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Advantages of wearing a 'travel vest' with multiple pockets in Italy?

Have seen many positive reviews of getting a ScotteVest to wear with all your valuables stored in its multiple pockets while traveling in Europe. Has anyone experience with these and wouldn't there be a great advantage over wearing a money belt with limited space plus carrying a backpack or purse as well? Going to Italy soon and need to get prepared!
Thanks for any reviews.

Posted by
715 posts

Maybe it is just me but how many valuables do you bring with you on vacation that you do not carry around when you are home?

I wear a money belt to ease my mind where I keep credit cards, passport, extra cash. I really do t understand what the hassle is as they are easy to wear and access, for me.

I carry a messenger bag, which I do everyday at home, which has my iPad, camera, lunch and extra fleece or rain coat if needed.

A vest with all sorts of pockets on it is nothing I would wear at home.

Posted by
20599 posts

It is a personal choice. My very personal opinion is the vest looks tacky. Like on a fish outing or safari. I truthfully don't think you need that many pockets. We have travel oriented clothing that have a couple of zipper or vecro pockets that serves our needs pretty well. Do carry a small day bag for bulky items like guidebooks, etc. In forty years of travel never had any problems. But wearing a money belt is second nature of us and even wear when visiting son and dil in New York city.

Posted by
388 posts

Haven't used a Scotte Vest myself, but then again I never carry enough to make it worth while. Of the valuables that I carry: my passport, cash, and credit cards, all of these can be easily kept in a neck wallet or a money belt. For cameras, Ipads and phones, I will have more attention on those instead of my passport etc, so then a small back pack will accommodate the extras. It really is just personal preference but I think there are less cumbersome ways to stow your valuables than having them hidden all over you.

Posted by
11411 posts

As a female I would never wear it.. tacky and unattractive. .as a tourist I would never wear it in months from April to late September.. too hot, and as a man.. why look like you are going fishing.

I think folks must carry a lot more "valuables" then me.. I have an inexpensive point and shoot camera in my purse ( over the shoulder messenger style bag) .. and I usually leave my tablet at the hotel as I just use it for sending an occasional email or looking something up while planning next days , but if I want to bring it.. it fits in my purse.

I don't bring a phone.

I don't bring jewelry or large sums of money out on a day to day touring ( I leave bulk in hotel safe.. or put it in my money belt for travel days) . Same with credit cards.. don't usually carry them about.. unless going for a fancy dinner.

Those vests do look like one is going on safari... I simply do not need that much stuff.

Ps if you are male and over a certain age.. wear one if you want.. no one will really care

Posted by
4949 posts

willieske. We both have Scottevests and like them. They don't look like safari vests, as they have no bulging external pockets. They look just like a windbreaker jacket without sleeves.

I don't use it as a substitute for a money belt or a daypack. What they are, is an outer garment, which offers another way of carrying whatever you might want, out-of-sight and more secure than in your pants' pockets or a purse. And, I don't wear it everyday, full of stuff. I wear it mostly in transit from one city to another, where you might want to have things like your cellphone, maps, pocket dictionary, tissues, coins, pen & paper, train tickets, boarding passes, camera, candy bar, paperback, e-book, or whatever, in a way that is both more convenient and more secure than in a daypack. Yes, you could pack a notebook computer, three days of underwear, a ham sandwich and a change of clothes in one if you really wanted too. But you don't need to do that.

Some people just use them to get more stuff through security quickly, and on the plane in addition to their carryon/personal item. Once they are at destination, its just another outer layer, to use or not depending on weather.

I suppose I look unfashionable whether I wear one or not, so am choosing comfort and convenience, and not had any complaints from natives.

BTW, if you do get one, I think they run small in sizing so get one bigger than you think.

Posted by
7168 posts

Advantages: Your fellow tourists should feel safer because all of the pickpockets will be targeting YOU with your easily identifiable "ScotteVest".

Posted by
20599 posts

With the recent report of Amazon suing a review generating company, I am wondering how many of the positive reviews for ScotteVest were purchased. I can see the appeal but the practicality is just not there for us. I think there is a tendency for inexperienced and even slightly experienced travelers to carry too much stuff. I know we did years ago. One time my wife would have carried a large purse with a lot of important and heavy stuff. Slowly that evolved into a large fanny pack. That became a smaller fanny pack but even that went away after a couple of trips. When traveling with our two sons, did have a decent size shoulder/back pack for extra coats and stuff but not now. We don't even carry water bottles -- a big no, no. We can buy all the water we need in little grocery stores anytime. Finally stopped carrying a large RF camera with multi-lens. I do carry a leather shoulder bag that is just big enough for the ipad (though I seldom have the ipad with me), a P&S camera, guidebook, toilet paper, and couple other small items like cork screw,knife, and cable lock.

