When it came to turkey hunting, I always had to carry multiple pieces of equipment with me – locator calls, striker calls, sandpapers, tapes, ink pens, slate pads, mouth call pouch, emergency poncho, shotgun shells, phones, GPS devices… you name it.
You may try to ignore one or two, but when you’re deep in the woods, you’ll be in trouble in case you need something at the eleventh hour.
There were many times when I ran out of my shotgun shells and the headlight stopped working. I had the darkest night in my life out in the wild of Pachaug State Forest and the following day, I decided to get myself a quality turkey hunting vest that wouldn’t feel like a loaded truck.
That was a game-changing decision if you ask me. I could fit every single piece of equipment and tool that I needed in the vest. There was even a padded seat for resting!
Today, we’ll be reviewing the ultimate vests that you can safely consider for this season.
Best Turkey Vests We Reviewed
1 ALPS OutdoorZ NWTF Grand Slam
Alps Outdoorz is a household name for turkey hunting communities for good reason. In terms of build quality, innovation, advanced features and style, this brand offers nothing but the best. The NWTF Grand Slam Turkey Vest is one of their best-selling masterpieces that stands out for the features it comes with and the convenience it offers.
Let’s talk about the build first. Made from tough fabric, high-grade plastic, and metal components, it has a premium feel. Despite being rugged and strong, it is amazingly lightweight (not more than 7 lbs with the frame). The camo design helps it blend into the surroundings as well.
It’s a two-in-one vest, meaning you get a vest and a magnetic padded seat along with a specific metallic frame that helps you lean back anywhere without a tree. The telescopic adjustable legs coming with it takes all the body weight. The seat uses magnetic force to remain folded when not in use. That saves space.
Another highlight is its capacity to hold all the gear and devices you need for the job. It has plenty of pockets in different sizes and shapes to hold a wide assortment of calls, shells, slate pads, strikers, conditioning kits, water bottle pockets, knives, smartphones, and whatnots. It also has a Thermacell repellent holder that’s really useful, especially when you are out there in the woods.
We liked the quality of the zippers, velcro, and mesh nets of the vest. The gamebag is also blood-proof, so you won’t have to worry about ruining your jacket and emitting odor in the air. These withstood the loads well that we put on the vest when testing.
- Color: Mossy Oak Bottomland
- Pockets: 11
- Weight: 4 lbs. 10 oz. (without frame)
- Weight: 7 lbs. 2 oz. (with frame)
- Detachable shoulder strap: yes
- Warranty: Limited Lifetime
- Effective sitting frame legs with swivel feet
- Right amount of pockets
- Pockets come in different size and shapes
- Ergonomic design
- Quality material
- Easy to carry
- Large game bag
- Use of mesh makes it breathable
- Adjustable with side straps
- Kickstand makes it a bit heavier
- Long time sitting might feel uncomfortable for some
If you’re a seasoned turkey hunter, you know having patience is the key. This OutdoorZ NWTF Grand Slam from Alps allows you to position yourself at any spot with or without a tree, thanks to the adjustable frame and padded seat. You have pockets for all sorts of calls and other essential gear. The big game pocket would let you fit more than one kill in it. Without the frame, it is lightweight and the camo design helps you blend in the woods. If you have the budget, it should be the best deal under $200.
2 Knight & Hale KHT0065 Run N’ Gun 200
If you are looking for a lightweight vest that would fit any body size, then Knight & Hale Run N’ Gun 200 is your go-to choice. Like our first choice, it doesn’t have a frame to support your back, but it does have a padded seat that helps you sit anytime anywhere in a second. This is a hugely popular vest 10-point adjustment system with an athletic design and multiple pockets.
We liked the front pot-call pockets, particularly for their ergonomic design. The mesh body and elastic topping of the pocket makes it easy to put in and pull out the pot calls in not time. Both of them can house bigger pot sizes and frame themselves according to the pot’s size. The use of mesh might not be suitable for rainy days, so keep that in mind.
