The Highs: Numerous pockets, lightweight material, comfortable

The Lows: Geeky features, so-so zippers, questionable durability

The Verdict: Give me a little less geek and a little more quality

Regular readers know that one of the features I look for in travel bags is a key retainer.  So it isn’t without irony that one of the first things I did with my ScotteVest “Ultimate Hoodie” was remove its key retainer.  ScotteVest Ultimate Hoodie - moss

The key retainer was one of two features in the right hand warmer pocket on the SeV Ultimate Hoodie. The other was an elastic band which apparently is intended to hold…  something in place.  A Texas Instruments calculator?  The replica Star Trek Communicator you made out of balsa wood?  Your charter membership card for the high school AV Club?  I’m not certain.  But I found both…

…a complete pain in the ass every time I put my hand in that pocket.  Fortunately, a few seconds of quality time with Mr. X-Acto took care of both.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, a quick overview of the SeV Ultimate Hoodie is in order.   This is a lightweight microfiber hoodie that features 11 pockets (a couple of which are hidden), a drawstring hood, and ScotteVest’s patented “Personal Area Network” for your music player.

Key Features, per the SeV website:

  • 11 pockets are perfect for lounging, running, a quick trip to the store or even for travel
  • Adjustable hood, rib knit cuffs, magnetic pocket closures
  • Patented Personal Area Network (PAN) for wire management
  • Super comfy and warm, great layer for long flights
  • No lining for total ease and comfort
  • Weight Management System™
  • Carry all your gadgets in style… without a bag!
  • Available in Black, Gunmetal and Moss
  • Machine Washable

I’m a big fan of fleece and microfiber layers during transitional weather periods and winter, so when SeV had a 20% Off sale a month or so ago, I picked up an Ultimate Hoodie in black.

My impressions

The ScotteVest product listing for the Ultimate Hoodie boasts over 70 user reviews, and many of them are quite positive (the average rating is 4.5 out of 5 stars).  I think the hoodie is alright, but is hardly a product that inspires passion.

X-ray view - SeV ultimate hoodieIt’s perfectly comfortable, although I’d give up some of the doo-dads and hidden pockets for a bit higher quality material. After only a month, to my eye it looks a bit tired and the magnet enclosures on the hand warmer pockets have emerged as wear points.  (You can easily pick them out in the photo above, from the SeV site.)  I wish that the elastic at the bottom and at the sleeves was a bit more robust, as well.  Spoiled by the high quality zippers on many of the bags I’ve reviewed, those on the SeV Hoodie seem merely adequate.

I love the idea of the Personal Area Network.  You can put your iPod or other player in one of the pockets and thread the earbud wires through the garment; at top there are hook and loop closures to secure the excess wire and make the buds readily available.  One of the upper inside pockets can also be utilized for a music player and the P.A.N.; it features a translucent surface through which you can ostensibly operate your player’s controls.

In actual practice, that pocket is mounted high in the hoodie, making it a bit awkward to access your player’s controls; having the word “contortionist” on your resume would be a plus in this case.  Also, of course, if you utilize the hoodie’s Personal Area Network, you need an extra set of earbuds if you want to listen to your player when you’re not wearing the hoodie;  otherwise, you’ll need to remove the wires and buds from the garment, no simple feat.  And speaking of removing the earbuds…

…it’s nice that the hoodie is machine washable, but to dry it, you need to spread it out on a flat surface – on a towel or something similar.  Machine drying would subject the fabric surrounding the magnets on the hand warmer pocket closures to excessive wear.  Drying takes at least a day, as a result.  And the earbuds of course have to come out before you wash it.

Wrapping up

I’m perfectly ok with the Ultimate Hoodie.  Were I to review it at the ScotteVest site, I’d give it 3 stars out of 5.  It’s ok, I like it, I just don’t love it.  In terms of value, I’d give it a solid meh.

I’d gladly give up a couple of pockets, the key retainer, and the elastic loopy thing if I could trade them for higher quality material, better elastic ribbing at the cuffs and bottom, and better zippers.

You can see the Ultimate Hoodie at the ScotteVest site:  Ultimate Hoodie$70; made in China

Frankly, I hope some of you can recommend a similar product that you’re crazy about; if you’ve got something in mind, please comment.


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21 Comments on Quick take: ScotteVest Ultimate Hoodie

  1. Miguel Marcos says:

    I have always thought their best item in concept is their vest. I’ve never tried any of their stuff personally, though.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Miguel,

    I have the vest and think it’s frankly a higher quality piece. That said, I hardly ever wear it. Here’s a link to that review: http://is.gd/5hQxK

    [Reply]

  2. Michael W. says:

    I purchased one of their zip neck pullovers, similar in design to Patagonia’s R1 zip neck (turtle neck style) pullovers, and was very disappointed by the design and details. Felt like a piece purchased at Target or Walmart not a nice piece. I don’t see that it would fall apart, it just screamed cheap. Never wore it. Want it? Medium, black, free.

