Full Review of the Final Rise Summit Vest

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Each Final Rise vest is hand sewn in America. All components and fabrics are soruced here as well.


This article is your one stop shop for every in, out, detail and in-depth overview of the Final Rise System. Here we’ll dive into each major component that makes up the vest to better understand the design and why we sew these the way we do. We’ll highlight and outline the valuable design aspects to hopefully better educate anyone who wants to better understand what our system has to offer.

If you’re wondering why all this information isn’t on a product page, you’ll better understand why when you’ve taken the time to read and digest all this information. It’s a lot. In fact, it was too much for a single product page and while the meat and ‘taters of the vests' values are highlighted on the product page, here we’ll nerd out a little and really peel back the layers.

Because I’m often scatter-brained, to keep things in an easy to follow ‘flow’, we’ll simply break things down, piece by piece. Let’s get started..

Weight Bearing Waist Belt

  • Shape and contour to ‘cup’ between waist and hips
  • Dual adjust ‘pull back’ tighteners (to main buckle) for equal load distribution
  • PALs/Molle webbing for plug and play flexibility
  • Breathable, sweat and moisture resistant foam padding
  • Lumbar Pad for lower back support & unmatched comfort
  • Dual d-rings, for handheld tethers, leashes, etc.

Ever have sore shoulders, right around the neck, after a long day of following the pups? I know I have and those experiences alone helped fuel the design of our waist belt. You’re probably thinking, “What does a waist belt have to do with my shoulder harness?”. Honestly.. Everything. Keep reading.

The waist belt is the very foundation of a strap vest design. The concept of removing the bulk of material from the upper chest/back area and shifting the mass weight and carrying capacity to the core of your body, around the hips, is genius. Yet, without a properly designed waist belt, the entire design value is mute. If the belt can’t provide equal to or greater support than your current or previous vest, you won’t be happy with your investment. It’s that crucial.

As an avid backpacker and back-country hunter, I’ve spent many many many days, weeks and miles in a backpack. Anyone who has done the same, or more, understands how important being able to load the vast majority of the weight on your body’s core is. Put camp, an elk quarter or deer in your pack and I promise you don’t want that weight on your shoulders.

Yes, I know that the amazing birds we pursue weigh a fraction of a large big game animal, but the need for comfort and balance still exists. 100+ oz of water, snacks, first aid kits and other essentials simply are not feathers and require thoughtful packing to ensure enjoyment in the field. Simply put, the value of a quality weight bearing waist belt holds true in any pack design. For comfort, enjoyment in the field and easy of use, a strap vest must have a TRUE weight bearing belt.

So, what about the Final Rise waist belt? Honestly, there’s no other strap vest like it and a true differentiator from any other on the market.

Going back to all the backpacking experience, there were a lot of features in these packs that I thought would make a LOT of sense in a strap vest. So, I implemented similar contours and shapes as the belts on the packs I trusted and found a way to fixate them to our vest.

As you notice in the pictures, the wings of the vest swoop upward from the center. Why? This allows where the game bag sits, which is where the majority of the weight in our vest, especially after a successful day afield, to sit right against the small of our back the wings to reach up and go over our hips and just below the waist. Why do we want this weight here and the belt right below our waist? Because it’s the core of our body and where all our strength comes from. There’s no better place to carry a load.

Referencing the images again, you’ll notice the contour/outline of the belt isn’t your standard single width belt. This simple outline allows the belt to cup your waist and comfortably distribute the weight around the entire circumference of the hips. Using a single width belt, like the belt you wear on your pants, does not cup the waist and upper hips when under load. Think about it, when you put your wallet, keys, leather-man and whatever other odds and ends in your pants, even a normal belt can barely do the job. So if it struggles to hold your pants up, wouldn’t you want something a little more functional to hold up all the gear you’re toting around in the field? I know I do.

Lastly, while it isn’t sewn directly to the waist belt itself, it’d be criminal not to mention our lumbar pad. Lumbar pads, like our waist belt design concepts, are a common ‘must-have’ on any type of serious backpack. Lumbar pads provide additional lower back support and allow the tension of the belt, when being tightened, to cinch down on the sides of your waist. This is accomplished as the foam in the lumbar pad is compressed, as the diameter of the belt changes, vs. additional tension being stressed into the part of the belt that runs across your lower back. Our lumbar pad is a game changer and yet another feature not found in any other strap vest design.

