Ok, time for a review. My Tropiformer jacket arrived after I came back from Cabo and before I left for England. I have to say that in England it’s easily been one of my most useful pieces of equipment. I’ve been living in this thing. Let’s go through the features from their website in no particular order…
Transformer Sleeves – These removable sleeves are a single unit not two sleeves that you have to attach separately. To put them on you just slip your arms through. Magnetic fasteners automagically put it in place. The only caution is that the magnetic fasteners aren’t a sure thing. Sometimes a little adjustment is needed.
Futuristic Materials – Very comfortable. Light weight. Not too hot in warm weather. Adequately waterproof. Feels good to the touch.
iPad Pocket – I don’t use this for my iPad, but I do use it for my Kindle and all the brochures and maps that I need to carry around. It’s a filing cabinet in a pocket. Much nicer then having to store these things in a backpack or folded up in another pocket.
Quick Draw Pocket – I use this occasionally. It’s handy if you want to check the time quickly. Not as handy otherwise. It would be nicer if they would have allowed enough room for the strain relief on my earbud cable. As it is it almost fits, but not quite.
Locking pocket – Doesn’t work and I don’t use it. Too small for a passport.
Personal Area Network – This is pretty cool. It takes a bit to figure out how to wire in a set of earbuds. The on-line instructions don’t apply to this jacket, but with some work you can figure it out. This came in handy for the multimedia guide at Bletchley Park. I’ll likely use it a lot for listening to audiobooks while walking when I get back home.
Packable ??? – Don’t know. I haven’t tried it yet. I like the idea, but I’m not sure what I’d do with all the stuff that I’m carrying around in my jacket.
Weight Management System – I think they’ve done a good job here. Carrying my Kindle in the iPad pocket and my camera in the camera pocket is comfortable and not too clunky.
Zipper Pulls – No complaints, which is what you’d hope for.
Handwarmer Pockets – They seem to work ok. Deep enough for your hands and other clutter that accumulates there. The earbud cable in the left pocket can get in the way once in awhile.
Water Bottle Holder – HUGE disappointment. I would have liked to use this for a water bottle or a camera lens. It’s just too poorly designed to be useful. The strap is too wide and the loop is too small to manipulate without taking the jacket off. Kind of defeats the purpose. They should replace the elastic strap with velcro.
Extendable Key Holder – Very handy. I attached my room key to it and stopped thinking about it. They’re always there when I need them.
Magnetic Pocket Closers – I like them. One less thing to futz around with when you’re trying to put something away. They just snap into place.
Stowable Hood – Works great. It’s rained here a few times and it does a good job of keeping me dry. It’s also not so heavy that you can’t hear what’s going on around you.
Divided In & Out Pocket – I don’t really use it. It’s not particularly handy.
Lumbar Pocket – Perfect place to store the sleeves when you aren’t using them.
Change Pocket x2 – If there are change pockets I haven’t found them. I don’t know what they’re talking about. I would have liked a change pocket since the change I’m carrying is rattling around the right handwarmer pocket.
Bud Bucket Pocket x2 – These are a great place to store your earbuds when you’re not using them. Very handy.
Eyeglass and Chamois Pocket – Generally these are great. I’m glad there are two. I store my sunglasses in the mesh pocket and my reading glasses in the zippered pocket. The only downside is that with wraparound sunglasses it’s kind of bulky, uncomfortable, and in the way. I suppose I could solve this by not having wrap around sunglasses. I suspect that there may also be a subtle design change possible that might make this less of an issue. The Chamois with the pocket map is very cool.
Travel Documents Pocket – A good place to store your passport. Not so handy for boarding passes.
Pen Pocket x2 – Generally very handy. Since most of the credit cards in England are chip based, most people don’t have to sign credit card slips. As a result many cashiers don’t have pens handy. It’s been very useful to have a pen handy for this and for capturing the email address of a new friend.
Divided Digital Camera Pocket – Works great. I carry my backup point-n-shoot here along with my lens cleaning brush. I didn’t discover that it was a divided pocket until after I had worn it for awhile. The divider is a velcro strip, which makes this pocket very flexible.
Here are some boring pictures of the jacket. When I get a chance I’ll get someone to take a picture of me wearing it and add it to this post.
ScotteVest sells a few things on Amazon but mostly they sell from their website. The Tropiformer jacket is my third purchase from ScotteVest. In general the quality is good and the design is what I’m looking for. I recommend that you check them out.