Posted by
2225 posts

My problem with the concept is if I take it off, because it's too warm or I am sitting down in a restaurant, then my stuff is not "on me" anymore. Lose the vest and that's a big hit. I run warm, though, so it's maybe a bigger deal to me than you. If they grab my backpack, they might get a sweater, a good snack, and possibly a nice camera; but I'll still have my wallet, cash, phone, passport, credit cards, etc. on my person where (imo) it belongs.

Posted by
844 posts

My husband and I both have a ScotteVest and wear them on our late fall trips to Europe. They don't look like fishing vests with only two pockets on the outside just like most other vests. They are black with wind resistant material on the outside and quite a few pockets on the inside. I wear a neck wallet for passport and credit cards, the vest is for the things that I would normally put into a purse. Sunglasses, phone, daily pill case, chapstick maps and such. This allows me to travel hands free for when we are pulling a carryon suitcase and for when we are sightseeing. If I carry a purse or any other kind of travel bag on my shoulder or across, my neck hurts by the end of the day. This is much more comfortable for me and I don't think they look tacky at all.

Have a great trip.
Mimi

Posted by
30932 posts

willie,

I always wear a Vest on my travels and it's one of my most useful and valuable pieces of travel clothing. I've tried a ScottEVest in the past but didn't care for it as I found it too heavy and somewhat hot in warmer weather. I use a Tilley product which is lighter and yet robust enough to carry lots of gear, and if I leave it unzipped it's not a problem in hot weather.

I would never use the Vest as a replacement for a money belt to store valuables like a Passport or cash, but I suppose it could be used for that as long as you don't take it off and leave it on the back of a chair. If the Vest gets stolen, you've lost everything!

Regarding the comments about "the looks" of wearing a Vest, I could care less what others think as it works for me. At my age, I pay less attention to what others think.

Posted by
3226 posts

People wearing the vests stand out in the crowds as tourists. Maybe you would stand out anyway, but the vest basically says "look, I am a tourist!!"

I saw many people wearing them on my last trip to Italy. None of the members of the Rick Steves tour group I was with wore one. :-)

For me, a money belt and a small day pack works better. But I don't carry that much that would be considered "valuable" on my trips.

Posted by
55 posts

I bought a Scottevest in order to be able to wear some heavier items on Aerolineas Argentinas airline. They have a 5kg (11 lb) carry on weight limit. A Scottevest can hold my small camera, binoculars, and tablet. My 11 pound bag can have emergency clothes in case my checked bag was lost or stolen. Instead of a money belt made for travel, I use (and love) Spibelts. They are made for runners, but the large pocket version holds a passport and credit cards and has a secure buckle. I wear this under my blouse and use it for deep storage. Unfortunately, they don't come in tan, but I wear dark blouses anyway. I have no affiliation with Spibelts, just really find them useful.

Posted by
11497 posts

We dispensed with moneybelts after day 1 of the first trip: uncomfortable and ridiculous to try and access in public places. We have a Pacsafe bag that manages our valuables (mainly) during transport, and just pin little cloth bags to the insides of our waistbands for 1 credit card and daily cash for sightseeing. Camera, water and travel guide go into day bags, and everything else stays in the hotel safe. I do have a jacket with an zippered, interior pocket that I'd trust during cooler seasons.

There's no right or wrong but I wouldn't spend the money for the vest other than loading with extras to slide through checks on weight-restrictive flights.

Posted by
3356 posts

When my husband & I travel to Europe together, he carries a small camera is his front pocket, and I carry our money in my moneybelt (if the room has a safe for our passports). I carry a lightweight cross-body purse for a map and/or tickets.

If we're hiking in the mountains, we bring a small backpack with water & it will hold our jackets if we want to take them off.

Otherwise, our hotel is always in the historic center of the city, so there's no need to carry more stuff. Both of us have our hands free as we're walking. We try to blend in as much as we're able to with the locals.

Posted by
2487 posts

a great advantage over wearing a money belt
I've never used a money belt. I carry only a wallet with enough cash to carry me through the day (and a photocopy of my passport). The rest is nicey and safely somewhere in my suitcase at the hotel.

Posted by
628 posts

It would be nice to use when you visit sites where backpacks are not allowed.

