Tenzing BV16 Upland Bird Vest

After getting several glowing recommendations for this vest last year, I finally managed to snag one in the off-season. I’ve now used this size M/L Tenzing BV16 since the beginning of the season, for 18 hunts and just about 100 hours. As with all the stuff I review, I bought this vest with my own money and have no stake in Tenzing or any other company. In other words, it’s honest. It’s also my first video review, aside from the comparison to the Badlands vest in the photos and captions below. The bottom line: I’ll leave it up to you. Enjoy the video.

Leslie thinks I went a little overboard with the Chukar Culture patches (we only have 3 left!)
Here, the Badlands Upland Bird Vest is laying on top of the Tenzing BV16. In the video, I think I said the Tenzing was about 4″ longer than the Badlands, but it looks more like 5″ or 6″.
The Badlands vest definitely rides higher, which is the main reason I think I’m switching back to it, even though the storage capability is far inferior to the Tenzing.
Badlands waist belt rides easily on the top of my hip bones.
Badlands, side view
Tenzing BV16: doesn’t hang down as long as some vests (see my review of the Quilomene Upland vest), but quite a bit lower than the Badlands.
Tenzing waist belt, in the upper spot, rides about the same place as the Badlands, but the shell pockets fall much lower.
Tenzing’s shell pockets and bird pouch from the side

12 Replies to “Tenzing BV16 Upland Bird Vest”

  1. I looked at the Tenzig but ended up with the Apls Outdoorz extreme upland game vest. It’s not perfect but I generally like it. It is a pack style vest like the Tenzig and the pockets are on the side like the Tenzig as well. Honestly the pockets on the side is the only thing I don’t really love about it, when the pockets are stuffed with shells I feel like they hinder the range of motion of my arm when I am holding the gun at my side. I think I’ve gotten used to it now but it really bothered me at first. in any case this type of vest is miles ahead of the traditional upland vest.

    1. after seeing your video on this I am thinking I should have purchased one of these… the is a lot of storage space… on mine I have to use elastic strapping that comes with the pack to strap my jacket to the outside of the pack when I’m not using it. It might be nice to just be able to stick it inside the pack like you do.

  2. I’ve been using this vest for 4 seasons now and overall like the design, albeit with some niggles that I have adjusted, like my own cambelbak bladder hook sewn in. For the bird bag, it is expandable by loosening the top waist belt buckle so it floats on the main hip belt which stays tight. I start with it tight and loosen it if I have a good harvest. Last year I had 6 chukar and 2 huns in there on one trip and last weekend a large snowshoe hare and 4 chukar. This way, I adjust the size based on the harvest, but keep the load from bouncing about. I use velcro straps to tidy up the excess strap length, as long straps drive me crazy! Just thought I’d mention how I am using it. Thanks for all the hard work with the blog!

  3. The jury is still out on the bird bag for sure. I put a Sharptail in mine, and the feet kept scratching my arm. Was driving me crazy. I would shove the bird back to the center, walk another 100 yards and it would be scratching me again as the water bladder had pushed it back out. One thing that will help a little if you have a full load, let off on the compression straps. I’m a pretty big guy, so the vest is a little tight for me when it’s really loaded up with jackets, water, etc., so that helps a lot. Having the compression straps loose doesn’t seem to put the load off center too bad. Try that as it may help the birds fit a little better.
    My other gripe is lack of attachment points for electronics. I am trying to figure out what to do. I may have someone sew me on a strap or d-loop attachment buckle. I use one of the Coyote Leather holsters that Wing Works sells for my Alpha,and I just let it hang upside down off of my pack.
    I love the amount of storage, and in my opinion,it is about the only vest on the market that really addresses the need for storing the proper amount of extras and clothing that is needed for a hike cool or cold weather hike in the hills.
    This is my second season in it,and I still am not 100% sure if I like it or not. It is very comfortable, and it feels more like a nice backpack than a strap vest.
    It’s built like a tank, and has some cool features on it, but is really lacking in some aspects for the bird hunter. Pretty sure it was not built and designed by a bird hunter. More like a big game hunter that hunts pheasants once or twice a season……

  4. Bob, I had the same experience with the depth of the pocket rubbing the top of the thigh. I set the Belt to the lower loops.. that pulled the whole pack up higher on the hip. Adjusting the shoulder straps tightened it up. It also billowed the bird pouch a bit which helps me out when my kid loads me up with HIS birds. I clip my Alfa to the left strap. I have to use readers to read the dang thing anyway so “Use by Touch” is the norm. No matter how it fits I know my dogs don’t care, they just want to go to work.

