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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets > Stonewear Designs Victory Vest > Test Report by Marina Batzke

STONEWEAR DESIGNS VICTORY VEST
TEST SERIES BY MARINA BATZKE
LONG-TERM REPORT
April 18, 2016

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Marina Batzke
EMAIL: mbbp2013 (at) yahoo (dot) com
AGE: 56
LOCATION: Los Angeles County, California, USA
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 5" (1.65 m)
WEIGHT: 132 lb (60.00 kg)

I converted from day hiking and car camping to backpacking in spring 2013. My backpacking trips are mostly weekend excursions in Southern California: desert areas in the winter months and mountainous areas in the summer months. I try to backpack one or two weekends a month. I always hike with a group and I like the gear talk when in camp. While I am looking for ways to lighten my pack, I am not an ultra-lighter: I like sleeping in a tent with a sleeping bag on a comfortable pad.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Great Trango Holdings, Inc
Year of Manufacture: 2015
Made in the USA of imported fabrics
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.stoneweardesigns.com
MSRP: US$119.00
Measured Weight: 11.8 oz (335 g)
Other details:
Available sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
Available in three colors: Jelly (burgundy-red), Twilight (blue) and Vine (green).

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Stonewear Designs Victory Vest arrived packaged inside a clear plastic bag. Attached to the vest was a small promotional tag, describing Stonewear Designs' commitment to design clothing that wearers will love, plus a bar code and style/size info on the back of that small tag.
IMAGE 1
Victory Vest in Twilight Blue

The Stonewear Designs Victory Vest is designed to keep my body core from shoulders to the hips warm. I received the Victory Vest in Twilight blue: the front and back are in a pleasant bright blue fabric color with a hint of darker blue squares. This blue fabric consists of 93% Polyester and 7% Spandex and is a waffle fleece. On the vest outside, this blue fabric is flat knit, while on the vest inside, it is a very soft fleece in squares (looking like a culinary waffle). For my L size vest, the blue back panel measures 12.75 in (32.4 cm) wide along the low hem, while in the front, I measure 7.25 in (18.4 cm) to the left and to the right of the center zipper.
IMAGE 2
Right front outer + inside waffle fleece

Under the arms, both sides of the vest are black stretchy panels, consisting of 92% Polyester and 8% Spandex. Measured at the low hems of the left and right side, they are each 8.75 in (22.2 cm) wide.

Both in the front and back of the Victory Vest, the bottoms of the shoulder panels have 0.16 in (4 mm) silver-reflective accents sewn in: 4.72 in (12 cm) along the front left and right; 5.71 in (14.5 cm) along the back left and right. On the upper back, between the shoulder blades, the vest has the Stonewear logo imprinted in silver-reflective.
IMAGE 3
Left shoulder panel front with reflective accent

The Victory Vest closes with a 26 in (66 cm) long dark blue center front zipper. At its top, the zipper pull disappears in a zipper garage (a blue fabric flap over the zipper top).

The Victory Vest has three pockets accessible from the outside. The pocket zippers close to the top. In its blue front on the left and right side of the center zipper, the vest has two 5.25 in (13.3 cm) dark-blue zippers for pocket access sewn in, starting 2.5 in (6.4 cm) from the low hem. Plus there is a 4.25 in (10.8 cm) long dark-blue zipper in the upper left of the blue front panel, 1.8 in (3.5 cm) below the silver-reflective left shoulder panel strip. This is designed to be opened with the right hand and I can reach into the pocket pouch with my right hand.

All four zipper pulls are metal, marked YKK. The pockets themselves are not made out of the blue waffle fleece, but instead out of the black stretchy fabric.

The Victory Vest has a double-fabric collar: 4 in (10 cm) tall at the front zipper and 2.36 in (6 cm) tall in the center back.

Some measurements I took on my L size semi-fitted vest:
Shoulder Top from far left to far right: 15.5 in (39.4 cm)
Underarm from far left to far right: 21 in (53 cm)
Bottom Hem from far left to far right: 22 in (56 cm)

While the vest is 26 in (66 cm) tall in the front, the back is a bit longer at 29 in (74 cm).

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

Neither the Victory Vest nor the small tag that came attached to the vest hold any washing instructions. On the manufacturer website under FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions, it says that Stonewear clothes shall be machine (or hand) washed in cold water and line dried. Polyester containing clothes should be ironed on a cold setting. (I cannot imagine ironing this vest though.)

On the manufacturer's website, I also found information on their warranty:
If the wearer discovers a defect in a new product, such as something wrong with the fabric or a part broken, the wearer shall contact customer service to receive a return label and will afterwards get a replacement sent.

The clothing is warrantied for one year. So if a seam comes apart or a component breaks over time, the manufacturer will replace the clothing during that 12-month time frame.

TRYING IT OUT

The Victory Vest in size L fits me really well. I like the length of the vest in my back.

The shoulder pocket fits a credit card. The left and right waist pockets each are the size of my stretched-out hand.

