HUNTING

Best Tactical Vest: The Desktop of the Survival Expert

Shawn Harrison
Written by Shawn Harrison

Have you ever struggled to store all of your tactical essentials prior to an outing? Would you agree with us that a typical vest does not have a sufficient number of pockets for magazines, communication technology, and weaponry? If you are looking for a piece of clothing which will accommodate all of your extra mags, ammunition and survival supplies, then look for the best tactical vest.

Thanks to such a piece of equipment you will be able to freely carry a number of tools or accessories outdoors without them being in the way. Velcro pockets, pouches and holders will allow you to safely keep your ammo, shells, and pistol within arm’s reach. Why bring fewer things when you can have all the hunting and self-defense supplies with you out there on the field?

Tatical Vest

In the following guide, we have outlined the best features of a tactical vest and have also compiled a section with reviews on the best models available on the market. Our goal is to aid you in your survival and outdoor endeavors. Read our reviews and make the right choice when it comes to buying such an important piece of tactical clothing.

Our Top Picks

ProductBest UseWeightBest FeaturePrice
Yakeda Army Fans TacticalHunting3 poundsCross-draw holsterCheck price on Amazon
Barska Loaded Gear VX-200 Right HandPaintball3 poundsOne size fits mostCheck price on Amazon
CVLIFE Adjustable Hunting Military Molle StyleRecreation1.4 poundsLightweightCheck price on Amazon
UTG 547 Law Enforcement TacticalSelf-defense3 poundsRifle mag pocketsCheck price on Amazon
Yakeda Tactical Vest Outdoor for Field PlayCommunication2.4 poundsVelcro panelsCheck price on Amazon
GLORYFIRE Tactical Vest EliteAirsoft1 poundsVelcro panelsCheck price on Amazon
Modern Warrior Tactical VestSurvival2.6 poundsAdjustable midsectionCheck price on Amazon
Barbarians Tactical MolleLaw enforcement2.7 poundsDurabilityCheck price on Amazon

Things to Consider Before Buying

There’s plenty of fish in the sea they say and making sure you catch just the one you need is going to be a challenge. Your first step is to define what you look for and this is why we will take a peek at some of the most important properties that a tactical vest should have.

It is up to you to decide which ones matter the most and which ones can be ignored. Read this section carefully and then our product reviews will definitely be easier to digest.

Purpose

Your first task is to determine the activity that you will perform the most while wearing your tactical vest. While most of them are pretty universal, there are still some differences in the design and the purpose of each separate item.

There are those tactical vests that will help you during hunting. You can store all sorts of ammo in them for the various weapons that you might carry. These vests are typically more durable than others and should hold up even in bad weather.

Hunting Vest

Image credit: theuplandhunter.com

The ones that are good for self-defense will allow you to carry a light firearm and will definitely have a couple of pouches for a pocket knife. However, we still advise you to tuck the knife somewhere else for an easier access. Taking it out from a Velcro pocket is not quick nor is it stealthy.

Some people also need a tactical vest for their Airsoft and Paintball endeavors. For such activities, you need a lightweight vest with plenty of compartments so that you can have easy access to all sorts of supplies. This make-believe combat situation requires you to have all sorts of battle accessories and to jump and run quickly. Durability isn’t an issue.

Material and Durability

Now that you’ve gotten the purpose part out of the way, it should be way easier to determine which material is best for you. Most tactical vests are nylon made. Designers create them like that so that they can be lightweight. You will likely stuff their pockets heavily and this is why heaving a heavy vest to add to the overall weight won’t help at all.

Tactical Vest Durability

Nylon, however, won’t keep you very cool. Look for a MOLLE webbing on the back or some sort of mesh material. Such vests will at least have some breathability.

As far as durability goes, then leather-made tactical vests are definitely going to be fine. But they cost a little bit more and there’s hardly a chance you will find a leather vest in the price range of the vests we are reviewing today.

Pockets

This is the essential part of each tactical vest as it is directly related to its functionality. You might have the most durable and good-looking vest out there but if you can’t store your tools and ammo in it what good will that do? The best tactical vests have pockets for at least 3 types of ammunition. You should be able to store your pistol and rifle magazines easily. Numbers always matter. A single pistol mag pouch is no good – look for at least 3.

