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Wednesday, July 23, 2014         

TRAVEL GEAR


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Scottevest Fleece 7.0


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Scottevest Fleece 7.0

» What it is: A fleece jacket with 23 pockets and a built-in map of how to use them. The map is printed on an eyeglass wipe fastened to an elastic cord stowed behind the eyeglass pocket. (Scottevest thinks of everything.) The jacket is loaded with utility for a traveler and would be like a holy shroud for a gadget geek.

» The good: It's not often you wear a jacket that requires a map, but this jacket has so many compartments that I actually lost my wallet in it for a short time. On the positive side, that has to work against pickpockets, especially with high-quality zipper enclosures.

Scottevest has made its name in producing travel clothing that in some cases can negate the need for a carry-on airline bag. This is a good addition to the lineup, though more for its clever gadget storage than for toting bulky baggage.

One highlight is a smartphone pocket with a plastic window that lets you operate the phone without removing it. That pocket also has a jack and wire connected to earbuds stowed near the collar. Another pocket can hold an iPad, Kindle or similar item. If you're as old-fashioned, you also can use that pocket for a guidebook or road map.

The fleece was surprisingly stout against a stiff wind with temperatures in the 30s. With sleeves that zip off, it can be worn as a vest. It also works well as a midlayer under a shell.

» The bad: To get the most out of it, you really do need to study the thing. There also was some slight pilling on the back where a backpack was creating serious friction, but that seems to be typical for fleece.

» Cost: $160

» Available from: scottevest.com

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