During the shoulder seasons of winter or when you have a high energy activity planned clothing choice can make or break that experience. The Smartwool Corbet 120 Vest tackles your active outdoor clothing options head on.

Smartwool The Company

Smartwool is a company founded in Colorado over 20 years ago building on the basis of wool. Wool is the tried and tested fabric of the ages. With the development of Merino Wool and merging it with modern technologies you now have a fabric perfect for the active outdoor enthusiast.

Smartwool realized this and are a leader in the industry. Merino Wool products are also a sustainable and ethical material. On their website they state that one sheep can produce 7 of their merino long sleeve shirts or 48 pairs of socks. In addition they pride themselves on ensuring they trace and monitor their wool from the factory to the farm ensuring ethical practices are maintained.

Chris Istace Smartwool Corbet 120 Vest

The Smartwool Corbet 120 Vest is the perfect choice for a day hiking

Men’s Corbet 120 Vest Overview

Without a doubt the single highest item on my wish list to add to my Outdoor Gear was a cold weather vest. I had already owned a Merino coat from Smartwool thanks to Alpine Club of Canada when I won a mountain photo contest with them. That coat has stood up well to all my outdoor activities and was excited for the opportunity to put the Corbet 120 Vest to the test.

Smartwool put lots of thought into the form and function of the Corbet Vest with the active outdoor enthusiast in mind. The front of the vest has a wind and water resistant nylon outer while the interior baffling has 120 grams of merino wool blend for fill. The inner lining is a functional polyester merino blend. The back of the vest is a thick merino polyester blend with no fill. This helps regulate heat during strenuous activity or the times we often have a backpack on.

Chris Istace Smartwool Corbet 120 Vest

The attention to detail is now even better with subtle changes compared to my Smartwool jacket. I like the pull tabs added to the chest and hand pockets as well as the very large main zipper pull which is great for days when you have on gloves. The chest pocket has a media port for your headphones to go through on the inside. Also inside the vest on the opposite side of the hand pockets are two internal storage sleeves. Great place to keep sunglasses or an extra snack bar.

Chris Istace Smartwool Corbet 120 Vest

The Merino Wool back without quilting is great for heat management

Men’s Corbet 120 Vest Final Thoughts

Without a doubt over the last 3 weeks this vest has been my most worn item. This nice part is the vest is at home as a casual piece. Walks around town with my dog wearing the vest over top my pull-over hoodie it is a perfect combo. When hiking the merino wool back panel while wearing a backpack was a blessing as it helped my core breathe and limit excessive sweating. The high collar is nice to keep your neck warm when first starting out and with the windproof front body cool breezes were no concern.

I combined the vest with in layering system for my longer hikes as a backcountry recommended best practice for safety. Smartwool even recommends it and outlines on their website too. I wore a heavy weight merino wool base layer long sleeve with a light weight merino t-shirt over top that. Finished off with the vest on top I found the temperature and comfort to be perfect.

Of course this testing has been in the early shoulder season of winter where daytime temps are around 3-6 degrees celcius. When conditions get colder putting my Gortex Shell over top will allow me to keep wearing this vest into the cold winter months.

I am happy with the quality, fit and finish of the Corbet Vest. The sizing is a fitted athletic style and is true to size also with the medium fitting me as to be expected. Knowing the durability from my previous Smartwool coat I can confidently recommend this vest as a great addition to your own gear kit.

Manufacturer’s Specifications

Features :
• Semi-Form Fit
• Warmer weight (120 g) SmartLoft wool insulation on front of vest provides thermoregulation and warmth even when wet
• Wind-resistant polyester with DWR finish protects from the elements
• Back of vest uses knit fabric that concentrates Merino against skin and nylon/elastane against the elements
• Merino lined front panel and collar for sweat and odor management
• 2 secure zip hand pockets and secure zip chest pocket with media cord routing
• Center front zipper with semi-locking logo slider, draft flap, and chin guard

Fabric :
• Front Panel: 100% Polyester Back: 48% Merino Wool, 44% Polyester, 8% Elastane Lining: 56% Merino Wool, 44% Polyester Fill: 75% Wool, 25% Polyester

Price :
• $199.99 (Canadian) Altitude Sports Corbet 120 Vest


I review and support companies that support my efforts to continue to bring you photos, stories and adventures of the Mindful Explorer. Altitude Sports recognizes my efforts (thanks guys!) and will occasionally provide me equipment to power my trips and future outdoor pursuits. I however will not take inferior product that I do not believe in strongly or would not normally choose to use myself. My integrity is your guarantee.

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Nice review Chris. I have lots of Smartwool pieces in my quiver, especially socks. Too bad to hear about Ibex shutting down though. Hopefully their void will be filled by another company.

    • Chris Istace says:

      Yes I saw that news that they have closed their operation. Hopefully another ethical sustainable manufacturing steps up, maybe Smartwool will be that company. Thanks for checking out the review, much appreciated.

  • LIVE! UK says:

    Very nice! You are providing the best quality clothes on affordable price. These Vests looks great. I have owned the same and I love to wear it. Thanks for sharing.

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