Vest Pockets for Everyday Carry

vests for every day carry

A few days ago I read a comment here on the blog from “Skeezix”. I had been intending to write an article about a wearable vest with lots of pockets for everyday carry items, and she got me motivated to do it. Here’s what she said:

Last year I started wearing the Uncle Miltie Travel Vest.
Rothco Uncle Milty Vest

It looks like a fisherman’s vest and it replaced my purse. It didn’t work out quite as well as I had hoped. The weight of it when loaded cut into the back of my neck. Strangers would comment, “Oh, you’re a fisherman.” Sometimes it would be a disparaging “A hunter, huh.” It was bulky and downright ugly. I planned on sewing my own, keeping all the pockets on the inside.

Then I discovered and purchased the Scottevest. All the pockets are on the inside. The sleeves unzip and fit into a back pocket. When it is on, it feels weightless. There is no visible sign that all the pockets are stuffed.
SCOTTeVEST Women’s Travel Vest – 18 Pockets

I had so much fun loading it up with: pocket knife, Cree mini flashlight with an extra battery, mini first aid kit, change purse, credit card wallet, Chapstick, hand sanitizer, pen, lighter, sun glasses, passport, comb and stationary stuff, coin tissues and keys. I still have room for my kindle and iPad, and water bottle. Wow!

From the outside it still looks like a regular old vest! I am now “hands free”.
It is quite expensive. I used the money I was saving for the batteries for my solar system, but it was definitely worth it.


Vest Kit for Everyday Carry

Some years ago I bought a particular Filson vest (pictured above) with the intention of utilizing it’s various pockets for everyday carry items. Convenience and preparedness wrapped into one.

The concept of a vest with a bunch of pockets can be fun to work with.

There is a wide variety to choose from!

Lots of different styles, pocket variations, pocket locations, inside/outside, sizes, and colors. Some insulated, some not.

Be careful though, it’s easy to overload a vest with too much stuff!
It can become ridiculous ;)

Items to carry in vest pockets

Oh my. This is a personal preference for everyone.

I can tell you that when I do wear this vest, I tailor it to what I’m likely to be doing.

There are enough pockets and hidden pouches inside and across the back that I could stuff it full. I don’t do that though because then it just gets uncomfortable! If it’s too uncomfortable then I’m less likely to wear it!

My Basic Vest

From what you can see in the picture, I carry at least a minimum of items (and some you can’t see because their in the pockets).

In the four upper left vest pockets I insert the following:
– BIC Lighter
– Pocket knife w/clip
– Streamlight Stylus Pro Penlight w/clip (this one)
– Fisher Space Pen w/clip (this one)

In another pocket I also always include:
– Notepad w/protective cover

Related articles to the items listed above:
A Small Bullet Space Pen For Everyday Carry
The Best Pocket Knife Is The One You’re Carrying
Best Pocket Carry Flashlight For Under 30 Dollars

The rest of the vest pockets and what goes inside them will depend on what I might be doing or gearing up for. So it changes.

Some Items Are In Other Kits

If I’m out away from home with my truck, I do have a 72 hour kit in there with additional preps that I could access if I needed to.

When I’m out on the trails on my ATV or snowmobile, I have some kit contained within each of those too.

If I’m planning a relatively short day hike I will take along a Versipack with kit inside.

So as you can begin to see, the vest and it’s pocket contents become more of an EDC convenience more than anything…

That said, if I were to go anywhere in someone else’s vehicle – or – any other means of transportation other than my own, I would not be able to rely on my truck kit. So whatever I have on me would be all there is…

If I had to rely on ‘just’ my vest pockets & pouches, and pants pockets, etc.., then it would become a bit more of a challenge – depending on where I’m going or what I plan to do (and for how long).

Therefore there’s no right or wrong list of vest pocket goodies.

Vest Pocket Challenges

– Never enough pockets?
– Size & Shape of pockets / pouches
– Not to overload
– Physical size of items
– Weight of items
– The necessity value (or lack thereof) of items
– Practicality of usage
– Concealment?
– Comfort

Similar to putting together an emergency kit, 72 hour kit, or bug out bag, it can be fun to piece together a “Vest kit”, if you will…

Anyone else out there have a Vest set up?


  1. Ken, wanted to ask and not assume, are you using for firearm carry in one of the pockets? Would not think so, but just wondering.

    Seems the vest would work well with a shoulder holster under….. sometimes just dont want a hip holster

    1. NRP,

      It is possible for my 380 to fit within several choices of vest pockets. I’ve done this on occasion. When I do, I first slip it into my Desantis Pocket Holster (which I also occasionally use for my cargo pants pocket).

      Regarding the vest (and firearms carry) I often where a Kenai Chest Holster for a larger caliber pistol with the vest put on over it. The vest doesn’t entirely conceal it, especially if partially unbuttoned, however I find it convenient to carry this way while performing tasks where belt carry may be a pain.

      P.S. Fortunately there’s no issue regarding either open or concealed carry in NH since we’re a Constitutional Carry state.

  2. I have used vests in the past, but they rest in my closet for special occasions. What I wear everyday suits me far better than any vest I’ve ever tried and used. My denim carpenter’s overalls. I wear them for every day chores, I wear them when I go to town shopping, eating out, and even to church. The area I live in, for men, especially in my age group, they are common apparel.