Concealment pockets are also a good idea in case you want to carry your wallet, credential, a map or even a tablet with you. Holsters also fall into the category of pockets and pouches. After all – you don’t stick your gun in just any pocket. Having a holster is pretty much what defines a tactical vest.

If you have pouches for your radio or cell phone then this can be of great convenience too. The way pockets are distributed also matters a lot. Put on your vest and see if you can easily access all the pouches. Test it in a prone position or while running. Make sure your tactical vest keeps no secrets from you.

Size and Weight

Most items on our list will be one-size-fits-all. This doesn’t mean that they don’t have limitations, though. You need to see how much you can stretch all the straps that these things have. Some vests will also offer you a midsection adjustment while most of them can have their shoulders tweaked.

Tactical Vest Weight

Image credit: medcoatlantic.com

Weight is also rather important as you cannot perform very agile movements if you have a heavy piece of tactical clothing hanging from your neck and shoulders. Lightweight stuff is the way to go but keep in mind the probable durability issues.

Weapons

Some tactical vests go well with certain weaponry while others can really allow you to carry all sorts of firearms. For instance, you can tell the hunting tactical vest from all others because it comes with a holster for your pistol, a few rifle mag pockets and can even have a shell holder attached to it so that you can use your shotgun.

Other, more modest models might only have a cross-draw nylon holster for your pistol. They are nice for concealed carry and self-defense. These vests will typically have a special area designed to store a pocket knife and a flashlight as well.

Tactical Vest

Law-enforcement vests usually have a belt included in the set. That’s where you put your gun along with a flashlight. The types weapons you to carry depend on the purpose of the vest.

Additional Conveniences

Straps and D-rings will definitely make your life easier. You can attach a leg holster to some tactical vests or simply have a carabiner clipped onto them. Look for a skidproof shoulder on some items in case you will be discharging a rifled firearm often.

Velcro panels are exceptionally convenient as they allow for some customization of your tactical vest. Some models have only that and require you to buy all the mag pouches and pockets separately.

Tactical Vest

Image credit: cqb-team.com

Other tactical vests have just some little areas covered in Velcro letting you get an additional holster or a shell holder and attach it there.

Best Products on Today’s Market

This is the section you have been waiting for. See all the tactical vests we have handpicked for you along with their properties. We hope that our list covers if not all, at least most of the outdoor activities you will perform with a tactical vest on.

Yakeda Army Fans Tactical Vest

Price: Approx. $40Yakeda Army Fans Tactical Vest

Weight: 3 pounds

Dimensions: 23 x 15.7 x 4.33 inches

Specific features: MOLLE backing, comes with a belt, adjustable shoulders, cross-draw holster, shell holder, magazine pockets, mesh pockets.

Best use: Law enforcement, hunting

Just wait till you find out about all the pockets our first tactical vest has. The Yakeda Army Fans Tactical Vest will take your hunting and outdoor ventures to a whole other level once you put it on. It has a MOLLE backing for extra hydration and the shoulders are adjustable. This compensates for the fact that the vest comes in only one size.

Upon some simple inspection, we find more pockets than we can count. In fact, the fellas at Yakeda have given up providing us with an exact number of all the compartments you got with this vest and we will highlight the most important ones.

First, you a row of pistol magazine pockets right by the left shoulder. Below, you will locate a cross-draw holster. It is fully adjustable and you can have it higher or lower depending on your preference as well as the length of the body. It also has a strap for additional security in case you need to run and draw your weapon at the same time.

Going further to the left reveals an automatic gun magazine pouch. This pocket is for larger magazines – typically for AK-47. Right below the right shoulder, you get a shell holder and beneath it, there’s a utility pouch. This is where you can store your pocket knife or multi-tool.

Again on the right side, you will see 3 large magazine pockets. There are also mesh pockets on the inside which are not visible. You can put a map there or even a tablet. The vest comes with a belt.

As you can see, it is exceptionally hard to run out of ammo with this tactical vest. Your hunting adventures are sure going to be fun if you opt for this tactical vest.

PROS:

  • All sorts of pockets
  • Shell holders
  • Adjustable shoulders
  • Comes with belt
 CONS:

  • Can get quite heavy when full
  • Plastic straps are easy to deform with time

Related: Who says that all the pockets you get from your tactical vest are going to be enough? Get the Condor Tornado Tactical Leg Holster and get an extra pouch for a secondary weapon right on your tight. It is a nylon and Velcro holster which means it will combine perfectly with your vest and will blend in. The strap is adjustable so you can have the holster lower or higher depending on your own preference.

