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North Face Aconcagua Vest : Peak Warmth For Men and Women

First, I'll address the name. I had to look it up. According to Wikipedia, Aconcagua is the highest peak in the Americas, located in the Andes Mountains in Argentina.

Second, I'll address the color: don't worry men, this vest comes in black, grey, dark blue, and in other manly colors, too.

Now, about the vest. I'm all about layering, so I'm all about vests. We've had what some Seattleites consider cold weather lately--temps in the high 20s/low 30s. Having spent 26 years in the midwest, I don't really consider these cold temps, but they've been cold enough for me to need by North Face Aconcagua Vest.

I've been wearing it around over an old wool sweater and a long-sleeved cotton tee baselayer. With my Chicago Bulls headband and a pair of gloves, the vest is all I've needed for walking around town. If I was going to spent more time outside, I'd simply add my wool arm warmers.

But that's just me. People who really feel the chill may want a thin soft shell or wool layer, plus a wind breaker, under the vest for freezing and just below freezing temps. I've been amazed at how warm it is and how warm I am when my core (and ears) are warm. During several night outings I didn't feel the slightest need for the slightest bit of extra warmth. I was perfectly warm.

Of course, the women's vest that I tested is a bit fancier than the men's Aconcagua vest. It's diamond pattern and satiny material are definitely more flattering on me than the boxy men's style. Both vests have generously sized front pockets with protected zips, as well as a deep inside pocket that's ideal for super secret documents, my passport, a map, whatever.

I like that the neck zips up to a stand-up collar that totally protects my neck. I also like that the bottom hem has toggles at both sides of the vest so I can tighten the vest when the breeze turns icy.

Oh, yea, it's filled with super warm 600 fill Hungarian goose down (which is a bit confusing because the vest has "550" stitched on the lower front hem). Either way, it's a lot of down. I normally don't wear down because I'm allergic, but this vest is solidly made -- not had even a wisp of a feather has escaped and no allergic reactions. So, I'm happy for that.

Men's sizes S-XXL, women's sizes XS-XL; available in a variety of colors. The Aconcagua is also available in a jacket for men, women, and kids.

Bottom Line: It's been a long time since I wore down, and I'm really loving this vest. There is no need to every be cold. Just dress for the weather!--E.D. (Dec 09)

BUY ONLINE : $89-99, click to shop at moosejaw , click to shop at

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When hiking or camping, always carry the "10 Essentials":

Extra clothing, extra food and water, lighter or water-proof matches and fire starter, map in waterproof envelope, compass, pocket knife, sunscreen and sunglasses, flashlight or headlamp, first aid kit, emergency shelter.

Source: Seattle Mountain Rescue and Seattle Mountaineers.



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