Posted by
352 posts

My husband loves his Scottevest. He doesn't load it up, but uses it to keep his wallet, phone and documents safe while traveling as well as when we are out and about at our destination. It is also handy for airport security because you can just take off one thing and breeze through. Neither of us can tolerate a money or neck belt, so this solution works for us. We choose not to travel in hot weather, so taking off the vest is not a concern. When we travel alone (especially in Germany) we are often taken for "locals" because vests are commonly worn by middle-aged men. When we speak, our status is obvious. You might also look at other Scottevest products. They make hoodies, jackets, shirts etc. I haven't personally purchased any of those other products, but if you want to avoid bags, purses, money belts etc it seems like they would do the job.
If you are on a tour, your clothing isn't what marks you as a tourist. Walking around on our own the day after our RS tour ended, we realized that ALL tour groups look the same. The Grand Circle, Tauck and Viking River groups we saw were not inherently different that we had been on previous days with our RS guide. They all had their "whisper systems" on and walked around in a small herd.

Posted by
17647 posts

I wear a neck wallet with my passport, credit cards, and long term cash. It has plenty of space for that. If you need a vest, you're trying to carry to much (you probably over-pack, too).

Posted by
2409 posts

My H. has been looking at the Featherweight ScotteVest for the following reasons:
1. He can just remove it with all his usual pocket 'stuff' to breeze thru security, as TravelingMom indicates.
2. The vest does not have outside bulky pockets to make him look like he's fishing or hunting, etc.
2. At home and abroad, his pockets are too full of keys, wallets (yes, 2 for some reason at home, don't ask), multipurpose tool, Nikon 7800 camera, etc. It looks like the vest would handle all of this in his usual daily activities at home and abroad. He dislikes day bags as one has to schlep them around, worry about where you put them down and that annoys him.
3. He usually keeps his money wallet in a zippered pocket inside a front pants pocket. He's been reading about pickpockets in Italy and is thinking he might be better off not having his wallet in his front pocket for Italy because he might be distracted with his photography.

4. He doesn't wear a money belt. (And yes he is well traveled.) He carries his PP in a hidden, zippered pocket of travel/oxford style shirt.
So I think he's going to go this vest route so he can just take it off when he's in the hotel and know where everything is. There are so many different ways to pack up all our stuff. There is no right way.

Posted by
813 posts

I have a fitted scottevest that does not have obvious pockets on the outside. It does not look like a fishing vest, just like an ordinary vest. I still use a money belt when wearing it for deep storage. I like it because I can have my daily cash or credit card, camera, and phone zipped securely inside the vest. I can be completely hands free, and when I take out my camera or phone to take pictures, I don't have to worry about forgetting to monitor my bag. The downsides are it probably does make me stand out as a tourist (I really don't care-everyone knows I'm a tourist anyway) and it can be rather warm, so it is only good in cooler weather.

Posted by
2234 posts

I bought a black Scottevest on impulse at a travel show, special show price, and must admit I have never used it. Not the only item I can say that about, I must say. I bought it mostly as a good way to supplement my carry-on baggage, holding iPad, small camera, book, snacks, etc. outside of my carry-on dimensions and weight. When I tried it on with all that stuff loaded, I found it quite heavy and uncomfortable, despite the claims of how it was designed so the weight was strategically spread out and not bothersome. Maybe I'll give it another try, although when not needed it certainly does not fold up small and light like one of the featherweight quilted jackets or vests that fold into their own pocket. (I have those too!)

Posted by
2347 posts

My dad had gotten one of the Scotte jackets, not a vest. He could never retrieve his stuff. He could feel it was in there, but couldn't get it out. I don't think he uses it anymore. I think the fact that he was still smoking then was the problem- he couldn't get the cigarettes out right away!

Posted by
2234 posts

By the way, if anyone is currently interested in the ScotteVest, I just got an e-mail notice that the company has just put them on sale, for $81+, marked down from $125. Other products on sale too. Go to www.scottevest.com, then Outlet. While they last, no returns, it says. (As I wrote earlier on this thread, I am not a rep, I bought a vest a while ago, paid $100, but have never actually used it.)

Posted by
351 posts

I've looked at the Scott eVest products and I really don't think they look like travel vests - they're not the fisherman/photographer style with awkward looking pockets all over the outside.

They do a pretty good job of just looking like a fleece or jacket or vest worn for warmth.

I prefer to commute hands-free and purse-free and that means decent pockets for my phone, keys and wallet. I'd love to travel hands free as much as possible too, and the only thing I'd need extra would be a pocket for my digital camera and small book.

