Gadling Gear Review: Scottevest Fleece 7.0 Jacket

Scottevest Fleece 7.0Saying that Scottevest is a company that makes jackets is akin to saying Apple is a company that makes cellphones. Both statements are technically correct, but both also fail to tell the whole story. Scottevest puts the emphasis not only on comfort and good looks but also function. Popular amongst travelers and gadget lovers alike, their jackets incorporate numerous internal pockets that keep all of our gear organized and close at hand, whether we’re going around the block or around the world.

Today Scottevest unveils their latest creation: the Fleece 7.0. The jacket maintains the company’s legacy quite nicely while incorporating some new design choices that make it easier and more logical to use. On top of that, this might be the best looking and most comfortable Scottevest ever created. Its stylish exterior does nothing to reveal all of the technology and other important items that are well hidden underneath.

If you’re already familiar with the products from Scottevest you are probably aware of the numerous pockets that line the interior of their jackets. With the Fleece 7.0 the layout of each of those pockets has been re-examined with the expressed intention of making each of them better. For instance, previous Scottevest offerings have included a pocket specifically designed to carry an iPad, and this new jacket is no different. This time out though, that pocket has been redesigned to make it easier to gain access to the device, whether you’re wearing the jacket or not. That same iPad pocket is also now lined with soft fabrics designed to clean fingerprints from the screen as it is taken in and out.

Perhaps the biggest change to the jacket is the placement of a pocket designed specifically for smartphones. That pocket incorporates Clear Touch fabrics that allow users to interact with their phone’s touch screen without having to remove it from the jacket itself. This isn’t exactly new, as Scottevest has built similar pockets into their products for some time, but they’ve now moved that pocket from the chest down to the lower left side of the Fleece 7.0. On the surface this might not seem like much of an innovation, but the new placement does indeed make it much easier to interact with your phone. In its new location, the smartphone pocket isn’t nearly as awkward to access when making or receiving calls, or launching your favorite apps. The new Clear Touch fabrics are more responsive and natural feeling as well, which helps to improve the overall experience too.X-Ray View of the Fleece 7.0 Scottevest JacketIn addition to the smartphone and tablet pockets, Scottevest has woven a host of other pockets into the design of the Fleece 7.0. In fact, you’ll be amazed at just how many pockets this jacket has and how utilitarian they can be. For instance, there is one designed specifically for carrying a small point-and-shoot camera that includes a separate slot just for memory cards. There is also a useful eyeglasses pocket, complete with a built-in soft cloth lens cleaner, which I found to be fantastic for safely carrying sunglasses. Perhaps my favorite storage options, however, was the large hidden pocket that is perfect for keeping your passport, boarding pass and other important documents close at hand.

The jacket also includes what Scottevest calls the Personal Area Network, which conveniently incorporates a set of headphones directly into the garment. The PAN keeps cables hidden and out of the way and even features earbud storage integrated directly into the collar. Considering that many sets of earbuds now include built-in microphones, this means you can easily listen to music, interact with Siri and talk on the phone without ever taking the jacket off or pulling your smartphone out of its secure pocket.

Other nice touches include integrated penholders, a key clasp and an elastic water bottle loop hidden away in one of the cavernous hand pockets. These small, but thoughtful, details help to separate Scottevest jackets from the competition and have made them a popular choice for travelers who like to stay organized and travel light. In fact, as the company continues to refine its product line, you’d almost swear that they have declared war on carry-on luggage. It is quite conceivable that owners of the Fleece 7.0 could go on a trip without the need for any kind of carry-on at all, which says a lot about just how well this jacket performs.

All of these well thought out pockets and other features are the hallmark of a Scottevest product of course, but they aren’t the only reason to be impressed by the new Fleece 7.0. The jacket is made from soft, warm and durable fabrics, which puts it on par with similar offerings from such well-known companies as Columbia or North Face. I found the jacket to be incredibly comfortable to wear both casually around town and on more active excursions and while I haven’t tested it as part of a dedicated layering system yet, I get the sense that it will perform well in that capacity too.

Like most of the other Scottevest jackets, the Fleece 7.0 converts to a vest, adding yet another level of versatility to the garment. This is a great option for those days that start out cool but warm up as the hours pass, allowing the wearer to stay comfortable as conditions evolve. But unlike the Transformer Jacket that we reviewed a few months back, the Fleece 7.0 uses traditional zippers to add or remove the sleeves. The Transformer cleverly replaces those zippers with strong magnets instead, which makes the process easier and quicker. On more than one occasion while wearing this new jacket, I wished that Scottevest had elected to incorporate the magnets as well, as they just simplify the process nicely.

If you’re in the market for a new jacket, either for travel or for the changing weather conditions that fall is sure to bring, then it is easy for me to recommend the Scottevest Fleece 7.0. Even if you’re not a gadget nut, you’ll still love the numerous pockets and organizational options, but most importantly you’ll love how comfortable it is to wear. In true Scottevest fashion, this jacket offers unprecedented access to your smartphone and other tech toys too, making it a fantastic option for trips around the block or to the far side of the globe. The Fleece 7.0 is available today for $160.


