Aspen Times Weekly: 24-Pocket Sportsman Vest |

Aspen Times Weekly: 24-Pocket Sportsman Vest

by Stephen Regenold



I’ve misplaced my knife. It’s a cool day, and on a hike I need a blade but cannot locate the jackknife stashed somewhere inside my vest.

With two-dozen pockets, tabs, snaps, zippers, and fold-down “visibility strips,” the Sportsman Vest is one complex piece of clothing.

It’s not difficult to misplace small items among the sea of gear and gadgets that can be stashed inside. Indeed, the clothing, made by SCOTTeVEST Inc., comes with an instructional sheet, its diagram printed on a square of tethered cloth that doubles as a glasses wipe.

Combine a backpack with a piece of apparel and you get something like the SeV Sportsman Vest. Made for hunting, fishing, and general outdoors use, it swallows up accouterments like cameras, knives, bird calls, binoculars, pens, battery packs, maps, a compass, smartphones, snacks, and even a hydration bladder, which can be stashed in back.

New to market, the vest costs $175. But for that price you get the copious storage plus a sturdy, well-built piece of outerwear. It has a quilted interior for warmth and a Teflon-coated cotton face fabric to shed water and dirt.

Bright tabs unsnap and fold down for visibility, ostensibly for hiking in the forest during hunting season. There are big hand-warmer pockets, an RFID wallet pocket (to protect from “skimmers”), and an integrated game bag on back.

“Overkill” was one description that came to mind upon my first wear test. The vest’s vast capacity to stow items and organize small gear you might tote on your body seemed insane.

But the design is smart, and I could see wearing the Sportsman in lieu of a pack for day-long excursions. My initial tests, on short hikes this winter, were accompanied by several pounds of random outdoors flotsam stuffed inside the vest’s zippered inner reaches.

Despite a temporarily lost jackknife, which was found in a pocket deep enough to fit an iPad, the Sportsman Vest became highly usable once the layout was learned. Stitched-in icons direct a wearer toward appropriate places to both stow and then later find sequestered items.

Worn underneath a shell jacket the vest worked as a mid-layer. Alone, its look, which is classic but frumpy, is the same aesthetic that accompanies most multi-pocketed vests made for the outdoors. It comes in olive or gray.

A note on fit: I tested a size large, which proved too roomy for my 6’1”, 180-pound frame. Perhaps size down or try a SCOTTeVEST piece on if possible before you buy.

In the end, the Sportsman Vest is a nerdy and niche product, but one that I can get behind. It’s built for gear junkies, especially organizational freaks who like to hunt, fish, hike, or travel with lots of small items, lots of essentials on their person, and everything in its place.

Stephen Regenold writes about outdoors gear at

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