Finally bought a SCOTTEVEST

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After avoiding the inevitableness for years, I finally broke down and bought myself a SCOTTEVEST, so I can get all the gadgets I like to carry around out of my pockets and off my belt—and so I could carry more than I used to ;-).

Getting it, though, was a bit of an adventure. I first discovered the (then) new Rodeo microsuede jacket in late December, just before I left for CES. I was hoping to find SeV there in some fashion, so I could try one on and investigate it with my usual thoroughness, but it was not to be. So I hemmed and hawed, and by the time I finally decided to buy one for sure, I was horrified to discover it was being closed out, and none were available in my size! But a tip from their customer service line led me to National Geographic, who still had at least one in stock.

After having spent a month with this clever contraption, I’ve decided that the jacket deserves a full torture-test product review. The Rodeo is frustratingly close to what my ideal gadget jacket is, but just far enough away to be frustrating just about every time I go to add or retrieve something from a pocket.

The full treatment will come soon, but here are the highlights.

Discontinued! While it was available (and still is, if you need a small), this was clearly the most sophisticated (looking and constructed) attire SeV carried. None of their current products boasts more than 25 pockets, and none can quite pull off that business casual look I’m after.

No manual! With 39 pockets, this thing needs an instruction manual. For one, you need it just to find all the pockets (I just found a hidden one containing a stack of laminated, business card-sized marketing cards, after a full month wearing it!). But a manual is also needed to show you how which pockets are designed to hold MP3 players and mobile phones, and how to thread headset and earbud cords from these pockets up to the collar. There are enough of these little button-hole like openings that it will probably take me another month to figure out the ideal paths.

Better labeling. Just about every zipper pull, pocket, and the whole lining has either the SeV logo or the full company name on it (or the TEC clothing trademark), but nowhere does it have the name of this jacket or the salient details I should be able to read off to anyone who asks me about it and where to get one. SeV needs to put the model name, number of pockets, and 2-3 other key features about each item right on a label under the collar or someplace else I can flash it to the inquisitive. The Guerrilla marketing cards hidden under the right shoulder are clever, but they don’t say anything about this particular jacket, or the features of any of the jackets, just how cool their customers think they are.

A weak hook. With 39 pockets, and two of them designed to hold magazines and a full-sized bottle of water, you can quickly load this thing up with a lot of weight. Amazingly, the design of the jacket spreads out the weight and makes it comfortable, but I seriously doubt if the few threads that attach the hanging loop to the collar will hold up under the kind of weight I’ve got in the jacket. And just hanging the jacket on the back of a chair tends to put some noticeable strain on the relatively thin material.

Oops! I really do like the jacket, but the above oversights perplex and annoy me. Expect a full treatise next week, with both the good and the bad.

Author: Peter Sheerin

Peter Sheerin is best known for the decade he spent as the Technical Editor of CADENCE magazine, where he was the acknowledged expert in Computer-Aided Design hardware and software. He has a long-standing passion for improving usability of software, hardware, and everyday objects that is always interwoven in his articles. Peter is available for freelance technical writing and product reviews, and is exploring career opportunities in interaction design. His pet personal project is exploring the best ways to harmonize visual, tactile, and audible symbols for improving the effectiveness of alerting systems.

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