Turkey hunting is rapidly becoming one of the most popular forms of enjoying the sport these days. Cautious and with keen senses, turkeys are an excellent prey for those seeking a challenge. It’s the reason hunters keep coming back for more each spring and fall! However, hunting isn’t just about stalking the woods for your prey.
A hunter needs the proper tools and equipment for the job. Turkey calls, ammunition, and decoys are just a small part of this arsenal. Yet, carrying these by in two or four pockets can be a bit… complicated, thankfully turkey vests, make it easier to bear this burden. Yet, with so many products available, choosing the best vest can be tricky. Luckily, we’ve pinpointed the best ones to bring you the easy choices with detailed reviews.
What Makes a Turkey Vest Awesome (A Key Features Guide)
While inside the woods a hunter needs everything they can muster without slowing themselves down. Backpacks, however, are too bulky though, and pockets are simply not enough regardless of the amount of cargo pockets. Thankfully, turkey vest are the solution to this problem and more. But, just what features should you look for, when purchasing one? Well, read below to find out more.
The primary purpose of turkey vest is to carry stuff, for that reason you’ll want to find a vest that can help you carry all of the essentials. A good vest will have pockets to carry the following:
- Turkey calls: A good hunter will bring with them more than just a few of these, a good turkey vest will have multiple pockets or a larger one for these.
- Hunting License: a slot inside for yours.
- Gloves and mask: For controlling your scent and camouflaging your face.
- Shells and ammunition: Extra ammunition and bullets for your weapons.
- Decoys or Game: Turkey decoys are a tactical part of a hunter’s arsenal, being able to carry a few in your vest make them even easier to carry. Additionally, once you bag a prize you can use the decoy pocket as a game bag for storing your kill.
- Bug repellant: Mosquitoes and fleas carry terrible diseases that can spread to humans through their stings/bites. Fitting one these in your vest is the key to a safe journey in the woods.
- Light source: Whether it’s a headlamp, flashlight or lamp, your vest will make it easier to carry these by strapping or storing it in one of the pockets.
- A hydro pack: bringing water with you is essential and some turkey vests offer integrated hydro packs or slots specifically for these or even water bottle pockets.
- GPS and Compass: Smaller pockets in a turkey vest serve as the perfect space for a GPS or a compass.
- Snacks: Can’t forget these.
As you can see, the turkey vest is the Swiss-army-knife of a turkey hunter’s arsenal. Their design helps you carry all the essentials necessary for a successful hunt.
2. Cushions and seats
A good turkey vest will help you carry all your gear; a great turkey vest will do that and more. While not every brand of these products will come with a built-in camouflage pattern cushion, most of them offer some form of comfort. These are designed to make those moments where you want to sit down and wait for your prey to come to you.
They’re perfect when used in conjunction with calls and decoys as standing up for extended periods of time will use up precious energy. Additionally, a few of these even come with kickstands to provide support for your back as well.
Easily deployable for quick set-up and supporting a decent amount of weight, these kickstands are great for long days.
3. Proper Fit and Weight
As stated earlier the point of a vest is traveling light and easily, while still managing to carry all the essentials with you. However, if your vest is not properly fitted to your body, it will hinder your movement. A solid turkey vest will have the right amount of straps and clips to contort to your shape. A proper fit will mean that your gear will stay put, thereby not hindering your performance even while sprinting.
4. Safety features
Most vests come with a spot specifically designed with a built-in orange flag or square. These will raise your visibility to other hunters, preventing any mishaps that could happen as you carry your prizes home at the end of the day.
It’s important to note that hunters can easily mistake the walking of a hunter with a dead turkey on their backs for the bouncing and strutting of a live prey. This is especially true on a woodsy area where the thick cover of the area lowers your visibility. Being conspicuous and as visible as possible is one of the safest ways to avoid potential disasters.
Alternatively, a game bag for your trophy is a good alternative to the flags. Placing the turkey inside a game bag will prevent them from confusing you for a live one.
Never skimp out on safety if you value your life.
Turkeys have keen instincts and senses. If you’re out in the woods with the wrong camouflage pattern you will stick out like a sore thumb. Especially if you consider the high visual acuity of a turkey. Keep in mind that you’ll want a different vest for both spring and fall seasons.
For fall and early spring, you’ll want to wear duller colors such as brown, and gray to blend in with the colors of the colder seasons.
Later on, when spring moves forward, you’ll want patterns that have livelier shades of green and brighter colors to blend in with your surroundings.
Top 5 Best Turkey Vests 2020
ALP Outdoorz NWTF Grand Slam
Scent Blocker Thunder
Gen 2 Gobbler
Best Specialized Pockets
K&H Run & Gun
Best Lightweight Vest
Best Budget Vest
Not every turkey vest is made from the cut from the same cloth. Nevertheless, while every single one offers their own set of advantages, here are our best ones.
