Indestructible Puffer Vest. Built from the same material as body armour and anti-ballistic vehicle armour.
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The puffer vest is traditionally one of the weakest and most delicate pieces of clothing you can buy. So we’ve rebuilt it from the strongest fibre ever made. Weight for weight, every fibre on the outside of the vest is up to 15x stronger than steel. The material we’ve used is so tough you’ll also find it in body armour, anti-ballistic vehicle armour, mooring systems for giant container ships, and ropes used to tie down oil rigs in violent, icy seas. The vest is insulated and triple-lined. It comes with a heavy-duty two-way zipper secured with a storm flap and metal press studs. And the insulation is built from mechanically-recycled plastic bottles that recreate the warmth, puffiness and structure of down.
Size + fit
Fit guide: The Indestructible Puffer Vest is designed with a loose fit, with plenty of room for other layers underneath. If you prefer a closer fit, we recommend you go for the size down.
Model wears: We shot the Indestructible Puffer Vest on runner Tyler Maher who is 6ft 4 / 193cm with a 38 inch chest, and wearing size XL.
Returns and exchanges: Don’t worry if you order something and it doesn’t fit – we have a free, no hassle 30 day return and exchange period.
Made from a material 15x stronger than steel
The Indestructible Puffer Vest is made from Dyneema which is the single strongest fibre known to man today. If you’re into chemistry, it’s an ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene that combines extreme strength with very low weight. On a weight for weight basis Dyneema is up to 15x stronger than steel and 40% stronger than high-strength aramid fibres. While it’s often used as a composite – an ingredient added to other materials to make them exceptionally strong – the entire outside of this vest is made from 100% Dyneema.
Why you find Dyneema in survival situations
To understand just how tough Dyneema is you have to look at how it’s being deployed in the world today. It’s used to make bullet-resistant vests, armour and helmets. It’s used in panels on tanks to protect against stronger ballistic threats like anti-tank projectiles. And you’ll find it in bulletproof cockpit doors in most commercial planes in the US. Unlike other high-strength materials it’s so light it floats on water, and it’s resistant to the long-term effects of moisture, UV light and chemicals, which is why it’s now also being used in artificial limbs.
What this vest can survive
We wanted to create a vest that could withstand the toughest challenges in the coldest places on Earth. Nature claws at you, hits you and freezes you. So in our testing we exposed the vest to the shearing, tearing, and blunt-force traumas that you’ll get in the real world from rocks, ice, trees, and falls. Dyneema is so strong this vest is almost impossible to rip. Blunt-force trauma will have almost no impact on it other than marking it. And our knife slash test shows what damage the sharpest rocks would be likely to inflict.
Why normal puffer vests fail
Most puffer-vests are built to be as light as possible, so the outsides are typically made from super-lightweight polyester and nylon. The trade-off for this weight saving is that they are incredibly easy to tear and snag. And once you have a rip, or the seams have started to go, or the tiny spines of down have poked their way through the lightweight outer layer, it’s simply an escape hatch for the feathers inside, and the vest destroys itself from the inside out.
This is not a lightweight puffer vest
The Indestructible Puffer Vest is very different to a lightweight packable down vest, in the same way that climbing into a tank is different from climbing into a car. It’s not going to rip apart after a year or two, or start leaking feathers, and you won’t want to try and pack it away into its own pocket because it will fight you. This is built for the hardest challenges in the toughest places.
The colder it gets, the stronger it gets
The colder Dyneema gets, the stronger it gets, which is why it’s used to make the mooring lines on giant ships and deep-water oil rigs that have to perform in freezing seas. A mooring line on a winch buried under heavy ice on a ship sailing in extreme conditions simply can’t afford to fail. As the temperature drops down to -50°C the Dyneema ropes gain 5-10% strength. Projections show that the rope would gain even more strength if it dropped to -150°C.
Built to work in regular temperatures too
The vest is insulated and triple-lined. It’s black as that retains most heat. And the baffles are large to reduce the potential for cold spots. Try this on indoors and you’ll see pretty quickly that it will do the job you need it to do in the cold. But we built the vest so you could wear it all year round. When it’s not as cold as the Arctic outside, the vest is designed to work with our Planet Earth Baselayer shown in this shot here.
Four outside pockets built for warmth and stealth
The vest comes with two side pockets and two invisible pockets on the chest. The chest pockets are large enough for wallets, cards, passports and keys, and are easy to use when you’re wearing a backpack. The side pockets are lined with fleece to keep your hands warm without gloves on, and are still big enough to fit your hands with gloves on.
