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Author: Mark Mazour
Cabela’s Ultimate Pack Vest combines the storage of a pack with a blaze orange vest that gives you room to store all your gear and meet your blaze orange requirements all in one garment.
You went and bought that tricked out parka with all the pockets and loaded with bells and whistles. However, if you’re rifle or muzzleloader hunting in most areas, you will be required to wear a blaze orange vest over that parka for additional visibility, for safety, and because it’s the law.
Then, all those great pockets on your parka are not usable. Whether that big buck causes "buck fever" for the first four rounds and you need additional ammo or you become "temporarily misdirected" and need the map and a compass to find your way again, you will be left fumbling with your thumbs, trying to find a hidden pocket.
If you wear a backpack or fanny pack, the waist and shoulder straps interfere with the pockets as well and you have to remove the pack to access your gear. Cabela’s found a great solution to this with their Ultimate Pack Vest. It combines the storage of a pack with a blaze orange vest that gives you room to store all your gear and meet your blaze orange requirements all in one garment.
I first wore this vest on a black powder antelope hunt last fall. The temperature was mild to say the least so a long sleeve camo shirt was more than enough protection from the elements. However, blaze orange was required, and the Ultimate Pack Vest was perfect for storing all the extra gear I needed without having to tote a full pack.
More Pockets Than You Have Gear
I’ll be the first to admit it; I am "ranging challenged." I cannot accurately judge distance in open terrain. I compensate for my disability by using a laser rangefinder to stay on target. To be effective, a rangefinder needs to be kept close at hand. However, when you’re crawling up a drainage trying to get close enough to take a wary antelope with a smoke pole, how can you keep one of these expensive gadgets protected and not lose it in the process? The Ultimate Pack Vest had the perfect solution with a grommet on the collar area. All you do is thread the rangefinder lanyard loop through the grommet, and you can store the rangefinder in the snap-closed pocket, where it is protected from sand and dirt, won’t get lost, yet will be ready to quickly assess a distant target. While it won’t keep you from getting lost, the grommet also works great to keep you from losing your compass.
The only problem with this vest is that it has so many pockets it will hold much more gear than you would want to carry. If you load them all up, you won’t want to lug the vest around. One of the handiest pockets is the zippered map pocket in the back that is very easy to reach. It allows you to get to your map quickly, yet keep it out of the weather. A giant snap-closed rear storage pouch works great for extra hats, gloves, raingear, or even lunch. The two front cargo pockets snap close to hold extra ammo, calls, and gloves, and the handwarmer packets underneath take the chill off frosty fingers.
Built to Last
This vest is built as tough as they come. The heavy blanket-weight polyester outer shell is sure to stand up to years of use. Every edge is reinforced with rugged nylon ribbing for extreme durability. I have crawled for antelope in this vest and slid down rocky slopes trying to intercept mule deer on the move. Nothing seems to phase it. I think the only way you can wear out the Ultimate Pack Vest is to drag it behind the truck.
It is also one of most popular vests used by Field Testers. Renowned shooting writer Crag Boddington adds, "During the fall, I guided three Colorado seasons, then hunted deer, elk or both in five western states. I lived in my Cabela’s Ultimate Pack Vest, and it’s still good as new."
Whatever you want to pack along, the Ultimate Pack Vest has a place for it, and it will probably outlast the rest of your hunting gear.