That said, I don't think vests are flattering on me, and none of the hooded Scott garments are long enough for my purposes, so they're not for me. My husband likes wearing a vest for warmth on chilly days so they might be good for him.

Posted by
16 posts

Just returned from Italy. I wore a cheap Columbia vest I got for four bucks at good will. It's not in the least a substitute for a money belt . But I carried maps, tickets, snot rags, hand sanitizers, camera lenses and anything else my wife wanted as she never seems to have any pockets. Sure I looked like a tourist because I was one. So I should sit home and watch Rick on TV? ( which I've been doing for fifteen years) just because I'm not stylin? After a few days everyone looks like a tourist...you can spot hundreds of them carrying day packs, butt packs and constantly checking their maps...so why hide? You think a pickpocket who's been working the street everyday for years cant tell a savvy tourist from a local? We walked six miles per day for two weeks and I my main bag was a backpack...back in the hotel room. With a vest, I can slide in and outta trains, narrow streets, crowded doorways, jump on busses and not have a daypack to worry about. Day packs are great but only had enough room to "travel light". I would love to dress like the Italians, they look great, but I would have to dress inappropriately for fast light comfortable travel...how do you hike Cinqa Terre one day and then look good on the streets of Florence the next? I would need to carry an extra set of clothes just to look good, but I did not check bags...no room...or maybe travel first class.
Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought Ricks main thrust is to just jump in the water and have fun...not worry about lookin cool. I'm a tourist in my own city most of the time.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks everyone for all your opinions, experiences, preferences . . . It helps to analyze our choices from various viewpoints.
Getting excited for our trip!
Thanks again.

Posted by
55 posts

Just got back from a trip and wore a Scottevest on the plane. Loved the pockets but the Velcro at the back of the neck irritated me to the point that, unless I wore a turtleneck blouse, I could not wear the Scottevest. I switched to my Columbia fleece vest with 2 zippered pockets and was far more comfortable.
Have fun on your trip!

Posted by
206 posts

I'm D's wife. I made my own travel vest from an $8 hunting vest I found in a thrift store. It looks ridiculously ugly as sin and even more so loaded, but...

1) It's far better than a Scotte Vest (I have one), which has fiddly zippers and tiny pockets in the women's styles. The Scotte is gathering dust in my closet and I never take it to Europe.
2) I can easily offload at least 10# worth of stuff from my carry-on luggage, which helps us stay below European airlines' ridiculously low weight restrictions (stuff the 10# back into the suitcase once we're through the weigh station).
3) I wear it all the time when traveling in Europe, even to "fashionable" places. What are "they" going to do, reject your $$ b/c you're wearing an ugly piece of clothing? When I traveled with RS, I got universal compliments from buddies. When I traveled with higher-end groups, I still got compliments.
4) We have lost stuff to pickpockets, but never from my vest, where the important stuff gets carried. It also is a good way to quickly protect my camera when it starts to rain - at least until I can duck into a protected area to stow the camera properly.

All of the above said, the vest does not substitute for a money belt.

Posted by
8293 posts

Most people, however, do not like to wear ugly items of clothing, especially in a foreign land. Heck, I don't even wear ugly things when I go grocery shopping.

Posted by
30932 posts

D's wife,

I agree with your sentiments regarding the ScottEVest, as I found they don't work for me either. The zipper on mine broke soon after purchase and they didn't seem willing to help with repairs so it's been sitting in a closet gathering dust ever since. I'm trying to decide whether to take it to a tailor or drop it in the Good Will bin.

I also agree with your comments about the "fashion" aspect of the Vests. My venerable Tilley Vest doesn't look at all fashionable when it's fully loaded, but I really don't care as it works well for me. It's perhaps my most used and most valuable piece of travel gear.

Posted by
1038 posts

I have a neighbor who fell in love with safari vests when he was a peace corps volunteer in the 70s. he continued to wear them as a state employee, and he is now a pastor in a small urban church. he never carries a briefcase or book bag, just his safari vest. I don't know if he wears it during Sunday services...........

Posted by
30932 posts

doric8,

"don't know if he wears it during Sunday services."

He could probably get away with wearing it during services if the Vest was under his robes, which are usually quite large and roomy. As long as he doesn't use a Hoverboard as the Priest in the Philippines did recently, he should be able to avoid being reprimanded.

