Viking Cycle Freedom Denim Vest Review
I don’t tend to wear a vest as often as I once did—and I’m not sure why. But recently, I decided to give a vest a try as riding weather hereabouts got cooler.
I’ve had great service from the Viking Cycle brand riding jackets I have (see the review of the Ironside jacket), so I decided to give their Freedom vest a try.
First thing I saw that I liked is that the shell is 100-percent cotton denim. The inner lining is the same denim as the exterior at the front and breathable orange mesh at the back. The vest is uninsulated, but with the double layer denim up front, it offers good protection from the wind.
While providing the classic denim vest look, this motorcycle vest has some handy advanced features. Most notable among them: pockets, lots of pockets.
There are four pockets on the outside where you’d expect them; two unlined on the chest with metal snap closures and two lined glove pockets without a closure. Inside, the storage capacity expands with no less than six more.
There are two mammoth vertical-opening pockets with metal snap closures on each side of the front, each big enough to swallow a full-size folded road map (4” x 9 ½ “) with loads of room to spare.
Overlying that pocket on the right side is another hefty (measuring about 5” x 9” inside) vertical-opening lined pocket with metallic YKK zipper closure. That pocket has a button-hole style opening to allow earphone wire to be threaded out via the opening of the underlying larger pocket. On top of that (literally) is yet another patch-style open-top pocket measuring about 4” x 5”.
On the left side interior overlying that mammoth vertical pocket is a 2” x 4” knife pocket with heavy duty nylon retainer strap that has a hook-and-loop closure with a rubber grab-tab on the end to make it easy to operate, even with gloves on.
Just above that is a gun pocket about six inches deep in case you have a concealed carry permit. If you don’t, the pocket can accommodate a large multi-tool or flashlight or what have you. To keep your gat in place there is another heavy-duty nylon retainer strap with rubber grab-tab and hook-and-loop closure. Neither of the non-elastic retainer straps are adjustable for length.
At the interior of the right shoulder are three button-hole style openings, but not for buttons. These allow your com wiring to be threaded through and up to the collar where a nifty hook-and-loop closure flap runs across to allow wiring to be held in place.
Nearly every seam except those forming the pockets is double-stitched, so this thing should be able to put up with some long wear. To allow for best fit at the waist there is a two-position adjuster on each side of the exterior with metal snap closure. It has a Henley turn-down style collar and five-snap front closure.
Unlike the denim of old that required a number of washing cycles to soften it up some, this denim is soft pre-washed and yet has the hallmark durable feel that makes denim everybody’s favorite material for riding gear—along with good leather, of course. Care is standard practice you’d see with any denim articles—machine washable-cold, but no chlorine bleach.
I didn’t try packing a pistol in the gun pocket, though I imagine it could accommodate a four-to six-inch barrel depending on the type of weapon.
Though the sizing is generous, if you actually plan on packing a lot of stuff in those huge interior pockets and still want to be able to close the front snaps, you may want to consider going up one or even two over-sizes.
Extra gloves, maps, tablet, cell phone, gun, knife, notebook, sunglasses, bottle of bug repellent, you name it—it adds up in a hurry and takes up space. This is particularly true if you also anticipate wearing a fairly thick base layer inside. Vests with cargo pockets on the outside can usually be selected true to your normal size—cargo pockets on the inside need extra room if you’re going to load ‘em up.
In use, all the snaps, zippers and retainer straps worked without a hitch. Length for me was just about right whether standing or in the saddle and overall fit was comfortable.
The Viking Cycle Freedom Denim vest is a fresh take on a classic bit of riding gear that works well and is built to last. It’ll allow you to haul gear your riding jacket might not.
Viking Cycle Freedom Denim Vest Review: Fast Facts:
- MSRP: $59.99
- Sizes: S to 2XL
- Country of origin: Pakistan
- For more, visit Motorcycle House