Why You Should Ditch Your Current Turkey Vest

For some, the best part about turkey hunting may be the fair weather that usually is taking place during the season. Others may feel that hearing the woods awaken in the morning while sitting under a roosted tom is akin to listening to a church choir on a Sunday morning. For me, it is all of the above plus the added benefit of shifting from the heavily gear laden endeavor that is waterfowl hunting to the very minimalistic set-up of turkey season. It is just you, your shotgun, and your vest, which is why choosing the right turkey hunting vest is paramount to having a great time in the field.


Traditional vs. Strap

There are 2 main types of vests that perpetuate the market these days. One is the tried-and-true traditional vest, more akin to your typical Carhart style work vest. They usually come in a one-size-fits-all pattern and cover the entirety of your upper body. The second is the strap vest, which is typically sold to the consumer as being more tactical in its essence. These vests typically come with some nicer upgrades in both materials and functionally over the traditional style vests.

Traditional vs. Strap vest

For me, there is absolutely no question that the strap vest is the best on offer. Firstly, there are numerous strap vests today that allow for complete customization by the hunter. You can rearrange pouches, take shoulder straps on and off, and even add some extra storage if needed. Another added benefit of the strap vest is breathability. Traditional vests leave much to be desired regarding comfort in hot and muggy climates. With a strap vest there is no material covering your entire chest/back, which allows for increased airflow during those sticky spring afternoons.


Customizable Pockets

Pockets on a turkey hunting vest for most hunters are like goose decoys to hardcore honker hunters, the more the better. Pockets offer the benefit of being able to carry everything but the kitchen sink with you into the field. In NE Ohio, the weather can change quickly, so having pockets that can hold a rain jacket or poncho is a big deal when spring showers loom in the forecast. Nevertheless, pockets also come with the downside of added weight, which is why having a vest that can be customized based on the day’s hunt can be beneficial.

customizable pockets

Having a large number of pockets on your vest comes for most of us with the feeling of needing to fill all of those pockets. Like most hunters, I tend to carry way too much into the field when I go out on hunts. I have found that if I have a spare pocket on my vest, I will usually find something to pack in it. So, when choosing your next turkey vest take the time to consider how much gear you actually need to take with you on your hunts. I have found that keeping my gear to a minimum leads to a more enjoyable time in the woods. A strap vest allows me to connect and disconnect pockets as needed thus helping to eliminate the issue of over packing.



Being a run and gun turkey hunter, I honestly couldn’t tell you the last time that I had a “perfect” set-up on a bird. Turkey hunting is all about making the best of the opportunity in front of you. Any seasoned turkey hunter will tell you that having to take offhand shots, shooting around trees, laying prone, and even dropping your gear to close the gap are all just a part of the game. Because of this, it is imperative that your gear be easily adjustable with one hand. It is in these scenarios that the strap vest shines.


Strap vests allow for a great deal of on-the-go adjustment. You can remove both straps and convert your set-up into a hip pack for when you’re planning long hikes into your honey hole. This not only reduces weight, but also gives you the ability to remove the entire system with a single belt clip if you find yourself having to crawl up on a strutting gobbler. Additionally, by removing a pouch or strap altogether, you can eliminate any obstructions when shouldering your shotgun. Just as important as detaching parts of your vest, reattaching anything from your seat to your pouches with very minimal effort is easily achieved as well. Finally, due to modern vests being constructed from less material, they are lighter and less likely to catch on to the bark of a tree as you try to adjust on that incoming tom. Need I go on?



Traditional vests have survived in our new age of improved gear due to their heritage, cheaper price, and their ability to just get the job done. If you are like me though and want to improve your experience while also potentially setting yourself up for higher rates of success, a strap vest is a must have. The customizable qualities of this type of vest alone are enough to fork out the extra change when purchasing a vest.

They are no longer just a new age, tactical fad, but instead impressive improvements to a successful albeit outdated piece of gear. Do yourself a favor and upgrade to a strap vest. I can guarantee you’ll understand why these vests are superior in every regard. And if nothing else at least you won’t sweat as much this season. Gobble gobble.

Share This Post:
About The Author
Lance Louth

Lance Louth is a waterfowl and upland hunter located in northeast Ohio. He owns and operates Honeybrook Kennels, a gundog training facility that focuses on developing a retriever’s natural abilities. Lance chronicles his passion for his dogs and hunting through his writing and photography. He is driven by his love for the outdoors and his obsession with the art of storytelling. You can follow along with Lance as he highlights the endless hunting opportunities that can be found in your own backyard on Instagram at @lancelouth or through his own personal blog, Into The Uplands.