ALPS’s Impact Pro Turkey Vest: The Last Turkey Vest You’ll Ever Need

There are many choices when it comes to turkey vests. Be sure to study the fine print. You don’t want a sub-par vest with faulty pockets, poor stitching, and a game bag that won’t hold up. Or, you can skip the reading and wondering and purchase ALPS’ Impact Pro.

by Mark Kayser

Worlds collide for me in the spring. As the gobbling increases from the creek a mile below my house, I must make gut-wrenching decisions. Do I chase spring gobblers or continue my pursuit of shed antlers? The fight within is real. Rest assured, though, when the gobbles win, I will be hunting with the latest technology in hunting vests: the ALPS Impact Pro

As a diehard turkey hunter dating back to the 1980s, my collection of hunting vests includes nearly every model imaginable. Most included second-rate sewing, unaccommodating pockets, weak zippers, a game bag insufficient for toting a massive bird (not the Sesame Street one), and a seat cushion that allowed the occasional, unsuspecting prickly pear attack on my derriere.

A few vests came close, but during my years guiding turkey hunters and putting family first row to fanning toms, I always felt lacking in the vest department. 

Take, for instance, the times while guiding turkey hunters when I had to carry my gear and often the gear of others. One morning, my son and daughter, 12 and 10, respectively, both tagged out on bruiser toms within an hour of each other. Not only was I carrying their extra clothing layers and lunch, but dear old dad toted the duo of birds for a sizable chunk of the hike back to the truck. By the time we crossed the last creek, the sewing in the game bag started giving out, and I had to retire that vest. 

Most of those early vests were crafted from cotton, which, although comfortable, does not hold up like modern polyester fabrics. The entire Impact Pro vest includes heavy-duty polyester construction with a rugged feel that will wear forever. That rugged polyester also cleans up easily when mud grinds into your hunt or think positively here, blood splashes on the surface. 

Serious stitching joins all segments of the vest together with heavyweight thread designed to last a lifetime of use. Double and triple stitching is the norm for this serious garment. Adjustable shoulder, waist, chest, and side straps ensure the vest fits you with a tailored feel. This vest is far from a Walmart any-size-fits-all fail. 

As I slipped the vest on for the first time, I noticed all the inside amenities jacked up the weight of the less-than-four-pound vest. The crafting, though, is tough as nails. That weight soon became a distant thought as I experienced the comfort. ALPS utilizes polyurethane throughout for padding. Start in the shoulder pads where an open-foam pattern reduces weight yet provides the needed comfort when the vest is weighed down. Another layer of polyurethane, segmented in the back to coordinate in required body areas, provides a sturdy yet comfy base for your back. 

And forget about prickly pear cactus or other thorny vegetation attacks on your tush. The Impact Pro includes a full inch of padded, segmented comfort for your bottom that easily flips down or up. In the up position, it supports your back well. For some reason, if you do not wish to have a seat, possibly for a cross-country tom chase or in a blind, merely unzip the seat and set it aside. 

Even before donning the vest, you will notice the number of pockets. Some are standardized for your wish list and others designed for today’s hunter. There are a lot of pockets!  All eight sport handy ringed tabs for quick unzipping when you have gloves on or cold fingers (it’s a northern thing). Two large molded front pockets guard your precious heirloom box call, smartphone, or maybe you just have a special feeling for that salami sandwich you made before heading out the door. Regardless, they do not crush and provide Fort Knox protection. 

MOLLE webbing in strategic front panel locations secures a removable box call pocket that works on various other ALPS products. There is also a removable ThermaCELL pocket when insects are more plentiful than turkeys. It also mates with other ALPS products. In my ZIP code, the likelihood of snow is higher than that of mosquitoes during turkey season, but I have hunted Alabama and Georgia during the spring enough to know insects are a nuisance

You can add or subtract what you want with the MOLLE webbing and customize the vest to your hunting environment. The vest also includes two water bottle pockets. If a bottle of Wild Turkey makes it into one, please hold off until after the hunt.

The monstrous game bag adjusts for size and has a built-in pocket for your turkey decoy stakes. Nice! On the outside is yet another pocket, which is perfect for more gear, quick access to a second decoy or even to stow that hoodie when morning temperatures spike. One year, while guiding a hunter in the closing hours of the season, I asked him if he cared if I took my shotgun and, if an opportunity arose, tagged a tom or two (I had double tags that year). He obliged. That day we tipped over three mature toms in one setup. It sure would have been nice to have the help of the Impact Pro game bag that day. 

As I type this, I am still weeks away from the opener. Still, I did load up my vest for a trial run, and it handles the job and then some. I appreciated the ease with opening pockets aided by the ringed zipper pulls. When a turkey shouts at you from behind a ridgeline, and you need a call fast, the molded front pockets deliver. I also appreciated the seat’s water resistance. Combined with the polyurethane padding, any ground dampness was a distant worry for my bottom. Many turkey hunts, especially in the early spring, start with frost or snow on the ground. The Impact Pro comes in Mossy Oak Original Bottomlands with an MSRP of $149.99. An investment in a lifetime product is always worth it.

All this writing about turkey hunting excites me about that first hunting season gobble and the smell of powder hanging in the air on a damp spring morning. 

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