Gear review: Oiselle Gilman Vest

The gear: Oiselle Gilman Vest, white, size XS

The verdict: A must-have

Out-of-the-box assessment: Light-as-a-feather 94% polyester 6% spandex ripstop fabric. Reflective details at chest graphic and zipper openings. Slim fit with elasticized arms holes to trap heat. Cropped length, hits at the waist. I would say best for slighter builds and smaller (A-B) chests.

Test conditions: A 10-mile run on a cool, damp, overcast 48-degree day that felt more like 40 degrees because of the dampness. Underneath the vest I wore a long sleeve technical top and the ueber-awesome cotton-polyester Oiselle Run On Long Sleeve Tee. I also had on knee length capris, a lightweight beanie, and microfleece gloves.

Detailed results: The Gilman Vest packs serious heat, protects beautifully against the wind, and stays nice and dry throughout the workout.

I was amazed how warm the vest kept me a considering its weight. Twenty minutes into the run I needed to shed the Run On Tee, which kept my arms perfectly toasty at first but proved too warm by mile 2. I hate being cold so much that I tend to err on the side of feeling cozy from the get-go, only to shed layers and tote things around my waist for the remainder of the run. But lately my distaste for clutter while I run has really grown. The Gilman Vest is the perfect solution to my dilemma. I just need to get better at ignoring that initial feedback from my body that it is freezing.

[Oiselle posted a great primer on dressing for cool-weather runs. Rule of thumb is to dress like it’s 20 degrees warmer and you are going to be standing around outside. I should have trusted their advice!]

A few words about the design. The vest is simple, compact, clean. The lack of bells and whistles might disappoint those looking for more of a pack mule of a vest. The Gilman features two small hand pockets – that’s it. If I could ask Oiselle to change anything, it might be to add a loop inside the collar so the vest can be hung on a hook. But I’m happy with the Gilman Vest as is. It is a great basic piece of outerwear that I will reach for again and again through the season of 35- to 50-degree running.

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