Just in time for your summer vacation, the Scottevest Tropiformer Jacket conceals 22 pockets that you can use to store all your gadgets, from SD cards to iPads. This $150 water-resistant windbreaker also converts into a vest, and can be easily packed into itself. Should the Tropiformer be your new travel companion?
Our review sample of the Scottevest Tropiformer Jacket came in red with gray zippers, but you can also choose an all-blue jacket, Cement, Pewter with red zippers, or green with white zippers.
The jacket comes in six sizes ranging from small to XXX-large. Ours, a large, weighed only 1.4 pounds, making it easy to stow. The back inside of the jacket is a breathable mesh that helps keep you cool, and a small hood, tucked into the collar, helps keep the rain off your head. The jacket itself is water-repellent, but not waterproof.
Like the Fleece 7.0, the Tropiformer's sleeves are removable, so that the jacket can become a vest. Unlike the fleece, where the sleeves are attached using zippers, on the Tropiformer, they're held in place by magnets. The magnets work well, but will stick to anything metallic. We found this out the hard way when standing too close to a metal door. A warning label inside the jacket warns against wearing the Tropiformer if you have a pacemaker or similar device.
The Tropiformer comes with enough pockets to store all manner of gadgets and materials. We especially like the small icons sewn into the jacket, explaining what kind of gadget should go in each pocket.
Starting from the outside, a zipper on the left breast opens to reveal two pockets separated by a piece of fabric, which itself is held shut using a magnet. Inside the jacket, the inner pocket has a small slot through which you can thread headphone wires.
There are two hand pockets on the outside. Inside the right pocket is an elastic strip for a water bottle that was cumbersome to use, as well as a plastic cord and metal clip to which you can attach your keys.
The lefthand pocket, like the breast pocket, divides into two. The inside half leads to a pocket designed for smartphones. Called the clear touch pocket, it has a plastic film through which you can see and control your smartphone's screen. While we could control our iPhone easily, having to angle this pocket upwards to see what we were doing was less than practical. However, from this pocket, you can snake a headphone wire up through the jacket to the collar; two small elastic loops hold the earbuds in place. If you have in-line controls, then stowing your smartphone in this pocket makes sense.
Inside, the lefthand flap of the jacket has two small sleeves for pens near the zipper. Below that is a larger zippered pocket designed to hold a point-and-shoot camera. This pocket has a small Velcro divider, as well as a smaller pocket inside it, for holding SD cards.
At the top of the righthand interior is a long vertical pocket, open at the top, for storing sunglasses. Behind it is another zippered pocket, which has a lens-cleaning cloth attached to an elastic band. The cloth itself has a diagram of all the pockets in the Tropiformer.
Below is another large zippered pocket designed to hold tablets. Though it easily accommodated the iPad and other 10-inch tablets, anything larger than that, such as the Surface Pro and Samsung ATIV, were too long.
A pocket on the lower part of the right interior unzips to fit your wallet, passport and money. Inside this pocket is another, smaller zippered pocket.
Finally, a pocket on the back of the Tropiformer contains a small pouch into which you can stuff the jacket. Just make sure you've removed all your gadgets first.
While we like that the Tropiformer can hold nearly as many gadgets as the Fleece 7.0, the lighter weight of the Tropiformer means that you'll notice all those gadgets in your pockets a lot sooner.
Having used the Scottevest Fleece 7.0 while going through airport security, being able to stash not only my phone, but my wallet and other documents in an article of clothing, rather than having them out in the open in a tray, is not only convenient, but added to my peace of mind. The Scottevest Tropiformer takes that concept and puts it in a lightweight jacket good for those times when a fleece is too heavy. We especially like that the jacket can be bundled up and stuffed into itself. While $150 is a little steep for what is essentially a windbreaker, road warriors with a lot of gadgets will appreciate the versatility of the Scottevest Tropiformer.