The Scottevest Transformer … a quick & dirty review

It is no secret that I really enjoy Scottevest clothing. Ever since I first purchased a Scottevest original vest, this company’s clothing has transformed how I pack to walk about the door. With the Scottevest original vest, Fleece 5.0 jacket/vest, hoodie sweatshirt, sport coat, cargo pants and button down shirt in my wardrobe … some purchased by me, some sent to me by Scottevest … recently the new SeV Transformer jacket arrived at my door.


I had planned to hold on writing about the Transformer until the weather turned warmer to write about it as both a jacket and a vest, however a ‘lighting review’ of it that appeared on Gizmodo got me wondering … what exactly to people expect from their jacket?


Personally, I tend to load my Scottvest clothing fairly heavy, with my Travel Vest and Fleece 5.0 being loaded pretty similarly, which you can see here. The Transformer has 20 pockets, and while it is a lighter jacket/vest than the Fleece 5.0, it is still designed to hold just about anything a user could want to stuff in their pockets for a day out, or a quick day of travel.


In Gizmodo’s review of the Scottevest Transformer, author Sam Biddle wroteThe Transformer boasts a “personal area network” (hahaha) that packages all of your stuff (?) into twenty different pockets. This is an appalling glut of pockets and zippers and pouches, none of which make obvious their purpose.”


As a long time user of the Scottevest clothing, I was originally drawn to the clothing for two reasons, 1) the ability to carry a netbook or iPad inside the jackets and vests 2) the ability to wire my headsets through the jacket and vests, untangling the wire, since I do not like blue tooth headsets.   The personal area network is ideal for throwing your phone or MP3 player in your jacket and having your headsets always ready for use and easy to stow when not in use.


But let’s get past the personal area network, because not everyone is going to wire up their jacket, vest, sport coat, sweatshirt the way I have … I am confused by Mr. Biddle’ s statement that “The pockets, too small to be useful, in his Gizmodo review, which cuts to the crux of my question … what exactly to people expect from their jacket?


Let’s start by going down the list of what I packed inside my Scottevest Transformer two Sunday’s ago as I headed off for work.

1 – iPhone 4

1 – iPhone 3G

1 – Headsets wired into jacket

1 – 11″ MacBook Air

1 – Kindle Touch 3G

1 – Canon Powershot G11

1 – Oakley Flak Jacket sunglasses

1 – Apple MagSafe AC power supply

1 – iPhone USB cord

1 – USB SD card reader

1 – 20oz Pepsi

1 – Bagel & Cream Cheese

2 – Pens

1 – Moleskine notebook

1 – pack of business cards


All of these gear was comfortably was stowed in my Scottevest Transformer jacket, while wearing two cameras via the BlackRapid harness system and other gear via the Think Tank Skin Kit harness (except the Pepsi and Bagel which I ate and drank on the train up to work).


For the past few days I have been out with the Scottevest Transformer jacket I have been packing light. An 11″ MacBook Air inside the jacket, and swapping a Canon 28-70f2.8 and 70-200f2.8 from the right side pocket.   To put this in perspective the Canon 70-200f2.8 is 7.8 inches in length and 3.4 inches in diameter, not counting the tripod collar … and the lens slips into the side pocket without any problems.


The Scottevest Transformer is unique in how it converts from jacket to vest. Rather than the using zip off sleeves, The Transformer uses magnets that hold whole a whole sleeve section to the jacket , instead of two separate sleeves. The magnet design allows a user to make their jacket a vest in less then 5 seconds and put the sleeves back in in a matter of seconds. Using the Scottevest Transformer with camera straps, and the BlackRapid harness system I have found the magnets that hold the sleeves in place durable and reliable.  I would not try picking the jacket up by its sleeves when loaded, but typically I pick jackets up by their collar, regardless of the jacket.   Should the jacket’s magnets had issues I am sure I would have pulled the sleeves off countless times … although Mr. Biddle at Gizmodo is quoted as stating “The magnets for the sleeves are too weak,” leaving me wondering what exactly he is doing with the sleeves.


So while I hope to write to a longer review of the Scottevest Transformer jacket, Mr. Biddle’s review of the jacket has me wondering if we had been wearing the same jacket.


Below are a few photos of my Scottevest Transformer jacket, loaded with an 11″ MacBook Air and Kindle; my Canon G11 in the sunglasses pocket and my Canon 70-200f2.8L in my right side pocket … as well as a photo of me wearing a loaded vest with my gear while out looking for some photos.


Happy Flying!




a laptop in a bag

a camera in a bag


a hand holding a camera lens


a close up of a camera lens

a man holding a camera



  1. Interesting product and review, but you should at least acknowledge more forthrightly for the sake of full disclosure that you have a commercial relationship with Scottevest.

    ” some sent to me by Scottevest”

  2. Greg,

    In the beginning of this blog post I address that I have purchased some Scottevest clothing and some has been sent to me by the company.

    At this time I have no contracts or financial agreements with Scottevest, nor have I had any in the past. This does not mean I would pass up opportunities to work with Scottevest in the future should the opportunity arise and I would disclose that when relevant, should the situation arise.

    Happy Flying!


  3. Are SD or CF cards damaged by magnets? If so, have you put a card with images next to them? I know you don’t store them there, but I’m thinking that you might take off and fold up the jacket and Murphy (of the LAW) will be sure to put the card next to the magnet.



  4. Wow…so this is a paid advertisement, done so you can keep getting free stuff. Gotcha. At least proof read or spell check it next time. I count 10 typos in the first quarter of the ad.

  5. MW,

    My review is in no way a paid advertisement. When I have worked for companies in the past and written about those companies I have disclosed it. Companies send me items somewhat regularly, although I tend to not write about what I am sent. Although in the next few weeks I’ll be writing about a number of travel and travel-photo items, some I purchased, some sent to me, and I will disclose what was sent to me.

    I wrote about the Scottevest Transformer because I have been wearing Scottevest gear for a while, which I had purchased, used, loved, then got acquainted with the company on a human level. When I read the Gizmodo review I was perplexed that the reviewer thought the pockets were to small to hold anything, and I had already shot a few images showing items packed in the jacket. I was further confused that the reviewer thought the magnets were weak, where as I had worn the jacket with things hanging off the shoulders, and had no problems.

    Do you see any issue with what I have written and the photos showing items stowed in the jacket, with plenty of working room?

    Happy Flying!


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