Hello folks! Was reminded of an interesting clothing brand the other day and would like to ask for your opinions from a prepping standpoint.
That clothing line is SCOTTeVEST and their unique selling point is very simple: pockets, and lots of them. Back pockets, side pockets, front pockets, stash pockets, secret pockets. DeepPockets (TM), TopDrop (TM) pockets, Pocket in Pockets (TM). Pen pockets, document pockets, RFID blocking pockets. Dresses with pockets, t-shirts with pockets, hats with pockets, masks with pockets, gosh darn underwear with pockets.
It all seems very fun. But to what extent do you think this is useful? And can anyone speak from experience?
Looking forward to hearing your responses 🙂
M. E.Contributor - April 12, 2023
I own three SCOTTeVEST products: Two jackets and one vest. I vote vest, specifically the “QUEST” vest. If you think of them as a wearable suitcase, that is the right viewpoint.
For prepping purposes, their usefulness is somewhat limited in that I don’t think they are particularly sturdy and they don’t actually function well as clothing items. I would not buy one to use just as a vest or just as a jacket; they are not especially comfortable and not particularly flattering. But they are great at what they do, which is to hold a LOT of stuff. One good use would be as a wearable get home bag that you could hang on the jacket hook of your car. Less likely to be stolen than a bag, and super easy to grab and go while remaining inconspicuous (if you buy the black model, it is amazing how much you can carry without anyone realizing you have anything in the pockets). But it does not have enough space for a full-blown BOB. Another idea would be a similar scenario in an office. You could load the pockets with emergency items and hang it on your coat hook and no one would be the wiser, whereas if you have a bag people are likely to ask you about it.
I mainly use my vest when traveling, as my “third suitcase”. I travel extremely light, and packing the vest with some of my carryon items allows me to better balance the weight and avoid some of the gate check nonsense. In the back pocket of the vest I can fit two laptops – TWO! – and then I distribute some of my heavier items (filled water bottle, extra battery pack, charging cables etc) into the other pockets. That way I don’t have to carry those items in my actually carryon bag, which both frees up space and minimizes weight. And usually I can fit it on top of other carryon bags in the overhead compartment and if not it hangs on the hook by the tray table.
Perhaps if I used it every day I would get more accustomed to it, but since I only use it when traveling I have found it to be a PAIN to remember what is in which pocket and how to get in to said pocket. So usually once I arrive at my destination I just empty the vest out and hang it on a hook until it is time to go home again. Once in a while I wear it instead of a backpack to a theme park or something, so I can carry things like umbrellas without a backpack. And an argument could be made for wearing it in touristy areas as some of the pockets would baffle pickpockets (but will also baffle you, so be prepared to spend a long time trying to remember where the heck your wallet is. I seriously recommend practicing what you put where before you leave or you’ll look like an idiot trying to find your ID and stuff when you get to the airport!).
Keep an eye out for the sales, which happen fairly regularly and especially on typical sales days like Black Friday. And I recommend sizing UP. Once you fill up all the pockets with all the stuff, it is harder to zip the darned thing. And if you are female, be aware that the female QUEST vest was clearly designed for the flat-chested. Definitely measure before ordering, because their return policies are not particularly generous.
underprepraccoon - April 12, 2023
I have a sport vest similar to one of theirs in regards to so many pockets, and while it has the zip off sleeves, it isn’t quite so sleek.
I do think that extra pockets are good, but I feel like the excessive pockets turns into the same issue you get with a bigger back pack: you have room and are compelled to fill every nook and cranny with extra gear. Like one of the previews on their site they have a couple of people pulling entire tablets out of the vest which is fun but is it practical?
There is a point where gear in pockets would more easily be carried in a backpack or other non clothing method.
Practically, I see full fabric vests as more useful during cooler weather, and the tablet thing especially useful in sub zero temps where you need to keep a device working by keeping it warm with body heat.
I don’t exactly see the benefit of cargo clothes over just a backpack, especially in hot weather. I personally know my own EDC really only needs two front pockets and one back pocket for phone, even in the tiny pockets of women’s pants
and if I needed some degree of expansion, I can still manage some tools tossed in the back.
I could sort of see the application for extra survival gear, but a bag still beats that hands down in most applications. There’s things like the wazoo belt and hat that have pockets for ferro rods and a bunch of other basic survival items, but with clothing in mind, where would the vest overcome something like a fanny pack or sling bag?
I have seen some people go directly to vests for their gear which works for them, and I’ve seen recommendations for putting everything into a vest for flying so you can just take it off and put the entire thing in the scanner instead of having to empty all pockets and scramble to get out of the way afterwards.
One place I would see it very useful is in airplanes and vehicles. During one of the Delta force operations back in the 80s, operation eagle claw, the operators had customized M65 field jackets with ammunition, radios, batteries, rope, drag handles and various other field items and they weighed somewhere in the 60 pound range. They carried in water jugs but didn’t use any backpacks. I think that choice helped some get out of the airplane when things went badly, and I think most military pilots still use vests.
I think I’d have to try it, but with those, uh, generous prices, it would definitely be easier to just stitch, or as I’ve done in the past to a jacket, use fabric glue to attach a fabric to create a pocket inside that wasn’t factory.
I watched a video about how regular military types would also mod field jackets to hide money, compass and important documents. Vests are pretty nifty, but I think it depends on who’s wearing it and the applications
Ant0kneeguy - May 1, 2023
Thanks both for your detailed responses!
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