When it comes to hiking, the right clothes make a difference.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re out for a few hours or have your eyes set on a month-long backpacking trip or outdoor research trek into the Amazon. You need a comfortable way to carry your gear.
You could opt for a bulky jacket or a backpack, but they aren’t the most comfortable options. That’s where a hiking vest comes in handy.
Hiking vests are versatile layering options that can carry your gear without restricting your movement or adding a bulk of uncomfortable weight.
So, what are the features you should look for in a hiking vest? How do you find the right one for you?
This guide has you covered.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
- Benefits of Wearing a Hiking Vest
- Makings of an Exceptional Hiking Vest
- SCOTTeVEST Hiking Vests
- Don’t Believe Us? Check Out Some Vestimonials of SCOTTeVEST Hiking Vests
- Best SCOTTeVEST Hiking Gear for Women
- Best SCOTTeVEST Hiking Gear for Men
- Final Thoughts: Choosing the Best Hiking Vest — SCOTTeVEST Guide
Benefits of Wearing a Hiking Vest
Compared to a day pack or a large outer layer, hiking vests have several advantages.
First, a hiking vest is a flexible base layer that you can wear alone or as a mid-layer underneath a heavier jacket. It is excellent for climates where you don’t need a full jacket but can benefit from additional heat to your core and freedom to move your arms.
Second, hiking vests double as a way to carry your essential gear — water, sun protection, documents, and even first aid. You can keep your essential items on you at all times without worrying about the added bulk of a backpack.
Finally, hiking vests are one of the most packable outerwear options. You can take them anywhere you plan to adventure. If you need to drive, fly, or sail out to your hiking location, you can easily pack the vest or use it as a mid-layer for extra carrying capacity.
Makings of an Exceptional Hiking Vest
The vest you wear out and about at home won’t cut it when you’re hiking the glaciers of Patagonia or trekking the Amazon.
Hikers need versatility and durability in their clothing. Your hiking vest is best worn as a base layer, so the material shouldn’t be too bulky. You want it to fit comfortably underneath outer layers such as windbreakers or rain jackets.
Additionally, a good hiking vest should have room for all your essential gear — your phone, water bottle, extra batteries, and snacks.
Still, you want to keep an eye out for pockets that add bulk. If the interior and exterior pockets are right on top of one another, it’ll be hard to fit your outer layer on top once you put your items in the vest.
Exterior pockets are cumbersome and uncomfortable. And interior pockets might hold your stuff when you’re standing still, but once you start moving, they can evict your precious gear. It slows you down and can be endlessly annoying.
When you’re hiking, you want your clothing to be a tool, not a challenge. A vest that helps you hike, whether that’s reaching the summit of a higher mountain or having a more stress-free trek with your family, can be a gamechanger.
To sum it up, you need a vest with protection to battle the elements and pockets that fit everything you need without restraining your movement.
Choosing Your Hiking Vest
The first thing to consider when choosing a hiking vest is the hiking location’s climate.
For warmer climates, look for high-quality but breathable fabrics like cotton, polyester, or nylon.
For hiking in colder climates, we recommend a fleece vest. Alternatively, you can look for a layering option with synthetic insulation, usually made from polyester. Insulated hand pockets are also a must.
You also want to consider the type of hiking you’re doing and the gear you’ll need. It helps you determine how many pockets you’ll need and how they should be configured.
Below are some common features and benefits to look for in a hiking vest.
- High-quality breathable fabric
- Fleece or down insulation (for cold climates)
- Water-repellant treatment
- Zipper or velcro closures on pockets
- Hand pockets and chest pockets
- nterior and exterior pockets
- Keeps your core warm while allowing free movement
- Combines with an additional outer layer
- Holds snacks and gear
- Enables you to carry extra equipment
- Keeps you comfortable
- Fits perfectly in other luggage without extra weight or space
- Provides easier access to the gear you need
While these are all basic attributes you look for in your clothing choice, the hiking enthusiast wants even more. That is why no hike is complete without a hiking vest from SCOTTeVEST.
SCOTTeVEST Hiking Vests
SCOTTeVEST products began as a simple idea in April of 2000. Founder, Scott Jordan, couldn’t figure out why nobody had made an attractive vest with pockets that cater to the digital age.
After years of asking his wife to carry his gadgets in her purse, he decided to solve the problem himself. And so, the first eVEST came into existence.
Since then, SCOTTeVEST products have earned a reputation for being some of the best travel apparel on the market. But Scott tries to stay away from the term “travel.” His goal is to create exceptional vests that people can wear anywhere, whether to the grocery store or on a long hike.
