Product image of a woman's coat with simulated view of where items can be stored.

X-ray view of SCOTTEVEST’s Penny Coat.

I’m no stranger to the topic of trip essentials. In fact, several of my previous posts have offered a variety of suggestions on what to pack – no matter where you’re headed next. As I wrote in early October, though, I’ve rarely discussed travel apparel on this blog. True, I’ve mentioned basic items like swimsuits, rain gear, and cold-weather clothing in a list of U.S. road trip essentials and included hooded sweatshirts and wide-brimmed hats among my top 10 must-pack items, but other than writing about customized fleeces from MultiSport Journeys, I’ve rarely promoted a particular item or manufacturer.

Well, just in time for the holiday gift-giving season, I’ve decided to focus on travel apparel yet again – in particular, a recent offering from SCOTTEVEST. It’s not the first time, of course, that a blogger has mentioned SCOTTEVEST on My colleague Christopher P. Baker once claimed that this ingenious company produces the “perfect travel wear for Cuba and Costa Rica,” and after experiencing my own piece of SCOTTEVEST heaven, I know exactly what he means.

What began, about a decade ago, with “Scott’s electronic vest” (a handy, streamlined vest that Scott and Laura Jordan equipped with numerous hidden pockets to stow electronic gadgets and personal items while traveling) has now evolved into a popular, well-publicized company with an impressive catalog of shirts, hoodies, vests, jackets, shorts, pants, dresses, hats, and other accessories ideal for travelers. Among all the wonderfully practical items available to both men and women in SCOTTEVEST’s ever-evolving collection – from cabana shirts and travel vests to cargo pants and expedition jackets – I was most intrigued by the Penny Coat ($200), a fall/winter coat that the SCOTTEVEST website describes as the combination of “style, well-placed pockets, and a chic, smooth material in one very special coat.”

Fortunately, the company was willing to send me a sample to review, and now, as the proud owner of a handsome SCOTTEVEST Penny Coat, I can definitely attest to all of the above attributes. The black hue (what SCOTTEVEST calls “Mystery”), soft-shellish material, and strategically placed pockets help to maintain a flattering, structured fit – even if you’ve used each and every pocket available. It’s what SCOTTEVEST calls its “weight management system” – no matter what size you order, from XS to XXL, it won’t look as bulky as many other, filled-to-the-brim coats might.

The ultimate in convenience, the Penny Coat is machine washable, with water-resistant fabric (95% polyester/5% spandex), elegant zipper pulls that are easy to grip, and an adjustable, removable hood that’s both stylish and functional. Then, there are the pockets – the stupendous pockets – which total 14 in all:

Handwarmer Pockets: two deep pockets on the coat’s exterior, the right-hand one of which has an extendable key “chain” and a wide elastic loop that allows you to keep a full-sized water bottle upright

Change Pockets: two small pockets ideal for coins of any denomination, located deep inside the handwarmer pockets (that is, there’s one change pocket per handwarmer pocket)

Hidden Cuff Pocket: one pocket within the left-hand sleeve, allowing quick access to a credit card, public transit pass, etc.

Small PadPocket: a large inner pocket on the left-hand side, sized to fit an e-reader or netbook

Mesh ID Pocket: a small inner pocket on the left-hand side, specifically designed for a driver’s license or personal identification card

Travel Documents Pocket: an inner pocket on the left-hand side, ideal for airplane, train, or bus tickets and other related documents

Cell Phone/Mp3 Pockets: two inner pockets, one on each side, that feature a fine gauge mesh, making it possible for you to use your cell phone or Mp3 player without removing it from the pocket

Eyeglass & Chamois Pocket: an inner pocket on the right-hand side, perfect for an eyeglass case and also containing a chamois (for cleaning lenses) on an elastic cord

Digital Camera Pocket: an inner pocket on the right-hand side, sized for a small digital camera, with enough room for extra batteries and memory cards

BudBucket Pockets: two tiny inner pockets, one on either side of your neck, meant to protect your headphones when not in use

The Penny Coat also features the patented Personal Area Network (PAN) – an ingenious system developed by Technology Enabled Clothing (TEC), a wholly-owned affiliate of SCOTTEVEST – which allows you to wire the headphones from your cell phone or Mp3 player through specially designed conduits in SCOTTEVEST’s garments, without getting tangled in loose wires.

Given the warmth and comfort of SCOTTEVEST’s Penny Coat and its incredible assortment of handy pockets (some of which are helpfully labeled), you could pretty much travel with just this coat. Sans bulky purses or luggage. Seriously.

In addition to everything listed above, for example, I managed to squeeze in a slew of other trip essentials, including my wallet, two pens, a small notebook, several business cards, a small flashlight, my multi-tool Leatherman, a pack of gum, a book of matches, lip balm, deoderant, toothpaste and a toothbrush, a comb, a pair of socks, clean underwear, a fresh shirt and pants, headache pads, earplugs, feminine napkins, a compact mirror, aspirin and other pills, bandaids, antibiotic ointment, tweezers, Kleenex, small bottles of sunblock, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and hand sanitizer, and a granola bar. True, the coat wasn’t quite as streamlined as it could have been with less stuff enclosed, but by dispersing everything throughout the coat, it was a lot easier to carry around. Plus, by concealing most of my belongings inside my coat, I was definitely less of a target for pickpockets.

No wonder SCOTTEVEST’s motto is “For the trip of your life.”

So, if you’re still searching for that perfect holiday gift for your favorite traveler, SCOTTEVEST’s awesome Penny Coat – or perhaps one of numerous other items in the company’s ever-expanding collection – might be the right fit. In the meantime, though, what do you recommend in versatile travel wear?