12 best women's gilets

Heading out for a walk this Easter weekend? Take a lightweight, practical jacket. IndyBest layers up

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The Independent Online

Sleeveless jackets are perfect for those who want the extra warmth of an outer layer but without a full-on coat. And whilst sports gilets used to be a breed apart from fashion ones, the line between them is increasingly blurred, which means you can combine practicality with style more easily than ever. So whether you want one for hard-core hikes or one to wear on the school run or for a gentle ramble, read on to find out the best this season has to offer.

{1} Jack Wolfskin Zenon Prime Vest: £100, jack-wolfskin.co.uk

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Top-quality down mixed with synthetic fibres makes for a warm but breathable filling. It’s windproof and water-repellant, as well as being lightweight and easily packable, so you can squash it into your rucksack.

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{2} Berghaus Women’s Spectrum Gilet: £40, berghaus.com

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With a spring chill in the air, this comfy fleece jacket is ideal on a fine day over a base layer. It can be zipped into many Berghaus outer shells if it rains, or just as an extra layer in winter. It is lightweight and washes up as good as new.

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{3} Joules Women’s Padded Gilet: £59.95, joules.com

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A lot of well-padded gilets leave you feeling like the Michelin Man, as well as making you hot and sticky. This classic padded Joules gilet does neither, is super-comfy and the cut and fit is flattering. Choose from pink, navy or blue, with pretty print linings.

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{4} Finisterre Stratus: £110, finisterreuk.com

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The versatility of this gilet makes it well worth the high price; you get warmth but it is really light and will fold up small in you pack. It is also windproof, water-resistant and, unlike most gilets, has a hood so you can get a bit of extra protection from wind or drizzle. Available in green, blue or black.

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{5} Boden Women’s Boathouse Gilet: £99, boden.co.uk

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If you’re looking keep warm on a breezy Easter leg-stretch, rather than a strenuous hill walk, this nautical-looking gilet – in navy or yellow – with a snug feather-and-down mix filling will do the job. There is a detachable hood and you can bung it in the washing machine afterwards.

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{6} Odlo Down  Gilet Air Cocoon: £140, odlo.com

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A practical gilet that looks a cut above other outdoorsy offerings but still helps to keep you super warm. The down is high quality and exceptionally lightweight. We love the colour options with contrast linings. Our pick is this stand-out-from-the-pack red.

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{7} Lands’ End Women’s Packable Plain Gilet: £49.95, landsend.co.uk

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Bulk-free warmth is what this gilet is all about. It packs away so small that it scrunches up into its pocket carrier – ideal for women who prefer slim body warmers. It has a flattering shape, zipped pockets and is both water-repellent and windproof. It comes in blue or fuchsia and is machine washable.

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{8} FatFace Amy Leather Trip Gilet: £72, fatface.com

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Available in black, purple or blue, this everyday gilet from FatFace has been flying off the shelves, largely due to its new features, including leather-trimmed zip pockets, and an improved fit that is less bulky. We love the jet black option.

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9} Superdry University Duffle Gilet: £94.99, superdry.com

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Superdry’s gilets are gorgeous, but also highly practical. This one is fleece lined so will keep you cosy on colder days. If you feel like mixing up the look, the hood is detachable, as is the faux fur trim.

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{10} Helly Hansen Verglas Down  Insulator Vest: £130, hellyhansen.com

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This slimline, down-filled gilet has features that combine to make it stretchy, warm, cosy, lightweight, breathable, windproof and waterproof. We’re wearing ours beneath a top layer now but looking forward to when it’s warm enough to use over a base layer.

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{11}.   Jack Wolfskin Activate Softshell Vest: £75 www.jack-wolfskin.co.uk

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This is thin, making it great for winter layering, although on its own it will still protect you from the wind and showers and it allows plenty of freedom of movement, as well as packing up very small so as not to take up too much room in your rucksack.

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{12}.   The North Face Nuptse 2 Gilet: £130 www.thenorthface.co.uk

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This is the sleeveless version of their legendary jacket. Packed with lofty 700 fill goose down, it is lovely and warm but incredibly light and has a fitted look. There’s an internal chest pocket and two secure hand pockets and we also like the brushed collar lining.

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Verdict: Helly Hansen’s Verglas Down Insulator Vest ticks every box for a gilet for walkers – so much so that it’s hard to think how it could be improved. For more everyday usage, we love Superdry’s University Duffle Gilet.

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