    Why? First off, comfort. They fit loose and don’t bind or restrict movement. They have multiple large roomy pockets. The built in shoulder straps helps distribute the weight of your daily carry.

    My everyday load out is as follows: Top right bib pocket carries my billfold and money clip, left bib pocket alternates between cell phone or Ruger LCP .380 (if I’m riding the road, I move the little pistol up top for easy access while sitting), otherwise the LCP rides in the left front pocket below the waist line in a pocket holster. The right lower pocket carries key ring, Bic Lighter, and pocket clipped Leatherman tool. The right mid-thigh double pocket originally intended for a folding carpenters rule holds two 10 round spare mags for the little Ruger. There are two pen pockets on the bib which holds a ball point pen and a “sharpie” marker. If I’m working outside, the left mid-thigh hammer loop and pocket makes a perfect leg holster for my 6 1/2″ barrel .22 Single action revolver. I seldom carry anything in the back pockets other than temporarily. Other than when carrying the revolver, no one would see any of my EDC except for the pens.

    1. Forgot the Power Tool 3xAAA battery pen light that rides alongside the spare mags. The overalls rest fully loaded at the foot of my bed on a quilt chest at night. Even with my age induced reduction of speed, I can slip them on and a pair of slip on shoes in about 45 seconds if needed. If I don’t have that much time and must confront an intruder, my nudity will probably cause them pause (or permanent blindness)😁

  3. I use Carhartt bib overalls for all my carry = many large pockets and easy on the shoulders. They also make one look like a harmless grey person – a working person not an upscale target.

    One other comment – did the CEO of that vest company not say all his customers were idiots or perhaps it was just deplorable customers that are idiots. How to loose a majority of your customers? Perhaps someone out there has the exact language spoken.

    1. Just checked – he called Fox viewers gullible and F—-idiots – that is why they advertise on Fox.

      1. Not the Rothco vest company – do not want to disparage the wrong company.

    2. Not for sure, but I think it was the e-Vest ceo that made that comment.

    3. I found the exact wording in an article on It was mad by Scott Jordan, co-founder of SCOTTeVEST (all below is from the website):

      Inc’s lead-in:
      “Jordan wrote that when fans recognize him, he asks if they saw his company’s commercials on Fox News. If they answer yes: (Inc then recites the FB post below):

      Jordan’s FB post as Inc recounts it:
      ” I laugh to myself, and tell them that we primarily advertise on Fox because we find their viewership to be extremely gullible and much easier to sell than other networks. The look on their face is priceless. I am not kidding you. I get to tell them they are (f***ing) idiots while getting rich off them.”

      1. SCG
        Thanks. Not often we get to see what some think about their customers.

        1. hermit us,
          No kidding – I still can’t believe the guy wrote this. He posted some sort of apology afterward, but after reading what he wrote I can’t imagine anyone who watches Fox or has a conservative leaning ever wanting to do business with this company.

        2. based on co founders comments I would not wear e vest if you gave it to me free

  4. Back during my hiking days I used a fishing vest. I liked the idea that my hands were always free. I carried a lighter, small candle, snacks, first aid supplies, small penlight, map of the trails, and of course water. I didn’t carry a life straw back then as I didn’t know they existed. I carried a few other things that were dependent on my location.

  5. I wear a shirt with large patch pockets with button flaps each day where I carry the medications I may need for itchy eyes, hay fever and seasonal allergies. I carry artificial tears and Alaway drops, chapstick and single dose of Claritin in my shirt pockets along with a pocket pack of tissues.

    The weather here is cold and icy so much of my possibles are carried in an outside pockets of my Mountain Parka my wife bought for me years ago.

    When the weather is hot, I may were a travel vest over the t-shirt in which to carry my possibles. With my fear of skin cancer, I tend to wear long sleeve shirts even in Summer when I do yard work. I wear the Cabela’s fishing shirts with velcro patch pockets and mesh backs with fabric flaps that catch every breeze. I still carry my wallet and folding knife in my pants pockets though for a majority of the time. Button up shirts provide my skin with full coverage protection from sunlight where as the vest does not.

    The only time I carry everything at tit-level ( from the nipples on up.) was when I was/am wearing waders or doing a really dirty job like a body recovery in water. The gun went into a shoulder holster ( aka: “bra of death”). Times like that, it is tough to beat the utility of a well designed fishing vest.

    My CCW is a small revolver and I have left behind the speed loaders and carry an MTM Ammo Wallet that holds 18 rounds of 38 Special. They are less bulky than the speed loaders and they are more durable than the Bianchi Speed Strips. ( heat and sunlight break down the vinyl Speed Strips.). The small revolver rides in an outside coat pocket.

  6. Vests, denim overalls, denim jackets, insulated overalls, and insulated coveralls are common apparel out here in farm country, and not just for the men. Carhartt and Walls work clothing are very popular. Even though they have generous amounts of pockets, additional pockets can be added easily at a sewing shop. Depending on the intended use of the pocket, steps can be taken when needed to assure concealment. Thick embroidered patches are commonly sewn over pockets (without interfering with the use of the pocket) on vests, especially motorcycle vests, and those can sometimes provide an acceptable amount of concealment.

    CD in Oklahoma

  7. To aid in draping naturally and avoid “printing” of CCW, sew small amounts of birdshot into the bottom hem of an outer garment (baggy shirt or vest) when worn untucked over pants and a small belt holster or IWB holster.

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