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The Best Turkey Hunting Vests for Spring

It takes gear to get a bird this close, and a good turkey vest will carry it all.
It takes gear to get a bird this close, and a good turkey vest will carry it all. (Shoeib Abolhassani / Unsplash/)

Successful turkey hunting requires specialized turkey hunting gear. None of it is big or heavy, but you’ve got lots of little things to carry and keep track of: Calls, clippers, shells, snacks, water, decoys and more all help make hunts more successful. A turkey hunting vest gives you a place to organize and carry your hunting gear so it’s at your fingertips when you need it. A vest can also carry a dry, soft cushion to sit on, or even function as a chair. Some kind of vest is an essential part of your turkey hunting apparel, and certainly the most important item of hunting clothes you have to choose. Here’s how to find the best turkey hunting vest for your style of hunting.

Features to Consider When Shopping for the Best Turkey Vest

Finding the best turkey hunting vest begins with taking an inventory of the turkey hunting gear you carry, and considering where and how you hunt. If you’re a run and gun type hunter you’ll want a lightweight turkey vest, while gear junkies who carry as many calls as they can may prioritize storage space over all else.

Regardless of how you hunt, there are some features you’ll want to consider whenever you shop for a turkey hunting vest. Be sure it has enough pockets to carry your gear. Some hunters insist on a vest with a game bag for carrying decoys and blind material and as a place to stash extra layers as the day warms up. Dedicated pockets are a nice feature, especially box call pockets that carry a call securely enough so it doesn’t squeak when you’re walking. Fitted pockets that hold and protect fragile pot calls are very useful, too.

The best turkey hunting vest for you is the one that lets you organize your essentials in such a way that you can easily find them, even in the dark.

Finally, remember that this is also hunting clothing. It should come in an appropriate turkey hunting camo, and should fit you comfortably or you won’t be happy with it no matter how many other features it has. The best turkey vest for you has to fit your hunting needs, and it has to fit you, too.

Best Turkey Vest for Carrying Gear: ALPS OutdoorZ Super Elite 4.0 Turkey Vest

Best Turkey Vest with Seat: RedHead Bucklick Creek Turkey Lounger Vest

Best Warm-Weather Turkey Vest: Nomad Mens MG Turkey Vest

Best Lightweight Turkey Vest: Cabela’s Speed Seat Half Turkey Vest

Best Cheap Turkey Hunting Vest: RedHead Classic II Turkey Vest

Do You Carry a Lot of Turkey Hunting Gear?

Turkey hunting can be like fishing. Just as you never know which lure the fish will hit on a given day, sometimes you have to try several calls until you find the one a turkey will respond to. If you’re the kind of hunter who wants to throw every sound possible at turkeys, you’ll need a vest with enough pocket to hold all your calls, protect them, keep them quiet, and keep them organized.

Best Turkey Vest for Carrying Gear: ALPS OutdoorZ Super Elite 4.0 Turkey Vest

Twenty-two pockets hold everything you need for a morning in the woods, plus extras.
Twenty-two pockets hold everything you need for a morning in the woods, plus extras. (ALPS OutdoorZ/)

This is a great vest for hunters who like to carry a lot of gear, and for those who find the traditional sleeveless vest more comfortable than a strap vest design. The large, bloodproof gamebag is big enough to hold decoys, or a gobbler once you fill your tag.

Do You Hunt Turkeys in Open Country?

Turkeys live in a lot of places besides big timbers. If you hunt where suitable trees to sit against are few and far between, you’ll really appreciate a vest that includes its own chair. A few different vests on the market are built around integral frames or have straps, cushions and backrests that make them into portable chairs. Being able to set up anywhere instantly instead of having to look for the nearest big tree can make the difference when a turkey gobbles close by, too.

Best Turkey Vest with Seat: RedHead Bucklick Creek Turkey Lounger Vest

Think of it as a folding stadium seat, except it has pockets and you can wear it.
Think of it as a folding stadium seat, except it has pockets and you can wear it. (RedHead/)

The Bucklick Creek vest was the first vest designed with an integral chair. Unlike aluminum frame models that are bulky and heavy, this model has a light, internal frame and nylon straps connecting the backrest to the seat. You can lean back in it when your seat gets sore, too. The Turkey Lounger has well-designed pockets for box and pot calls, and a roomy gamebag. It comes in one size fits all for men, and Bass Pro offers a women’s turkey vest just like it under their SHE brand.

Do you hunt turkeys in very warm weather?

Some of the best turkey hunting takes place late in the season, after most of the hens are bred and gobblers start cruising and looking for any females that are still available. Late season turkey hunting means fighting the heat and the bugs. You’ll appreciate a lightweight turkey vest when temperatures rise, and a vest that has a dedicated Thermacell pocket can make hot weather hunts even more comfortable.

