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Correspondent's Vest

The ultimately best traveller's companion and the thing to bring is a correspondent's vest (aka photographer's vest). You know, that often green or khaki coloured multipocketed piece of garment with lots of zippers and compartments. Sure, depending on the design, it might make you look like you're going to a hunting spree. Or just plain country bumpkin. In the best case scenario, you might resemble a foreign correspondent or a photo journalist. But for a traveller, it's almost as useful as duct tape.

No Sweat!
You can stuff loads of your belongings inside the pockets. It's especially useful in the airports, when you, on your way back home, have filled your luggage with all those souvenirs, awful tasting local liquor bottles and presents, and you're way beyond the airline weight limits. The solution is to wear your correspondent's vest and make use of its pocket space. You can fit several books there as well as some other heavier stuff like electric devices, chargers and so on. It's easy to toss the vest with all its contents in the security check box and have the whole entity X-rayed. You will also look rather silly when wandering about the airport wearing a fully loaded vest.

But it's not only the airport where the correspondent's vest is useful. On the road, it's a practical substitute for handbags and backbags, even without having to stuff it full. You will be able to carry your wallet, passports (if you have to keep them with you), medicine, pocket knife, lighter, notes, maps, pencils, phone, camera, torch etc. very close to your body. The vest naturally doesn't give an absolute protection against pickpockets, but it's harder to steal anything from your breast pocket than from your bag. Plus, you have everything handy should you need it immediately. You can also sew a secret pocket somewhere inside for your emergecy money.

There seems to be a very nice quality version of correspondent's vest on sale. I bought mine, a cheapo version, at Cu Chi tunnels in Vietnam. Its design is quite military-esque, but it has served me well for couple of years. (Well, I recently pulled the slider off of one of the zippers, but what did you expect for a 15 dollar vest.) I learned the awesomeness of this fine piece of clothing from the excellent Travel Channel documentary Madventures by my countrymen Riku & Tunna, where Riku's regular gear is the mighty correspondent's vest.

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