    [Reply]

    Kory Krasowski Reply:

    heck yes i want it!

    [Reply]

    Michael W. Reply:

    Send your shipping address to Kevin, he will send it to me, and I’ll priority mail it to you.

    [Reply]

    Michael W. Reply:

    Got your address will post here as soon as sent.

    [Reply]

    Michael W. Reply:

    Sent today, December 15, small priority mail box, be careful opening it (don’t use a cutter!). Enjoy and report back on YOUR impresssions!

    Kevin Reply:

    I hope Kory appreciates this. Thanks, Michael! Another great example of the PH community giving back (or to one another) a bit!

    Kory Krasowski Reply:

    Thanks for the pullover, i look forward to receiving it, ill be waiting for it, and ill make sure to post my feedback on it.

  3. Michael W. says:

    Kevin, if you want a nice, light weight partial zip pullover, turtle neck – but no secret pockets – the ultra expensive, but worth it, R1 from Patagonia has always been a favorite of mine. UA makes a functionally equivalent zipneck, but it’s not as classy.

    [Reply]

  4. Berg says:

    You’d think a practical vest like that would have zippers on the pockets to keep gear from falling out.

    I wonder where a good place to put the key retainer would be…

    [Reply]

  5. I’d like to point out that magnetic closures on pockets can be rather detrimental in some circumstances. Like the circumstances that involved me completely inadvertently wiping all the information off the magnetic strips on our Paris metro tickets, by putting them in my pocket with a magnetic closure… We got stuck inside the metro with no staff in sight to help, until a helpful Parisian woman told us to just jump over the top of the turnstiles.

    Beware magnetic closures and cards/tickets with magnetic strips!

    [Reply]

  6. Spoilt zipper says:

    I bought the Ultimate Hoodie and used it on my trip to Japan. It fitted well but the zipper fell apart after the 3rd day. The quality of the zippers is really questionable.

    [Reply]

  7. AndyW says:

    I’d like to see you review the burton travel hoodie. That looks more interesting to me.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Andy – I’ll see what I can do. I requested a PR sample some time ago, but never received a response.

    [Reply]

  8. cma says:

    I have the burton travel hoodie, nice but heavy cotton. The neck pillow really works as does the pull down eye cover. The pockets are OK, will hold some things, but not a lot. I actually gave it to my tween nephew who judged it “tight” which I think means it was good.
    All in all, ok for travel if you don’t want to travel lite, if you do, there are much better ways to have the same benefits and not in a very weighty cotton hoodie. I have a north face shirt with the ticket pockets that works just as well and that combined with a buff (tube scarf), and fleece you get the same benefits at half the weight.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    cma,

    Thanks for your comment – suddenly the Burton hoodie seems less attractive. I’ve often thought that a simple golf vest or “regular” fleece pullover often works best.

    [Reply]

  9. Michael W. says:

    Kory did you get the pullover? Tell us what you think of it!

    [Reply]

  10. Steve U. says:

    I was lured in by the utility of this hoodie, but when I received it I was quite disappointed. The quality of the material was really poor, and the sizes run small so even though a size L in every other item of clothing I have purchased is more than ample, in this case it was from day one too snug to do much with. And the placement of the iPhone pocket made it impossible to use if you were ever in a middle seat on a plane. This item is not worth the money, I have sent mine back and would not recommend the fleece hoodie at all. Maybe some of the other products are better.

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Steve,

    Thanks for the comment.

    11 months after my original post, here’s where I’m at with the SeV hoodie: I never wear it. It’s a good idea that’s poorly executed – and I refer specifically to the materials used by Scott Jordan’s Chinese manufacturer.

    I’d love to see something like this – perhaps without all the pockets and other B.S. – made with a material like Nike uses with some of their athletic wear. An example: this Therma-Fit golf pullover: http://bit.ly/btQuZa

    Wonderful material, great feel, good looking. I’ll keep looking; until then, the SeV languishes in my closet. It’ll find its way to Goodwill before the end of the year, I’m afraid.

    Thanks again for the comment.

    [Reply]

  11. Michael W. says:

    Readers shouldn’t get the idea that these things are TERRIBLY made but in terms of scale of quality – attention to all the details and materials, I would rank SEV as follows:

    1. Patagonia fleeces
    2. Marmot fleeces
    3. Under Armour (fleeces)
    4. Target fleeces
    5. SEV
    6. Walmart fleeces.

    Of course SEV has some very clever pockets.

    [Reply]

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