Best Warm-Weather Turkey Vest: Nomad Mens MG Turkey Vest

A cool strap design and pockets only for the gear you really need keep this vest from becoming a burden on a warm day
A cool strap design and pockets only for the gear you really need keep this vest from becoming a burden on a warm day (Nomad/)

Perfect for late hunting season, this lightweight strap vest has a special pocket designed to hold a Thermacell mosquito repeller so you always have it with you. Made for traveling light in the heat, it has 11 total pockets, including a no-squeak box call pocket. It comes in Mossy Oak Obsession, an excellent turkey hunting camo for late season. It has several adjustment straps so you can customize the fit.

Do You Run-and-Gun for Turkeys?

Covering ground, calling and hoping to get an answer from a lonely turkey is one of the very best hunting tactics during the middle of the day. For hunters who dislike sitting still, it’s the most enjoyable way to hunt, too. If you plan to put miles on your boots, you’ll want to travel as light as possible. You don’t need much. Usually run and gun hunters don’t have time to set up a decoy when birds gobble close. You just need a couple of calls, a few shells and water to see you through a long hiking hunt.

Best Lightweight Turkey Vest: Cabela’s Speed Seat Half Turkey Vest

This vest won't weigh you down during all day hunts.
This vest won't weigh you down during all day hunts. (Cabela's/)

Strictly speaking, this is hardly a turkey hunting vest. It’s more of a fanny pack, but it functions like a vest, and you’ll appreciate that as you’re walking, especially on a warm day. Basic though it may be, it does hold all of your turkey hunting gear essentials. It has a pot call pocket, a water bottle pocket, and an accessory pocket big enough for shells, compact binoculars and a protein bar. The Speed Seat folds out of the way and drops down as needed.

Budget Turkey Vests: What You Get for under $50

If you don’t carry a lot of outdoor gear, and if you’re tough enough or young enough that you don’t care if you can feel a few sticks and roots poking through a thinner cushion, you can pack everything you need into a simpler vest design. You might have to make a little extra effort to silence your box call with a heavy rubber band and a scrap of cloth under the lid, but a lot of the other extras of more expensive vests, like shell loops, aren’t crucial anyway.

Best Cheap Turkey Hunting Vest: RedHead Classic II Turkey Vest

Two main pockets and a box call pocket offer plenty of room for all your turkey hunting gear.
Two main pockets and a box call pocket offer plenty of room for all your turkey hunting gear. (RedHead/)

The left pocket on this Bass Pro hunting vest features inner dividers for pot calls and strikers. It has a big gamebag, a detachable seat, and a blaze orange safety flag. A sternum strap keeps the shoulder straps from sliding off down. It’s everything you need in a vest without any frills, and it comes in a pair of TrueTimber camo patterns so you can choose the one that best blends into your turkey woods.

Best Turkey Vest FAQ: People Also Ask

What colors should you not wear while turkey hunting?

Answer: You should avoid the colors red, white and blue in your turkey hunting apparel. Those are the colors of a gobbler’s head, and you don’t want another hunter to mistake a flash of red, white or blue movement for a bird in the excitement of the hunt. The best turkey hunting clothes are either drab browns and greens, or turkey hunting camo made to blend into the spring woods.

How do I know what size turkey vest to get?

Be sure to buy a vest that fits over whatever layers you might have to wear in the cooler, early part of the season. That’s especially a concern for hunters up north, where early spring can be quite cold. Most strap-style vests don’t even offer a choice of size. They are one-size-fits-all. Be sure to choose one with enough adjustment straps that you can make it fit you. A sternum strap that keeps the main straps from sliding off your shoulders is very important for some hunters.

What Gear Do You Need for Turkey Hunting?

You will want camouflage clothing, including gloves and a face mask to help you hide. Most hunters like to use several different calls, but you can get by with a pot and striker call only, and a mouth call for hands-free use when birds are close. Owl and crow calls are useful for locating turkeys by making them gobble. Clippers come in handy for clearing yourself a place to sit or building a temporary blind. Decoys are popular, with most hunters preferring a jake and hen pair. Popup blinds are a great way to hide, although they limit you to one place. If you would rather be mobile and have a place to keep all your gear organized, buy a turkey vest with a seat.

Pro Tip: How to Hunt Better with a Turkey Vest

Not only is a turkey vest useful for holding your gear during a day in the woods, it’s a convenient place to keep all your turkey hunting gear organized, too. All you have to do is keep it topped up with water and snacks, and grab it in the morning and go. Having all your hunting gear stored in the place every morning helps you find the gear you need, even in the dark.

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