As the company's name suggests, it is the purveyor of a product called the eVest and Jordan offered to send me a test vest. Being one of those people that routinely has more technology on his person than most people have in their lives, I was genuinely excited about giving the eVest a try.
What is a technology-enabled vest? This garment has more pockets than a fisherman's vest, and almost every one of them has access to concealed conduits that can be used to hide the wires that hang off of whatever devices you carry. The number of pockets alone holds promise for making the vest incredibly useful. You can literally take a small-to-medium-sized notebook computer with you and whip it out of the vest at a moment's notice.
I'm one of those people whose eyes light up when I see lots of pockets. (When I came across Victorinox's WebPak in a luggage store, I bought it and evenutally reviewed it.) I see all those pockets as means to an end of a chronic problem I have: disorganization. However, in order to solve that problem with a plethora of pockets, you have to come up with a system for where everything goes, and stick to it religiously.
Deciding where everything goes is typically a function of two things: First, how frequently you need to access the device; and second, whether wires are attached to it. For example, if you have a cell phone with a hands-free earbud/microphone, the cell phone needs to be located in a pocket where it can be retrieved quickly. Also, the distance from that pocket, through the hidden conduits, and to your ear must be several inches shorter than the wire itself. Having that play makes it possible for you to do things like turn your head while talking without having the earplug suddenly yanked from your ear.
It's in situations like that where the eVest started to let me down. While my preference is to use a hands-free device with my cell-phone, I don't want to keep that device in my ear when the phone is not in use. If you're using an earbud as a hands-free device, the eVest has small elastic loops on the inside of its collar that the earbud can rest in until you need it. However, because a certain amount of play is needed in the wire, I found myself constantly fishing the wire back and forth through the elastic loop and the vest's conduits.
Playing with wires
When I needed the earbud, I would pull it away from the collar-mounted loops towards my ear and make sure there was substantial play in the wire. But when I was done, I had the choice of just letting the earbud and the wire dangle in an unsightly way from my collar, or I had to feed it back through the loop and the conduit to get the wire out of site. After all, one purpose of the eVest is to conceal wires. I soon grew tired of constantly playing with the wires. Eventually, I stopped using the conduits, but continued using the eVest for its pockets. If I needed the phone, I would pull it out of the vest's breast pocket, wire and all, use it, and then stuff everything back in the pocket. This approach also solved two other problems.
The first time I traveled by air with the eVest, I had to take it off and pass through the X-ray machine. I learned quickly that a garment with all sorts of wires running through it will pique the interest of airport security personnel. If you're the sort of person that doesn't like being held up at airport security checkpoints, the eVest is definitely not for you. The other problem that was solved when I stopped using the conduits was when I used my phone in my car--where I invariably connect it to a power cord. When the phone was simultaneously connected to the earbud through the conduit and to a power cord, I would wrestle with an entanglement of wires and my car's seat belt.
While the pockets proved to be a boon, it was only a matter of time before I sacrificed those as well. Actually, I sacrificed the entire vest, primarily because I didn't want to wear the same garment every day. The weather may also affect one's desire to wear this every day. Since I started testing the eVest, the company has released new models with removable sleeves and lighter fabric.
Even so, to get the most out of the eVest, you need to wear it often. Perhaps daily. If you don't, then you'll need a second set of wires for any devices that require them so that you can use those devices when you're not wearing the vest. Trust me: You don't want to be inserting and removing wires from the eVest on a regular basis. If the eVest cost between $20 and $30, I'd recommend buying two (in different colors) or buying one as a gift for a geeky friend or relative. Unfortunately, the vests start at $90. At that price, I just can't recommend it.