There are all kinds of things designed to make the job of carrying around camera gear easier: bags, hard cases, totes, rollers, etc. But there's something we always have with us (I hope): our clothing. SCOTTeVEST took note of this and created the Revolution jacket, designed specifically with photographers in mind.
If you've ever had to fly with your photography gear, you know what a royal pain it is. I refuse to check anything remotely fragile, and I pay for priority boarding just so I can be first to get that sweet, sweet overhead bin space. Unfortunately, carry-on bags are only so big, and I only get a personal item and whatever I can drape on my body after that. So, anything that allows me to carry more is a great thing. When I heard about the Revolution jacket and its 26 pockets, I was intrigued and eager to test it out. (Note: let's get something straight. I'm a terrible model, and my neighbors were staring out their windows at me taking pictures of myself on the sidewalk. Let's just forget that that's me in front of the camera.)
Of course, if one is going to carry that much gear in their clothing, it helps if it's thoughtfully organized, comfy, and looks good. The Revolution really hits on all those levels. I'm 6'1" and 140 lbs, and the medium fits beautifully. The exterior of the jacket is covered in Teflon Shield+, which had no problem repelling all the various forms of inclement weather Cleveland has to offer. It comes in black, which I always prefer in outerwear, as it's always in style and goes with anything. The sleeves are lightweight, but strong, and can be adjusted at the cuff to form a tight seal, though I do wish the velcro went farther around the sleeve, as it leaves a flap hanging off when tightened instead of keeping it flush with the jacket. The sleeves can also be removed completely to form a vest. This is accomplished via a zipper system at the shoulder; I initially was afraid that this would be uncomfortable, particularly since I'm a bit sensitive to that sort of thing, but the smooth fabric that covers the zipper kept it from ever bothering me. The sleeves also have a small label on them so you know which is right and left when reattaching them, a nice touch.
The hood rolls back into a velcro storage pocket to make the jacket a bit more like a sleek windbreaker when not in use, which also gives it a nice, clean collar that looks good over a dress shirt and tie, for example. There's also a soft buffer that protects the neck from the velcro for the storage pocket. The hood itself features adjustable elastic to form a tight seal and a double snap enclosure to complete it under the chin. The waist features similar elastic tensioners that allow the wearer to create a tight seal and also keep the jacket sleek and conformed to the body, so it doesn't look billowy.
The front zipper is probably my favorite part. It works perfectly well as a zipper, but the flap that completes the seal features small magnets that hold it shut; they're convenient and work very well. The company also notes that while the garment shouldn't be worn if you have a pacemaker, they've never had issues with the magnets interfering with or damaging electronics or credit cards. The interior also features the "Personal Area Network," which consists of channels built into the jacket specifically for threading headphones and power cables, allowing you to use them without clutter or looking messy. It's a sleek solution, though the tradeoff is that it's not quick to put in the cords and take them out again, so you might prefer to just use them normally if going for a quick outing, but for longer trips or when you want to look your best, it's a thoughtful and useful feature.
Speaking of the pockets, now we come to the marquee feature of the Revolution: those pockets. They're everywhere. I feel like Oprah designed this jacket: "You get a pocket, you get a pocket!" Let's start with the exterior.
On the left side (right in the below picture), there are three pockets, two at waist level and one across the left breast. The back waist-level pocket is long, stretching all the way around the back. I was able to put a monopod in there with room to spare. Of course, you won't want to do that if you're going to be sitting down, but if you're a sports shooter doing a lot of walking or something similar, there's plenty of room back there. Next is the front waist-level pocket, which contains a hand warmer in the front half with a snap loop for securing small objects and also reaches all the way across the back of the jacket. There's also a small zipper inside the bottom of the pocket that converts the bottom into a small well, making it convenient for dropping spare change in without it getting lost in the cavernous back. Last is the chest-level pocket, which is more standard-sized and contains a similar snap for small objects, as well as some netting for storing a small iPod or whatever you care to put in there.
The right chest-level pocket copies its left-side partner. The rear waist-level pocket isn't as large, as that back access is left to the left-side version. The right-side front pocket reaches almost the entire vertical length of the jacket and features a retractable elastic cord that's perfect for a set of keys. It also features an elastic band meant to keep a water bottle upright inside. While you can certainly carry a water bottle in there, I chose to go with an even longer bottle containing a different beverage for demonstration purposes. Don't judge me.
Note that all the exterior pockets zip securely to form a tight seal. I do wish the zippers had a bit more travel, as it can be a little difficult to get into the pockets, particularly when storing larger objects like bottles.
If you thought the exterior was something, you ain't seen nothing yet. The interior is where things really come together.
On the left side of the inside (right above), the iPod pocket is duplicated, though it's labeled for a cell phone on this side. My iPhone 6 Plus was just a tiny bit too tall in its case to shut the velcro latch over it, but the side zipper kept it plenty snug, and I was never worried about it going anywhere. Next below that is the iPad pocket, which, much to my disbelief, easily held my 9.7" iPad. This pocket contains a nice stylus pouch and like the phone pocket above it, allows for cable routing. The next pocket holds airline tickets or folded documents, while the very last pocket is a transparent ID holder.
So, what's it like to wear the jacket when fully loaded? Well, let's get one thing straight; it doesn't perform magic. If you put a wine bottle in your jacket like I did, you're going to look like you have a wine bottle in your jacket. That being said, it holds the contents securely and flushly to your body and distributes their collective weight well. For example, in the below "angry" photo, I'm sporting the iPad, sunglasses, phone, keys, X100S, and a multitude of little items. I'm angry because I'm staring at the guy just behind the camera as he walks around my tripod with all of three inches of clearance, nearly knocking it over, when there was a clear path on the other side. You get the full range of my emotional palette in this review. In the "happy" shot, the jacket is empty. You can see the difference, but it's not as pronounced as you would expect, a testament to how well the design holds and hides gear.
Overall, I'm sold. The SCOTTeVEST Revolution is a comfortable, well-fitting, durable jacket that repels water well and keep the wearer warm. Add to that its veritable plethora of pockets, and you have a jacket that's versatile enough to be classy outerwear and can still take you to geekery level 9000.
What I Liked
- Tons of storage space
- Pocket system is well thought out
- Personal Area Network and pocket organization work to reduce visible clutter
What I Didn't Like
- Travel distance on exterior zippers is a bit short given pocket size
- Velcro on wrist cuffs is a little short, making them stick up a bit
- Phone pocket might have trouble completely closing over larger phones
Want to pick up your own? Grab yours here, and be sure to use the code FSTOPPERS20!