Monday, January 7, 2008

A Great In"vest"ment If You Need Pockets!

I bought a Uncle Milty's Travel Vest about two years ago at the Quonset Surplus Store in Portland, CT. I knew that I wanted a vest with plenty of pockets that wouldn't cost me an arm and a leg. I paid $25 for the vest and have certainly gotten my money's worth out of it. A few people have asked me where they could buy such a vest since I've started using it. There are, of course, many varieties of these types of vests on the market but I have no complaints about this one.

Here are a few details about this vest:
  • It has a total of 17 pockets.
  • There are 4 zippered pockets, all of them are in front - two measure 12" x 8". The other two are 9" x 6 ".
  • The rest of the pockets are velcro and are of various sizes. There are two 12" x 7" pockets on the inside of the vest.
Here are a few of the items that I typically carry in my vest (depending on the time of the year and individual needs based on the area I'm visiting): toilet paper (multi-purpose), bug repellent, The Sibley's Field Guide (pocket-size), The Sibley Guide To Birds (I don't usually carry this-but it fits!), checklist, pen, pencils, pencil sharpener, sketch book, gloves, micro-fiber cloth and blower brush to clean my binocular/camera lenses.

I've had a few interesting experiences while wearing my vest:

  • I was once birding near the Eight Mile River in East Haddam when a game warden stopped to question me. He asked me if I had a fishing license and wondered where my gear was.
  • While birding at Wangunk Meadows in Portland, 3 guys on ATV's saw me taking notes in my sketch book. They stopped cold and drove the other way. I guess they thought I was someone of authority and knew they weren't supposed to be riding ATV's there!
  • A couple of times while I was out on a Sunday, I've been reminded that "there is no hunting".
  • People have mistaken me for someone from the D.E.P and asked if it was okay for them to be walking in the area we were in when I should have been asking the same question.

If you are fashion conscious, then this vest may not be for you. If it's pockets you're looking for, Uncle Milty's Travel Vest has them!


Unknown said...

Any good birding outfit needs plenty of reachable pockets!

The company should give you a discount for the great post, I need a new vest! :-)

Great birding stories, we should get all of ours together and write a book! - Through the Eyes of Non-birders!

Good Birding to you!

Jochen said...

Happy New Year!!

A multi-pocket vest is a good idea. I used to wear pants with large pockets to carry my field guide but the bouncing and swinging was too annoying while walking around.
I usually have a single bag I carry around my shoulder in which I put everything (about the same gear as you, and of course the toilet paper is purely multi-purpose).
What I find so important is that you can open the bag/pocket and reach what's in it without making a lot of noise.
This is what happened: I walked the Black Forest of Germany, went around a sharp turn of the hiking track and all of a sudden stood right in front of a stunned Capercaille, a huge, very special and extremely shy (in Germany at least) grouse species. My camera was in my bag, so I slowly reached down, opened the velcro - RRRIIIPPPPPP!!!
Off it went... Too bad.
The next day, I went downtown and got myself a birding bag without velcros. I haven't seen a Capercaille since though.

Happy birding trails in 2008!!

Larry said...

birdfreak-There are plenty of stories out there.-I don't mind saying something good about a product if I like it.

Jochen-good point about velcro noise.-Everything you see in the photo is kept in the zipper pockets for that reason-(except the bug repellant).The velcro pockets can be used for things that you don't need to get to in a hurry.
I actually carry my camera in a zippered bag that attaches to my belt loop.-Most of the time I don't even zipper it.

Jayne said...

Well now... that's a vest! How much weight does that add to your hike? Hmmmm... new workout strategy? :c)

Larry said...

jayne-the vest itself is very light but the stuff I carry in it can start to add up.

Patrick B. said...

Cool vest! I think Beth might leave me if I wear that though. My zip-off pants, lumbar pack, and Tilley hat make me look like enough of a birder already. Love the stories!

dguzman said...

I've been thinking about getting a vest--this one looks great! Thanks for the product review!

Larry said...

Patrick-Sounds like you've got plenty of birder gear already!

dzugman-No problem-it gives me something to write about!

Anonymous said...

when you live in areas where there is hunting, you get that vest in bright orange!

Mary said...

You can never have too many pockets! I like that vest.

Too bad your identify has been mistaken but I had to laugh about it :o)

Larry said...

monarch-Ha! I have an orange hat that I use in hunting areas.

Mary-I actually kind of enjoy it when I'm misidentified.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review on the vest. In most birding situations I wear a similar vest too even though most birders I know don't. I think they are afraid of looking like a "birding geek." As far as I'm concerned, if the vest fits, wear it.

Larry said...

pa-birder-True-I know that many birders are worried about image-
I've had some birders ask me where they can get the vest.-Others said they were woriied they would look like hunters which they are opposed to.Sometimes you just have to do what you feel is right for you. The vest is just too convenient for me not to wear it.

Unknown said...

That's an impressive vest...I laughed at the stories of your mistaken identities while out birding, especially by the fishing warden. Smart dude...
Hope the birding is good despite the weather; we've had a huge melt here, and our snow buntings haven't been around for a couple of days, but I expect they'll be back as soon as the weather gets cold again.

Mary C said...

Hi Larry - that looks like a really cool vest. I really like something like that; it's better than the backpack I use. I'm gonna have to look for one. And the price you paid for it was quite a bargain. I doubt if I'll be able to find a vest for that good a price.

RuthieJ said...

Cool vest, Larry. With all those pockets, I could even take along a ball of yarn and some knitting needles for a mitten or a sock if the birding wasn't too good!
(I gave up being fashion conscious a long time ago!)

Larry said...

Mary C. - If you click on the Uncle Milty's vest link in the beginning of the post, you can find info. on purchasing a vest.

Ruthiej - LOL - Nothing says that you must be birding while wearing this vest!

Larry said...

Jodi - Glad you liked the stories and hope the Snow Buntings come back to see you soon!