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REI Co-op 650 Down Vest Review

REI 650 Down Vest Review

The REI 650 Down Vest is a great layering piece for fall and spring hiking with a price tag ($99.95) that won’t break the bank. Worn by itself or under a shell, this packable vest is great for hanging out in the evening around a campfire, under a shell on a cool morning, or even for sleeping in on a backpacking trip.

Specs at a Glance

  • Gender: Men’s (Women’s available)
  • Pockets: 4 (2 inside, 2 external zippered)
  • Insulation: 650 fill power down
  • Weight: 8.1 oz
  • Hood: No
  • Back Length: Hip (28.25 inches)
  • Material: Recycled Nylon

The REI 650 Down Vest is a flexible mid-layer insulation option that can be worn by itself as an outer layer or under a rain or hard shell jacket when you want more core warmth. It has four pockets: two large drop pockets on the inside and two zippered handwarmer pockets on the exterior. The vest also stuffs compactly into one of its external zippered pockets for easy packing.

The REI 650 vest stuff into one of its pockets for easy packing.
The REI 650 vest stuff into one of its pockets for easy packing.

The vest had a high collar to prevent warmth from escaping around the next and a hip cinch to prevent drafts from below. The arm holes are also elasticated to trap heat around your core.

The external shell and interior liner are made with windproof recycled nylon. Warmth-wise, the vest is lighter-weight and less bulky than carrying an insulated jacket or parka and even lighter weight than most fleece pullovers or hoodies.

The vest is insulated with highly compressible 650 fill power down with a sewn-thru baffling. While not as premium as a box baffled 800-fill power-down vest, its insulation, and construction are significantly less expensive without compromising much on warmth or function.

During the autumn, I wear the REI 650 Down Vest over a fleece hoody around town, when I stop for rest breaks during a hike or to admire a view, or in my sleeping bag or quilt at night when I want a little extra core warmth. I also like to put a headlamp in one of the side pockets, so I can find it easily at night when I need to exit my tent for a pee.

Interior drop pockets are good for stashing gloves and snacks.
Interior drop pockets are good for stashing gloves and snacks.

The sizing runs about a half-size large to accommodate layering over a hoody or fleece pullover. The 650 Down Vest is also available in a very wide range of sizes for both men and women, so people of all shapes and sizes can find one that fits:


The REI-Coop 650 Down Vest is an excellent value ($99.99) if you’re looking for more core insulation over a hoody or under a hardshell in autumn or spring. Its four pockets are great for keeping track of important items, like your lighter or smartphone in camp, or fleece gloves when you’re hiking on a trail. Because it’s a vest, it takes up very little space in a backpack when stuffed loose or packed, making it an easy layer to bring when extra warmth may be needed on your adventures, both in town and in the backcountry

Shop now at REI

Disclosure: REI donated this item for review.

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One comment

  1. I wasn’t sure about the utility of a vest. I wanted to test out “vests” and assumed I would be paying about $100 for a synthetic. These REI 650 vests go on sale once in a while, and I did get one of these for $25 shipped on a lucky clearance sale this summer. It is a lot thinner than the old down vests of the 80s (that’s a good thing). It seems like a good idea, so far, because it allows pit zips on my shell to work their magic, too. I will test it out a lot this winter in colder weather and report back. :)

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