You can buy a fleece vest just about anywhere. But, if you want one that is packed with features, there is none better than the Fireside Fleece Vest from SCOTTeVEST. SCOTTeVEST pioneered the concept of equipping their vests (and other articles of clothing) with lots of handy pockets for all your gadgets. It was such an obvious need.
When my vest arrived, my first impression was, "Okay, it looks like a vest, big deal." But, after I unzipped it and opened it up, I was amazed by all of the efficient use of space. There are pockets of every size and shape on the inside of both sides of the vest. The pockets are intelligently designed to hold specific items like cell phones, water bottles, sunglasses, pens, even an iPad/tablet! There are a total of 15 pockets, four of which are on the outside of the vest. Two of the outside pockets can hold cell phones, and two are for your hands to keep them warm. The right hand-warmer pocket even has a key ring on a lanyard attached to the inside of the pocket...very cool.
My plan was to "test" the vest during our two-week European Christmas Markets river cruise assignment. Now, I should preface this review by saying that I am not a "vest guy." In fact, I have never owned a vest. My plan was to try out the SCOTTeVEST for a couple of days, load up the pockets with all my gear, and then write a review. However, my plans changed when my winter coat was ruined the day before we were scheduled to leave the country. I spilled about a cup of melted butter on the front of the coat on Thanksgiving, and it was basically destroyed. On Thanksgiving evening, the only place open to buy a jacket was Walmart, and all they had was a cheap middle-weight nylon jacket, which I purchased for $20. I knew that this Walmart jacket would probably not be warm enough in sub-40-degree weather. That was when the Fireside Fleece Vest made its way into my daily wardrobe.
When we arrived in Prague, the temperature was in the low 40's, and this was the warmest temperature we would see for the next two weeks. Each day, I would wear the Fireside Fleece Vest between my long sleeved flannel shirt and my cheap Walmart jacket. I was impressed with how warm the vest was. My core never got cold, even in temperatures in the low 30's. And, there were days when we were out in the elements for up to three hours at a time. I tried going out one day with only the Walmart jacket and quickly returned to our stateroom to "layer up" with the vest. So, just as a vest to keep you warm, the Fireside Fleece Vest is worth the price. Now, let's talk about all of those wonderful pockets!
Since I was wearing the vest underneath my jacket, I could use one of the front "hand warmer" pockets to stow my wallet. I do this to avoid pickpockets! Our stateroom keys went into one of the front chest pockets while the other one was used for my cell phone (a Samsung Galaxy S6). When on tour with the river cruise lines, I would use one of the chest pockets for the Vox audio device, where it fit perfectly. This kept me from having to use the lanyard to hang the Vox unit around my neck. One of the large inside pockets was used for my pocket camera and another pocket held my sunglasses (which I rarely needed on this trip). If we bought small souvenirs, which we often do, I had plenty of other pockets to stow refrigerator magnets, postcards, etc. And, I love the little slots on each side to hold pens!
When we returned to the ship after our tours, I would remove my neck warmer and cheap Walmart jacket and leave my vest on while inside the ship. It is so comfortable and light that you hardly notice you are wearing it. If I needed to step out on the deck for a couple of minutes to take a photo, the vest alone was more than enough to keep me warm.
In case you have not picked up on it yet, I am now a converted "vest guy." I honestly cannot imagine traveling in cooler climates without my Fireside Fleece Vest. We shipped our luggage to Europe on this trip, and the vest was packed in the shipped luggage; otherwise, I would have definitely worn the vest on the flight to Europe. It would have been the perfect layer to keep me warm on those cold all-night flights. And, the pockets would make going through airport security a breeze! Just load the pockets up, take the vest off and put it in a bin to go through the x-ray machine. This will be my go-to garment for airline travel from now on.
The Fireside Fleece Vest is available in both men's and women's sizes and is now one of my favorite travel "gadgets". The vest is warm, comfortable, functional and is very well made. I can highly recommend the SCOTTeVEST Fireside Fleece Vest!
For more information, go to https://www.scottevest.com