Somewhere along the way my hunting got a little side-tracked. I'd forgotten about those early days in the woods sitting with my back against a birch tree while watching a nearby oak or hickory tree for squirrel with my trusted 22 or walking an old railroad bed with a 20-gauge Remington 870 Wingmaster with hopes of kicking up a rabbit or two. Instead I found myself focusing primarily on deer hunting and paper punching - a side effect or running this site I guess as I just don't have to the time to get out and hunt as much as I used to.
Wanting to get back to those roots and realizing I could no longer fit into the dusty old vest that had served me well for nearly 20 years I went looking for a suitable replacement. Everything I came across locally was off-brand, cheaply made and left a lot to be desired. Even some of the name brand stuff I found at places like Gander Mountain and Dick's was less than impressive. Then on a trip up to the Cabela's store in Dundee, MI I found exactly what I was looking for in their Classic II Upland vest, and unlike most things at Cabela's the price was very reasonable given the features and quality.
One thing most any hunter knows is that you can never, ever have too many pockets to stash stuff. There's ammunition, a compass, maps, game calls, a skinning knife and God knows what else you want to bring along with you when hunting, but all those things need a place and that place is a pocket. The Classic II Upland vest from Cabela's doesn't disappoint in this department with two standard sized cargo pockets with a snap closure and two jumbo sized zippered cargo pockets on the front, an inside pocket on either side of the interior, and a large game pouch that wraps around the entire vest and is accessible from either side of the rear of the vest and through the slash openings that flank the main zipper on either side of the front of the vest. In addition, there are elastic shotshell loops sewn to the front of each of the standard size cargo pockets complete with an overhang flap to keep your shells dry and clean in inclement weather. There is also a snap on either side of the game pouch to allow for a little expansion when a little more space is needed for that last squirrel or pheasant.
Along with the game pouch, the rear of the vest also features a panel with grommets to hang your hunting license. I'm not sure how many states still require the license to be displayed on the back (Ohio hasn't for awhile now), but it's nice to see as if nothing else it's a reminder of the good old days. Another feature on the rear of the vest is the zipper to fully open the game pouch for cleaning. Knowing how rank the game pouch could get in my old vest this is a nice option so you can easily get in there and clean up any blood, feathers or hair left over from a successful outing.
The exterior shell is constructed of 100% cotton canvas while the game pouch is lined with 100% nylon. The zippers are all top quality YKK, and the snaps are of the spring-loaded type so you won't have to worry about them coming unsnapped by accident. All of the stitching is uniform and nicely done with little to no stray threads to be found. In short, the quality is top notch. It is however made in China, but given most all textiles are made overseas these days it's kind of a moot point.