Best Turkey Vests Under $40

These less pricey turkey vests appeal to the modern hunter's minimalist approach

Turkey Vests

Turkey Vests

Turkey VestsF&S

Illustration by Jason Lee; Vests photos by Cliff Gardiner & John Keller

Top-end turkey vests have pockets tailored for every call and gobbler gizmo known to man, and those Cadillac models tend to run $100 or more. But an increasing number of modern hunters are adopting a more minimalist approach. Do you really need to drop a C-note to tote your gear and sit in comfort while chasing spring gobblers? Can a simpler, less pricey model do the job? To find out, I tested four budget turkey vests for under $40--two go for under $30--to see how each meets the needs of today's turkey hunter.

1. Walmart Tactical ­Run-n-Gun Turkey Vest
Utility and Fit: Good
Storage Capacity: Excellent
Pocket Design: Excellent
Seat Design: Very good
Durability: Excellent
Bargain Rating: Excellent

Comments: Walmart lists it as the Tactical Run-n-Gun, but all the tags say Mossy Oak Turkey Thugs. Either way, this vest had far and away the best pocket design, including dedicated pouches for box calls, mouth calls, and pots and pegs, as well as shell loops inside a spacious, lined pocket for general storage. The triangular seat was easy to deploy and surprisingly comfy, thanks in part to its 2-inch thickness. The magnum lined game pouch will tote several decoys in and a big gobbler out. And this is one tough vest; it handled a half mile of torture on my gravel road (see "The Test") like a walk in the park. It's definitely worth the extra $10 compared to the lowest priced vests here.

MSRP: $39.97; walmart.com

2. Cabela's Hammerin Turkey Vest
Utility and Fit: Good
Storage Capacity: Excellent
Pocket Design: Good
Seat Design: Good
Durability: Excellent
Bargain Rating: Very good

Comments: This vest is a great deal. There are dedicated pockets for a box call and mouth calls, both with snug, quiet closures that protect against loss. There are, however, no compartments specifically designed to hold pot calls and strikers. The seat is comfortable and can be deployed without removing the garment, which is a big plus when you're trying multiple spots. Because I'm accustomed to a strap-style vest, I was skeptical about the full-­shoulder design, but it carried a load well and comfortably. This vest held up very well in the drag test; the Seclusion 3D camo even looked a little better with some gravel dust ground in.

MSRP: $39.99; cabelas.com

3. RedHead Classic ­Turkey Vest
Utility and Fit: Good
Storage Capacity: Fair
Pocket Design: Poor
Seat Design: Good
Durability: Excellent
Bargain Rating: Good

Comments: The RedHead Classic is a comfortable, very lightweight turkey vest that rides well when loaded with gear, thanks to padded shoulder straps and closures at the waist and sternum. And it survived the durability test like a champ, showing little wear on the Mossy Oak Obsession camo. However, this model had no dedicated call pockets or shell loops, which makes for a potentially noisy jumble of calls, shells, and sundries. The padded seat was comfortable, but to unsnap it you need to remove the vest. Also, the gamebag was the smallest of the vests I tested; it'll tote a jake, but you'll probably be slinging a longbeard over your shoulder.

MSRP: $29.99; basspro.com

4. Walls Men's Turkey Vest Realtree
Utility and Fit: Good
Storage Capacity: Excellent
Pocket Design: Good
Seat Design: Good
Durability: Poor
Bargain Rating: Good

Comments: A higher-end vest on dramatic markdown through Amazon, this one may have limited availability by the time this magazine reaches your mailbox. But it was still on sale at press time and is well worth checking out, as the vest has some great features, including shell loops, dedicated pockets for box and mouth calls, and a lined gamebag that will clean up easily and is roomy enough to carry out the biggest gobbler. Although the seat was comfortable, it attached via a single snap that was difficult to reach. This vest fared the worst in the durability test, but if you only get out a few times a year, it should prove to be a solid bargain.

MSRP: $28.58; amazon.com