Just as a fisherman will not go to the water without a variety of different baits and lures, a serious turkey hunter will not be found in the woods without an assortment of gear and an array of turkey calls. For close to 30 years, hunters have been going to the field in the spring wearing a turkey vest. The turkey vest has often been referred to as a “turkey hunter’s file cabinet” due to its design. It keeps everything the hunter needs while hunting organized. In fact, the first vests were basically just that, a place to keep gear. However, over the years, manufacturers have directed new designs to keep the hunter comfortable by hosting unique cushion seats while at the same time paying homage to the first vests created by keeping every piece of gear organized.
As the 2018 spring season draws near, seeing the new line of vests that are on the market does not disappoint. Manufacturers are coming up with some of the best designs for turkey hunters. I have been fortunate enough to be able to review three vests for 2018. Through this testing, I have found that there is a vest for every hunting situation and style.
Need to sit and wait a gobbler out?
Alps Outdoorz is a company that is known for making practical products that keep the hunter at the forefront when it comes time to design. This is especially true with their new NWTF Impact Vest. This is a versatile, lightweight, sit-anywhere hunting vest with a flip-out seat that is conveniently built into it. I like the flip seat feature because it eliminates the need to carry a cushion with me when turkey hunting, and the comfort of the seat is great enough that waiting out a tom is a breeze.
The Impact Vest has numerous pockets for a variety of calls, such as a slate call pocket that can house two slate calls and three strikers, a silent box call pocket, five shotgun shell loops, and three diaphragm call pockets. Everything in this vest is organized so well that a hunter will know exactly where each particular piece of equipment is when it comes time to use it. A removable front pocket features a shoulder strap for run-and-gun style hunts and the seat conveniently folds away or completely detaches when not in use.
The Impact Vest also includes a game bag on the back that can hold a couple of decoys as well as my favorite feature, which is a pocket inside for decoy stakes. Searching for stakes is no longer a time restraint when decoys are being set out. The soft, durable Brushed Tricot fabric reduces noise, and is available in Mossy Oak Obsession. The Impact Vest provides hunters with all of the convenience of a metal-frame vest while remaining lightweight, weighing in at only 3lbs. 15oz.
Need to set up quick Or run-and-gun?
TENZING TR18 TURKEY RECLINER
Over the past year, I have been predator hunting with the Tenzing TZ PP15 Predator Pack. I have fallen in love with this pack due to its ability to sit virtually anywhere. It has extendable legs and a fold out cushion seat. When I heard that Tenzing released a redesigned TZ TR18 Turkey Recliner, I was beyond excited.
With a similar design to the predator pack, hunters can set up anywhere when running and gunning or when a fast set-up is needed, all the while staying completely comfortable. The extendable legs easily store themselves by small hooks on the side of the vest. When the time comes to sit down, a simple pull of the legs is all that is needed and it is ready to be used in the sit-down position. This feature removes the worry and hassle of finding a tree that is big enough to sit in front of.
The TZ TR18 is in a class by itself when it comes to keeping calls, shells, decoys and other critical gear secure, quiet and accessible because of its well-designed individual compartments. The material is a tough fabric that lasts, and best of all, it is Tenzing’s lightest turkey hunting pack/chair ever, weighing only 5.25 pounds. This is the perfect vest whether hunting in timber or open areas. The TZ TR18 is available in Mossy Oak Obsession.
MSRP $219.99 (Available early spring 2018)
Hunting all day and need to take a lot of gear?
I first saw this vest on a Mossy Oak YouTube video from the 2018 Shot Show in an interview with Will Primos. Its updated fabric and functional pocket designs, as well as being available in vintage Mossy Oak Greenleaf, had me intrigued.
The Gobbler Vest Gen 2 is the perfect vest for the turkey hunter that needs to carry a lot of gear and be able to stay out all day. This vest has it all when it comes to comfortable concealment, smart storage, and durable construction. Customized and quiet pockets keep everything one would need in the field organized and ready. These pockets include two special, molded pockets that hold two pot calls each, purse pockets that hold mouth calls making it easy to get to on the outside of the vest, a box call pocket that will keep calls quiet and secure and is also conveniently located on the outside of the vest, and a decoy stake pocket. This vest also has accessory straps located on the shoulders that are made to hold a Thermacell, which can be used for bugs and mosquitos during the spring. The seat is detachable and is extra thick allowing for a long sit while still maintaining comfort.
Every turkey hunting situation is different, just as every turkey hunter’s needs are different. That is why choosing the proper vest that fits the specific needs of the hunter is key. Finding the right turkey vest tailored to a hunter's style will make for an enjoyable and, more importantly, successful hunt.