It seems like down products are just getting smaller and lighter every day. I’ve tested the lightest down garments around, but even I was surprised by how tiny the Big Agnes Zoro vest is. With 850-fill hydrophobic goose down and an ultralight nylon weave (not to mention no sleeves), this vest is downright insubstantial. This means it’s perfect for those days when pack space is at a premium.

Big Agnes Zoro Vest Features:

  • Ultralight down vest with a straight cut
  • 850 fill power DownTek™ water repellent down
  • Insotect Flow™ vertical baffles contour to your body to provide more comfortable fit and keep you warmer
  • Flow Gates™ eliminate down shifting to keep uniform insulation coverage
  • Ultralight nylon rip-stop shell is wind and water resistant
  • Main zipper includes interior no-draft flap and a zipper garage at chin
  • Adjustable drawcord at hem seals out wind
  • Two zippered hand-warmer pockets with zipper garages
  • Large interior mesh pockets for extra stash space
  • Interior chest pocket doubles as a stuff sack
  • Insotect Flow™ vertical baffles contour to your body to provide more comfortable fit and keep you warmer
  • Textured zipper pulls are easy to use with gloves
  • Textured zipper pulls are easy to use with gloves
  • Vest Weight (size M) – 7.6 oz/215g

Big Agnes Zoro Vest Review

Like a (tiny) sleeping bag for your torso

It’s been a little while since I’ve tested a Big Agnes down product. Their sleeping bags rank amongst my consistent favorites for their careful design. Their down garments are exceptionally comfortable, though I’m not always sold on the aesthetic. All that to say, the Zoro vest is coming from a pretty well-respected lineage, even if BA’s down garments are still pretty new on the scene.

One of the most important things for BA’s down garments, including this vest, is the use of vertical baffles. Heat travels vertically when all other things are equal, and so the idea is that vertical baffles will distribute heat the most efficiently. Frankly, when I heard this the first time I thought it was nonsense – but it works. In my experience, down products with vertical baffles heat up more quickly and stay warm more easily. That said, this isn’t especially important for a down vest, but it’s worth understanding why the baffles run up and down like that. To do that, of course, Big Agnes had to come up with ways of keeping the down in place, which they’ve done with ‘Flow Gates’ that keep the fluff from shifting. You can’t really tell that they’re there, but they work.

Big Agnes Zoro Vest Review

Equally important is the choice of 850-fill DownTek hydrophobic insulation. By now, hydrophobic goose down is becoming the industry standard (except for a few notable holdouts like Feathered Friends and Outdoor Research) but most consumers seem to want extra insurance with their down products. I have yet to experience anything but good results from the hydrophobic treatment, and when it’s coupled with exceptionally fluffy 850-fill down the results are excellent. The vest is very light, very packable and remarkably weather resistant for something that’s not really trying to be.

Part of the vest’s weather resistivity comes from the tightly woven nylon that Big Agnes chose. They don’t list the particular weave, but it looks to me to be 10D nylon. Low-denier nylon weaves like this one have to be very tight, and this provides some protection against light rain and mist. So, this light fabric coupled with DownTek make for a vest that can hold its own in damp conditions. Mind you, garments like these should never be treated as a replacement for real wet weather gear on a serious adventure.

Big Agnes Zoro Vest Review

Generous interior mesh stash pockets.

These really are the fundamentals to the vest, but the features are important, too. Big Agnes included an elastic hem that has two adjustment points and fairly bulky, easy-to-grab, adjustments. There are also two large mesh stash pockets, which I enjoyed using to stuff the vest into to make a pillow. Enjoy using the generous pockets for all of those delicious treats that you give yourself on cold-weather adventures, and then stuff the jacket into its interior chest pocket.

The zipper is a big fat YKK affair that pulls very easily. The zipper track is reinforced to prevent snags, and it also has an insulated internal draft tube that’s pleasantly puffy. All of this tops out of a zipper garage up top, which is especially important on this vest because collarless jackets always seem to catch my beard hairs at the zipper. For reference, I tested a Medium and I’m 5’11” and 180lbs. The medium fit well, with a nice athletic cut. The arm holes have an elastic lining which makes them comfortable, and I’m happy to say that the fit of the vest is generous enough around the chest that I never had irritated skin from the arm openings. I’ve had this from other vests, and it’s frustrating – the Zoro did well even after full days of Nordic skiing, with all of the arm motion from poling that comes with that sport.

Big Agnes Zoro Vest Review

The Good

  • Great baffle design with excellent fill and fabric
  • Zipper track never snags and doesn’t leak heat through the baffle
  • Interior mesh pockets are roomy, while the stuff pocket is a great touch
  • All zipper pulls are easy to grab with gloves on (except the interior stuff pocket)
  • Arm holes are comfortable and don’t rub or cause pressure points

The Bad

  • I was surprised the Zoro wasn’t lighter than 7.6oz, considering it has no arms
  • I don’t usually comment on color, but the Emerald version that I tested is pretty garish

The Bottom Line: Big Agnes Zoro

Big Agnes is no outdoor titan, but they sure can compete. The Zoro is an expensive little vest, but for those looking for just the perfect touch of warmth to an alpine fast-and-light kit, this may be it. It’s not especially flashy and the features are very traditional, which is refreshing. It works well, but I suspect there’s a limited crowd who needs a $250 ultralight down vest. In any case, for that limited crowd, I give my (emerald) green light.

Buy now: Available at

About Author

Kevin Glover is an outdoorsman living, climbing and biking in Spokane, WA. Originally from the Nevada high desert, he moved to the PNW for its mild winters and allergen-free summers. He has guided throughout the Cascades and Enchantments for Peak 7 Adventures.

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