LIKES:
soft waffle fleece interior
blue color with black accents
firm collar
three pockets that I can all close with a zipper

DISLIKES:
metal pull for center zipper tough to grab while inside zipper garage underneath fabric flap


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Multiple Beach Path Walks, Southern California, USA
December 2015
4.4 Miles = 7 km on average
Temperature in the low 60s (around 16 C)

Joshua Tree National Park, Southern California, USA
Elevation: 3200 ft (975 m)
2 days/ 1 night car camp January 2016
Temperatures: 49 - 34 F (9 - 1 C)

Henninger Flats, Angeles National Forest, California, USA
Elevation: 2600 ft (790 m)
2 days/ 1 night backpack January 2016
Temperatures: 64 - 35 F (18 - 2 C)

Multiple Beach Path Walks, Southern California, USA
January 2016
4.4 Miles = 7 km on average
Temperature in the 70s (around 21 C)

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

During the Holiday month of December, I had no chance to backpack and instead took long walks on the beach path at every opportunity. We had a couple of days with intense wind, combined with around 60 F (16 C). I wore a light undershirt, a long-sleeve T-shirt and the Victory Vest. I closed the zipper all the way to the top and with the tall collar, I felt well protected against the strong wind.
IMAGE 1
Core of my body well covered

In January, I wore the Victory Vest during two days of navigation exercises in Joshua Tree National Park, while walking on sandy desert floor with very little elevation change. This camping weekend was not a strenuous workout event. We, the navigation students, often had to stand around and wait for our next assignment. Saturday the daytime temperatures fluctuated between 34 F in the morning and 49 F around noon (1 C - 9 C). Saturday evening, we all sat around a campfire at 40 F (4 C). Sunday, daytime temperatures were between early 36 F and noon 43 F (2 C - 6 C). I was wearing an undershirt, a long-sleeve winter shirt, the vest and either my down jacket or my rain jacket (as it drizzled at times) on top. I perceived the entire weekend as really cold but due to the layers of clothing - including the Victory Vest - I was wearing, I felt sufficiently warm.

The Henninger Flats backpack was a quick local overnight excursion. I wore the Victory Vest on the hike up and next day hike down, yet wore other clothing in the evening and overnight. I started the hike with the vest zipped up to the very top but opened the zipper more and more as I warmed up for the hike up/ down.

In January, I continued my conditioning walks along the beach path. This is Southern California, so we do not get real winters. The forecasted El Nino with lots of rain has not arrived yet. So depending on the daytime temperatures, I either wore the Victory Vest with just a T-shirt underneath, or on cooler, more windy days with an undershirt and a long sleeve T-shirt. That kept me well protected.

I use the two lower side pockets for tissue, my small camera and other items I want close at hand. Yet I have not once used the smaller upper pocket.

SUMMARY

So far, I have really enjoyed wearing the Victory Vest because of its
- super-soft waffle fleece inside.
- attractive blue color: I have frequently gotten complimented on both the vest color and the vest style itself.
- great blocking of wind.

The only drawback that I have noticed is a general pilling over the blue fabric portions, almost a bit like a grayish hue. The black fabric is flawless.
IMAGE 2
close up view of pilling

Overall, the vest has maintained its shape and nice blue color. I have washed it four times and each time I let it air dry (no dryer use). There are no ripped seams or pulled threads.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Valley Forge Campground, Angeles National Forest, California, USA
Elevation: 3500 ft (1067 m)
2 days/ 1 night backpack February 2016
4.6 miles (7.4 km)
Temperatures: 68 - 55 F (20 - 13 C)

Quail Mountain, Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA
Elevation: 5813 ft (1772m)
2 days/ 1 night backpack April 2016
18 miles (29 km)
Temperatures: 74 - 39 F (23 - 4 C)

Shortcut Canyon to West Fork Trail Camp, California, USA
Elevation: 3100 ft (945 m)
2 days/ 1 night backpack April 2016
7.5 miles (12 km)
Temperatures: 63 - 53 F (17 - 12 C)

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

To get from Red Box to the Valley Forge Campground, the trail drops 1160 ft (354 m) over 2.3 miles (3.7 km). I was wearing a light undershirt, a long-sleeve T-shirt to protect my arms against the sun and the Victory Vest on top. My body was well-temperatured while hiking down. I wore the Victory Vest all afternoon while in camp. Yet at night, I switched to a long-sleeve fleece shirt and my down jacket, as my arms felt cold and it got a bit breezy once the sun had set. The next day at 8 AM, the steep hike up was mostly in the shade and only in a few spots in direct sun. I again wore the light undershirt, a long-sleeve T-shirt and the Victory Vest on top. During the steep sections while climbing up, I opened the vest zipper down to the backpack hip belt. Once I put the pack down in the parking lot, I briefly noticed a wet back where my backpack had rested - I guess that is to be expected following the elevation gain. Overall I felt pretty comfortable in my clothes layering.
IMAGE 1
Vest in camp

I have been wearing the Victory Vest with the same layering system on the additional backpacks, as well as during local walks to the beach and the occasional dayhike. The long-sleeve shirt is necessary to protect my arms against the sun. Sometimes I close the Victory Vest all the way to the top and protect my neck against wind and cold. Other times I just have the vest zipped a couple of inches at the bottom and keep the core of my body protected against a breeze. Even after a strenuous weekend out and about, the vest does not develop any odor. It does not attract dirt and I do not have to wash it after each weekend workout. After washing, I always let it air dry on a hanger and it is ready to wear the next morning.
IMAGE 2
I frequently use the two lower pockets for my camera and tissue or such necessities. Yet I always forget to use the smaller upper pocket.

Overall - apart from the pilling effect on the surface of the blue fabric - the Victory Vest has been holding up superbly well. The zipper works flawlessly. There are no torn threads or other signs of wear.

SUMMARY

I love wearing the Victory Vest, whether for my outdoor activities or to the office. I frequently appreciate the high collar that protects my neck against a breeze. I love the longer length in the back. The vest stands out with its superior looks: the blue and black color combination.

Thank you to Great Trango Holdings, Inc and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this great-looking, wind-blocking Victory Vest.

Marina Batzke

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.

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