Canada Goose Women’s HyBridge Lite Vest, $325, http://www.canada-goose.com
The Good: It performs so well that it just might be the last vest you’ll ever need to buy, which is a good thing because…
The Bad: The HyBridge Lite is the vest equivalent of a Ferrarri - sleek, stunning, smooth, impeccably designed, handles like a dream, but dang is it expensive.
The Ugly: None. This vest is good lookin’.
Prior to receiving the HyBridge Lite vest from Canada Goose for testing, I’d never heard of the company. Founded in a Toronto warehouse and originally dubbed Metro Sportswear Ltd., Canada Goose continues to stay true to its roots by keeping all production in Canada. With athletes like Lance Mackey and Laurie Skreslet on their “Goose People” team, it’s obvious the company takes designing cold weather apparel seriously. (They also have a magazine and a page dedicated to illustrating how to spot a counterfeit Canada Goose product. Pretty big deal.)
The HyBridge collection debuted in 2010 with the idea of creating a down line for a variety of uses and climates. The company’s Canada Goose introduced Hybridge Lite in 2011 in an effort to make improvements on the award winning HyBridge Line. The HyBridge Lite collection currently includes jackets, hooded jackets, vests and more for men and women.
At the risk of ruining this review by delivering the punchline early, Canada Goose knocked it out of the park with the Women’s HyBridge Lite Vest. After wearing it non-stop in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks on a winter trip as well as around town in Philadelphia, I promptly stuffed all of my other vests into the back of my closet and haven’t seen them since.
The front and back of the body of the vest are constructed with 800 fill power Hutterite white goose down while the sides are made with a stretchy lycra material. The inside is made with a soft fleece. It’s designed to fit snugly, which made it perfect for layering under a shell. The lycra sides left some room for temperature regulation while the down kept me warm for hours during a variety of outdoor activities.
While cross country skiing in Yellowstone, I had the Hybridge Lite Vest on over a light baselayer and under a shell, which was an ideal combination for staying warm enough without overheating. The Powerstretch material on the sides of the vest definitely let wind through and that’s something to consider if you tend to run cold; I was quickly chilled in 10-15ºF temperatures with wind when I was standing outside in Yellowstone. (Pro tip: use Canada Goose’s Thermal Experience Index to be sure you select the right product.)
My vest arrived in a black garment bag on a wooden hanger, but if that’s not your style, it packs into an exterior pocket for easy storage and transport. The YKK zippers feel solid and I love the easy-to-grab zipper pulls, a must for those of us who seem to lose all dexterity when we put a pair of gloves on. The fabric on the body of the vest feels incredibly thin and I was initially concerned about durability, but after months of testing, it’s holding up just fine. As a note, in addition to vigorous activity, durability testing involved picking up both of my cats, neither of whom like to be held.
The bottom line? If you can stomach the concept of spending over $300 on a piece of clothing that doesn’t have sleeves, this vest is a fantastic addition to any outdoorsy lady’s wardrobe. It fits well, it’s functional, and Canada Goose knows how to make a down vest look good.