You’ll find four striker calls right behind the pot call pockets which is convenient as you can access all the calls in one area. There are separate slabs for each of the strikers. Down the left side of the waistline, you’ll find an intelligently designed rectangular pocket for box calls. This pocket is divided into two separate parts to keep the box touching the lid so you don’t squeak when maneuvering through the woods.
On the right side, you’ll get standard pockets for keeping locators, gloves, shells, and other equipment and gear of the same size. Up in the chest, you have pockets for keeping your conditioner kit and Diaphragm Call Holder. Remember that these are the essential kits you’ll need most of the time and having them close will make it easy for you.
The backpack has 200 square inches of space to hold other stuff, if you need to. We checked the fabric, zipper, velcro and strap of the vest and were impressed with the quality.
- Dimensions : 16″ x 13.5″ x 5″
- Space: 198″ cubic
- Adjustments: 10-point system
- Cushion: 6 layers
- Weight: around 1.5 lbs
- High adjustabilities
- Pockets for all types of calls
- Has decoy Sling, chicken choker & sling for Turkey harvest
- Ergonomic design
- Cushioned seat
- Convenient frontal pockets
- Limited capacity
The minimalist yet ergonomic design with high adjustability should be the key selling point of the Knight & Hale Run N’ Gun 200. No matter what size you are, this vest would fit you perfectly. We liked the positioning of the pockets because you can reach them fast enough when shooting quickly. For the price, it’s a good value for money.
3 ALPS OutdoorZ NWTF Super Elite 4.0
Alps OutdoorZ launched NWTF Super Elite 4.0 in the Spring of 2017. The earlier version of this pack was so popular that the company worked with NWTF to upgrade it and bring a new version, which later was named 4.0. This one has a lot of pockets for almost everything you need during the hunt.
What makes it special that’s not common in modern designs is that it’s old-school Yet, it has pockets for all types of gear and calls; for example, the locator calls, diaphragm, box calls, striker holders, you name it. You’ll get a whopping number of pockets with your purchase; i.e., 22 in total. If you can’t fit something you need in here, you shouldn’t be taking it.
Another feature we think bird hunters love about it is the large and thick padded seat. This seat at the back can be folded down along with the game bag for decoys or birds. Talking about the game bag, it is blood-proof that means you won’t be worrying about ruining your inner gear from blood that oozes out of the game.
We also liked the quality of the fabric. The quick-release buckle attachments are fun to work with. For convenience they’ve also added a chest pocket for smartphones that can be accessed easily.
- Dimensions : 90″ x 102″ x 60″
- Weight: 3 lbs
- Chest size: 38″(Medium), 44″ (Large)
- Pockets: 22
- Seat: Yes, foldaway
- Seat thickness: 2.5 inches
- Game bag: Yes, breathable, blood proof
- Classic camo design
- Lots of pockets
- Durable, breathable fabric
- Thick padded seat
- Blood proof game bag
- Quality straps
- Absence o shell loops
- Seat clips could be better
Alps OutdoorZ and NWTF collaborated to design a superb vest for avid turkey hunters. It’s an old-school design and contains so many pockets positioned in the right place. This top-rated product is one of our most favorites. Go grab it before the stock runs out!
4 Hunters Specialties H.S. Strut
As you prepare for the Spring Turkey season, one piece of gear that you should consider adding to your kit is the Hunters Specialties’ Strut Turkey Vest. This vest is super lightweight and there’s plenty of storage for calls, decoys, snacks, shells, strikers, sandpapers, smartphones and other essential gear. .
On the rear, you’ll find a detachable big cheeks foam seat that can either be completely removed or used for sitting while being attached to the vest. This will keep you comfortable for a long period of time sitting in a pop-up line or against a tree. It’s also imperceptible when you are walking, you can keep it on when driving.
As for pockets, you’ll get two big bellows pockets on each side that keep the most-used gear easily accessible. Above those, there are zipper pockets with mesh organizers used to keep shells, snacks, and items you want more contained so they don’t move around making noise. You’ll also get tubular pockets for keeping a water bottle. The mesh pocket on the left is ideal to accommodate a call box.