If you’ve been looking for the most comfortable and functional weight bearing waist belt setup on a strap vest, consider this the jackpot.

Shoulder Harness

  • Non-padded, low profile for unimpeded gun mount
  • No-Slip grip underside material to eliminate sliding and sloppy harness fit
  • Front and Rear Yolk adjustment for perfect shoulder and chest fit
  • High and low webbing locations for handhelds, water bladder hose routing and accessories
  • Adjustable sternum strap slide for fine tuning chest contour and fit

The next logical transition from the waist belt flows directly to the shoulder harness. After-all, it connects to the belt, which holds the game bag up and is the responsible asset for the front to rear balance and weight distribution.

To start out, I’ll answer a question I’ve been asked many times and let you know that ‘no’, our shoulder straps have no padding in them. Why? Our waist belt. In our opinion, padded shoulder straps are to offset a belt that isn’t doing it’s job. If there’s minimal weight on your shoulders, you don’t need padding. Could you have it? Sure, but why? More mass weight and non-breathable fabrics to make your back sweat? No thanks. Because nearly the entire load of the vest is on your waist with our vest, padding is absolutely not necessary. Trust us, if we’d needed it for any reason, it’d be there.

Another huge reason for no padding on the shoulder harness is because of it impeding proper gun mount. Hardware, buckles, straps and padding have zero business being around or anywhere near where the pad of your gunstock should be. I’m a firm believer that if you miss the mount, you miss the bird. Inconsistent gun mounts due to padded shoulder straps are a huge issue and even if we did need padding in the harness, we wouldn’t think twice about putting it in such a crucial area of your body.

The Final Rise Harness is constructed of two layers of fabric, a 500D Cordura that sits outwards and faces away from your body and a non-slip pvc material that has a soft to the touch texture. Together these thin layers accomplish a few key functions, allowing the material to conform to the contour of your body, which provides great comfort and allows the non-slip material to contact more surface area and keep the harness up and from sliding around on you as you hike, walk and push your way through cover. Additionally because of its ability to conform to your body, it keeps your shoulder pocket unobstructed at all times. Our harness will not goof up your gun mount. Period.

Expounding on the importance of harness fit and it’s ability to adjust specifically to your body, our harness utilizes a unique design not found in any product outside of our own.

Referencing the image where the harness connects to the waist belt, you’ll notice that the Final Rise Harness has 3 adjustment points when sizing up the fit of your vest. Because no two bodies are the same, width, height or circumference, this is very important.

By being able to move where the front of your harness connects to the belt, this allows the harness to accommodate different chest sizes. This is especially important for women who need flexibility around their bust line.

The second adjustment point is at the rear of the vest, where the shoulder harness connects to the game bag. This adjustment point is for properly fitting your torso. Lengthening the distance between the shoulder harness and the game bag will allow the harness shift straight up to accommodate all ranges of torso lengths and most importantly, to sit properly oriented without ‘rolling back’ and pulling the sternum strap high into your chest, which again, as mentioned, would cause obstructed shoulder pocket areas.

The third and final adjustment is the front cinch that snugs the harness down flush to the chest and keeps the front end of the waist belt in place to provide proper front to back balance.

Shell Pockets

  • 3 Stage Lid / Fully closed, quick access, tucked lid for full access
  • External zippered pocket for handhelds, keys, wallets, etc.
  • PALs/Molle webbing for additional accessories

While simple in concept, our shell pockets are feature rich. Using a clamshell lid design, our shell pocket provides what we like to refer to as a 3 stage design package.

Stage 1 is fully enclosed. As seen in the images here, beneath the lid flap is a full zipper closure that runs front to back. Having the option to securely zip the pocket closed provides some great benefits, including;

  • No shells falling out when you’re taking the vest in and out of the truck or storage. Nothing more frustrating than dumping your shells into the mud, snow or dirt when you’re loading up getting ready to hit the field. The last thing I want in my gun is a dirty shell.
  • Secure storage for things you like to keep close at hand but do not want to fall out as you hunt or train. Small cameras (I carry a Sony a6300), neck gaiter, gloves and other small essentials. Even though the pocket is called a ‘shell pocket’ it’s a great way to keep certain things at the ready, without having to take off your vest. Additionally, it’s important for there to be weight in the shell pockets. As the game bag fills from a successful day in the field, it’s crucial for comfort and vest ride that there be counter balances, or weight, in the pockets. Think of the front and rear of the vest like a teeter-totter. If there’s no weight in the front, the rear sags and pulls at the harness. Don’t be afraid to use the pockets for more than shells.

