moisture-Resistant Down
  • Slim Fit
  • Warm
Rab Microlight


If clumped up down drives you crazy, you’ll appreciate the Rab Microlight. The slender and micro-stitched baffles keep the down evenly spread out so it’s not annoyingly balling up in any one place in the vest. Slim fitting and lightweight, the Rab Microlight lets you maintain your pace without feeling bundled down.

As a plus, the down inside the Rab Microlight is treated to fend off moisture so it will maintain loft and insulation even when wet. So go on, scoff in the face of cloudy days and trek above the treeline. The Rab Microlight will keep you warm even when you’re hiking through the clouds.

Outdoor Research Plaza

  • Fabric: Polyester
  • Weight: 15 oz.
  • Fill Power: 600-Fill Down
  • Insulation Type: Down
  • Hood: No
  • Durable Water Repellent Finish
  • Down Certified
  • Stretchy, Breathable Side Panels


For those days when it’s too warm for a jacket but too cold for a just a long-sleeve, zip into the Outdoor Research Plaza. This soft and cozy down vest is stuffed with a decent amount of loft for your brisk outdoor adventure with one bonus feature added: stretchy side panels. These breathable side panels are designed to move with your body and enhance air circulation when you start to break a sweat. This way, you can move freely and comfortably even as you warm up. The one drawback here is if your activity doesn’t require much exertion or if it’s a particularly frigid day, these side panels allow the cold to seep in.

Columbia Lake 22

  • Fabric: Polyester
  • Weight: N/A
  • Fill Power: 650-Fill Down
  • Insulation Type: Down
  • Hood: No
  • Very Affordable
  • Zippered Hand Pockets
  • Active Fit
Columbia Lake 22


If you’re in the market for a functional vest without all the super fancy high-end mumbo jumbo, take a look at the Columbia Lake 22. This down vest has a classic look that is versatile in design. 

Take it on a trek, enjoy an evening saunter, or hang around the campfire. The active fit gives you a full range of motion while the weather-resistant shell and breathable insulation speak to your comfort level. Whichever activity you choose, it will serve you well as an insulating mid or outer layer in chilly temperatures. Semi-fitted and hip length, the Columbia Lake 22 is a solid go-to vest when brisk weather strikes.





Down is not cheap. That being said, down vests for women will vary in price with some options being more affordable than others. Typically, the more money you spend, the better the insulation you’ll get. If you’re the type to run cold, it may be worth it to you to invest more money.



Most down vests are exceptionally lightweight, weighing only a handful of ounces. However, there are some down vests out there that tip the scale. If you’re the active type looking to be light and swift on your feet, go with a lighter weight. Meanwhile, if you’re more casual about your activities or prefer the comfort of bulkier layers, a heavier weight will suit you well.



Ladies, we can’t ignore the fact that we not only want functional clothes, but we want clothes that fit well. As no two bodies are alike, the preferred fit of your down vest will be a matter of preference. If you like loose clothing, look for a more relaxed fit. If you prefer clothing that hugs your contours, a slim fit will suit you well.



The two types of insulation you’ll encounter when searching for a women’s vest are down and synthetic.

DOWN insulation is comprised of waterfowl plumage. This natural insulation is coveted for being lightweight, breathable, compressible, super warm, and long-lasting. The problem with down is it loses its ability to keep you insulated when it becomes wet and it can be very expensive.

SYNTHETIC insulation is usually made of polyester. This material is quick-drying, durable, typically costs less, and can provide insulation even when wet. The downside is it’s heavier and not as warm or as durable as down.



Over the years, there has been a lot of controversy over down products. While we’re not here to take sides, we are here to inform you about important considerations you need to take into account when purchasing a down vest.

If you’re concerned with how your down is sourced, look for down certified vests. Many outdoor manufacturers are turning to sustainably sourced down so this is becoming a more come feature.





DWR stands for durable water-repellent finish. This finish causes raindrops to bead up then repel off the material to which it’s applied so you don’t become saturated.


Seams stitched throughout the fabric to give down structure and keep the insulation in place.


The insulation will tell you precisely what your down vest is filled with to keep you warm. This is where you will find the down fill power.


Down fill power refers to the loft or volume of the down. This number references the quality of the down. The higher the number, the better the warmth-to-weight ratio.


The fabric of your down vest will range in material, with ripstop nylon and polyester being the most common. These are both durable and quick-drying which is great for active use.