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The Best Travel Jacket Ever?

That’s me and Pepper, just back from a stroll about the grounds of Chateau Orwoll. I’m wearing the Quantum Jacket from ScotteVest, or SeV, which I wish I had had with me a month ago during a two-week multi-country trip, because it’s the best travel jacket I’ve ever worn. The main reason it’s so great? Storage.

You’d never be able to tell by looking at this picture, but here is what I am carrying within the coat’s multifarious pockets, flaps, hidey-holes, secret pouches, and zip-up pouches: iPod (right Clear Touch Fabric Pocket), Blackberry (left Clear Touch Fabric Pocket), business cards (inner Clear Touch Fabric Pocket), digital camera (inner Digital Camera Pocket) sunglasses (inner Eyeglass & Chamois Pocket), passport (left exterior Vertical Chest Pocket), a full-size 300-page “I Love NY” guidebook (inner PubPocket), train tickets in a document folder (inner Travel Doc Pocket), keys and full-size water bottle (right exterior Hand Warmer Pocket, with elastic band to lock the water bottle in place), street map (right exterior Vertical Chest Pocket), Metro card (left Sleeve Pocket), pen and notepad (right Sleeve Pocket), and, in the roomy exterior Back Pocket, the entire Sunday newspaper, including color comics and advertising supplements.

You might ask, Why does Mark need all these things for a simple dog-walk around his exurban empire? You’re missing the point, mate. You won’t find a garment with more pockets (28, to be exact) this side of Harpo Marx’s closet. I could have carried even more stuff (hot cup of coffee, functioning blowtorch), but at the time I posed for the picture I still hadn’t found all the hiding places. This isn’t just a jacket—it’s a piece of carry-on luggage.

The creator of the Quantum jacket ($250, from www.scottevest.com) and founder/CEO of SeV is outdoorsman and traveler Scott Jordan, who. Like many of us, wanted but couldn’t find smart-looking travel wear that would hold a lot safely and without looking bulky. The reason? Most clothing companies, he says, add pockets as an after-thought. “We first asked ourselves, what do people want to carry with them? Then we worked back from there.” SeV’s line of jackets even has a patented system for stringing the wires of your head phones so they don’t get in your way.

I don’t usually buy clothing that comes with directions, but I can appreciate why SeV products are filled with small instruction cards telling you the best ways to use the clothing. The website even has videos with detailed instructions. But finding the hidden pockets on your own, and deciding how best to use them, is part of the fun of SeV clothing.

SeV makes slimmer jackets in fleece, with nearly as many pockets as the heftier Quantum. They also make pants with as many as 10 pockets, as well as windbreakers pullovers, shorts, polos, vests—check out Jordan’s YouTube vest demo, below—and T-shirts, all with the traveler in mind. In fact, apart from the shoes, everything I’m wearing in the picture at top, including the cap (with hidden pockets, natch) is from SeV. The company’s next product? A trench coat with the requisite hidden compartments, plus pockets sufficiently capacious to hold a dopp kit and some shirts.

Jordan claims that spies have purchased his clothing. I don’t know about that, but I know there’s at least one person who operates outside the law wearing a Quantum jacket—specifically, whoever stole mine from a Mexican restaurant in White Plains over the weekend. But that’s all right: I had already removed all the instruction cards, so the sneaky bugger will never figure out how to use it!

Mark Orwoll is the international editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo (top): Courtesy of Mark Orwoll

Photo (bottom): Courtesy of SeV

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