Stage 2 is half open. Half open meaning that the zipper is open, but the lid and flap are still sitting over the top of where you reach your hand down to access the shells. Referencing the images, you’ll see there is a small pull tab on the flap that has a 1x1” square of male velcro that when laid close, attaches to the female velcro on the face of the shell pocket. This minimal design is great for keeping debris out of the pocket, while providing the ability to quickly access the pocket if needed. A quick pull of the tab and you’re able to reload and be on your way.

Stage 3 is wide open. By tucking the lid and flap down inside the pocket itself, you have quick and unobstructed access to shells for when a covey is stagger flushing and giving you a coveted second chance.

The final feature worth highlighting is the zippered pocket on the outside of the shell pocket. This is a great spot for keys, wallets, out of state licenses, phones and even your handheld if you’d like to keep the pocket open for quick access and tether the end to the d-rings on the waist belt. I’m a big believer in organization and having a storage area that I can access without taking the vest entirely off is huge.

Water Bottle Holders

  • Reinforced rims for easy in/out loading.
  • Secure, no flop, carrying
  • Deep, full bottle coverage to eliminate need of bungies

What’s worth mentioning about a water bottle holster? A few things. First, how easy we’ve made it to remove the bottle and just as easy it is to put it back. Because the water bottles sit on the waist belt, like the majority of mass weight as mentioned earlier should, being able to get the bottle out and in should be a breeze. To accomplish this small yet significant feat, we’ve reinforced the top 2” of the bottle with a stiff webbing material that holds the shape whether the bottle is in the holster, or out. It’s the little things that really make a difference.

Second, while the bottle is easy in and easy out, it has the depth to secure the bottle without needing a tether or elastic band over the top of your bottle. Zero hassle or fuss when it’s time to take a drink or water the hounds and the peace of mind knowing your bottles are secure.

Game Bag

  • Built in zippered storage (Rear panel and side of game bag)
  • Reinforced, semi rigid, edges to give structure to game bag for easy loading, ventilation and proper weight distribution
  • Both Vertical and Lumbar Water Bladder Compatible 
  • PALs/Molle On all sides to accommodate additional Final Rise storage and accessories

The final piece to the puzzle is our game bag and trust us when we say, there’s more than meets the eye.

The first notable feature worth mentioning is the three zippered pockets, as shown in the image. The goal here was to turn each part of the game bag into an asset. The sides of the game bags already had one layer of fabric, as did the rear panel, so why not layer them up, allow some zippered closures and provide some streamlined internal organization.

As shown, each side of the game bag and one in the rear panel of the vest. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I love organization and having places for my gear. The side zippered pockets are perfect for a first aid kit, snack extra layers like beanies or gaiters, etc. The rear pocket is a great location for lunch or even larger first aid kits for folks that carry a little extra in the field.

In addition to the organization that’s built into the vest, we’ve sewn two rows of Mil-Spec webbing onto each side of the game bag as well as across the rear to create PALS or MOLLE attachment points. These attachment points allow the use of the additional accessories we offer including; side pockets (adding exterior pockets to the side of the game bag) a rear pocket, great for larger item necessities that you need in the field, layer lashes for tethering heavier jackets that the bungie on the panel can’t carry as well, and for use with our turkey seat when it’s time to run and gun gobblers in the spring. All of these accessories can be used all together at once, or individually. The vest provides a modular platform that each hunter can take and make their own.

The final feature that I’ve done a poor job of educating people on, up to this point, is the vest's ability to carry an injured dog. This is accomplished by how the webbing atop the mesh panel loops through the routers of the rear cordura panel which then attaches to the shoulder harness. The webbing that holds all of this together comes from one single point and in fact is the same webbing that you lengthen or shorten when adjusting the vest to fit your torso. 

As shown in the pictures, by opening the vest up entirely, you’re able to completely open the panels and place a dog inside and then put everything back together, with the dog between the panels, and you can now sit down, strap the vest on and then stand up. The dog will be securely placed inside the vest and you can then carry your dog, and all your gear safely from the field.


The final rise system is the product of pouring my heart and soul into something I truly love. I understand the value of quality gear and our goal is to always put our customers first and provide them with the best product we can sew.

Thank you for supporting a small ‘American Made’ business and we look forward to answering any additional questions we’ve left unanswered. 


Matt Davis // Owner

Final Rise LLC


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