Anyone who goes hunting already knows by now that wearing a jacket isn’t enough sometime. No matter how warm, windproof or waterproof your hunting jacket might be, it simply overwhelmed by the too many items that needs to store.
A backpack might do you good but sometimes it’s so clustered and full that you don’t know where you put what you need.
A good option when hunting is the hunting vest. Either it keeps you protected against wind, water or water, this hunting vest has to give you pockets and pouches to organize all of your small items and gear.
What do you put in your hunting vest?
When you go turkey hunting, for instance, your hunting vest has to give you space to store your calls. You only need a mouth call or two sometimes, but there are days when only a boat paddle could save you. Get only the turkey calls that work and don’t forget about some chalk, extra striker, sand paper and some spare rubber bands.
Having your license in the inside pocket of your hunting vest is highly important and it’s safer to put when you prepare your things for hunting day.
Your hunting vest has to store also your mask and at least one pair of gloves, as you never know when you might be in need.
The shot shells (at least two) should also fit in your hunting vest, along with an orange handle knife. When you go bird hunting, typically you don’t use a knife, but it’s better to have it on you.
For the avid bird hunter an important thing is to be able to sit still in the most comfortable way. A good hunting vest when bird hunting gives you therefore a butt cushion that eases your hunt. And now that we’re here, we need to remind you about the collapsible decoys that easily ride in your vest. Add also place for your stakes to pack.
Your hunting vest needs to be waterproof, windproof, breathable, lightweight, organizable and…bug repellent also. No annoying itching should come up when you’re concentrating on your shooting. Not to mention the several diseases that a mosquito could carry.
Using a repellent spray to keep mosquitos at distance is a safe thing to do, on any hunt.
The hunting vest should offer you an easy way to keep your flashlight or a headlamp as…it’s safer that way. On a plus, some say that red or green lights are less likely to scare turkeys.
We know that you might have packed already a first aid kit in your backpack, but having something for the emergency situations isn’t such a bad thing. Throw in also a snake bite kit…it only takes one bite to need it.
Your hunting vest should help on storing also a compass, map, GPS and, why not, a water bottle/ hydration pack.
No matter how waterproof your boots might be, it’s also a wise thing to have on you a pair of dry socks and…some snacks.
What makes a good hunting vest?
Best hunting vests are designed so that the pockets and compartments don’t interfere with your bowstring or other movements during your hunting. Some feature a sleeve in the back to slide your safety harness through and a strap to hold your bow at waist level and at the ready.
A good hunting vest keeps your vital gear right where it should be for the easiest and fastest access.
Go find a hunting vest that comes with large upper & down pouches, small mesh sleeve and…plenty of pockets for you to organize your gear.
The bow-holder strap is important only when you bow hunt.
In the end, as usual, knowing exactly what kind of hunting you’re going to do, when and for how long are the first questions to ask when going shopping for your hunting vest.
Top 5 Hunting Vest Reviews
If you want to start simple with your hunting vest, an efficient not over the top sophisticated vest is this Mountain Pass Extreme Big Game Blaze Hunting Vest.
Here are our pros:
- The front side zipper makes it easy to put the vest on and take it off
- There is lined kangaroo pocket with large external pouch
- The external pouch features shotgun shell holders
- There are two vertical chest pockets
- The vest gives also rifle shell holders with flap
- The rear comes with a large cargo pouch with backpack
- There is also a slot for safety strap
- There are grommet license holder and shoulder grips for sling
- The fabric is thick and windproof
- This goes great in autumn
- You get a mini mad flashlight pocket
- The vest comes with GPS/cell phone pocket on each side
- This comes in Orange Camo
- The vest has a good built
- There is efficient displacement of pockets
- The stitching is good quality
- The vest gives you plenty of room for layering
- This feel lightweight
- The vest is very quiet
- The vest is water resistant
- You can machine wash it
When it comes to the things we’re not very fond of, here are our cons:
- The vest runs big, but this is a plus when you want to overlay
- The elastic slots are too narrow for cartridge
- It’s a bit difficult to open the side zipper.
This is, though, a good buy and a reliable hunting vest, especially considering its price.