With SCOTTeVEST, you can find all of the common hiking vest benefits listed above and much more. SCOTTeVEST eVESTs for men and women are the ultimate blend of attractive design, superior comfort, and pocket organization. Our features beat out any hiking vest you'll find from a competitor like Arc'Teryx or Columbia.
Scott has over 20 years under his belt researching the pocket science that serves as the foundation of every SCOTTeVEST product.
The pockets of each eVEST are specifically designed to fit your hiking essentials and protect them from falling out.
Unlike many other options on the market, SCOTTeVEST products come with a dedicated BottleHolderTM compartment and insulated handwarmer pockets.
With a SCOTTeVEST vest or jacket, you can eliminate the need for a daypack.
As a hiker, you need to move freely and navigate around obstacles. The last thing you want is to find that you’re three miles into your hike, and somewhere along the way, your keys fell out while you bent down under a tree branch.
SCOTTeVEST products are designed with DeepPocketsTM to prevent that. For additional security, the vests include dedicated pockets for your travel documents and ID.
Furthermore, they use a Weight Management SystemTM developed in consultation with chiropractors to ensure an even weight distribution for maximum comfort.
Don’t Believe Us? Check Out Some Vestimonials of SCOTTeVEST Hiking Vests
“I got this vest in 2017 before I went to Denmark. LOVE IT! Still am wearing, it even at home and on photoshoots and daily hikes. There are so many pockets it’s amazing.”
— Laura T.
“I have two-one in black and one in tan. They are the best piece of clothing I've ever owned. When I'm leading tours they are my mobile office, and when I'm not they are my travel/hiking go-to. I can't tell you how many vests I've given away, but these two will be with me for life!”
— Billie H.
“BEST product around. Stay purse/backpack free on the farm...on the boat...on a hike...at an airport (well used to go to the airport with mine...)”
— Forster L.
Best SCOTTeVEST Hiking Gear for Women
SCOTTeVEST has excellent vests with actual pockets for women. We recommend the following vests for women who love hiking.
Featherweight Vest for Women
The ultralight Featherweight Vest for Women is the lightest hiking vest option at SCOTTeVEST for maximum breathability, and you still get 16 pockets and compartments that eliminate the need for a daypack.
Best hiking vest for:Hiking in summer
Fireside Fleece for Women
For hiking in colder climates, we recommend the Fireside Fleece Vest for Women. This multi-pocket vest is an excellent choice for spring, fall, and winter. It comes with 15 strategically placed pockets to carry all your essentials.
Best hiking vest for: Hiking in fall and winter
Pack Windbreaker for Women
If you need a windproof option and a set of sleeves, then the Pack Windbreaker for Women is the perfect jacket for you.
Best hiking vest for: Hiking in strong winds
Best SCOTTeVEST Hiking Gear for Men
For men looking for hiking adventures, we recommend the following SCOTTeVEST vests.
Featherweight Vest for Men
The ultralight Featherweight Vest for Men is the lightest hiking vest option at SCOTTeVEST, but it still includes 16 pockets to carry all your gear.
Best hiking vest for: Hiking in warmer climates
Fireside Fleece for Men
For hiking in colder climates, we recommend the Fireside Fleece Vest for Men. This multi-pocket vest is an excellent choice for keeping you warm when you are out and about in cooler months. It comes with 15 strategically placed pockets to carry all your essentials.
Best hiking vest for: Hiking in colder climates
Pack Windbreaker for Men
If you’re worried about strong winds on the mountaintop, pack a Pack Windbreaker for Men with you. It will keep you warm and comfortable during your outdoor activities.
Best hiking vest for: Hiking in windy conditions
Tropiformer for Men
If the weather is unpredictable and you can’t decide between a hiking jacket and a hiking vest, the Tropiformer Jacket for Men is a great pick. It has sleeves attached by magnets, so you can remove them for a sleeveless option whenever you need it.
Best hiking vest for:Hiking in unpredictable weather
Final Thoughts: Choosing the Best Hiking Vest — SCOTTeVEST Guide
Hiking vests are an excellent way to stay comfortable on your adventures while carrying all your essential gear. But, not all vests are created equal.
Our competitors like Patagonia, The North Face, and REI don’t have great options when it comes to hiking vests. The best you’ll get is a repurposed, unattractive fishing vest or a vest with flimsy pockets that are barely big enough for your phone.
SCOTTeVEST wants you to find something that can carry your gear and looks great. With SCOTTeVEST hiking vest options, you can rest assured that your hiking gear won’t fall out or put added stress on your body.
All SCOTTeVEST products are thoughtfully designed to go above and beyond the common features of a travel or hiking vest. Not to mention, each of our vests and jackets is designed to look great whether you’re hiking or going about your day. Discover more innovative products backed by the power of pocket science with SCOTTeVEST.