1. ALP Outdoorz NWTF Grand Slam – Editor’s Choice
Few turkey vest match the quality offered by ALPS OutDoorz’s Grand Slam. This product is the best of the best when it comes to having everything you need for a safe and fun trip to the woods. Not only does it offer plenty of pockets to stuff all your gear inside; the grand slam brings plenty of other nifty features designed specifically for comfort.
Need to carry your prize at the end of a successful hunt? Don’t worry the breathable blood-proofed game bag has you covered. Looking to buy multiple calls and strikers, but don’t have enough pockets on your pants? Simple, the Grand Slam comes with pockets specifically designed to carry them.
Once you’ve finally located your prey, and decided it’s time to sit down and wait for them to come your way. Just place the decoys in a nearby location, set the kickstands out this bad boy, put the cushion down, sit with your calls, and start calling. You’ll be comfortably waiting in your makeshift chair for as long as you need.
Once you start getting thirsty, just grab a water bottle from one of the Grand Slam’s two dedicated water bottle holders. Even extra ammo is not an issue thank to the extra shell loops it comes with.
Finally, don’t forget the importance of a proper fit and even there the Grand Slam is no slouch. Fully adjustable with a couple of side compression straps that allow it to contort to your body comfortably.
- Offers Everything You Need
2. Scent Blocker Thunder Chicken Turkey Vest – Runner-Up
Hunters looking to carry their gear without feeling overly bulky or overburdened can look forward to the Thunder Chicken. This uniquely named vest offers numerous advantages to hunters looking to pack the essentials on their next trip.
A detachable seat for those moments where you have to wait, 18 pockets for all your gear, and more. You’ll even find a game bag with an orange flag, maximizing your safety by raising visibility after a successful hunt.
Sweaty backs are also not an issue thanks to the mesh liner in the back that allows air to move freely. In addition, you’ll also find inner pockets, which are useful for keeping your electronics safe from the weather.
- Numerous pockets for the essentials
- Plenty of comfort features such as a removable seat and a mesh liner
- Orange Flag for safety
- Runs on the larger side
3. Gen 2 Gobbler Turkey Vest – Best Specialized Pockets
Are you looking for a vest that will not break your bank will still let you pack everything you need? Then look no further than Primos’ Gobbler Vest. This particular piece of equipment comes with numerous designated pockets to help you on your hunt.
You’ll find molded pockets specifically shaped to fit, box, pot, and diaphragm calls. This feature will let you talk up a storm to any turkey you encounter on your day. But, if just calling isn’t enough, don’t worry, simply bring your decoys and place their stakes in the specially designed pockets.
Strong fabrics make this vest durable and tough, as well as offering enough padding in the back to let you rest comfortably against a tree.
- Designated pockets for all your gear
- Great Price
- Proper fit can be an issue for smaller bodies
4. K&H Run & Gun Turkey Vest – Best Lightweight Vest
Knight & Hale hit it out of the park with their Run and Gun, a lightweight and extremely versatile pack. Featuring a 10-point adjustment system that allows any hunter to easily fit it to their body.
This vest can adjust to any man, woman, or child that wants to go hunting. Easily making it the perfect companion for couples looking to go hunting or parents seeking to bring their kids along. Even the younger hunters can bring their own vest due to its weight (a whopping 1.5 pounds).
A decent seat makes it good for shorter breaks, but we wouldn’t recommend it if you’re waiting for long periods of time.
The main draw of this vest is the ability to carry your gear without slowing yourself down. Which is perfect for hunter who are expecting to chase their prey! To this end the Run & Gun has multiple features that help it achieve its goal. By fitting as closely to your body as possible, it removes the excess bagginess problem that other vests cause.
Finally, as with other vest it comes with a plethora of pockets for carrying your calls and gear!
- Fits children and adults alike
- Extremely lightweight and versatile
- Plenty of pockets.
- Doesn’t feature a game bag
5. Redhead Striker Turkey Vest – Best Budget Vest
Hunters don’t always have all the money in the world to burn, but that doesn’t mean they have to skimp out on quality. For those hunters, Redhead’s Striker Turkey vest is their best bet. This product might be economical, but it provides everything you need for a successful hunt!
Ample storage and easy access make this a great product. Featuring plenty of compartments, pouches, pockets, and bags to store everything you need safely! It even comes with a game bag for your decoys or kill after a successful hunt!
A memory foam seat and back provides plenty of comfort and seals the deal on this awesome vest!
- Plenty of pockets
- Noisy if you aren’t careful with your movements
- Straps can be overly long
Wearing the proper turkey vest makes hunting way easier. After all, you’ll want every advantage you can muster while out in woods. Sadly, until the day humans evolve to have more than two hands, carrying everything without encumbering yourself with a backpack is impossible. For that reason, turkey vest are the best alternative to hunters looking to travel light.
Not only do they offer the tactical advantages of multiple pockets, camouflage and comfort, but also safety. A good vest will not only help you carry the essentials, it will keep other hunters alert of your presence after a successful hunt. After all, nothing is more important to a successful hunt than your safety!