Gadling Gear Review: Scottevest Transformer Jacket

Scottevest Transformer JacketSafely and securely carrying all of our gadgets while traveling can be a real chore. Many of us now hit the road with a smartphone, digital camera, tablet, headphones and more. While each of those tech toys has made travel more enjoyable, it isn’t always easy to keep them well-organized and easy to access. Scottevest is a company that has built an extensive catalog of travel apparel designed to do just that. Their line of clothing is specifically built to keep all of our favorite gadgets close at hand while minimizing bulk. The new SeV Transformer Jacket delivers all of that plus a few unexpected surprises.

To the casual observer the Transformer appears to be just like any other jacket you’d find someone wearing on the street. It features a classic design and cut that is equally at home hiking a trail as strolling the halls of a museum. Its easy-to-clean, wind-resistant fabrics make it a perfect option for staying warm and dry while on the go.

But underneath that unassuming exterior lurks an organizational system that will make even the most anal retentive traveler happy. Scottevest has managed to incorporate an astonishing 20 pockets into this jacket, many of which are designed for a specific purpose. For instance, there are two pockets built just for touchscreen smartphones, one on the left side of the jacket and one on the right. Those pockets feature a clear plastic cover that allows the wearer to not only view the screen but to also interact with its capacitive touch interface. Those same pockets provide cord management options that allow headphones to be run through a series of hidden conduits on the interior of the jacket. This keeps headphone wires secure and out of the way, while still allowing them to be easily used by the wearer. The company calls this its Personal Area Network (PAN) and each of their garments incorporates this option to some degree.Scottevest Transformer JacketThe smartphone pockets are just the beginning, however, as there are others designed for carrying pens, USB thumb drives, passports, small digital cameras and more. Each of them has unique qualities, which makes them perfect for the task. For example, the pocket built for carrying sunglasses has a soft chamois cleaning cloth on an elastic cord and the camera pocket includes a separate area for memory cards. There is even a “PadPocket” that is large enough to carry an iPad, Kindle or other tablet device.

If you’re already familiar with the products that Scottevest offers then much of this probably isn’t new. But what separates the Transformer from the rest of their clothing line, and gives the jacket its name, is the unique ability to turn into a vest. That in and of itself isn’t all that revolutionary, as convertible vest/jackets have been around for years. But what sets the Transformer apart from similar offerings is its clever use of magnets embedded under the fabric. These small and lightweight, yet surprisingly powerful, magnets make adding or removing the sleeves a snap – quite literally. In a matter of seconds the Transformer not only adapts for warmer weather but significantly changes its look as well.

For those that like to travel light, the Transformer Jacket is a great addition to the travel closet. Depending on what you carry with you when on the road, it is possible that it could replace a daypack or other small bag. Scottevest seems to have thought of everything when designing this piece of clothing, keeping all of our important items very close at hand. That said, loading up the pockets with all your gadgets would obviously add weight to the garment, particularly if you’re carrying an iPad. The jacket is designed to distribute weight evenly, but wearing a fully loaded Transformer still took a little getting use to. I tested the jacket with an iPhone 4S, iPad 3, headphones, a digital camera, and other various times, and while it wasn’t at all uncomfortable, there was a short adjustment period.

Gadget lovers will most certainly love the Transformer. It not only looks good but it features plenty of ways to safely carry a variety of gear. The integrated Personal Area Network is also useful for keeping chords organized and out of the way too. If you’re the type of person who travels with plenty of tech toys, then you’ll certainly see plenty of value in this jacket, which retails for $160. On the other hand if you tend to hit the road with little more than a cellphone, the Transformer is probably overkill for you and you’ll find there are plenty of other great travel jackets for less money.

Scottevest has made sure that gadget girls aren’t left out of the mix. A women’s version of the Transformer, dubbed the Kelly Jacket, is also available for the ladies who love their technology too.

Scottevest sneak peek shows a carry-on jacket with a built in wardrobe!

We’ve been longtime fans of Scottevest products here on Gadling – for a reason. Their travel garments provide the ultimate in storage, with some products offering travelers up to 25 pockets. On Twitter, Scott Jordan (the Scott in Scottevest) revealed some upcoming products that take things to the next level.

Annie already showed off how the Scottevest jacket can be part of your carry on luggage arsenal, but in their upcoming Carry-On Coat, you’ll actually be able to turn the entire coat into a wardrobe. In addition to the expansive array of pockets for high-tech gear, this new garment has room for shoes, shirts, pants and even a dedicated pocket for your TSA 3-1-1 toiletries bag.

Call me crazy, but the idea of being able to pack all my stuff in my jacket is exciting – and may make travel easier than ever – just show up at the security checkpoint and slide your jacket through the X-Ray machine. Imagine that! As with all sneak peeks, all Scottevest is willing to reveal is “this fall”. To stay updated on these new products, check out the Scottevest blog and the Scottevest main site.

The Gadling gift guide for the lightweight traveler

Traveling light is a challenge – I’ll admit that it is the kind of challenge I usually avoid, but with rising luggage costs and more exotic destinations, people are starting to pack as lightly as possible.

