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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets and Vests > Kakadu Traders Kelly CC Vest > Owner Review by John Waters

JULY 18, 2011



NAME: John R. Waters
AGE: 62
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 170 lb (77.10 kg)

My backpacking began in 1999. I have hiked rainforests in Hawaii, Costa Rica, and Puerto Rico, 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
Model/Style: 8MV03
Manufacturer's Website:

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: 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".
Kelly CC Vest
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 clips.


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!
IMAGE 4 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 fit.

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 left-side compartment.

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 reach inside.

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 Colorado) 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 public 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 carrying.

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.


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.


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

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

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