Ultra-durable detailing throughout the vest
The front zipper is a heavy-duty, two-way zipper so you can undo the vest from the top and the bottom at the same time. A large storm flap and brass press studs with a matte black finish help secure the vest in place. You’ll find adjusters on the inside hem to tighten the vest at the waist. These are also built from metal, work with a double pincer action, and come with a cord adjuster built from Cordura. On the inside of the vest you’ll find two more pockets, one on either side of your chest. The vest has a high collar to insulate you in the harshest conditions, and it’s double-lined with a soft, brushed fabric.
What the vest feels like
The outside of the vest feels like denim on a cold day. It’s soft and smooth to the touch, but you can still feel a light grain under your fingers. If you’ve ever come across ultra-lightweight Dyneema used in backpacks you’ll know it feels and sounds a bit like paper. But the material we use is simply a different species. It’s called Dyneema Black which is far stronger and far thicker because it’s spun then woven, and hasn’t been used for clothing before. The underside of the vest next to your skin is soft and lined.
Why you probably haven’t heard of Dyneema before
The reputations of materials are created over decades of exposure, heavy marketing spend, or moments in history like the Nylon riots in 1945 that created brand recognition overnight. Dyneema has had none of these things. But there’s a difference between how well something performs and how well known it is, and sometimes the best things are secret. Whether it’s famous or not, this is currently the strongest fibre on Earth that you can build a piece of clothing out of.
Why we don’t use down
Over 80% of the down in jackets and vests worldwide comes from ducks kept in industrial farms in China. Practises include ducks being plucked alive and feathers being harvested from force-fed ducks bred to produce foie gras. With complex international supply chains that cross cultures and borders that are hard to police, the best anyone can guarantee is that the ducks they used were already dead when they plucked them. So the only real way to ensure you don’t harm ducks, is by not using them.
Our insulation is made from recycled plastic
Instead of pulling feathers out of ducks, we pull plastic out of used plastic bottles and turn them into insulating synthetic fibres. Every single vest uses around 20 half-litre recycled plastic bottles. Staying warm is all about trapping as many pockets of air next to your body as possible, so these synthetic fibres are built to be hollow, which means you’ll automatically have millions of air pockets trapped next to your skin. And as the curl of the fibres traps more air than straight fibres, the microscopic texture of the fibre itself also retains heat.
How plastic is turned into insulation
To turn recycled plastic bottles into insulation we work with pioneers in thermal insulation based in Milan. They’ve been working on recycled fibres and using plastic bottles in their technology since the 1980s, well before it was the cool or right thing to do. They use a process called mechanical recycling to blend the bottles, eliminating the need for hazardous chemicals and creating synthetic fibres that have the highest loft for the lowest weight, just like down.
Each type of fibre does a different job
Our insulation is made from a blend of different fibres each with their own ‘multi-shape’ structure. Some are designed for puffiness, others for resilience or thermal efficiency. But it's blending them together that gives it the best performance on the market for any synthetic fibre – making the insulation 20% puffier and you 10% warmer than its closest competitor. And while synthetic fibres used to have the same clumping problem as down, making each fibre a different shape stops them linking together and clumping like down does.
How the insulation performs against down
While down traps heat well, it doesn’t breathe well. So it’s not the ideal option if you’re working hard. If you’re hiking, climbing or skiing our insulation will do a better job of regulating your body temperature, as it will breathe better and won’t hold onto sweat. And while down will win on a ‘warmth to weight’ ratio if you’re trying to make the world’s lightest puffer vest, we’re not. This is an Indestructible Puffer Vest, not a weight saving exercise. The synthetic insulation will keep your core warm at -40°C, and only weigh a few hundred grams more.
What the vest can’t survive
The short answer is it won’t survive bullets or the inside of a volcano. Yet. This is a puffer vest designed to perform in the toughest environments and coldest conditions on Earth. But like any puffer vest it is not built for extreme heat, so don’t fire a flamethrower at it. And we designed it for adventure not for warzones. So while this is the strongest Dyneema ever used in a jacket, it won’t stop bullets. You need more layers of Dyneema for that.
Earth never reaches Dyneema’s melting point
Dyneema’s melting point is a subject of discussion online as it’s lower than the polyester used in most clothing today, and also the aramid fibres used in military gear. But to put it in context we’d have to return to the Hadean period of Earth around 4.5 billion years ago to find air temperatures that would melt it. The melting point of Dyneema is around 130°C, which is 73 degrees above the hottest air temperature ever recorded on Earth of 56.7°C in Death Valley, California.