Rated 5 out of 5 by alderbrits Awesome vest - but I returned it
My Brittanys and I cover a lot of miles chasing grouse, woodcock, quail and pheasant. After my dogs, I count my gun, boots and vest as my most important pieces of equipment. When my beloved Columbia vest needed to be replaced after 10 years of quality service, I spent a lot of time researching replacements and purchased the top four to compare. They include the Tenzing BV16, the Badlands Upland Bird Vest, the Browning Bird'n Lite Strap Vest and the L.L. Bean Technical Upland Vest Pack. I tested them all with full loads of shells, weights, a water bladder and my Garmin Alpha.
This vest is extremely well thought out and constructed and would have been my top pick if I weren't 6'4". It's not that it didn't fit, but the Tenzing can be adjusted a few inches longer than this vest and ultimately won out because it fit my tall frame a bit better.
The Browning wasn't a bad vest but couldn't keep up with the other three. It has too many straps, can't handle a water bladder and has no padding/internal frame to help distribute the load to your hips. The Badlands vest is cool but was significantly too short on me, is more burnt orange than blaze and the magnetic pouches weren't as convenient as I thought they'd be. The Tenzing and LL Bean vests are very similar, but the Tenzing has a second set of loops for the hip strap, allowing you to adjust it for long frames like mine. The LL Bean vest's hip strap is integrated and has more padding but can't be moved down.
As for the specifics of this vest, the materials and craftsmanship are top notch. The pouches that ride on the shoulder straps are thankfully removable because they get in the way even on your non-dominant side. The hip pouches are well constructed and keep their shape even when empty but I'd prefer they were a bit longer and hugged closer to the hip strap. They're also pretty small with only room for about 12 shells in each. I prefer to have room for a full box of shells on each side so I can keep one side empty for hulls. This vest has a very large game pouch (I'd guess you could get five or six pheasants back there) and has lots of room for other gear. Fully loaded, it gets pretty big and I would have appreciated a couple of load bearing straps to hold the game pouch closer to my back when it's not full. The straps you see in the picture only compress the pack portion, not the game pouch. This allows the pack portion to hang low and flap around when the game pouch is empty.
These small nits aside, this is truly a five star product and it makes me a bit sad to pack it up and send it back.
February 13, 2016
Rated 5 out of 5 by Moosejp The best functional Upland Vest on the market
Having tried other upland vests in the price range of $200 - $250 this vest by far has the best functional design. It is truly designed with the hunter in mind. The vest is adjustable to fit various body styles and comfort points.
The pockets are are easy to access and allow for you to pay attention to the hunt. The vest allows for easy transportation of birds without weighting your shoulders down. Another great LL Bean product!
November 27, 2015
Rated 4 out of 5
by Healthvet good pack - one caveat
I think LLBean makes some of the best upland gear. This vest pack carries cookpot, water, stove rain gear, first aid, overnight gear with room to spare. shell pouches carry full box of shells (you have to put the whole box in, and it stretches over). One caveat - I'm skinny. The shoulder straps are a little loose and the belt is tightened right up. I'm barely size 34 waist with clothes on. would like it a little more snug. I hike 1.5 hrs from truck to my favorite covert so I need to carry gear. I've carried all gear listed plus 3 grouse and two rabbits with no problems. Would like the straps to be able to modified like some technical backpacks can have them tightened, and I'm going to continue to use the pack this year and next and see what I think. This pack replaced my vest that I've used since early 1980s, so I researched a lot before buying. Would like to see how it compares to the pa'tridge strap vest.
November 19, 2015
Rated 3 out of 5 by Level42man Technical Upland Vest
I would recommend this item, but with one strong reservation. This is my second L.L. Bean Technical Upland Vest, so I'm into this item for north of $300 so far. I just got a new one because the shell pouches on my old one were terrible (velcro wore out, shells would spill out every time I bent over, and the flaps weren't actually long enough to close very well at all), and the blaze orange had faded pretty badly. The new pouches are much improved. However, my main gripe still persists: the sizing. Unless you have a waist measurement of at least 34+ inches, don't bother with this vest. It only comes in two sizes, regular and large. The main selling point of this vest is that the waist belt transfers weight from your shoulders to your waist. Lovely idea in theory, and if I were considerably beefier it would work. But even fully cinched up, the waist belt is still too big and all the weight is still borne by my shoulders. I carry a lot in this vest, so the weight is a seriously detrimental factor. I had hoped this re-design would have addressed the fact that the waist belt needs to be more fully adjustable. Really, really disappointed that it's not. I like everything else about the vest, but this issue is pretty huge for me. I took a chance and ordered a second one, but unless Bean offers a better waist belt or includes a third size, I absolutely won't be buying another one.
October 16, 2015
Rated 5 out of 5 by hunter1966 Love this vest
I used this for a solid week of ruffed grouse hunting and it exceeded all my expectations. It carries the weight on your hips, is easy to wear over a shirt or a coat, weather depending. I had been looking at this for many years, I am so glad I finally purchased one.
October 14, 2015
Rated 5 out of 5 by TripsGunner Mothers upland game vest replacement
After having an unfortunate accident with my 15 year old Mothers brand backpack style bird vest at the end of last hunting season, I was forced into going on a search for a vest that could replace my old treasured hunting tool. There are a lot of good choices out there if you?re a serious all day long, any type of weather chukar hunter, but in my opinion none matched the quality, price and features that the L.L. Bean Technical Upland Game Vest has. The fit and finish is sturdy, yet the vest is light weight. The zippers are of very high quality and the water bottle pockets are the perfect height and size, The backpack style is comfortable with good ergonomics and extremely adjustable. The vest has lots of storage but is not bulky ? Congrats L.L Bean, you smashed a home run!!!
August 17, 2015
Rated 5 out of 5 by UplandHunter19 The Best There Is
This vest is one of the nicest hunting products I have ever purchased. The two shell pockets on the front waist band are very sturdy and hold almost two full boxes of shells without sagging or feeling weighed down. The rear game pouch is lined so no blood will stain it and washes very easily. Most importantly it is extremely adjustable so it can be adjusted to fit anyone perfectly and the vest is very comfortable even when filled with gear. This product is worth every penny!
August 5, 2015
Rated 5 out of 5 by GregInCarmel Great Product
I don't hunt but bought this as a substitute for a fanny pack, where I wanted something smaller than a backpack but could carry more than a fanny pack. Works very well and doesn't give you the feeling it's trying to pull your pants down like a large fanny pack sometimes does.
February 28, 2015
Rated 5 out of 5 by Bailey222 Best I have seen
Looked at a lot if vests. This is by far the best. Enough orange to satisfy the big game hunting requirements as well as upland. The pockets are convenient and well placed and the harness system makes wearing it very comfortable.
December 17, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by wyo47 Perfect!
Being a hunting guide in Wyoming I demand the most durable, reliable, and lightweight gear this vest has everything you need great for an all day walk hunting grouse in the mountains or Hun's and chukar. Plenty of space for water and easy to shoot with I would recommend this vest to anyone who wants the best!
December 1, 2014