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Wearable Comfort in a Down Vest

Don't leave home without the Patagonia Bivy Down Hooded Vest

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Price: $179

Sizes: XS-XL

Weight: 669 grams

Materials: Durable nylon canvas with a DWR finish; 100 percent recycled down; polyester lining

Features: Wide baffle construction; insulated hood; adjustable drawcords; side-entry handwarmer pockets; inner chest pocket with a zipper closure

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I have a short list of things to pack every time I leave home. Besides the mandatory toiletries and clothing, I always bring my journal, a good pair of headphones, a stack of magazines, a bathing suit, and last winter, the Patagonia Bivy Down Hooded Vest.

Zipping up the Bivy felt like wrapping myself up in a giant comforter. Wide baffle construction and 600-fill-power recycled down put the puff in puffy, but the vest keeps a tailored shape. So while it felt like I was wearing a blanket, it certainly didn’t look that way. (Or so I hope.)

The Bivy was soft, squishy, and super warm. To really snuggle in, I zipped the tall, upright collar all the way and flipped the extra large and roomy hood up. In an airplane window seat, the Bivy was as plush as a travel pillow.

Anywhere I went last winter, the Bivy was ideal for its versatility in different climates. That’s why I preferred the vest to a jacket. In warmer, urban places, I layered down and wore the vest over a flannel. In colder, mountain environments, I layered up and wore a light insulated layer under the vest. The vest is wind- and waterproof with 100 percent nylon canvas finished with DWR (durable water repellent). The contrast material on the shoulders is also nylon, with 38 percent recycled content, a polyurethane coating, and DWR finish. It’s not ideal for skiing—though I did wear it one super cold day in the ski resort and felt toasty. But definitely keep it in your car for aprĂ©s. If it’s raining or a super wet snowstorm, I’d wear a light waterproof shell over the vest. Otherwise, it’s great (with appropriate layers) for winter storms.

A slim, long fit with a drop-tail hem, making it longer in the back than the front, the Bivy fit well and had great style. It’s a puffy, but it’s not bulky. I loved the throwback contrast colors, which reminded me of old-school Patagonia circa 1985, like a vest I’d find in my aunt’s attic. Inspired by yesteryear, the Bivy is made with quality materials and the environmentally-conscious methods I now expect from Patagonia. It’s not vintage, but it’s a classic.

PHOTO: David Reddick