Just before Goretex burst on the scene, VBL’s
were more popular as they greatly enhanced the
usefulness of coated fabric rain gear etc. The most
popular undergarment of the time was the large
opening cotton string shirt. This worked really well
as it kept the VBL far from the skin but didn’t
have a lot of fabric for absorbtion. Even better
were the expensive wool versions.
One combination I have used with success is a half
bag of silnylon for the legs and waist when sleeping
combined with a VBL jacket. This way your feet
stay warmer than using VBL pants as heat from your legs can more easily reach them. It also can
double as a pack liner.
The jacket can be worn during the day and with the advantage of enabling you to layer coats over the top of the VBL for both sleeping and hiking.
I have found that a VBL jacket over long johns was comfortable with no noticable moisture buildup when hiking in sub zero weather
and balancing my outer layers
to keep from overheating.
Climbers on Denali wear
VBL vests under down gear when climbing to keep
their insulation layers dry next to their backs.