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ProView – Cotopaxi Women’s Fuego Down Vest

Cotopaxi’s Fuego Down Vest is a decent lightweight companion on cool days. I tested this product in temperatures ranging from 30-60 degrees Fahrenheit while climbing, highlining, and running in South Carolina.

Cotopaxi Women's Fuego Down Vest

Product Description: Blending responsibly sourced, water-resistant, 800-fill goose down with a streamlined design, our Fuego Vest is the perfect outer layer and midlayer in one. We love it for those in-between weather days that don’t quite warrant a jacket, and it’s also great as a core-warming layer under a shell while skiing. There’s light binding at the armholes and hem, along with two zippered hand pockets, two interior stash pockets, and an included stuff sack for easy-breezy travel.

Offer price: MSRP: $150.00

  • Quality
    (5)
  • Features
    (5)
  • Fit
    (3)
  • Durability
    (5)
  • Eco-Friendly
    (4)

Summary

Overall, the Fuego Down Vest is a unique and valuable piece of apparel for cooler months. Cotopaxi’s vest is particularly valuable because of the high level of warmth, the zipper pockets inside and out, the rad colors, and it being fairly lightweight at 8oz. Sadly, it runs large, so my small fits like a medium which definitely reduces its functionality. It is also not form-fitting and makes my smaller frame look boxy.

Overall
4.4

Pros

  • Pockets inside and outside 
  • Cool colors (like most Cotopaxi items)!
  • Surprisingly warm
  • Fairly lightweight (8oz)

Cons

  • Runs large
  • Boxy looking on a smaller frame 

Story Time

I wore this vest in a variety of temperatures and settings. It was my companion while climbing, highlining (my first time ever—very scary), running, hiking, and just strolling around town. The temperature range I wore it in was anywhere from 30 degrees to 60 degrees; as advertised it is a fall and spring vest (although if we’re being real, it works in the winter for us Southeasters hehe). All the days I wore this vest, I was in South Carolina and it was December; although it was never raining when I wore it, it was occasionally windy and mostly sunny. I was most excited to review this piece of gear because I get extremely cold as a fairly small female, and I was looking forward to the added warmth in my layering system. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the other things I ended up loving about it, mostly the freedom of movement it provided for my arms! As an outdoor education major, I am encouraged to experiment with a lot of different outdoor activities, so it is helpful to have more selective gear that works for the specific activity and time of year at hand. 

Fit/Comfort

This vest definitely runs large. I am 5.5 and 120lbs, and the small fits me like a medium. This was a bummer for me because in the pictures it looks so sleek and tight fit which would be great as a layering piece or for more intense activity. However, it is pretty loose on me, even with layers underneath. Because of this, it also loses comfort points because it is far too big to be extremely comfortable…but it is down and very light, so I know it would be a dream if it fit me well. 

Look/Style

The colors are amazingly fun (as always—go Cotopaxi!). However, on my smaller frame, this vest makes me look incredibly boxy. It could just be a size issue, but overall, it is not an incredibly flattering vest. I did notice on Cotopaxi’s website that this vest is an “updated fit” allowing for more “breathing room in the hips, chest, and waist”; maybe because I don’t have much curvature (just being honest), this updated fit is simply not helpful for me. 

Features

The main features of this vest are the zipper pockets (inside and out!), and the adjustable drawcord at the hem. The zippers all functioned nicely every time I used them (which is good considering how many of them there are), and the adjustable drawcord did help with the sizing issue a little bit. Additionally, the vest is coated in ripstop nylon which made me feel better about climbing in it as down gets nicked so easily.

Weight/Packability

This vest is fairly light at 8oz which makes it nice to hike with. Because it’s down, it also shoves nicely into the little pockets of your bag which is super ideal when your bag is full of awkwardly shaped climbing gear! This vest is made to pack into its internal pocket, but I personally never think it’s worth the time and, to be honest, it fits better in the openings of your backpack when it’s just shoved in.

Function/Performance

Even though this vest is slightly too large to be fully functional, it is pretty unique in its performance. Having your arms free is a game changer, especially for climbing and running in cooler weather—I just feel more flexible and mobile. Overall, the warmth was surprising to me! Because I am smaller and get REALLY cold, I never expected to be able to wear a vest as my main insulating piece. However, with some fairly active movement (like hiking), wearing this vest in 30-degree temps was super warm! If I was just walking, then 50 degrees was comfortable to me. I’m impressed!

Durability/Construction

After wearing the Fuego Vest for about a month now, it seems to be adequate in durability. It’s been stretched, shoved into bags, and sweated in, and it still looks brand new. I have high hopes that it will last a long time. 

Friendliness to the Earth

The Fuego Down Vest is made from RDS-Certified down which means that the animals used in the manufacturing process were treated ethically. Because that is the main material in this apparel piece, I gave it a 4 on Friendliness to the Earth. Although, they did not use recycled materials which is a potential area of improvement. 

The Final Word

Overall, the Fuego Down Vest is a unique and valuable piece of apparel for cooler months. Cotopaxi’s vest is particularly valuable because of the high level of warmth, the zipper pockets inside and out, the rad colors, and it being fairly lightweight at 8oz. Sadly, it runs large, so my small fits like a medium which definitely reduces its functionality. It is also not form-fitting and makes my smaller frame look boxy.

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About the Gear Tester

Outdoor Prolink Pro
haley-suskin
Haley Suskin
Outdoor Guide :: Peak 7 Adventures

Haley Suskin is an outdoor education major in South Carolina who has guided in Washington State at a non-profit guiding company for the past two summers. As a senior in college, she is seeking work in the field of outdoor education for post-graduation and is looking forward to the adventures to come. Her main loves include climbing, backpacking, and teaching clients and friends outdoor skills in those areas; additionally, she loves good conversations on the trail and the space for reflection that only nature can provide.

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