I love the outdoors but am just really getting serious about backpacking (at an age much later than most); I'm still acquiring gear and figuring things out. So my question is this: Why do vests seem to be so popular as hiking gear? I've never really owned a vest and they don't seem to be too popular in everyday life, so what makes them so great for hiking? Or are they?
I had a couple of conjectures, and I'm curious which if any of these are among people's reasons:
- Better mobility
- Easy on off and layering (no sleeves getting bunched up)
- Keeps your core warm without the extra "unnecessary" weight of sleeves
- Regulates temperature naturally when you get hot because blood flows to less-insulated extremities
- Lets armpits get air
Basically I'm asking because normally I wouldn't wear a vest, but I thought there's probably a good reason they're so popular. Any big downsides? I guess I worry that during down time my arms would get cold. I would especially worry about this if I were counting on the vest to block wind, but it sounds like many people use them either over or under another wind-resistant layer.
I realize it's a pretty basic question, and I appreciate any pointers in the right direction here. Also, this is my first post in this forum, so sorry if I've posted this in the wrong area.