Check the price on Amazon

Barska Loaded Gear VX-200 Tactical Vest

Price: Approx. $53Barska Loaded Gear VX-200 Tactical Vest

Weight: 3 pounds

Dimensions: 22 x 52 x 20 inches

Specific features: Holster, mag pouches, mesh pockets, inside pockets, adjustable shoulders, nylon made, one size fits most

Best use: Paintball, hunting

The next item on our list while pretty standard will also be quite useful in case you are looking to put away valuable tools during an outing and even carry a pistol with you, Check out the Barska Loaded Gear VX-200 Tactical Vest and see if it will address all of your survival needs.

This tactical vest is made out of nylon which makes it fairly light. On the other hand, this material might not be the best when you want to stay cool as nylon is known to easily heat up. It is, however, fully adjustable and one size should fit most. Very tall and big people might still struggle to put it on and feel comfortable.

The inside mesh pockets are a nice addition when looking to put something light and flat away. It can be a piece of paper or even your credentials. The Barska vest comes in three colors so that you can easily pair it up with the other parts of your kit. Got camo pants? No, problem – your tactical vest can also be dark green.

Enjoy all the pouches and mag pockets that you get. If you go hunting or want to have a fun game of Paintball then this vest is just right for you. You can easily store plenty of ammo with it and that even includes shotgun shells.

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  • Adjustable
  • Many pouches
 CONS:

  • Might be too small for larger persons
  • Nylon won’t keep you cool

Related: Something that will go perfectly well with your tactical vest is the M-Tac Tactical Pistol Lanyard Elastic Coil. You can safely clip it onto one of the many straps you have on the back of your vest. It will keep your pistol always in your vicinity and you will never risk losing your weapon. The minimum length is 11 inches while if stretched at max, the coil will reach 50 inches.

Check the price on Amazon

CVLIFE Adjustable Hunting Military Molle Tactical Vest

Price: Approx. $40CVLIFE Adjustable Hunting Military Molle Tactical Vest

Weight: 1.4 pounds

Dimensions: 19 x 14 x 7 inches

Specific features: Adjustable height, non-slip shoulder pads, one size fits all, adjustable mag pockets, Velcro pockets, Velcro pistol holster

Best use: Recreation, hunting

Go for the ultimate tactical vest when it comes to adjustments and consider the CVLIFE Adjustable Hunting Military Tactical Vest. First of all, one size fits all and this means that you can really tweak the width and the height of the vest.

The shoulders are fully adjustable and you can make them as long as you wish. They are also reinforced and on the left one, you will find attached a radio pouch. You don’t need to look for your radio in an emergency situation as it will be right below your cheek.

It’s not only the non-slip shoulder pads that are adjustable, but you can also fix the height further thanks to the straps underneath the shoulders. There are also six pull-straps designated especially for midsection adjustment. It is now obvious how easy it is for the CVLIFE Vest to truly fit everyone.

It is not only the dimensions that you can adjust but some of the pouches as well. For instance, the cross-draw holster is detachable and you can have it closer or further depending on the length of your arm. It is, however, just a Velcro holster meaning that its safety may get compromised in time.

The magazine pouches can have their height adjusted so that you can reach them easily. Opt for more versatility during your outing and go for this product.

PROS:

  • Adjustable straps
  • Lightweight
 CONS:

  • Holster not very secure
  • Not so breathable

Related: Complete your Airsoft recreation kit by also getting the Sig Sauer P226 X-Five Tactical Airsoft Pistol. This trademarked item is composed of 100% metal and will get you really close to the real thing. Also has an integrated rail frame. The mag capacity stands at 28 projectiles which should be a sufficient quantity. Some restrictions on shipping might apply.

Check the price on Amazon

UTG 547 Law Enforcement Tactical Vest

Price: Approx. $57UTG 547 Law Enforcement Tactical Vest

Weight: 3 pounds

Dimensions: 20.5 x 13.4 x 1.6 inches

Specific features: Velcro holster, rifle mag pockets, badge area, adjustable height, pull-up straps, nylon made

Best use: Bushcraft, EDC, self-defense

Pockets are simply a must when we talk about elite tactical vests. Store all of your EDC essentials in the UTG 547 Law Enforcement Tactical Vest and rest assured that you got everything you need no matter how tough your outdoor situation.

