Nicker Review: LL Bean Down Sweater Vest

We hear from Julie Kenney with this review of LL Bean’s Ultralight 850 Down Sweater Vest

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Julie sports an LL Bean vest

Kenney writes:

Vests come in many different materials and weights to help keep our core warm and allow for freedom of movement. This review is not meant to convince you of the merits of vest-wearing, but more to enlighten you as to the benefits of LLBean’s Ultralight 850 Down Sweater Vest.

I used the LL Bean sizing chart online to determine the size I should order, then promptly ordered up one size because I thought I’d be wearing it over a hooded sweatshirt or thick fleece. Nope, I needn’t have worried. The vest is true to size, so I headed to Bean’s nearby flagship store in Freeport, Maine, to exchange it.

I explained my misguided thinking to an understanding staff member. She explained that LL Bean specifically calls their Ultralight 850 Down line a “Sweater Collection” to reflect the lightness and less bulky nature of the fit.

I get it now. And I’d say the company has met its customers’ high expectations by delivering another attractive and totally useful bit of clothing.

I’ve worn the vest over a fitted microfleece for a drizzly morning walk, and the windproof outer shell and water-resistant treatment kept me warm and dry. I’ve worn it while doing horse chores, both being the outer layer and also under a

Scrumptious LL Bean down vest

hooded sweatshirt when the temps dipped closer to zero, and it performed amazingly for such a “thin” piece of virtually weightless outerwear.

This vest can easily be worn for errands or a nice dinner out on the town as well.

Some other lovely features:

It packs in its own built-in storage pouch, which will be useful for stowing in my saddle bag.

Zippered hand pockets are deep enough to hold things, like key rings and hoof picks, without them falling out.

Zippered chest pocket is perfect for a smartphone and allows for easy access, even with gloves on.

Most importantly, the vest is machine washable and dryable, despite its goose down insulation. Washability is a must for horse folks. Also, its entire shell and lining is made of nylon which shed that horse hair come sheddin’ season.

I admit the price point is steeper than many, but that’s what gift cards are for!

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