As a kid, I cut my teeth sitting in a duck blind and chasing roosters.  As my hunting career progressed, hunting those birds hasn’t changed. When my big game seasons come to a close, my two German Short-Haired Pointers and I hit the road in search of those cagey old roosters and big coveys of California Quail. While not the typical review you’re used to seeing on Rokslide, believe it or not, our Game Bird forum has a lot of traffic, and many big game hunters like to get after upland birds once their tags are filled, including the founder of Final Rise, Matt Davis.

Final Rise

I knew Matt previously from the industry, and when Final Rise first launched in 2020, I was on the pre-order list as I knew this was the style of upland vest I was after. That vest was designed for an all-day hunt vs. the common “walk around the cattail patch” that seemed to be the norm. There were large water bottle pockets, oversized bird carrying pouch and ample room for shells on the front pockets. Fast forward three seasons of hard hunting, and I had a vest with an unknown number of miles and hundreds of birds under its belt strap with no complaints. Enter the new Summit XT system.

Final Rise Summit XT Vest

Final Rise Summit XT Vest System

The new Summit XT is everything an upland bird hunter could need in a vest. It is fully customizable (think switching out bags on a frame you use for big game hunting) with many options to choose from. I chose to keep it simple and went with the two included bottle holder pockets and the included two magnetic shell pouches (weighing in at 3.2lbs). You will see when creating your system that there is everything from a pocket for your handheld GPS to a gunstock cradle to extra storage pockets, all of which can be easily attached to the harness.

Final Rise

Design and Features

Let’s get down to the meat and potatoes of this 1000 Cordura vest. The harness system is a brute. The waist belt allows you to cinch it down tighter as you add more birds and transfer that weight to your hips and off your shoulders, a trait that was born from heavy loads hauling big game off the mountain. The structured game pouch is perfectly designed to take the bird from your dog’s mouth upon a retrieve and one handed, reach behind you, and place it in your vest, all while still holding your shotgun safely in your other hand.

Fast and Efficient

The magnetic shell pouches are designed nicely so you can quickly reach in and reload without having to fumble with zippers or clips. The vest is compatible with a water bladder system if you choose to go that route and frees up both water bottles to be used for the dogs. The vest also has the ability to carry your dog in an emergency situation, thankfully, I have not had to use that feature.

Successful day in South Dakota

A Couple Important Notes to Mention

Tthe Blaze Orange models provide 400 visible cubic inches of legal orange, for states requiring more, consider adding additional accessory pouches. Always check the state’s legal requirements you’re hunting in.

Also, the Summit XT uses magnets in the pockets and may impact the directional features of a GPS tracking collar. With many hours and two collars, I have not had any problems with this potential issue. It’s also cautioned that if you have a pacemaker, use the standard Summit instead of the Summit XT. Your health and safety are important to Final Rise.

Final Rise Summit XT Vest System


At the time of writing this review, I almost have a full season under the Summit XT and I can confidently say that there is nothing I would change about this vest. Proudly sewn here in America with American made and sourced components and materials, it doesn’t get any better. I look forward to many more days in the field with my Final Rise Summit XT vest system.

Comment or ask Brock questions here.

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Brock Akers
Growing up in hunting family, it was expected that Brock would take to hunting at an early age. Spending most of his childhood in the duck blind with his Dad, he was eager to take part in the harvest himself. Passing his hunter safety course at the age of 9 and taking his first buck that fall was all it took for him to be hooked. Between deer camp each October & weekend trips to eastern Washington waterfowl hunting, time was pretty much consumed. However education was stressed by his parents as the number one priority. He graduated from Renton Technical College in 2008 with a certification in Engineering Design & Technology and has been working in the design/drafting field since then. His current job allows for flexible dates which in turn means a generous hunting season. Aside from hunting in his home state of Washington, Brock also hunts a variety of species each year in Idaho & Montana while building points in several other states. Most of his hunting is done in the remote backcountry. This type of hunting really makes him appreciate the outdoors for what they are. You can find and follow along with him on Facebook & Instagram.