A good upland hunting vest, for a fair price, is this Browning Pheasants Forever Vest. It’s made of 100% cotton canvas and there are many other great features that make up our pros list:
- The fabric is rugged 100% cotton canvas
- There is overlay with blasé fabric for higher visibility
- There is blood-proof game bag with zipper opening
- The shell pockets come with Pocket Expander System
- The full-zip front protects completely against the elements
- The oversized shell pockets come with internal shell loops and snap closure
- There is built-in rucksack with elastic top
- The front is zipper
- The vest gives you a transmitter pocket with antenna loop
- There are Reactar pad pockets behind each quilted shoulder patch (pad sold separately)
- There are D-rings for more accessories to store
- The vest has a Pheasants Forever embroidery
- There are also water bottle pockets
- The vest features a zip-through collar
- The back game pocket is lined
- The price is great
- There are flaps for pockets
- You get 12 shell holders in each side pocket
- There are also Velcro flaps to hold the pockets when open
- There are soft lined pockets for hand warming
- This is great for wintertime as it keeps you warm also
- This is a heavy duty hunting vest
- It is very adjustable and has a good weight
- The vest is tough, safe and has a compact design
- This is very easy to use
As for the cons, here they are:
- The zippers need to be of better quality
- The shell holder in the left pocket doesn’t flip out of the pocket as pictured
So, this is what you get for a very good price: heavy duty, warm and highly organizable hunting vest.
For the bird hunter a good hunting vest is this Scentblocker Thunder Chicken Turkey Vest Realtree Xtra Green.
This vest presents many great features so here are our pros:
- The vest is very comfortable
- You get ton of pockets for your calls
- This is a versatile hunting vest
- You get 18 pockets to store your gear
- The vest comes with a detachable seat cushion with water-resistant bottom
- The pockets are large enough to hold slate calls, box calls and strikers
- The shoulder straps bring comfort
- The upper back mesh panel adds up to comfort also
- There is a blaze orange safety flag for your own security
- There are D-ring gear loops on the shoulder straps to attach more accessories
- The back padding is breathable and comfortable
- The straps are adjustable and come with sturdy YKK buckles
- The chest strap helps when the vest gets too heavy
- There is a loop in the back for hanging the vest when not in use
- There are 2YKK buckle front closures
- The vest features 2 box call pockets, 4 zippered slash pockets, 2 slate calls and striker pockets, 8 diaphragm pockets and 2 large fold-down table pockets
- There are side mesh pockets
- The vest comes with inner pockets and organizational panel also
- The RealTree Xtra Green is helpful for you blending into surroundings
- The displacement of pockets is well thought
- The vest is lightweight
Even though we like this hunting vest for so many reasons, there are some things that count as “cons”:
- The shoulders could use more padding
- The vest is quite big and large, but it has straps to tighten it up.
All in all, this is a highly efficient hunting vest with many good things and only a few that need improvement.
The more you want from your hunting vest, the more it can give you…or it seems that way. This Tenzing TZ TV14 Turkey Hunting Vest comes with a fold down padded seat and features many other good things.
Here are our pros:
- The padded seat has magnetic and webbing holders
- There is a channeled, air cooled back pad
- The vest features a specialized box call pocket
- There are multiple pockets for locator calls
- The vest comes with 7 elastic shoot shell loops
- There is a great design on the pockets that are for box, shells, chokes, trumpet and diaphragm calls
- The right front comes with 14 pockets and compartments
- The left side also contains 14 pockets and compartments
- The vest features also 2 hand warmer pockets
- There is 1 specialized nylon pull-out diaphragm call pocket
- There is also hunter orange safety pullover
- The vest is not bulky, even when full
- The vest is lightweight and has a rigged build
The parts we don’t really like on this vest are:
- The vest runs a bit big
- The ammo pocket is on the left which is weird…
- It’s difficult to run or shoot because of the seat
- It’s hard to release the buckles
Despite these minor problems, we still this hunting vest is a wise option for any avid bird hunter.
A great upland bird vest is this Badlands Upland Bird Vest. It not only gives you 9 pockets to organize your items, but also some other great features. Here are the pros:
- There are ultra-thin shoulder straps
- You get 10 pockets and 3 compartments to organize your gear
- There is a removable waterproof game bag
- This is hydration bag capable
- There are shell loops on waist belt
- This doesn’t get heavy weight not even when it’s full
- The vest has a good build
- You get lifetime warranty for this
- It’s a versatile vest
- There is highly breathable internal lining
- The vest features a welded water resistant rear compartment
- There is easy bird access
- This is a shooter friendly shoulder strapped vest
- The bird bag is adjustable
- The lightweight softshell fabric is durable
- The reservoir is 2Liter’s
Here are the cons, also:
- The carry handle has a flimsy feeling
- Some of the rear pockets are difficult to reach
All in all, this makes a great hunting vest.