Review: Duck Camp Vest

On those unpredictable fall days, when Mother Nature gets downright schizophrenic, nothing beats a good softshell—it's flexible and warm, it shucks light rain and driving snow, and it can be worn by itself in moderate weather or under a shell when things get nasty. And among softshell options, the Duck Camp Contact Vest is among the best.

I've worn it in all conditions, from frigid mornings to cool afternoons, from thundershowers to bone-chilling wind, and it's never let me down. The vest moves with me, keeps me toasty, and lets in air where I need it to. Little touches pay big dividends, like the microfleece-lined, magnetic-closure chest pockets, for warming up the hands or stashing a map for quick retrieval. On top of all that, the Contact is strong and durable—I've beaten the brush for hours with nary a significant scuff in the fabric.

As a hunting garment, it's nice and quiet, with several camo patterns available; but I chose the solid-brown ("pin oak") option, so I could wear it during other activities and around town, too. Yep, it's that versatile—at least until it gets covered in elk blood.