Review: PHD Wafer Vest

I promised to post a full review of the new Wafer Vest as soon as it had a fair amount of use. Since I first wrote about this vest I’ve used it a hell of a lot, both on the hills and in just about every other scenario I can think about. When I mentioned buying this a few PHD wearing friends made comments to the effect that I had more money than sense — they were very happy with their existing PHD vests (or gilet if you are a posh person). I already own a PHD Minimus vest but in all honesty find this a bit bulky; since the zip went I’ve not really been driven to get this fixed.

Upfront: I find this a truly superb piece of kit.

The vest is filled with PHD’s ‘unique fillpower 1000 down’. I don’t know what this means but I guess it represents PHD’s ultimate warmth to weight ratio filling.

The vest is a very simple design. There is no internal pocket but there are two good hand warming pockets that have a generous capacity. My XL size weighs spot on 190 grams.

The vest is lovely and warm when zipped up. PHD rate this as useful down to zero but I think you’d be happy wearing this, perhaps, down to -5.

One of the main advantages of the Wafer Vest is that it is thin. This easily will slip under your shell jacket so that you can wear it while walking. I bought this jacket for extra warmth while moving not for extra warmth in camp and I think works very well for what I wanted it to do.

Wearing this vest under my jacket protects the down and adds little extra bulk. Although you want to keep down away from water down does wick steam and water vapour well. When working hard on the hill the vest is always very comfortable. I’ve also worn this over a merino baselayer and a Rab Vapour Rise jacket and it compliments this arrangement well, also giving me extra warmth when walking in sharp and cold winds.

When the temperature begins to rise a simple opening of the front zip will loose a lot of heat. When completely un-zipped the jacket is so thin and light that you almost don’t realise you are wearing it.

The outer fabric of the vest is also very light but it doesn’t seem too fragile and has coped well so far struggling through the usual woodland but remember this vest is designed to be worn under other protective layers.

I am very, very, pleased with this purchase. At 190 grams it is always going to find a place in my pack for cool weather walking and backpacking.

The Wafer Vest will set you back £169. Yes, it is expensive but then down has seen a dramatic increase in price over the last couple of years. However, a good inspection of the gear shops in Betws-y-Coed this morning suggests that this pricing is on a par with its main competition. All in all this is such a well performing piece of kit that it seems to me to offer very good value for money.

Top, top, gear again from PHD.

The PHD Wafer Vest


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