Tilley VOMP Travel Vest Review

The goal of my travel vest review is to look at all shapes and sizes of travel vests–whether they are my “cup of tea” or not.

The TilleyVest of Many Pockets (VOMP) is definitely a “unique” vest, that will appeal to a small slice of the population–but that population will fall deeply in love with the VOMP, I am sure. The VOMP is not as lightweight as the Magellan , nor is it as versatile as the Scottevest–but it fits the bill for a certain type of vest-wearer, for sure.

If you dream of khaki, birding, photography, or just like the mystique of retired fishermen, then this vest will float your boat (or your bobber, if you really are a fisherman).

There’s a lid for every pot, and there’s a vest for every body–so get cracking and see if you can do the VOMP.

Jump in and read this review right now, while the bird-watching is good.

Spoiler Alert:  The Tilley VOMP vest carries a jaw-dropping sticker price—tipping the scalesat $350 USD at the time of this writing. If that turns you off, you can leave now and nobody will get hurt.

If you are curious to know how a relatively unstylish canvas vest could cost upwards of $350, then you’re in for a treat, because here is the full, no-punches-pulled VOMP review.

The 30,000 foot overview:

When you see and feel the VOMP vest, it is immediately clear that this baby is sturdy.
The fabric is a thick, heavy, khaki canvas that looks like it was designed with the tourist, photographer or bird-watcher in mind.

A drawback to this vest, in my opinion: it only comes in khaki– meaning you’ll look like you’re on safari, no matter what.  If khaki is your thing, great—if not, move along to the next vest reviewed on the list…there’s nothing to see here.

The Tilley VOMP does come with a lifetime guarantee, so you are good to go in that department (see details here).

If you are still reading this, it must mean that the Tilley has piqued your interest. Well then, let’s find out if you are a good candidate for VOMP vest, shall we? Onward we go…

Here’s what’s under the hood of the Tilley VOMP Vest

Claim to fame:  Tilley’s VOMP vest is a heavy-duty khaki blended fabric (65% polyester/35% cotton) with a lifetime guarantee, and a  robust 50+ UPF sun protection rating—which is the maximum sun-block rating given to clothing.

Fabric: A thicker fabric, with a “canvas-like” feel to it.  This vest screams “durability”, but the shadow side of that is, it’s heavy. Loaded with a lot of gear, it might make you look and feel like a Grand Canyon pack mule.

Colors: Available in khaki only

Sizing: This vest is unisex, and uses men’s sizing–Small, Medium, and Large through 3XL

Care instructions: The VOMP is a wash-and-wear garment meant to be line-dried. I’d recommend giving yourself plenty of time to dry it out, before you intend to wear it. Because the fabric is heavy, the more air-ventilation you can get to the VOMP, the faster it will dry. Keep this in mind if you are in a hurry to wash your vest and need to take it on the road with you (it may take a little longer than you bargain for).  This garment cannot be bleached.

Fabric weight:  Heavier, with a canvas feel

Pocket types and number:  16 pockets in total

The Tilley’s pockets, range from oversized cargo-style pockets that can hold large camera lenses, birding books, field guides, to smaller pockets designed for coins and keys.

Here’s how the VOMP vest’s 16 pockets are laid out.

  • Four zipper-closed pockets located on the front exterior of the vest
  • Two velco® -closured bellow patch pockets on the upper portion of the vest’s exterior
  • Two velco ® -closured bellow pockets, gusseted more expansion, on the rear exterior of the vest
  • Two hand warming pockets on the inside of the vest
  • One large Velcro ®-closed pocket on the upper portion of the vest, near the chest
  • One deep Velcro ® -closed pocket on the upper inside of the vest
  • One partitioned patch pocket on the upper inside of the VOMP
  • One Velcro ® -closed pocket on the back of the vest
  • Two Velcro ®-closed patch pockets, with elastic cuffs on the vest’s lower interior

Organization rating: I’d give this vest a 6 out of 10 possible points. With plenty of large pockets, Velcro closures and partitioned pockets, you can pack a lot of items in your VOMP (ranging from keys to binoculars), but the pockets tend to be on the bulky side.

What this vest says about you:  This vest tells the world that you are bird watcher, tourist, fan of khaki or like a functional vest that is utilitarian.  If you like a heavier, safari styled vest, you’ll find this vest very attractive.

Blimp factor: The vest is bulky in and of itself. A fully loaded VOMP could leave you looking puffy and swollen, like you are carrying your life in your pockets. That’s okay, if you don’t mind looking like a person on a birding expedition or a tourist packed to the gills, for a day on a sight-seeing excursion.

Guarantee:  This vest is guaranteed for life against wear and tear.

What Tilley wants you to know about their vest:  The VOMP features a hidden Velcro ®-closed hood tucked into a special-zippered pockets, shoulder-to-yoke padding for comfortable hauling of items in your pockets, adjustable side-buckles for personalized fit, mesh panel ventilation in the upper back, and side buckles to adjust for added comfort.

Thumbs up: Built like a tank, the Tilley will be with you for a long time. The pockets give you plenty of room, with ample storage.

Thumbs down:  This vest is an expensive $350 USD—so you’d better love it for that price. I can’t see spending $350 on this vest, but then again, I’m not a khaki-loving bird watcher.

Seeing  that the vest is only available in khaki (at the time of this review) means you will always look like you are just gearing up for a safari or are off to fly-fish, no matter how you slice it.  For me, that’s a drawback, because I like to travel in “stealth mode” but maybe that’s not an issue for you?

Having Velcro ® closures on all pockets has a potential drawback that the Velcro ® gets less “sticky” over time. If the closures give out on you, you do have the lifetime guarantee to fall back on.

Your takeaway points— Because the VOMP is meant for people who like to go out on bird-watching expeditions, or carry photo equipment out in the field, you might love the VOMP if you are into those types of activities—and like khaki.

If you carry field guides in your pocket, are a rock hound, or just want a vest that will stand up to steady outdoor use, the VOMP may be a good choice for you.

For a retail price of $350 USD you’d better really love the look of this vest, since you’ll want to get your value out of it, wearing it for years to come.

The 50+ UPF sun protection-rating this vest offers is not that big of a benefit to me because you’ll still have your arms exposed to the sun. If it was hot enough for a sun burn, covering your arms with a long-sleeved shirt, plus wearing the heavy VOMP, is a likely recipe for overheating, in my opinion.

For the record, Tilley makes an awesome 50+UPF line of canvas hats that offer great sun protection if you need a hat that provides serious shade.

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