Take advantage of all the extra mag pockets and stock up on ammo. For instance, this vest features 3 rifle magazine pockets, 2 pistol mag pouches on the belt and one large pocket for an extra magazine by the holster.

Speaking of holsters – you get one on the left front side of your tactical vest. It is a cross-draw holster and has a Velcro strap. The position is adjustable and the material makes it lightweight. Have your pistol within arm’s reach at all times.

The badge area is located on the right side below the shoulder. The cover is also made out of Velcro so that you can attach a shell holder on it. Really useful if you are going to utilize a shotgun. All in all, if you get this vest for a game of Airsoft, you will definitely be happy with its performance.

The back side is made out of breathable mesh and there are straps on it. This is where you can put a hydration pack. This way it will be easy to access while it will still remain out of the way. The UTG vest comes in 4 colors giving you the opportunity to select the one which will be most appropriate for the terrain you will be on.

PROS:

  • Versatile
  • Easy access to stuff in pockets
  • Comes with belt
 CONS:

  • Slightly heavier than needed
  • Velcro doesn’t help your stealth cover

Related: Airsoft, Paintball or survival requires a lot of physical activity and the main load falls on your feet. Get the Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks and up your running and prowling game. The socks are created with no stitches and there’s no way they can rub or get ripped on their own. Another feature is the long body of the sock which will cover most of your legs for maximum comfort and protection. Keep your feet protected at all times during combat.

Check the price on Amazon

Yakeda Outdoor Tactical Vest

Price: Approx. $60Yakeda Outdoor Tactical Vest

Weight: 2.4 pounds

Dimensions: Sizes from S to XXL

Specific features: Nylon made, sizes from S to XXL, 3 standard magazine pouches, PVC lining, communication pouches, Velcro panels

Best use: Airsoft, security

This next item on our list comes at a slightly higher than average price. If you are looking to get the Yakeda Outdoor Tactical Vest for a certain activity, then it will surely be worth it. Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks that might turn out to be a deal breaker for some users.

This tactical vest is good for people looking to heavily customize their appearance. The thing is covered in Velcro and comes with all sorts of pouches for you to distribute as you see fit. So far so good, you get the freedom of having the mag pockets and communication pouches wherever you wish.

The problem is that this vest doesn’t come with a holster. You either have to buy one and find a free panel on the vest for it or you will have to give up on the idea of drawing your pistol from your tactical vest.

The construction is not bad at all. The vest is made of nylon and has a thick PVC lining. Its durability will likely satisfy you but the functionality is questionable. If you are going to simply carry a radio and a few extra magazines, then that’s a fine purchase. Is it worth the price, though?

PROS:

  • Well-built
  • Customizable
  • Comes with a set of pouches
 CONS:

  • No holster
  • No skidproof area for a rifle
  • Poor value for money

Related: The Yakeda Tactical Vest allows you to attach all sorts of Velcro pouches on its front and back so why not take advantage of it? Get the XTACER Tactical EMT Modular Utility Pouch and put it wherever you see fit on your vest. It is made of 600D polyester and the Velcro strip is on its backside. In case you want to store your portable electronics such as GPS devices, cell phones or cameras safely, then this is the accessory to get.

Check the price on Amazon

GLORYFIRE Tactical Elite Vest

Price: Approx. $62GLORYFIRE Tactical Elite Vest

Weight: 1 pounds

Dimensions: 20 x 15 x 4 inches

Specific features: Velcro straps, plate carrier, cummerbund, drag handle, mesh inside, panel for patches

Best use: Airsoft

This next tactical vest probably differs from all the other ones the most because it is basically a plate carrier. The GLORYFIRE Tactical Elite Vest doesn’t have a million pouches and pockets on it but a ton of Velcro instead. On the upside, it is completely customizable and you are the one to decide what goes on it.

The top straps are padded to prevent signs of wear. Additionally, these straps are also fully detachable. Moving down, the front pocket is basically a pouch for extra rifle mags. Its whole front is covered with Velcro and that’s where you can put all of your patches. We are talking about a name panel or morale patches. In other words, it’s great for a game of Airsoft.