There is plenty of room in the rear pocket for your decoys and turkey. It’s made of 300D fabric, which is well known for its extraordinary durability. The quick-release and buckles are made of quality materials.
- Sizes available: XL, 3XL and 2XL
- Fabric: 300D
- Color: Realtree Edge
- Sleeve Type: Sleeveless
- Seat: Yes, fully detachable
- Gamebag: Yes
- Type: Adult-Unisex
- All calls & essential gear easily accessible
- Fully removable padded seat
- Big rear access pocket
- Added orange safety flag
- Pocket for water bottle
- Xtra Green camouflage design
- Lack of adjustability and sizes
The Hunters Specialties’ Strut Turkey Vest packs a lot of pockets to house all your essential gear and snacks while still being cheap. In terms of design, it is minimalistic and weighs lighter than most other standard vests. The fabric quality is good enough, so is the buckles, quick release and zippers. We highly recommend it for those on a budget.
5 Primos Rocker Strap
Last but not least, the Primos Rocker Strap is a brilliant piece of gear that will make your hunting more comfortable in the wild. It has a number of great features that’ll definitely hook you as a seasoned hunter.
The reason it’s called ‘Rocker’ is because it has a fold-down seat that you can spool down and adjust through a buckle. That’s it, you won’t need a tree to lay back as the vest has the back frame to support your back. The seat has magnets to remain attached to your back when folded.
Another cool thing is the dual-compartment pocket design for all your friction calls. We also liked the box call holders one on each side in the front. On the left, you get a hard cover to protect your box call. They’ve added a dedicated transparent smartphone holder that’s also completely waterproof.
There are individual striker compartments with a plastic cover so they don’t come out. Another interesting thing about the front parts of the vest is that you can get rid of these using a quick release and get them out of your way without losing your accessibility.
- Dimensions : 25″ x 20″ x 4″
- Weight: 5.05 lbs.
- Material: Polyester
- Size: M, L, XL, 2XL
- Seat: Yes, padded
- Molded pockets: Yes, for pot, striker & box calls
- Cell phone pocket: Yes, waterproof
- Lounge flip down seat
- Framed backrest for comfy sitting posture
- Molded pockets for box, pot calls and strikers
- Detachable front part
- Waterproof cell phone pocket
- Decoy pocket
- Impeccable design
- Seat cushioning could have been better
We were amazed at the price-to-value ratio offered by this excellent gear. The Primos Rocker Strap offers premium features at such a reasonable price that we couldn’t help but put it on our top list. You get a padded seat along with tons of molded pockets that fit all your gear and calls. With this vest on, you can’t really go wrong in any situation. We can’t recommend this more!
Turkey Vest Buying Guide
Polyester, cotton and other high-end fabrics are ideal for turkey vests. Such materials do not wear off easily and provide enough ventilation so the hunter doesn’t choke in them. You also need high-quality corrosion-resistant plastic and metal parts for a durable and easily accessible vest. Waterproofing makes the vest too warm for spring hunting. So, we recommend that you get a breathable one.
2. Padded Seat
Seat plays a vital role for those who prefer to roam around on foot in the woods and shoot down the target after taking a position near it. You never know where and when your game will respond to which one of your calls. So, you can continuously roam around and at one point might need to sit down upon hearing a response. A padded seat attached to the vest would really be helpful in such situations.
3. Storage Compartments & Pockets
The whole point of putting on a vest is to have multiple storage compartments to carry your gear and essentials. Not all calls and gear can be carried in a single pouch with others, some calls are delicate in nature and are subject to damage.
Besides, if your vest doesn’t have separate pockets and loops for different materials like calls, shells, strikers, slates, and the likes, you may end up squeaking a lot when moving. That is not ideal for hunting these birds.
So, go for the vest that offers separate, multi-layered pockets and storage system for your gear that you can access whenever you need.