Posted by
516 posts

I think the days of the "safari" style vests are ebbing. I'm sure they're still available but more and more styles, like ScottVest and other styles are offering more options for the fashion conscious. Also consider materials. Even if the style is not of the bulging-pocket safari type, synthetic quick-dry type materials are also very "touristy". I actually am more interested in jackets/clothing with inside pockets that zip. For one, no one would know you had a pocket in there and even if they did, it would be next to impossible to get to it if the pocket is zipped and the jacket/vest/etc. itself is zipped. A lot's been said about how the thieves are "professionals" and that you can get pick pocketed without knowing, no matter what. But honestly, how would I not notice, no matter how crowded the situation is, if someone were to unzip my jacket (assuming it's zipped up), reach in, and then unzip an inner pocket, and reach in? So yes, inner pockets.

But of course, like someone else here said, once you take it off, all bets are off! :D

Posted by
658 posts

I use the Tropiformer Jacket by Scottevest for travel in Europe. It is a multi-purpose jacket/vest combination that allows me to use it as a rain jacket (with hood), travel vest (arms pop off, held on by magnets) and I use it most when traveling by air or train so I can take everything I need with just a carry-on and the jacket. It is very light weight so I can wear it in warm weather and if I layer a fleece under it I'm good down to the low 40's degrees. I like things that make my travel easier and safer so it works for me. I am not affiliated with Scottevest. I used to carry a daypack with me all the time and I just got tired of having it on my shoulder.

Posted by
70 posts

I have used the Scottivest Classic for several trips and it was OK in addition to my money belt. It was a useful supplement to my one bag for loading purposes but the construction has not held up that well under use and the Classic runs a bit hot. I primarily use it for the journey part of the trip and once I get someplace it stays at the hotel/hostel and I use a simpler one my wife picked up for $15!

I am very glad I have it when I go through security checks as it is speeds the process up and I do not to unload everything while jet-lagged. But I would not go out on the town on it.

Posted by
330 posts

Frankly, I think a lot of the people that are ripping on the Scottevest has likely never worn one or even seen one in person.

I bought one for our Alaskan cruise last year and it looks just like a regular jacket.

I Also sat next to a gentleman that had one on. I Walked behind him to our train and motoced the logo and saw him reach into his front breast pocket for his wallet. He loved his too.

Most of their jackets are nice looking. And they are very practical. They're not bulky like a lot of people are trying to say. I kept my wallet in one breast pocket my cell phone in the other sunglasses in another pocket And sometimes my tablet and you couldn't even tell a difference between that and another jacket.

Great for at the air port and when getting back on the ship.

I love mine. Bought it specificallyfor going to europe next yr.

Posted by
4073 posts

But what if it is hot? What if you take it off? Personally, I'd rather just keep my valuables back at the hotel, but this is a never-ending debate.

Posted by
230 posts

I did purchase a ScotteVest for our last European trip basically because I was new to packing light. I really like the concept especially while flying, because you have essentials at hand and not in an overhead bin. There were things that I found out that I had not considered at the time of purchase. While it seems like having many, many pockets can be helpful, it can also cause problems. I was continually looking for things because I couldn't remember which pocket they were in, and the pockets were not easily found. I even stopped for a replacement pair of sunglasses thinking that I had lost them only to find them in a pocket later. For this reason I think that if I were to do it again I would buy a product with more pockets than the usual clothing but not as many as I had. The other issue that I had with my vest was that it rubbed my neck raw. The fabric was rough and if I was the least bit damp it was uncomfortable. Otherwise I like the concept, but I would make a more informed decision the next time.

Posted by
5487 posts

Scottevest. Can't shake the image of the Red Green show transported to Europe. A bunch of mature men in fishing vests with arms crossed over their chests chanting:

I'm a man, but I can change, if I have to, I guess.

https://youtu.be/1I3pSZGCuHA

Posted by
8293 posts

Oh, Edgar, I hadn't thought about Red Green for years. He was so totally irreverent and the funniest guy on TV in those days.

Posted by
4805 posts

Bit late....but for those that mention the fishing vests, they obviously have not looked at the current crop of options from ScotteVest and other places. That said, vests are not my thing, but I do like the concept of the jackets that they and others have for the pockets and security, but as some have mentioned, more of a cool weather option. I do not think that a jacket or vest replaces a moneybelt or neck pouch for deep storage, but to stash some cash and a credit card, a place for my phone, a pocket for a guide book, maybe another item or two, and I do not need a day bag, that has appeal. So if the weather migh be on the chilly side, look at a jacket, otherwise come up with another plan.

Posted by
5487 posts

...a cool weather option.

Cool weather is less of a problem if you pair your multi-pocket fishing vest with a Steve Smith plaid flannel or better yet, wool, shirt. And your plaid shirt doesn't have to be red-green.