Rambling Review – WingWorks Upland Vest
Since moving to Arizona, I spend many weekends from October to February hunting Gambel’s quail. At present, I don’t have a bird dog, so that means that on any given morning I am hiking many miles after running birds. It is imperative that I carry enough water to keep me hydrated through the heat of the day and a vest that does not break my back or wear on my shoulders is equally important. I had my eye on the Wingworks Upland Vest for quite a while, and my amazing wife surprised me with one last Christmas. I broke it in at the end of last season and was able to put some birds in the bag and I am looking forward to putting more miles on the vest this upcoming season.
The weight – The Wing Works Vest is surprisingly heavy. Holding an unloaded vest, it definitely feels a bit on the hefty side. I think most of this has to do with the durable material that the pack is made from as well as the beefy waist belt. I will say that the weight disappears once you put the vest on and cinch up the waist belt.
The fit – Once that waist belt fastened, all the weight from the pack rode right on my hips and was barely noticeable. Right off the bat, I filled the waterbottles, loaded up the pockets with shells and other hunting odds and ends, and still the vest distributed the load extremely well.
The material – The WingWorks Upland Vests come in two different material options. The 1000 denier Cordora material is standard on their vests, while in the past few years, they have started to make some of their vests with a 1050 denier Balistic cloth that is 100% nylon. Although the Balistic cloth boasts a higher price point and perhaps a bit more thickness, in the long run, both cloth options are extremely durable. The WingWorks vest come in a couple different color combinations too. Shell bags, shoulder straps, and gamebags come in khaki, coyote tan, and blaze orange and can be mixed and matched to the owner’s preference.
Customized fit – During the ordering process, the folks at WingWorks ask for some body measurements so they can ensure that you get the best possible fit.
Made in the USA – In this day in age, it becomes tougher to find quality USA products. WingWorks vests are designed and manufactured here in the US.
WingWorks Upland Vests were designed for chukar hunters who are used to hunting with dogs in extreme conditions. In all honesty, I feel like this vest was made for someone who is going to chase Gambel’s.
This vest is rugged. WingWorks made a vest that can stand up to some serious abuse in the field. My vest is made from the 1000 denier Cordora fabric and is very hearty material. Like most bird vests, the bulk of the nastiness ends up in the bird bag. All the WingWorks gamebags are coated with Aqualon which is actually used in boat covers. This minimizes stains on the fabric and helps with cleanup at the end of the season. The game bag is easy to access one-handed when putting birds in the back.
This vests is comfortable. I can’t say enough about the waist belt and suspension system. The way this vests sits on your hips makes it seem much lighter than it actually is and makes for a very comfortable ride. On a hard morning hunt, I may be carrying 64 oz of water, 2 boxes of shells, a GPS, a light jacket, camera, and a small first aid kit and I can walk all day without the shoulder strain. There is a sternum buckle which keeps the shoulder straps centered and from slipping off as you are working in uneven conditions. I really cannot say enough about the overall comfort of this vest.
This vest carries plenty of water. These vests were built with the bird dog in mind so water is a must. There are two easy access 32 oz. water bottles on the backside of the vest. Without a dog, these serve me well for a morning hunt. There is also a pocket in the lumbar area of the game bag that is perfect for a hydration bladder.
This vest is well organized and thought out. The deep front pockets are excellent and the way they are positioned on the side of the belt as opposed to the front, keeps them banging into the hunter’s quads as you walk uphill (which is pretty common in Gambel’s hunting). These big deep pockets have a long flap that can velcro on the outside and keep those shells from falling out, or you can slide them inside the pocket where they can be secured by velcro, so that you can access shells quickly and easily. There is a big zippered pocket on the backside of the game bag, perfect for an extra box of shells, first aid kit, tp, etc. Another thoughtful touch is the loop on the back of the vest where you can secure a shirt or jacket once the day heats up. Here in Arizona, it can easily be in the 40s at the start of the day and by noon be in the 60s or 70s. It is nice to have someplace to cinch that jacket.
This vest is adaptable and there are many accessories that you can add to it. The WingWorks site is loaded with accessories that you can buy and add to your vest. One of the attachments that I’ve been eyeing is a pistol holster that fits right on one of the front pockets. Although there are a couple of options that WingWorks sells on their site, I found that a Maxpedition CP-L Radio Holder was the best option for my Motorola 2-way radio that I use when hunting with a buddy.
This vest is expensive, no doubt about it. I daresay it is the most expensive on the market, but, as many WingWorks owners will tell you, it’s a worthwhile investment for the serious bird hunter.
Made in the U.S.A
Capable of carrying tons of water
Very well designed
Vests are sturdy but heavy
Due to popularity, inventory can be a problem.
Prognosis: If you are a hunter who puts on some miles on in the field, the WingWorks Upland Vest certainly deserves your consideration.
The reviews at Arizona Wanderings are my honest opinion. Arizona Wanderings is not sponsored by or associated with any of the stated companies and is accepting no compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this review. My independent status may change in the future but, as of the date of publication, no relationship other than described above has been pursued or established.