In this list, you’ll find a couple of gifts that can reduce your luggage load, and help make your trip more enjoyable.

Of course, every lightweight and “one bag” traveler has different needs, so if you have a great tip for a lightweight travel item, let us know and leave a comment below!

Don’t forget to check out our other gift guides:

Gift guide for the iPod and iPhone

Gift guide for famlily travel and kids
The top ten travel products of 2009

Joey Totes

Earlier this year, I took a look at the Joey Totes – and was really impressed at how convenient they are. Joey Totes are bags made from parachute style nylon, that can fold into themselves, AND each other. End result is a 4 ounce pouch of three super strong waterproof bags. They are perfect for carrying up to 40 lbs in excess stuff, or as a backup if your main luggage abandons you.

Price: $20 for three bags
Product page: Joey Totes

Eagle Creek HC2 Hovercraft Upright 22″

Before you bombard me with complaints about lightweight travelers and rolling luggage – I know that hardcore one-bag lightweight travelers hate rolling bags – but there are still plenty of us that are always on the lookout for the newest piece of luggage that won’t add to your overall weight.

The Eagle Creek HC2 Hovercraft is such a bag. At just three kilos (just over 6 lbs), it is the first ultra-light bag I’ve seen that does not make all kinds of compromises. It has a massive front pocket large enough for a laptop, it expands, it features a side-mounted water bottle pocket, inner compression straps and handles on the top and side. In every possible way, this is a normal rugged rolling suitcase, just a very light one.

To make a great bag even better, the HC 2 Hovercraft comes with a “no matter what” lifetime warranty.

Price: $250
Product page: Eagle Creek HC2 Hovercraft upright

SCOTTEVEST Pack Windbreaker

SCOTTEVEST has long been a personal favorite, and not just because the owner shares my first name. SCOTTEVEST products are the ultimate travel garment, something fellow Gadling Blogger Annie recently discovered.

Imagine a windbreaker with 17 pockets and an interlinked cable routing system. Now imagine that same windbreaker turning into a travel pillow, all by folding it into itself and closing a zipper on the back. With all those pockets, you can indeed turn your jacket into your third carry-on bag, without the airline even noticing.

Price: $75
Product page: SCOTTEVEST Pack Windbreaker

Dell Inspiron Mini 10 with GPS

I’m pretty sure I don’t have to tell any lightweight travelers about the advantages of a netbook. But I’ll explain it anyway – lightweight, decent power and great battery life all make the netbook a travelers best friend. And the Dell Inspiron Mini 10 with GPS adds one more great feature for travelers – GPS. The GPS receiver is an optional extra on the Mini 10, and the option comes complete with a full navigation package. Of course, with a machine equipped with GPS, you can also do other neat tricks, like photo geotagging and Twitter location updates.

The GPS chip inside the Mini 10 is actually a tad smarter than many other receivers, because it takes advantage of WiFi signals in addition to regular GPS satellites. Of course, the

Price: From $299 + $70 option for GPS
Product page: Dell Inspiron Mini 10

Humangear GoToob travel bottles

Back in July we took a closer look at the GoToob lineup of silicone bottles. These things are ideal for the few remaining toiletries you still want to carry, plus they are the right size for the TSA. The larger of the bottles comes with an integrated suction cup, making them ideal for holding shampoo, and sticking to the shower wall.

Price: from $6 each
Product page: Humangear GoToob

Patagonia Men’s Capilene® 2 Crew

I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to travel – for example, I’ll never go anywhere that requires large amounts of thermal underwear. That said, several of my fellow Gadling team members swear by the Patagonia Capilene Baselayer. This is an extremely lightweight garment, but provides excellent insulation and built in odor control.

Price: $40
Product page: Patagonia

How to sneak a third bag onto a plane

Annie Scott in a SCOTTEVESTWe all try to travel light and avoid those pesky baggage-check fees, but it can be difficult to cram all your goods into your suitcase and “small personal item” (which, for most people I know, has become a pretty big bag). So, when I received a SCOTTEVEST/SeV jacket to try, my hope was that it would be the ultimate, wearable, third carry-on of which I’ve been dreaming.

The “technology-enabled clothing” from scottevest.com has a lot of secret pockets, from attractive casual men’s shirts with 3 hidden compartments to superjackets like the Scott Jordan Signature System combo (which our own Scott reviewed last September here), which features a fleece and jacket with a total of 52 pockets, many of them specific to particular items like water bottles or pens, and a patented “Personal Area Network for earbud wire management.” The jackets also have a “Weight Management System” which helps distribute the weight of all your worldly belongings evenly on your shoulders.

You probably have the same question I did: “How much can it really carry?” Not only could this jacket potentially save you money at the bag check, but it could also mean no more carrying a bag (or dreaded fanny pack) while sight-seeing, or even replace a backpack on a hike.

I decided to test out the 18-pocket, $120 SCOTTEVEST Women’s Essential Travel Jacket by attempting to load everything from my gigantic handbag into it (thus freeing up my hands for a whole other “small personal item”). Check out my findings in the gallery below.
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