The vest breathes very, very well. The temperature increased dramatically during the first day. I didn't get hot in it, despite hauling four loaded 140 pods and a 92/4500 tank all day. The pods did not come undone, or even loose, despite my crawling/running/dodging all day in underbrush.
The two velcro pockets, upper right and lower left front, held firmly as well. Special OPs has not skimped on the velcro here, either. I kept my car keys securely in the upper right pocket through two full days of woodsball. That sort of trust in my gear is important to me.
The lower left velcro pouch holds several (3 to 4) energy bars without any problem. They also held a folding squeegee, although the fit was a little tight with the food. Once I took two bars out, the fit was just fine. Like my car keys, above in the upper right pocket, everything remained secure throughout the weekend's activities.
There are two snap enclosures on the lower right portion of the vest. These enclosures will hold a grenade or similar small thing, each. They can hold a small, roll-up squeegee, but that fills up the enclosure. I could not fit my FoxFire radio into either of these pouches.
There is another pouch on the upper left portion of the vest. It closes by velcro. I think it's primarily for radios. My FoxFire just fit into it, although it was a snug fit. I would like to see the pocket a little deeper, to better hold a radio.
There is also a pocket in the back for a water pocket of some kind, up to 100 ounces. I used a 50 ounce Camelback in mine. There was plenty of room in the enclosure for it and the Camelback stayed in position throughout two days of heavy use. I would like to see some D-rings for securing the mouthpiece but I was able to tuck it into the upper left velcro pouch.
There are four pod pouches in the back, two on the left and two on the right. They easily hold 140 count pods. The pods are held in the upside position. The pouches are not moveable, so if you like your pods rightside up, you will either have to adjust, purchase a different vest or seriously alter this one. The pod straps are heavy with velcro; I didn't lose one pod the whole time I was playing.
I used the optional bottle holder with my vest. It held the biggest tank I had available, a 92/4500, with room to spare. There are the traditional two velcro cross pieces to hold the tank in the pouch. There is also an adjustible belt, across the body of the pouch, that helps hold the tank in place.
Special OPs has also laid the velcro on heavy in attaching the tank pouch. The vest is a little different: the portion between the pods forms a tunnel, lined with velcro. The tank pouch has a fabric "tongue" that lifts up and is inserted into the tunnel. You then close down the tunnel and reattach the tongue to the pouch. It's a little tough to open but once you set it up, that bottle pouch is not going anywhere.
A sidenote about the bottle pouch: it is a separate item for this vest. I did not realize that when I ordered the vest. The pouch is another thirty something dollars on top of the vest. Personally, I think for a vest of this price, the tank pouch should come with the vest. Just be sure to order the bottle pouch along with your vest.
Postscript: I did order the bottle pouch once I realized it was a separate item. There were some delays (i.e., everyone else wanted one as well so it was back-ordered) in getting one. I called Special OPs and spoke with several people. I explained I wanted to test the pouch at the upcoming weekend scenario game. Everyone was fantastic. Special OPs rushed one to me in record time, even double-checking with me to see if I received it. Kudos to everyone there for their top-notch customer service!
This post has been edited by Mud Dog: 05 April 2005 - 07:51 PM