Review: Essential Travel Jacket by Scottevest

Ever since airlines started adding extra surcharges for checked baggage, I’ve been working to perfect the art of jamming everything I’ll need when traveling into my carry-on bags. Unfortunately, overly-packed bags are difficult to access whenever I want to get at a personal item, like a book, while flying.

A few weeks ago, the folks at Scottevest sent me an Essential Travel Jacket with 19 pockets for us to review.

I’ve been wearing it since it arrived and I’ve taken it on a few trips during that time. It’s quite nice to be able to carry a book, my camera, an iPhone, my wallet, and sunglasses all close at hand.

I don’t have an iPad, but apparently you can even fit one of the front inside pocket, provided you wear a men’s medium or larger.

What impresses me the most about the jacket is that it is both fashionably simple and inconspicuous. Ordinarily, garments with an extreme number of pockets tend to make the wearer look like either Walter Sobchak or a pro bass fisherman. As you can see, this is not the case.

Essential Travel Jacket by Scottevest

X-Ray View of Essential Travel Jacket by Scottevest

The garment seems very well made and my only real complaint is that it attracts and shows lint a little more than I would like. For that reason, you might prefer to opt for the red or beige version instead of buying it in black. I definitely recommend it.

33 Comments for “Review: Essential Travel Jacket by Scottevest”

  1. posted by Amy on

    But what if the weather is too warm for a jacket?

  2. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Amy — The company makes an entire line of similar products: pants, t-shirts, etc. So, if it’s too hot for a jacket, one of the other products could definitely work. PJ didn’t test drive the other products, though, but I assume they’re of similar good quality.

  3. posted by Miss Minimalist on

    On the website, the only women’s offerings are two jackets and a vest — I hope they expand this in the future. We need pockets too. πŸ™‚

    I’d also love to see a review of the women’s jacket. The idea of stuffing everything into a jacket intrigues me, but I’m worried about the potential “bulge” factor. Any chance, Erin? πŸ˜‰

  4. posted by Michelle on

    I am so excited that you are reviewing this because I have had their vest for women on my wish list for months! My plan is to purchase it as soon as I figure out where my travel plans will take me. If it is someplace hot them I am getting the beige, but if it is somewhere in Europe then I will get the black.

  5. posted by Ryan on

    No tall sizes = fail.

  6. posted by falnfenix on

    i’m a huuuuuuge fan…in fact, i’m wearing my TEC jacket today.

  7. posted by Heather on

    I like it. As much as I’ll miss the sun for the next few months, I’m looking forward to ditching the purse and loading my essentials into a jacket. I’ve considered moving someplace cooler, just so I can wear a jacket year-round. My everyday jackets are fleece, which require some balancing to minimize the pocket bulges, so I like the idea of a garment that conceals a little better.

    Would you consider adding a link to the women’s version of the jacket, to save us the extra step? We are at least half of your audience, after all πŸ™‚

  8. posted by falnfenix on

    @Heather – here’s the website:

  9. posted by Anita on


    I’m also concerned about the bulge factor when standing or walking, and even more so about having bulky items like a water bottle or iPad near waist level (where jackets usually crease) when sitting. Can’t be very comfortable, surely?

    Also: are most of the pockets only accessible from the inside? Must not make it easy to get your camera out for a quick photo when it’s cold out and the last thing you want to do is unzip your jacket…

    For air travel, I’d still pick a second bag over this jacket. Most airlines I know allow you one carry-on and one “personal article” about the size of a briefcase/messenger bag or large purse, which would be big enough for all these essentials.

  10. posted by falnfenix on

    Anita – while i don’t shove a water bottle in my hoodie, it handles most bulky items with ease.

  11. posted by John on

    The only jacket that makes you look like a unabomber as you whisk into security and are quickly rubber-gloved…!

  12. posted by nuri on

    Been thinking of getting this, or the tshirts that are similar, for my husband. He’s got an insulin pump and internal spaces for tubing are AWESOME.

  13. posted by Sarah on

    It looks great, but I wonder how convenient would be for travel where you were required to empty your pockets as you went through security – and then how long would it take to reassemble yourself once through?

  14. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Sarah — You always have to take off coats and jackets when you go through airport security. You don’t take things out of your pockets, you just send the whole coat through the x-ray scanner.

  15. posted by Scottevest on

    Thanks for the Review! @Miss Minimalist, @Anita, Our jackets are specially designed to discreetly hid everything you put into your pockets = No Bulge! Thanks again.

  16. posted by Adam on

    I purchased this jacket for a recent two week tour of Australia, and it worked out quite well. If the weather was hot, I could simply unzip the sleeves. Scottevest also makes a lighter Tropical Jacket/Vest that is suitable for warmer climates.

    If you have an iPad in the large pocket, you won’t be able to sit down comfortably with the jacket zipped up. Unzipped, it will still sag to the left.

