OR Kakadu Kelly CC Vest
- I haven't done this in a long time, so be gentle with me, ok? Text below,
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KAKADU KELLY CC VEST
BY JOHN R. WATERS
JULY 18, 2011
NAME: John R. Waters
LOCATION: White Lake, Michigan USA
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 170 lb (77.10 kg)
BOOT SIZE 10.5 US
My backpacking began in 1999. I have hiked rainforests in Hawaii, Costa
Rica, and Puerto Rico, on glaciers in New Zealand and Iceland, 14ers in
Colorado and Death Valley's deserts. I hike or snowshoe 6-8 miles (10 km-13
km) 2-3 times weekly in the Cooper Mountain range, with other day-long hikes
on various other southwest and central Colorado trails. I frequently hike
the mountains and deserts of Utah and Arizona as well. My daypack is 18 lb
(8 kg); overnights' weigh over 25 lb (11 kg). I'm aiming to reduce my weight
load by 40% or more.
Manufacturer: Kakadu Traders Australia
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.kakaduaustralia.com
MSRP: US $129.99
Listed Weight: NA
Measured Weight: 33.5 oz (950 g)
Sizes Available: XS to 4XL
Size Reviewed: Large
Reviewer's Chest Size: 39 in (99 cm)
Reviewer's Torso Length (neck to waist): 20 in (51 cm)
Colors Available: Taupe, Loden Green, Mustard, Black, Tobacco & Blue
Color Reviewed Tobacco & Blue
Other details: This vest features in interior pocket for a gun. The "CC" in
the name stands for "concealed carry".
Picture Courtesy of Kakadu
The Kelly CC Vest is a rugged looking cotton canvas semi-fitted vest. The
zipper is a solid, heavy-duty bottom-to-top single zipper. The collar is a
standard fold-down collar made from genuine leather. According to the
interior label, the vest is "Developed in Australia" and "Made in China" of
100% cotton canvas exterior. The lining is said to be "100% cotton and 100%
nylon". I'm not sure what that means though.
There are four pockets on the front of the vest, two slash pockets at the
waist and two patch pockets at the chest. The chest pockets are sized nicely
for my mp3 player and can be secured closed via over-flaps and metal
buttons. There are two metal rivets at the top corner of the chest pockets
which lend a western touch.
The sides of the vest have small vents for ease of movement and can be
adjusted for size with a strap and slide buckle; sort of compression straps
for my body.
The back of the vest also looks "western" in the double stitching which
forms a shoulder yoke and vertical seams.
Of course, the main feature of this vest is in the interior two compartments
which give the Kelly its "CC". The compartments are assessable from openings
right at the zipper and each compartment has three stretchy pockets. One of
the pockets, the largest, is for my gun, the two smaller are for my extra
FIELD CONDITIONS AND PERFORMANCE
I was at the Outdoor Retail Show in Salt Lake City, Utah last year talking
to manufacturers all week and as I was walking through the main lobby, I
noticed a booth showing some really neat clothing. As a guy who really likes
vests, I strolled on over to a rack displaying vests and jackets that were
quite attractive. The line consisted of heavy duty canvas vests, leather
vests and quilted vests. I was really surprised when checking the interior
of the vests to discover that EACH SIDE of the vest had an interior
compartment to hold a concealed pistol and two clips. Heck, it also really
looks great, too! Wow, I wanted one!
So, I purchased the dark canvas vest with the dark green leather collar.
When I got home I quickly took out my EAA Witness 10mm pistol to see how it
I was quite impressed. This pistol is pretty large. I bought it to protect
my wife and me from bear, mountain lions, and other critters, when we hike
in the back country. The pistol fit well into an elasticized pocket inside
the concealed weapon compartment. To clear things up, I call it a
"compartment" but, actually it is the entire breast side of the vest from
top to bottom. Each side opens up with a tug on a hook and loop fastener
about midway down close to the vest's zipper.
This compartment can hold a lot more than the pistol if I wanted to load it
up with stuff and look fat. It will hold the pistol and two bullet clips on
each side. So I could actually pack TWO pistols and FOUR clips! Yikes! I
don't know why I would do that, but the format allows both left handed and
right handed access to a firearm as desired. I'm right-handed so I use the
When not packing a pistol, my HTC Touch Pro 2 cellular phone fits right into
the pistol holder. So I can also carry my cell phone on one side and the
pistol on the other when I want.
So why am I writing this review as part of the backpacking group? Because I
am able to use this vest with my backpack on!
In the past, I have used a belt holster for the pistol. I have not been able
to find a holster that fits the belts on my packs, so I was using a regular
belt holster that fit my pants belt. I tried one that clipped over my pants
belt, but that came off when bushwhacking through trees. Scared the blazes
out of my wife!
I tried a holster that has slots for my belt to thread through; however it
gets in the way of my pack belt. With my pistol inside the concealed weapon
compartment on this vest, I can reach right across my chest and inside to
get at my pistol. If the weather cools, I can still zip up the vest to my
pack chest strap and then I only have to unzip it down to the pack belt to
I've worn this vest just about everywhere on and off the trail for the
better part of the last year or so. The only time the vest gets pushed to
the back of my gear closet is when the temperatures exceed 75 F (24 C). I've
worn the vest in cold and icy conditions, usually over a couple of wool or
synthetic base layers depending on the temps. While I haven't had much
precipitation experience; it's been exceptionally dry the last year in CO, I
have gotten caught in a snow burst or two.
Locations where the vest was worn included Zion and Arches National Parks in
Utah, Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, and mostly, the Cooper
Mountain area of Colorado where I call 71 gorgeous acres (29 hectares) home
and which backs up to miles of road and track-less BLM land.
This vest is VERY well made and VERY well styled. It is on the heavy side,
so it is not something to wear in hot weather. I will say that nobody can
tell that I am carrying my pistol and that it is very comfortable when
Oh, the folks at Kakadu also tell me that the vest is washable leather and
canvas. I have not done had to wash my vest yet, but according to the care
instructions, a cold water wash with mild soap will not harm the vest and
that over time the fabric will change color to look more weathered.
Great vest. Highly recommended.
THINGS I LIKE
1.) Warmth without bulk.
2.) Can carry my gun without it being noticed.
3.) Is a great look, on the trail and around town.
4.) Wears great.
THINGS I DON'T LIKE
1.) Not a darn thing!
Obviously, I really like this vest, so much so that I bought another one in
a different color (blue) in January 2011. It is a great look and offers good
utility for me with its gun pocket. I can count on the Kelly Vest to keep me
warm without bulk 3 seasons of outdoor use and it has worn like iron. I just
might have to buy me another one next year.
John R. Waters
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