Gear Review: Alps OutdoorZ – Upland Game Vest X

 Alps OutdoorZ Upland Game Vest X

“The Upland Game Vest X is the newest addition and category extension for our very successful Extreme line of packs. The Upland Game Vest X is the perfect accessory for upland game hunting, and includes a bevy of innovative features. The shoulder straps are ultra thin for maximum shooting comfort, and two front shell pockets are large enough to accommodate an entire box of shells each. Two flip down gun rests are included, as well as a lightweight vented back and waist belt construction.” – AlpsoutdoorZ.com

Company/Brand: ALPS OutdoorZ

Company/Brand Location: New Haven, MO

Manufactured/Made in: Vietnam

MSRP: $139.99

Product Number: 7730012

Colors Available: Blaze Orange / Brown

Sizes: One Size Fits All

Listed Features: 

  • Ultra thin Shooter Friendly Shoulder Straps For Maximum Shooting Comfort
  • Two Flip Down Gun Rests
  • Two Front Shell Pocket – Fits A Full Box Of Shells
  • Lightweight Vented Back And Waist Belt
  • H₂O Compatible
  • One Large Rear Organizational Pocket
  • One Extra Gear Pockets
  • Two Water Bottle Pockets
  • One Large Wrap-around Game Pocket That Can Unzip For Easy Cleaning
  • Two Radio Pockets

   Weight: 2 lbs. 9 oz.

Scoring criteria:

  1. Craftsmanship & Design
  2. Performance & Durability
  3. Fit & Sizing
  4. Pricing & Affordability

Scoring will be out of 5 for each section and then calculated as a percentage out of 100% for ease of comparison.

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Craftsmanship & Design

The Upland Vest X’s design and execution is actually very well thought out. The proportions and clean lines make for a “thin” appearance and comfortable feeling out front while offering ample storage in the back of the vest. What I found to be quite successful is the multiple locations where you can store and clip on gear. This offers an opportunity for the vest to feel balanced and not bulky while you walk. With a pouch in the back, two pouches to hold your boxes of shells, an integrated H2O slot, and smaller radio pockets – one can carry exactly what they would need for a day out in the field. It seems that this vest can rise to the challenge of carrying as much or as little as you want and still fit comfortably.

Everything seems to be in the right location and to the right proportions of the vest, except for the shotgun flap. Although the design is a great idea, the execution on this one item of the vest is lacking. The magnetic flap seems to quickly close upon inspection, but in the field, I found that the weight of the shotgun pushes the flap down too far for the magnet to do what it was intended to do. The magnetic flap is also weak structurally, therefore negating it’s ability to comfortably hold the weight of a shotgun, which was tested with a 20g and a 12g.

Other than that one item, I believe the design of the pack is extremely comprehensive of what an upland or small game hunter has in mind. Comfort, accessibility, and minimalism is where this pack shines.

The craftsmanship on the other hand does not quite follow suit with the design. Upon closer inspection, I realized that multiple areas lacked sufficient stitching, reinforcement, or seemed like it might rip if I pulled on it. Now, I completely understand the need to value engineer a product to get it down to a price that is somewhat affordable, but when there is a single line of stitching in critical areas such as the shoulder straps or velcro patches – I start to wonder if it was value engineered a little too much.

With that being said, it does not take away too much shine from the great design of the pack nor does it alter the function for which the vest was intended.

Score: 4/5

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Performance & Durability

Performance-wise, this vest is great. It carried everything I needed and had everything I wanted. The vest is light, proportioned well, and is very minimalist – which is an upland hunter’s dream! Durability, however, is a completely different ball game. After dragging myself and the vest along on a few small game hunts, the vest already showed signs of concern. Not sure if it will last as many seasons as I had hoped it to (two or more? Maybe?), but hey – I guess nothing is perfect right?

Score: 4/5

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Fit & Sizing

Being a small guy, I was pretty thrilled to find a pack that fit me comfortably. The thin shoulder straps, paired with a flexible waist belt, truly helped this vest take it up a notch. During my hunts with this pack, I completely forgot I was wearing until I had to grab another shell or stuff quarry into the game pouch. This may sound like a cliché, but the vest truly can be a one size fits all. Not much else to say about that!

Score: 5/5

Pricing & Affordability

At $150 – the vest is floating right around many of its competitors. Badlands, LL Bean, Orvis, Browning, Tenzing and other such company offer a comparable pack at relatively the same price. I am inclined to say that this pack can be a bit less expensive for the quality and craftsmanship that it offers. When compared to its competitors, this pack does not really stand out as much as one would think – then again none of the other ones do either. With all of this being said…I truly believe that gear especially packs – are completely subjective and it completely depends on who you are and what you want out of a product.

Score: 3.5/5

 

Overall Score & Thoughts:

I like the vest – I really do. The vest fits well and stays out of the hunt until you need it. It’s a minimal design, yet carries everything that you would need on a day hunt. The price can be a bit steep, but everyone has to make a living right? The design is extremely well thought out, but the craftsmanship and quality of materials used can feel a bit neglected at times. It’s definitely an item that you have to try on and use for a bit to see if you truly like it. So far, it’s brought in game for me and has been an absolute joy to have in the field.

 

OVERALL SCORE: 16.5/20

82.5% / 100.0%

 

Detail Shots

Field Shots

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