A new idea for 2020, the carry-all utility vest

I very often get quite amazingly great ideas, absolutely world-class, game-changing ideas. Especially when I’m out walking, or trying to fall asleep (these two seldom occur at the same time), and naturally after figuratively slapping my own back in exultation, I think that I’ll put this in my mental bank of great ideas that should be worked on more. This mental bank quite likely contains at least a two-digit number of uniquely splendid ideas at this point. You’ll be disappointed to hear that retrieving them from storage is not as easy as submitting them.

Which, in a roundabout way, leads me to the idea that has been fermenting in my mind for the past week. The carry-all vest (ok, the name is a work in progress), a waistcoat with pockets for all the items you might need in a regular day, spaced and placed for comfort and access. And this would naturally include a notebook and pen, to replace my pretty dysfunctional mental bank. Different people would have different items they might need, so the size and number of pockets would be different.

The hard part is really in coming up with the stuff you might need. Since the advent of the smart-phone, my pockets have steadily fewer items in them. Yet, even though my phone has an adequate function for taking notes, I rarely use it, as I detest typing more than a few words at a time on the tiny and annoyingly inaccurate keyboard. So maybe having an old-school pen and notebook might work better? Some of the items I’ve laid out usually live in my backpack, or the “black hole of forgotten”, as I tend to think of it, as once in there I rarely think about them or find them. Other items can usually be found around the house, but rarely used as they are never to hand.

There is a term on social media called EDC, or everyday carry, where people show what they carry around every day. I’m not one to judge, but I’m often amazed at the sort of stuff people carry around, and the size of the pockets necessary. Unless they’re just flexing a lot of cool stuff for the sake of a photo. And this is a point, it would be silly to include a bunch of useless stuff in the carry-all concept. Or include stuff with a physical format that is entirely at odds with fitting into a pocket on the upper body.

The carry-all utility vest, for your everyday carry needs.

The carry-all utility vest, for your everyday carry needs.

What I show on the photo here though is the actual stuff I found in my pockets, in my black hole of forgotten and after a quick scan around the house. Ok, the mini engineering slide-rule is a hipster affectation and has never actually been used (though it looks great on a photo). The trench whistle is more of a comfort item than something that sees daily use, the knife as well, given the flow of honesty I’m currently divulging. It might be though if I had it with me. There is a great saying along the lines of “the best camera is the one you carry with you”, explaining how most of the photos taken today are taken using the camera on a smart-phone.

Garment-wise, I think something like the underlying vest would work well. Full of body, space for pockets both front and rear, outside and inside, if necessary. That’ll be the least of the problems. Shaping the various pockets, determining the need for a flap or not, which contrasting fabrics to make them in and so forth, that will be fun.

I’m interested though, what do you think, fellow men of garms?


  • WDW 03/01/2020 at 12:25

    I’m thinking you should create a muslin and work on the fit and how/where to place the pockets as to not look bulky and/or get stabbed by the accidental pen when you lean back in your chair.
    And also think about what layer this west should be in. Inner layer under a cardigan, a jacket, a big coat, on naked body, over a shirt?
    Unless you want a tackle vest because that is way cool…

  • JamesandBeard 03/01/2020 at 12:48

    Holy utility belt upgrade Batman!

  • wobbly jelly 03/01/2020 at 12:53

    I’ve suggested to my O/H that she needs a velcro wasitcoat – to stick thinks like remote controls, phone, glasses, pen etc to.

    Without sleeves you miss the utility pockets you get on combat jackets, which would do you pad, pens etc, or consider a poachers pocket. Keys and Phone will be the hardest especially if you make to fit then change something!

    Not forgetting as Half Man Half Biscuit, sang

    “I can find my way home from Sierra Leone
    But I’m lost without an inside pocket
    I’m lost without an inside pocket”

  • Shaun Brown 03/01/2020 at 13:07

    I tend to have stuff in my cars various cubby holes then transfer to pockets as an when required. A halfway house so to speak. Then on holiday I have a Billingham Camera bag that holds everything I require, and there’s room for camera too !

  • Kevin Lindsey 22/10/2020 at 15:25

    I like this too, as I often use my vests the same way! Thanks

  • Matt 09/01/2021 at 01:53

    Not in the same vein but check out https://www.vollebak.com/product/100-year-vest-granite/

  • Andrew Sparks 28/01/2021 at 13:07

    Curious where you ended up. I am considering a similar project but would emphasize roomer breast pockets and drop the waist pockets as these (when full) are annoying when you sit down or bend over

    • nick 01/02/2021 at 18:00

      Another project still on the list! Though I have almost completed another waistcoat in a differeng style. So many ideas, so little time…

  • Slaats 22/01/2022 at 17:10

    Totally new to the site and thinking about trying to make this myself. Where might I find a pattern for this?


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