Ahhh, the wonders of the vest: a functional and key piece in the backcountry ski layering system. The Feather Friends EOS down vest comes to play as a warm and versatile layer from the reliable down folks in Seattle.
The Feathered Friends motto, “Warmth Wherever You Are,” holds true for the Women’s Eos Down Vest. I have worn this layer pretty close to every day from the moment I pulled it out of the box. From hanging around the house to skinning up a ridge, the vest feels like a warm hug that goes anywhere. And the best part, Feathered Friends products are produced in Seattle and Vancouver and use ethically sourced goose down. So, as they say, you can feel good about what’s keeping you warm.
At a glance, this vest is simple, light, and warm. There are two good-sized pockets on the front of the jacket perfectly placed for warming one’s hand, a cinch cord on the bottom edge to snuff out drafts, and a front zipper. The simple design is nice. Yet, you can find flare in the various fun colors on offer.
If you’ve bumped around in the backcountry enough, eventually, your thoughts steer toward layering systems. Up top, we’ve got the staples: the baselayer, the light pile hoody, a shell of some sort, and the puffy. And for some, the vest. The vest, in all its sleeveless glory, is perhaps the most versatile of layers. It can warm the core as a stand-alone over a few underlayers or add extra insulation under a modest puffy or burly Alaskan-grade down jacket. And most often, it does this without adding excessive bulk or weight to the kit.
In short, a vest can always keep me warm but rarely make me too hot. The EOS vest stays true to this.
The 900+ goose-down fill inside the thin nylon shell creates a warm, packable layer, and at 205g for a women’s medium jacket, this piece is too light to leave behind. The vest comes with a stuff sack for storage and to help prevent the outer fabric from ripping when shoved in a backpack among sharps like snow saws and crampons. The vest’s outer shell is a Pertex Quantum brushed nylon with a DWR finish. Consider it a standard nylon shell that holds up to most normal outdoor abuse. As far as a DWR finish, it will bead water droplets to a point. But it’s a down vest; it’s not intended for rain or heavy wet snow — it will wet out eventually. The stitching is solid and clean as is the trim. The EOS vest is a sewn-through baffle design. According to Feathered Friends, the vest has a down fill weight of 2.0 oz./59g for a size medium.
I have worn the EOS indoors and out while training, skiing, ice climbing, and just puttering around the house. Early on in the testing, the EOS quickly became a favorite layer. It also exudes the old-school vibe as everyone around (of a certain age) reminisces about the Feathered Friends products they have had over the years. The company is known for its expedition-style down sleeping bags that can and should last for several decades if well cared for.
The EOS vest has that same stamp of high quality. It should be around for years too.
I am 5’4″, 125 lbs., and the women’s small vest is an oversized fit on me. I like the fit for an outer layer, but there would be times the extra small may fit better. I like how the vest can be pulled below my waist, and the neck fit is loose enough to wear multiple hooded layers under it. I typically wear a size small to medium for jackets and shirts. Before selecting the size, I read a few reviews that the vest fit was generous, so I decided to purchase the small. For a more fitted piece, maybe size down.
The vest retails for $269.00, which seems like a lot for a vest, but as I already mentioned, since this layer has become a favorite, it is worth it. The EOS vest is available in both men’s and women’s cuts.
The EOS Vest Stats
Shell Fabric: Pertex® Quantum® brushed nylon with DWR (37 g/m2)
Down Fill Weight: 2.0 oz / 59 g (size Medium)
Vest Weight: 205g
Lisa lives in the Tetons and has been guiding for Jackson Hole Mountain Guides and Alaska Mountaineering School since 2009. She has worked as an avalanche forecaster and was part of the first-all female ski descent of the Grand Teton.