It used to be that women’s travel vests with pockets were too boxy and outdoorsy to be worn for anything other than fishing trips or safaris. However, they’ve now evolved to be sleeker and lighter and you can find a good multi-pocket travel vest for women that’s good enough to wear on plane trips or in crowded cities while sightseeing. Just place your things in different pockets and they’re easy to access, secure and not counted in your baggage weight limit.
Of course, a travel vest is not for everyone. The drawbacks are:
- When all pockets are completely filled up, some vests can look a bit lumpy or saggy.
- Unless the vest is very light or you’re traveling to a cool weather place, it can make you feel like you’re baking.
- No matter how good it looks it’s still an article of clothing that non-travelers don’t usually wear, so you won’t really blend into a crowd.
- If you don’t like carrying a purse or daypack while sightseeing, you don’t have to!
However, fans of the travel vest will swear by it for almost any trip. Here’s why:
- The pockets are great for keeping things secure. Unlike most backpacks where everything is out of your sight, you’ll notice if someone tries to pick an inner vest pocket.
- As long as you remember which pockets hold what, it’s quicker to access things.
- If you’re flying, you can use it as wearable luggage. It can hold a LOT and its weight doesn’t count in your carry on limit. While going through X-ray screening, you just have to remove the jacket.
- Many photographers will testify to the usefulness of a travel vest. Since they have to carry expensive camera equipment and accessories, they find that all the above points are covered when wearing a vest.
When choosing a vest, make sure that it is washable and dries quickly. Another thing to look out for is whether you should buy one size larger, as filled pockets can make the vest feel snug.
A vest like this may not be necessary for all women. If you just want a few pockets so that you can eliminate the need for a purse, then consider the SCOTTeVEST Debbie Dress.
There are four vests that get top marks from us. Let’s look at those more closely.
Best Travel Vest with Hidden Pockets
SCOTTeVEST Women’s RFID Travel Vest
This is probably the most complete vest for women. It is the newest version of the very popular multi-pocket travel vest. With a whopping 18 pockets, the Scottevest can completely replace a carry on bag! You would think that so many would make it unattractive to wear, but most customers are very happy with the style. It provides a little insulation if there’s a slight chill in the air, but it won’t be uncomfortable on warm days. It is a slim fitting vest, so it is advisable to buy one size larger than what you normally wear to allow for full pockets.
It is sized from small to XX-Large and is available in black, khaki, grey and red.
The pockets are specially designed to minimize bulk and the vest has a weight management system that ensures the load is balanced. You can carry lots of things, even an iPad, water bottle and snacks for the road, and you can switch from wearing it while traveling to wearing it for a trip around town or a safari. The CollarConnect is updated for easy use and keeps earphone cords hidden while they are connected to a device in one of the pockets. One of the pockets is RFID protected so you don’t have to worry about skimmers swiping important passport and credit card information.
The lightweight fabric is breathable with mesh lining, washable and quick drying, and has a Teflon finish that resists wrinkling and stains and is waterproof.
Verdict: This travel vest for women is for those who must have everything with them while on the move but still look discrete and not scream “tourist”! The way Scottevest has designed pocket placement, this is not your average travel vest. It actually looks smart and you won’t look bulky in it. It is the most famous of all travel vests and also has a men’s version.
Best Lightweight Travel Vests for Women
SCOTTeVEST Women’s Featherweight Vest – 14 Pockets
If the vest above seems like overkill to you but you like the RFID blocking pocket and other features, then the SCOTTeVEST Women’s Featherweight Vest ia a good alternative. It features 14 pockets in total and is made of lightweight poly fabric, which is the best choice for very hot weather.
Choose from small to XX-Large and black, cadet blue or cement grey.
The pockets won’t add bulk to you and it comes with the same weight management system as above. You can still carry all that you need with this vest but the styling is a touch different. You still have an RFID blocking pocket inside, along with a tablet pocket, hidden extendable keychain, etc. This vest has two external pockets, unlike the above Scottevest. One is good for a smartphone and the other for a pair of sunglasses or small camera. This way, you don’t have to unzip the vest everytime you want to get to one of those things. If you have a larger camera, it will fit well in the Padpocket if you don’t carry a tablet.
Instead of a earbuds pocket, you get a earbuds loop through which you thread the bud cords from inside the vest where your device is playing music. This is part of the built-in patented Personal Area Network (PAN) design that manages the wires running from all of your devices. You can also clip your water bottle through the loop that’s present below the waist and a little to one side.
The lightweight fabric is easy to wash or spot clean and it doesn’t need ironing. It is recommended that you go up a size to accommodate the larger items that go in the inner pockets.
Verdict: For a vest that comes with so many pockets and convenient features, it’s a pretty flattering one! If you’re going on a warm weather trip, this is a good choice for you.
ExOfficio FlyQ Lite Vest for Women
Another very good option for a lightweight vest is the updated FlyQ Lite Vest from ExOfficio. It weighs 11.5 oz and is designed for the gadget lover and adventurer. This new version features an extra pocket and some style updates based on customer feedback. You can even carry your iPad in one of the pockets.
The fit is straight and flattering and looks pretty sleek in 100% nylon with coated ripstop fabric that is also stain resistant and a durable water repellent finish to protect you from the elements. It is washable and quick drying. The colors available are dark charcoal, light grey, wine red and light khaki and you can find it in sizes S-Small to X-Large.
It features a bungee elasticated hem cinch and a micro-fleece lined collar. In addition to the interior security pocket system there are two exterior front slash pockets and two front vertical zippered chest pockets. The 10 interior pockets are labeled so it’s easy to find anything. These include:
1 micro-fleece lined glasses pocket
2 pen slots
1 touchscreen gadget pocket with a clear panel
1 key clip
1 ID pocket
1 vertical security zip pocket for a passport or wallet
1 cell phone pocket
1 camera pocket
1 water bottle pocket
1 large inside lower back pocket
Verdict: This vest is good for summer as it is quite light but if you get caught in a downpour your gadgets will be protected because of the DWR finish. For women who can’t go out without their gadgets, this is a good bet. The labeled pockets is smart so even with 10 pockets, you won’t take an eternity to find something. The fit is more structured than the Magellan’s but still comfortable. This is great for airport security screening and it could replace a medium shoulder bag.
Columbia Women’s World Trekker Vest
The Columbia Women’s World Trekker Vest comes with the least number of pockets, but you still have 7 in total to hold quite a few travel necessities. The cut is slightly long with an adjustable nipped in waist and looser around the hips and a safari chic vibe. The fabric is nylon and is water and stain repellent and washable.
This vest comes in three sizes – X-small, Small and Medium and is available in black, beige and grey.
There are a total of 7 pockets – 4 on the outside and 3 on the inside. The exterior breast pockets have a snap button flap for security but easy access. The pockets below the waist are large and have slanted slip openings. There is one inner breast pocket and two lower pockets. One pocket is zipped for your passport and another has a velcro closure.
Verdict: This vest is ideal for women who are smaller in the bust area than in the hips. Others will need to go up a size.
We hope that this helps you find your ideal multi-pocket travel vest for women. If you’ve come across any others, please let us know in the comments.