|Product: Scott eVest
||Company: Scott eVest|
|Platform: Your back
Street Price: same
|Cred Rating:||Special Award:|
If you're anything like me, you've probably accumulated heaps of digital gadgets over the years. Some are cast into a drawer somewhere, missing cables and batteries, and maybe even a few buttons. Others have managed to work their way into your daily life, and into every available pocket on your person. Luckily, there's a man who foresaw that the myth of convergence would leave us with pockets crammed with googles of gadgetry. His solution was simple: more pockets!
A few years ago, Scott Jordan created the Scott eVest. Now up to version 2.5, the eVest is a garment designed expressly for the digital age, accommodating your technological needs in ways that you probably never would have foreseen.
The eVest is more than just a pocket-happy jacket. The trick to the garment is that it actually anticipates your needs for gear stowage, offering a perfect pocket for each device as you acquire it. One of the key features of the vest is the channels that are sewn into it to hold cables for audio earphones or for cellphone earpieces. The channels run up the inside of the jacket, next to the zipper, and have Velcro tabs that let you add new wires from several sources. These channels, combined with the various outlets, are inside some (but not all) of the pockets, and let you wire devices together. For example: a cellphone and a PDA can be wired through the channels and up to your noggin via a set of earphones. These channels are fairly easy to use and surprisingly handy. It's easy to run the cables from one of the main pockets to the inside of the jacket, up the channels, and then tuck the earbuds (or hands-free cellphone set) into the little holes designed for them to rest in.
Another feature that's unique to the eVest is the pocket-in-a-pocket (PIP) design that separates two exterior and two interior pockets into four using Velcro. In essence, this allows you to put two smaller gadgets into one pocket without fear that they'll rattle against each other. Although this feature is well thought out, I found that there wasn't really a need for it; quite frankly, there are so many pockets in the darn thing that there's little need for any two gadgets to share the same space. And the Velcro inside the pocket sometimes gets in the way of easy access to its contents (luckily not enough to be a serious hindrance).
Each version of the eVest has added more pockets, and now with version 2.0 and 2.5, the eVest has up to 28(!) different compartments, including the PIP. My favorite is the pocket on the upper right shoulder -- a super-secret location for who-knows-what. Unlike some pockets, that one didn't come with a little label inside telling you what devices the pockets was designed for -- a cute touch, but not really neccessary, since just about all the pockets are good for most any handheld device.
My daily gear consists of a small cell phone and hands-free earphone, a largish HD-MP3 player, a pair of behind-the-ear headphones, and a PDA. Pretty limited gear, really, considering. On more adventurous days, the ensemble might be augmented with my GPS, a folding PDA keyboard, a few connectivity cables, perhaps some expansion cards, a digital camera, and some analog reading material (yes, I'm not completely digital...yet). No matter what I load into it, my eVest accommodates with aplomb.
Version 2.0, which Street Tech was sent for review, also adds a crucial feature: removable sleeves. This transforms the eVest into a 3-season light jacket, perfect for most casual wear. I didn't have much opportunity to wear it when the weather was over 100 on the East Coast, but as soon as it got into the 80s, the vest (sans sleeves) was perfect for fun in the sun and trips to the beach. In the evenings, as the weather got a little cooler, the sleeves added a little more protection and the jacket was good down into the 60s. Version 2.5 is slightly improved, adding a stow-away hood, removable key lanyard and toned down labels. [Editor's note: They seem to _keep_ toning down the labels on this thing. The first eVest was ridiculously festooned with a garment label hanging off of EVERY pocket. It was like a walking, animated eVest billboard! We know that _some_ people like to sport designer labels, but we're not sure geeks are numbered among them. Sounds like they continue to get feedback on this that they're responding to. -Gareth]
What makes the eVest truly a great product is that the appearance belies its usefulness. Despite the versatility, the eVest looks like a fairly stylish, high-quality garment. The "Mao collar" gives it a sleek , modern appearance, and depending on the model you want, it's available in khaki, blue and of course, always-classic black. A special model is available for women.
One less-than-fashionable feature is the elastic cuffs -- declasse, IMO. Buttons would be better, or zippered sleeves for an edgier look. Another fashion faux pas is the cut of the jacket -- it's clearly designed to hide not only a few pounds of gadgetry, but a few extra pounds of code pie and Cheetos. For those with an average waistline, the cut seems wide. Not too bad, but enough that I actually found myself asking people: "Does this vest make me look fat?" Another downside is that the eVest is not waterproof. It's water resistant, but requires a good hosing with ScotchGuard or a similar product.
In many ways, I wish that the Scott eVest could be my daily outerwear. But between having to wear a monkey suit to work some days, and wearing a waterproof jacket on rainy ones, I just don't get the chance to use it as much as I'd like. For those who find themselves carting an Albatross-load of personal gear, either to work, or over the weekend, this jacket is a great way to leave the backpack or shoulder bag behind.
- Nate Heasley [10/03/02]
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