The outdoor vests are one of the essential pieces for the practice of mountain sports and outdoor activities . The vests protect us from wind, cold and rain, maintaining body temperature and ensuring a proper evacuation of sweat. They can be used as second or third layers depending on their characteristics and the technology of their materials. Depending on the activity, we can choose more technical vests or less.
How to choose outdoor vests?
Depending on the intensity of the activity and the weather, we can choose between one type of fabric or another:
The waterproof membrane vests are designed for more humid or high mountain climates with frequent and / or sudden precipitation. They are made with waterproof fabrics, more or less breathable (they do not let the raindrops pass but if they evacuate the sweat) depending on their quality, because if you sweat a lot, there will always be humidity inside. Generally these membranes are also very resistant to abrasion and tearing. The seams and zippers must be heat sealed, otherwise the water could pass through. If an optimal sweat evaporation is sought, a Gore-Tex is recommended. This expanded Teflon membrane, completely waterproof and breathable , is made of micropores, which are smaller than water droplets (rain does not seep through them), but are also larger than water vapor molecules. water (sweat), which facilitates rapid evacuation of the body. This type of vests are useful for mountaineering, trekking, hiking or trail running.
The windproof vests are composed of a membrane, generally resistant to wind and water . The function of the windbreak is to prevent the air from penetrating and cooling us down. These membranes are not waterproof, although some have a water repellent treatment and are usually more breathable than waterproof membranes. The best known is the Windstopper membrane, although more and more brands are betting to take out their own windproof membranes. These vests are ideal for trail running because of their lightness and breathability.
Soft shell vests are garments that have become fashionable for a while. It is a mixture of polar and windbreaks . The idea was to reduce the number of layers. They are not waterproof although, as in the case of windbreaks, they are treated to repel water and thus give a certain impermeability. They are ideal for hiking, trekking and mountaineering.
In another place we have the feather vests (goose or synthetic Primaloft) that are usually used for breaks or when doing very quiet activities. The pen retains moisture and does not perspire . These vests have a lighter weight and volume and are also water repellent. They can also be used alone or as a second layer under a soft shell or waterproof jacket.
The insulated type vests combine different membranes at the same time, not only protect from wind, cold and water , but thermally insulate thanks to its inner lining. They have a higher weight than the rest of the vests, since they are usually made with more robust, rigid and resistant materials. They are usually aimed at activities in more extreme cold conditions, such as mountaineering, winter trekking, ski mountaineering, etc.
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