Remember, not all vests come with a backrest that gives you the freedom to rest your back anywhere without a tree. It helps you rest more comfortably. However, this feature requires a metallic frame which might increase the total weight of your vest. So, if you can carry that, you should totally go for it.
5. Fitting and Weight
Your vest should fit your body size, or else you will be miserable in the woods. For that reason, you should pick one that offers adjustability. The more adjustable the vest is, the better it fits. Your seat, backrest, rear backpack and front parts should have straps or buckles that would allow you to adjust them according to your needs.
Comfort plays a big role here. Since you’ll be out in rough terrains and woods, if you don’t put on something that is light and comfortable, you’ll have to suffer. A lightweight vest with the right amount of easy-access pockets and decoy and game bags should be more convenient.
The selection of camo plays a major role in keeping you concealed from turkeys. Hunters often make a mistake in selecting the wrong camo or putting on costumes without camos. Note that spring woods are mainly bright and green vegetation. Your camo should match that. Realtree brought a new camo pattern called EDGE™ camo that is highly effective in removing the hunter’s outline from a certain distance.
It wouldn’t be wise not to carry a Thermacell insect repellent and a mini first aid box with you. They can be a lifesaver at times, especially when you are out in the woods. Keep a water bottle, you’ll always find a holder in your vest where you keep your water bottle.
Turkey Vest: Care and Maintenance
Since hunters put a lot of stuff in a turkey vest, it should be maintained properly. Here are a few tricks that you can follow:
- Wash your vest using scentless detergent or soaps and cold water after a certain period of time, or else bacteria could grow in it
- Before washing, turn it inside out to make the wash more effective
- Dry it fully in a dark place before using it
Wrapping It Up
Choosing the best turkey vest could be a game-changing step for a hunter. Hopefully, this article has provided you with the right list and detailed reviews that should be useful when making a buying decision.
If you are still undecided about which vest to get, go for ALPS OutdoorZ NWTF Grand Slam. If it is a bit heavy for you, but you still want a back rest with your vest, then we’d recommend Primos Rocker Strap. If comfortable sitting isn’t your primary concern, then Knight & Hale KHT0065 Run N’ Gun 200 could be an excellent option.
All our listed models are impeccable in terms of design and functionality. You can’t go wrong with any of them. So, the choice is yours now.
Q. 1: How thick should the cushion seat of the vest be?
Ans: Make sure the seat of the vest is at least 2 inches thick. If it is made from padding gel, the thickness could be less than that.
Q. 2: How to get the best fit turkey vest?
Ans: Choosing an adjustable vest would ensure the best fit. If you are concerned with fitting your vest, choose the right size. If your size is unusual, picking a vest with adjustable straps and buckles should fix your problem.
Q. 3: What types of things can I carry with my turkey vest?
Ans: In short – “a lot.” The list includes pot calls, box calls, strikers, shells, insect repellent, sand paper, decoy, GPS device, snacks, water bottle, smartphone, tapes, ink pens, slate pads, mouth call pouch, emergency poncho and many more depending on the nature and time of your expedition.
Q. 4: Do I need a vest with an incorporated seat?
Ans. The popularity of turkey chairs, stools, and loungers has rapidly increased. Many hunters don’t bother to attach padded seats on their turkey vests anymore. If you want to use a turkey vest with an integrated seat, you should find one that allows for comfortable sitting on the ground for a long time. Multi-layer cushions with a water-resistant bottom are ideal for protecting yourself from dew and wet ground.
Q. 5: What colors should I not wear while turkey hunting?
Ans. Avoid black, white, red, and blue clothing when you go turkey hunting. Hunters look for the red color to distinguish between a gobbler’s head and a hen’s blue head. The feathers of male turkeys that cover most of their body look black.
Q. 6: Do you need gloves for turkey hunting?
Ans. Gloves along with face masks and gaiters are essential to keep yourself hidden when turkey hunting. Exposed skin will alert the turkey and you don’t want that. It’s best to use these accessories ventilated since the turkey season continuously gets warmer.