An iPod. A BlackBerry. A GPS device. A Palm Pilot. A digital camera. These are exciting times for techies, but how do we carry all these electronic gadgets while traveling? Not in a clunky fanny pack. Clothing manufacturers have come up with a line of gadget-ready garments with pockets, straps and holders for every conceivable hand-held device. We tested three brands.
First look: In 2001, Idaho-based Scottevest Inc. introduced a 15-pocket vest that included a conduit for earphone wires. Scottevest followed that up with a line of coats, pants, hats, T-shirts and sweat pants. The 237D is a lightweight jacket with 33 pockets, removable sleeves and a hood. Magnets keep the pockets closed.
Likes and yikes: We liked the jacket because it has a sporty, L.L. Bean look and can convert into a vest. But this jacket raises the question: How many pockets are too many? If you're James Bond and need to carry a few dozen spy gadgets, this is perfect. Otherwise, 33 pockets is overkill.
The 411: $140; available by calling (866) 909-8378 or visiting www.scottevest.com.
The Featherweight Utility Jacket
First look: Last year, clothing giant Nike announced a partnership with Apple Computer Inc. to produce a running shoe that sends workout information to your iPod. Nike followed that with jackets, shirts and shorts designed to hold the iPod Nano. The Featherweight Utility Jacket is a water-resistant zip-up with an elastic sleeve pocket to hold a Nano and a channel to guide the earphone wire to your ears.
Likes and yikes: The jacket is lightweight and made of a polyester material that wicks away perspiration, a plus for runners. Best of all, the pocket puts the iPod on your sleeve where you can control it without having to dig into your pockets. But the jacket sells for nearly twice as much as a comparable running jacket without a Nano pocket.
First look: Ohio-based Koyono Co. introduced the BlackCoat line of outerwear in 2003. The BlackCoat Surf is a short-sleeve shirt-jacket of stretch cotton, treated to repel water. The stylish shirt has two outer pockets and two mesh zippered pockets inside. The coolest feature: Plug your iPod into a connector built into the inside pocket and operate it from a rubbery control pad on the lapel.
Likes and yikes: The BlackCoat does not overdo its techno advancements with too many pockets and compartments. The control panel is on the inside of the lapel so it doesn't look geeky. Warning: Before washing the shirt, remove the electronic box that links your iPod to the control pad.
The 411: $179; available by calling (216) 373-2569 or visiting www.koyono.com.