Note: Bluffworks has replaced this vest with a lighter weight vest, the Oslo Travel Vest. Look for a review once the fall hits.
Note: this product was provided at no cost for this review.
Vests are big right now, especially in finance and tech. A vest has in ways become a uniform. But, vests are also pretty practical, and convenient items. There’s a ton of variety, but one of the more popular is something with a quilted bit of insulation, like the Horizon Quilted Vest from Bluffworks. Made to be an everyday wear, and travel item, in typical Bluffworks fashion they tried to make a high quality item, with good style, and tons of performance.
I think they succeeded with this on all fronts, and then when you take the price into consideration you can’t help but own one.
The entire vest seems to be made of polyester, and I am not sure there’s anything bad about that. It is not the type of item to pick up body odors, nor is it an item you really need stretch in. I think the choice is right here, and strikes a good balance with machine washability and looks. The insulation used is 100g PrimaLoft® synthetic insulation and made from 60% post-consumer recycled material. Again this is not a layer you would use for serious outdoor pursuits, so the insulation choice is very good.
There is also a water repellant finish applied to the vest, which helps to shed light rain. Overall the most surprising thing is how thin the vest is, as I tend to find insulated vests to be generally too bulky.
Fit and Style
This is on trend. It looks like a perfectly normal vest, because it is made out of the same material which most vests are made out of. From a style perspective, perhaps the biggest complement I can give is that my wife wishes they made a version for women.
From a fit stand point I ordered my standard Large from Bluffworks and I find that it fits well. They only offer a regular cut, and I would like it if there offered a slightly more tailored cut as the vest wears a little wide around the mid section. It is not bad by any means, but it is boxy enough that I can wear my Proof Nova jacket underneath the vest, but not the vest under the jacket.
To my eyes, I can see the same boxy look on the models that Bluffworks shows on their site. So if they offered a Tailored Cut, I would spend my own money to get one right away. That said, this is far from a deal breaker.
The only other complaint I have is that the collar is a bit tall in the back, and I find it uncomfortable when driving or sitting. I tend to fold the collar down when I drive or sit so that the back of my neck and head are more comfortable. When standing everything is fine.
There’s three aspects to the performance: comfort/mobility, warmth, and washability. Let’s tackle each individually.
Comfort: this vest is exceedingly comfortable, but vests generally are. I can’t say this is anymore comfortable than my other vest, but the arm holes are cut well, and there is no restriction to my movement. From a comfort perspective, the collar issue notwithstanding, well done.
Warmth: this vest is warm, but not hot. I have warm vests, but I wouldn’t want this to be any warmer. You could wear it sitting around at room temperature to stay cozy, and probably use it as your only warmth layer down to 45°F or so. Any cooler and you might want to layer under the vest. I did layer it with the Proof Nova jacket to spend a night walking around in 30°F weather. I think the warmth factor here is near perfect, if not perfect.
Washability: the vest is machine washable and putting that to the test I found that the only change from out-of-the-box was that the quilted sections now had a bit more depth to them. I think the vest actually looks better after washing. It dries pretty quickly as well.
Lastly, Bluffworks crammed a ton of pockets into the vest, but they did so very well. You can’t see or notice most of them, but there are there if you need them. I think they did a very nice job with that aspect.
I have one more complaint before we wrap up, and that is about the snaps for the zipper cover: they are a little jingly when you walk. It is not too bad an issue, but it is probably the biggest issue with the vest.
Having said all that, I think this vest is fantastic and I highly recommend it. I wasn’t sure what to expect of this vest, but I have been very happy with it. It has become my go to layer anytime the temps drop here, and for the price, I think it is a great value.