Most of my warmth layers tend to be either synthetic or down-filled jackets these days. I’m moving away from fleece as I find that even synthetic jackets give more warmth for weight, and that down-filled ones go that one step further again.
When Vaude sent me their Kabru Light Vest to test, I was hoping for great things. I’ve used it extensively throughout the summer season, and find it so light and packable that there really is no reason not to have it in my rucksack – well, apart from when I’m wearing it that is!
I’ve found it most useful for rock climbing and mountaineering, when keeping the weight down is important, but having something I can pull on when it gets chilly is equally so. The Kabru has barely seen a day this summer and autumn without being out on the hill with me. It’s one of those garments that you just forget you are wearing.
Vaude say “The Kabru featherweight down vest packs down small, 90/10 thermal vest with super lightweight yet stable Pertex® Quantum outer material. Keeps your torso warm when the temperatures sink. The primary material features eco-friendly, bluesign® certified manufacturing; down is certified in accordance with the Responsible Down Standard (RDS). This product was manufactured with Eco Finish and is eco-friendly, water repellent and fluorocarbon-free (PFC-free). Green Shape is your VAUDE guarantee for environmentally-friendly products, made from sustainable materials, resource-efficient manufacturing and fair production.”
At £145 it’s not a cheap option for warmth (yes, you can buy a number of fleeces for that kind of money!), but it is very good in terms of design and quality. My one gripe is that it does seem to be shedding down pretty quickly – all down jackets loose the odd feather here and there, but my Kabru appears to be undergoing some sort of moult! Only time will tell just how long the Kabru will last at this rate, but I have to say that mine has seen a huge amount of usage. I’ll continue to wear it during the winter and will post an update at the start of the spring season to let you know if any down filling remains!
For more info, go to Vaude Kabru Light Vest