  5. Bob, thank you for the informative review. I too ordered the Tenzing vest this summer, but ended up sending it back before taking it out because the fit just wasn’t right. I’m 5’10” and 170# and the M/L didn’t work. I couldn’t get the waist belt tight enough to support the vest. I tried tightening the waist belt over a jacket and it resulted in the shoulder straps to riding up too high. There wasn’t enough adjustment room to make it work in either direction. The materials seemed to be top quality, but it looked like it might run hot in the warmer weather. I was considering ordering a vest from Wing Works, but they have not been taking new orders for awhile. After considering several others, I ended up going with the Final Rise vest (www.finalrise.com). These are handmade by a really nice/responsive guy (Matt Davis) in Utah and I’ve enjoyed the vest thus far. The materials are top quality and the total package is light, durable, and attractive. It carries very nicely and the weight is distributed well. The bird pouch provides easy access and has plenty of capacity for me. It has just the right amount of pockets, storage, and attachment points. The front shell pockets do hit the lateral thigh slightly when walking, which I’ve gotten used to, but it could bother some. My only real complaint was with the hydration pack setup. My water bladder (Osprey) did not attach well and I felt that it moved around too much and tended to pull away from my back when full. I contacted the owner (Matt Davis) and he told me that they had done their testing using a Platypus 2L hands free bladder that worked perfectly. He sent me several photos showing this and it looked like the setup that I was hoping for, although I was a little disappointed that I had to order another hydration bladder after already purchasing a high end vest. There is also an option to carry two 32 oz bottles via holders that are attached directly to the waist belt near the opening to the game pouch. They are in the perfect location for carrying the water weight although, when I’m carrying the bottles, I’ve noticed that my natural arm swing is forced outward just slightly. Overall, it’s definitely the nicest vest that I’ve ever owned and is built to last a lifetime. I’m not sure that the elusive “perfect vest” exists, but the Final Rise is the closest to one that I’ve owned.

    1. Thanks, Tim. Super helpful information about the Final Rise, which I looked at when they first hit the market and was immediately put off by the price-point. I’ll take another look. I agree with you that there really is no perfect vest for any one person, let alone a vest that’ll make everyone moderately happy.

  6. Great review. I had a similar experience. I own this vest and was super excited when I first got it. After a season with it I’ve reverted back to an old beat up MOTHER™ vest for most of my hunts. Some of the features are very well done and this vest is well built but other aspects leave me wanting. The waist belt barely cinches down tight enough for me. I did get the L/XL size. I’m 6’2″ 215 lbs. My main gripe other than the narrow bird bag is there is no place for a water bottle unless I lock the front pocket/bag zippers (the zippers above the front pockets) in place. When I do that I can carry a couple bottles vertically above my hips but that takes up valuable space in the narrow bird bag. If I don’t lock the front bag zippers in place my bottle slide down to where those front pockets are making it very uncomfortable. I also find with all the padding and the wrap around vest is that I get a little overheated when wearing this vest.

    Overall, like you said, it’s a good vest but just a little off. I ordered a Final Rise vest a couple weeks back, choked on the price but hopefully it’s the last vest I buy for a while. Thanks for all the info on your site. I wish I would have seen a similar review 2 years ago.

    BTW: I’m not sure if your Tenzing vest has this feature but at the very top of the water bottle compartment behind the outward facing flap with the velcro, there is a Velcro tab/tag of material that is made to hang your water bladder. It’s kind of hidden but it’s there – or at least my green version has one. Cheers

  7. Hello Bob
    I just came across a upland vest ( Chief upland vest ) It appears to be well thought out and has a price point of $ 150.00. There is a review of the vest by Ron Spomer on U tube that is detailed and shows the features of the vest.
    The design of the vest lends itself to ease of movement in steep terrain and brushy surroundings. I would be interested in your opinion. I have hunted the
    Q-5 vest, Bucks Bags vest, Orvis Upland strap vest. The all feel as though one has a box on your back and the belt pockets hang down to low bumping against your thighs. The Chief upland vest appears to have addressed these issues.

    1. Hey Robert, thanks! I saw this vest the other day on Spomer’s site also. It looks intriguing, and at half the price of the new Final Rise (which looks a lot like the Wingworks) if it’s as good as it looks I’d bet it’ll take some market share. I’ll see if I can get my hands on one and do a review. If you get one first, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

Chirp away

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