First off welcome to Jesses, you came to the right place, you'll find everyone here are great folks. Now about the vest or pack, it depends on how much you want to spend, here is the link to Cabelas, take a look, they got it all. Good Luck http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templates/home/home.jhtml
I have had a Quilomene for six years now adn love it. They are pricey but well worth it. It carries 70 oz. of water in a bladder, has fittd shell loops so they never expand. You can carry all of your gear and not feel it because the weight rests on your hips. I have carried up to five pheasants in it with no problem.
I like it because unlike the typical vest, it doesn't dig into you neck when you are carrying a couple boxes of shells. It has plenty of storage in the back and in the front pockets. I can usually carry binos, FRS radios, two boxes of shells, and water in the front pockets.
If it's a vest you choose, my advise is to get one in blaze orange. The quail I kill don't seem too bothered by it. HOWEVER, it has definitly saved my hide a few times. I've had several hunting buddies comment how I might have a few holes in me without it. Why not?
I'm kind of a do-it-yourselfer, and I wasn't satisfied with the design of the vests I could buy and bring home, without the wife complaining about a "burning pile of $100 bills". I designed and made my own vest, starting with a PASGT vest cover (Desert Storm surplus flak-vest cover in tri-desert camo). Added pockets for birds, shells, Motorola Walkabout F.B. 2-way radio, cell phone, and "stuff", right where they are confortable. Cost: about $5, and a bit of cajoling, to get my daughter to sew the pockets (cut out of another cover). I am not comfortable running with a pack, even a small one. I do wear Safety Orange, on my hat, if I am hunting with more than 1 other hunter. I have been whacked, and/or rained on by pellets in the past, when I did not follow this practice.
I must agree w/you 100% on the blaze orange. I owe my life to blaze orange .
I have a friend (beginner hunter), Marty, who has a problem distinguishing the diff. between cammo and Quail. After using the orange vest , hat and eight foot flag, I once again feel somewhat safe in the field.
LOL* Actually, Marty is comming along just fine. My past experiences with him have been anything but safe. I grew up with Marty, known him forever, but when he shot me back in 1979, I stopped hunting w/ him (until recently).
Cibola was a great trip. I bagged 2 Honkers Friday and Marty bagged 2 on Sat.
Thinking about Quail Hunting tomorrow afternoon near Cajon Pass. e-mail me if your'e in.
I have vests because I don't like the weight of the belts on my hips. The brown Tin Cloth vest is for ducks and doves. The blaze orange Quilomene with blaze hat and blaze shirt are for everything else (I'm allergic to lead injections).
I also have a Quiomene All Day vest. It comes with a Camelback built in. I love it. It is built out of the best material and will last a lifetime. It is very similar to the Cabella's vest posted earlier. I got the Sage & Tan colored one, but I have a Blaze hat for hunting with or around newbies.
They make game straps small enough for quail. They're a little hard to find and a little expensive, but if you hunt hard and go on long hikes the birds stay in much better condition and cooler. I get way to hot in the soCal sun for vests.