Every woman knows that if you are going to build a wardrobe the first piece of clothing to purchase is the "little black dress.” For those who enjoy the outdoor lifestyle, the first piece you should have in your backpack or travel duffle is the “little black vest”.
The most important parts of your body to keep warm are your head and your core. That's why a quality vest is a solid purchase. Use it to keep your core warm when the temperature drops but it's not cold enough to require a jacket. Wear it when you're sitting inside your tent or camper and you need something to keep your warm but not make you sweat. Keep a vest stowed in your backpack while hiking. Pull it out when you stop for lunch or a snack on the trail to prevent you from catching a chill. Wear your vest while sitting around the campfire, allowing your arms to move freely and feel the heat of the flames.
My go-to black vest is the Patagonia Nano Puff. I love the quilted pattern. It is stuffed with PrimaLoft so even if you get it soaked it will still maintain 98% of its warmth. This technology mimics goose down by trapping heat between the fibers. The Nano Puff is ideal for us central Floridians because we don't have plenty of sunshine and few prolonged periods of frigid temperatures. I love that the shell and lining are made with 100% recycled polyester. The Nano Puff is windproof and water-resistant too. It also has a cinch strap at the bottom so you can snug it tight to your core, preventing chilly breezes from sneaking in. An innovative feature is the zippered internal chest pocket that also doubles as a stuff sack with a reinforced carabiner clip-in loop. Finally, the Nano Puff is lightweight and compressible so it stows easily in your pack or travel duffle. I forget to mention that it washes well, just throw it in the washer on gentle and then dry it on low or delicate, then give it a shake and it’s ready to go.
You can never go wrong with black. It looks good with a flannel shirt or a long sleeve tee. Your black vest will serve you well as a technical piece or as an accessory to casual clothing. If you are ready to start acquiring pieces to build your outdoor wardrobe, start with the little black vest.