The Vault Regulars

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ultra light down gilet or vest.

 Some readers may remember that a few months ago i was looking for a cheap and light gilet to supplement my two pieces of warm wear. I have a TNF Zephyrus synthetic smock and a PHD Minimus down jacket.
 I wanted a gilet that i could use with these 2 garments as and when necessary.

 So i searched and tried on a few but nothing within my price range. I didn’t want to pay too much because it was only a supplementary piece of kit.
 I had quite a few good suggestions, which again was either outside my price or had been discontinued or were too bulky. But thanks folks for the suggestions.

 I didn’t find what i wanted and thought maybe when the winter clothes start to hit the shelves again i might find something. So surprisingly i had an email last week from Uniqlo showing the latest range of ultralight down gilets.

 Exactly what i wanted.
The stock had just arrived and choices were plenty. I ordered a medium size and in black. 2 days later i am wearing it.

Weight 138 grams.

 The gilet is black even though it looks blue in the photo.
You can see from the scales that it weighs138 grams.
 The outer shell and inner face is polyamide and has a DWR good enough for light rain showers.
 The filling is 90% down, 10% feather. The down fill is min 640 but the spec does not give what amount of down.
 There is a good high collar with 2 hand warmer pockets and the zip is YKK with a added zip pull.
The arm holes and hem are very slightly elasticated.

 On the inside there are 2 very wide and deep pockets that suit an OS map perfectly. A pocketable bag is also supplied and when packed the bundle is about the size of a coke can.

I am glad i waited.

Cost £39.99.


  1. What is the actual chest measurement. Been looking for one of these myself for a while. Looks great.

    1. Please click on the "Red" Uniqlo within the post. That link takes you to the web page where underneath the sizes available you will find a size chart box. This is very comprehensive and should give you all the measurements you need. Thanks.
      I am 40" chest and the medium fits fine on top of a T shirt but would be a little tight if i had a fleece on as well.
      Hope that helps.

    2. Ooh. That's a snip. Very useful bit of kit, that. Thanks Al

    3. Hi Alan,
      “That’s a snip”! Sounds painful.
      Yes, i am very pleased with it. Sheila has got 2 of their down jackets. One hooded and one not. Both Ultra light. There has never been any quality questions that’s why i jumped in and bought one. At this price i might get another one.

  2. Where were you 3 weeks ago, when I coughed up the best part of £60 for a Montane Gilet, having decided I needed an extra layer but not one with arms, at that Cheese & Wine shindig up the Minigaig.
    Looks like an ok bit of gear at that price.
    Be interested to see what the longevity is like.

    By the way, Sloman already has a gilet.
    He doesn't need another one. ;-)

    1. I had been looking for ages Andrew, but as it was only a supplementary garment i wanted i wasn’t prepared to spend £60 -£100. Good things come to those who wait. So i believe.

  3. Hi there, I've been using Uniqlo ultralight down jackets and gilet for a couple of years. They are great value, comfortable, and I cannot fault their 'build quality' and exceedingly light weight. They lack some of the usual features of top end hill specific models, like draft baffles behind the main zip and zipped pockets but I still think they are brilliant.

    1. Hi John,
      Couldn’t agree more with your comment. Sheila has 2 of their down jackets and i know they are good. So it was an opportune moment that i got an email from them.

  4. I haven't one of these (yet!) but I have some Heattech baselayers from Uniqlo that I use in the winter. I bought them prior to a winter trip to Mayrhofen in Feb 2012 when it got down to -14C in the daytime. They were excellent, and I blogged as much at the time.

    I know they are not an out-and-out outdoor manufacturer, but the quality and prices seem hard to beat if they have something you think will work for you, and it will probably do the job very well!

    I may well look closer at one of these - current weather indicates cold is not just confined to winter!

    1. Hi Jules, I remember reading your post on the heattech base layers. I quite fancy giving them a go.
      If like me you only want just a little extra in warmth then I will go as far as to say these gilets can't be beat.
      The weight, quality and pack size is just so good.

  5. Received my gilet and parka today. Really pleased with them. The quality is excellent. Looking forward to wearing the parka when camping. The gilet is being worn as I write!!
    Thanks for blogging about them Alan. The next things I would like to buy are some down trousers and bootees at a reasonable price. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi, Glad you like the gear.
      Bootees and down trousers. Not too many options here i’m afraid. PHD do the best and lightest in UK as far as i am aware but they are not cheap. Sometimes they have them in the Bargain box so maybe keep an eye on that.
      I do know a pair of down socks which are well made and very reasonably priced at £27. They are not the lightest but they may be worth a look at. I suggest if you want them to buy smaller than your foot size.
      The link is below.


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