I mentioned a few days ago that I was testing a ScotteVest to determine if it was a suitable replacement for my normal drawstring backpack. I’ve worn it now for four days and now can make an evaluation. But before I do, let me tell you a little about the ‘essential” stuff I carry day in and day out my drawstring backpack.
As the name implies, my drawstring backpack is small and lightweight. It is about 12”x16”. The “drawstrings” offer no support and if the packed is loaded with gear, the string can dig into your shoulders a bit. My pack has a big main compartment and an outside zippered pouch. There is also a mesh holder for a ½ liter water bottle. Typically I carry these items in my backpack:
- Small travel umbrella
- A small waterproof pouch with medication, pens, glue stick, bottle opener, Tide to go stick, moleskin, nail clippers, paper clips, sticky note pad, sharpie markers, rubber bands, duct tape roller around a pencil, a clothespin, Neosporin, sunscreen, and other odds and ends.
- A leather-bound Journal
- iPhone charger and adapter
- iPhone, used as my all purpose camera and communication device
- Maps, guidebooks, itineraries, etc.
I’ve found that’s all I need to get through the day in any destination. Additionally, I wear a moneybelt in which I keep my valuables such as money, credit cards, and passport. If needed, I wear a lightweight, waterproof jacket with several large pockets.
Ok, back to the ScotteVest…
PROS – It has lots of pockets that are designed to lay flat and stay closed. All of the pockets are in the front or sides of the vests. There is a large pocket in the rear, but I’ve not used it because items in there would get in the way when seated. The pockets are designed for specific items, for example: there is a pocket for glasses with a cleaning cloth attached, a pocket for a water bottle, two pockets for iPods and smartphones, a tube-like channel for earphones to tuck away discreetly, an iPad or mobile reader pocket, a pocket for documents such as passport and boarding passes (I used this while in transit and flying and it is great… keeps everything handy. But once “in country” I transfer all that to my moneybelt). All of the pockets I’ve mentioned are on the inside of the vest. There are four pockets outside with magnetic closures and zippers. That’s 18 pockets in all!
I’ve neatly organized all the items I usually put in my drawstring backpack into the various pockets of the ScotteVest. Now that I’ve travel with it a few days and remember in which pocket I’ve placed items it is becoming real handy. I like it because all the weight is distributed evenly across my shoulders and it does not look like a sack of potatoes around my torso. The vest is warm and traveling in the cooler months this comes in handy as another layer.
The vest makes me hot. Especially when traveling through airports and on the airplanes. I feel the heat building on my shoulders and back an become extremely warm.
The vest is not particularly attractive, but I’m an old fart, so don’t really care.
I’m not too sure about how the vest will work in the summer heat. It does have a mesh inner liner which is supposed to transfer the heat out and cool in.
OVERALL – I am happy with the ScotteVest. At $125, it is expensive, but for me it will do for cool weather travel. I’ll be wearing this thing for the next three week, so I’ll let you know if I change my mind on anything.
Here is the link to their website if you want to learn more: http://www.scottevest.com