    Rolf Potts just returned from a 6-week around the world trip with just the Scottevest clothes on his back. His field reports have been pretty good:

  17. posted by Arlette on

    My husband used the vest version in a jazzy copper color for our recent trip to Barcelona, a huge city for pickpockets, and he felt very secure. At airports, he simply removed the vest and put it in a bin to go through security. I ordered the women’s version, which looked great and stylish until I stuffed the pockets…then I looked like a Weeble (the things that wobble but don’t fall down). I think the key is using it for security’s sake, not to be a human pack mule. By the way, when I returned mine, I had zero problems with customer service. They were very nice about it. And sometimes there are specials that run in the NY Times magazine (20% off).

  18. posted by Joe on

    What’s wrong with the Walter look? πŸ™‚

    Seriously, I tend to go for cargo pants instead.

  19. posted by tordis on

    please change the ipad for a book in this jacket.

    put the ipad in the unitasker section.

    (nobody knew what to do with it in the first place, anyway)

  20. posted by Jen on

    I agree that for women something like this might look a little bulky when the pockets are really stuffed. Athleta (owned by Gap inc) makes some nice pants that have a bunch of pockets in them, most of them zippered i think, and they are made of a water-resistant fabric. they are a little pricey but get great reviews. Granted, the pockets will not fit an ipad and i would not advise taking them off in an airport to put them through security, but they would be good for holding a small wallet, ipod, keys, etc. while walking around.

  21. posted by chacha1 on

    I got myself a photo safari vest from Magellan a couple of years ago and that has been my go-to top layer for air travel. Quite similar. Long sleeves tend to overheat me. But this is a very nice-looking product.

  22. posted by STL Mom on

    My parents are going to Asia for three weeks, and they want to stick to carry-on luggage. I think this jacket might work really well for either or both of them — my dad, in particular, likes to carry a lot of things with him. The ipad pocket would become a book pocket.

  23. posted by Mandy on

    It looks very cool

    And @tordis – I hardly call my iPad a unitasker. It’s my wordprocesser, eBook, movie player, general entertainment on planes and trains and more.

  24. posted by Jacquie on

    @ Anita
    Unless you fly in more expensive seats, most European airlines still only allow ONE carry on bag. No separate lady’s purse (handbag to me, in the UK) no camera, and some of them, no duty free bag either so you can only buy what will fit in your carry on bag.

    They are also usually very strict about the size of this bag, and it has to fit in the container offered. If it is too big it goes in the hold, with a supplement charge. Lots of my smaller things go in the pockets of my fleece, and if I look fat and lumpy, this is one time I don’t care.

    It may be more lax elsewhere in the world, but be warned if you travel economy in Europe.

  25. posted by Mags on

    Question: surely if you have too much stuff to fit into a carry-on bag, you’re carrying too much stuff and the solution is to rethink what’s actually essential for your trip?

  26. posted by Daniel on

    I’ve been meaning to get this jacket for awhile, but haven’t seen too many reviews so I waited. Anyway, it looks great. I will be going overseas and will invest in one as I don’t like carrying bags while walking in the streets.

  27. posted by Ladee on

    I love my SeV. When working events, I used to worry about leaving my purse and laptop. I have now fully “moved into” the jacket, moved all reference material into my iPhone, and can mix and mingle with event participants easily. I can’t wait to take it on my next trip to Europe, as the group that I travel with are all “carry-on only” travelers. I bought one for my son and he is happy with it.

  28. posted by Vivian on

    Please know that you cannot return this jacket if you you wear it for even an hour and take off the tags. I wore mine for one hour and the Velcro on the back of my neck scratched my skin, the sleeves were too long and I lost things in the many pockets. I was told I could not return and to cut off the Velcro. Poor customer service!

  29. posted by Delio on

    @Ryan I have pestered Scott about Tall sizes for a couple of years now, pretty much to no response. As a 6’2″ guy I feel their stuff is just too short to use. I love the product line, and have gotten several products through the years, but I am done spending my money with them until they provide something that is 6″ or more longer than they offer now. The worst part of it is that they used to offer tall sizes. Not sure why they stopped. I would pay more if need be.

  30. posted by Sandra on

    If you don’t need a warm jacket, and really just want a wearable purse, essentially, check out the windbreaker –

  31. posted by Claire on

    I am a bit concerned about the way that airlines are giving people every incentive to carry on as much hand luggage as possible – when I have read that it is heavy hand luggage that causes injuries a lot of the time, in the case of (god forbid) an “incident”.

    I like the idea of the jacket though.

  32. posted by Rich on

    This was my third jacket purchased from SeV, all used primarily for travel purposes. Yes, you can load them up and easily pass through security, but also consider once you reach your destination. Trying to carry all the basics for sightseeing in your pants pockets is crazy. This jacket does that (along with other SeV products) so simply and safely. Just to clarify, here’s my definition of basics: Camera, passport, wallet, hotel card/key, glasses, iPod, phone, lip balm, eye drops, mints/gum, pack of smokes (I know, I know), lighter and travel map. All of these items won’t even put a dent in what this jacket will hold. Definitely recommend.

  33. posted by Jessica on

    I am considering purchasing this jacket for my husband for Christmas and am wondering how it has held up for you since you wrote this original review. Two reviews have mentioned that the fabric wears easily. Can you give me a brief update? Thank you!

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