Hunting is one of those rare sports that changes dramatically with each type of game hunted. The location, type of weapon and ammunition, use of hunting dogs, and even style of clothing are all aspects of hunting that are dependent upon the animal in season. The hunting vest is one of those simple, yet sometimes forgotten tools that can have a dramatic effect on the hunting experience.
Hunting vests are tailored specifically to the game in that bird vests, for example, are usually made of canvas or other tough material, have ample room for extra shotgun shells, and provide hunters with game pouch for field storage. Conversely, deer hunting vests are less utilitarian, generally lighter weight than other types of hunting vests, and are blaze orange in color to comply with local deer hunting regulations.
However, in today's market, clothing technology and new ideas have merged to produce some very interesting hunting vests that benefit hunters in ways not previously considered. The very best of these focus strictly on a single type of game. Here is a list of the top contenders in several game categories:
The Ol' Tom Dura-Lite Time & Motion Camo Turkey hunting vest provides its wearer with a wealth of storage, organization, and safety advantages over similar offerings. The vest provides eight separate turkey call pockets and pouches, eight elastic shotgun shell divider loops, and a plethora of regular and divider pockets including an 8" x 10" map pocket. In addition to the storage and organization capabilities of this vest, it includes detachable locator call stretch cords, a magnetically attachable padded seat cushion, and a blood-proof game bag. It is offered in Mossy Oak Obsession and Realtree APG camouflage designs and comes with a blaze orange flag for safety.
For quail and larger field birds such as grouse and pheasant, the Columbia Grouse X Comfort Vest II provides a front-loading game storage bag that is blood-proof and easily removable for cleaning and unloading. The outstanding aspect of this vest is the comfort system yoke that distributes the weight of the game evenly to keep the load balanced on your shoulders. The left front pocket stores eight quick-loader shotgun shell tubes for fast reloading while the right pocket has ample room for anything else. The vest is also padded for comfortable shooting.
While blaze orange is required for safety in most deer hunting locales, deer can still see the plain vests despite their color blindness because of the amount of light reflected by the bright, solid vest. Subsequently, the best deer hunting vests are those with camouflage graphics printed or woven into the fabric. To that end, Cabela's offers their Ultimate Pack Vest with the Blaze Horizon color scheme. It features a large zippered map pocket, rear storage compartment for clothing or other hunting accessories, and both internal and external front pockets with button closures for security. The polyester external shell is ribbed with nylon seams for strength and durability, and the internal shell is light but still provides for hand warmers under both front pockets.
The best hunting vests for men are those that provide the most efficient use of their materials for storage, organization, and safety for the hunter. Clothing, like other aspects of the sport of hunting, has come a long way since the first hunt you had with your grandfather. The proper hunting vest tailored both to the hunter and the game will provide a better hunting experience for those who research and choose this article of clothing wisely.