At the bottom of the front of this vest, there is a panel and the whole thing lifts up. Yes, you guessed it right – there’s more Velcro underneath. It actually holds the whole vest together. If you undo it, you will release the vest very quickly. You will, however, also see straps with buckles on both sides to cinch it down.

Speaking of both sides, that’s where the cummerbund system is. It is there for extra support and to also give you a couple of more pouches. The back has a drag handle and that’s also where the adjustment for the elastic bands for the cummerbund is.

Since you are likely to perform physical activities in a tactical vest, the inside material is breathable. It will wick away moisture and keep you dry.

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  • Customizable
  • Keeps you dry
 CONS:

  • Not versatile
  • Few pockets

Related: Since you have all that free Velcro space on your tactical vest how about you add two more mag pouches to it. Get the VIVOI Pistol Double Mag Pouch which is easily attached to any vest thanks to the Velcro technology. The retention strap is adjustable and the item also features Hook-N-Loop closure clips which are another way to latch it onto a tactical vest.

Check the price on Amazon

Modern Warrior Tactical Vest

Price: Approx. $40Modern Warrior Tactical Vest

Weight: 2.6 pounds

Dimensions: 13.5 x 8.6 x 5.8 inches

Specific features: Cross-draw holster, Velcro straps, plastic straps, adjustable midsection, zipper pockets, mag pockets

Best use: Survival, bushcraft

Get some stability even in the toughest situations out there and count on Modern Warrior Tactical Vest to provide you with it. This tactical vest will rest comfortably on your upper body as it has all sorts of straps buckles in order to stay fit no matter your body position.

The Modern Warrior vest, as the name suggests, is excellent for a survival situation in the woods or for this hard hiking route you have been looking to undertake. You can lay prone while wearling it, you can squat or kneel and it won’t move at all thus making it exceptionally easy to reach anything in the pockets.

The non-slip shoulder pads are the main reason for this along with the belt which is actually included in the set. With all the adjustable straps you can make the vest follow every curve and line of your body. This is why it is a one-size-fits-all tactical vest.

Even some of the pockets are adjustable so that you can easily reach for an extra rifle mag or even for your piston in the holster. The MOLLE backing also has straps which are not there only to be tightened and loosened but to also allow you to store a hydration pack.

The vest also includes two zip-up document or credential pouches which are hidden behind the holster area. All in all, with this tactical vest you will receive a very decent value for your money as it will just get the job done when you are looking to get out of a challenging outdoor situation.

PROS:

  • Value for money
  • Sits tight on you
 CONS:

  • Velcro wears down easily
  • Smaller than it looks

Related: We already mentioned that the backside of your tactical vest is perfect for a hydration pack to be attached. Well here’s one – Barbarians Tactical Hydration Pack Water Backpack. The 3L bladder is replaceable and the best part is that it is included in the set. It is completely leak proof and easy to clean. The large screw on top allows for easy and safe cleaning.

Check the price on Amazon

Barbarians Tactical Molle Vest

Price: Approx. $85Barbarians Tactical Molle Vest

Weight: 2.7 pounds

Dimensions: 23 x 21 x 5 inches

Specific features: Accessory pouches, bullet holder, document pockets, reinforced belt, MOLLE panel, skidproof shoulder

Best use: Self-defense, law enforcement

Are you looking for reliability and stability when selecting a tactical vest? Go see what the Barbarians Tactical Molle Vest has to offer you. Whether you are talking about hunting, law enforcement or a game of Paintball, this vest will likely answer your call.

The durable nylon material will not get ripped even in the messiest situations. Additionally, it will keep you cool because the MOLLE backing is made of mesh. In fact, this is the material from which they make jerseys for athletes. It will wick all the moisture you do not want.

The shoulder pads are made of a non-slip material making sure that the vest will stay in its place regardless of the actions you perform. Basically, all the pockets are adjustable to your liking. Move the ammo pouches or have a shell holder attached to the ID badge area.

There are also 2 metal D-rings especially designed to hold a carabiner or a piece of metal chain. Pay attention to the right shoulder. It is skidproof meaning that the panel on the right shoulder will prevent your rifle from sliding as you take aim.

Security guards and law-enforcement personnel really like this vest as it is trustworthy and exceptionally functional with all of its compartment and pouches. On top of all, it doesn’t cost that much.

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Moisture absorption
 CONS:

  • Few color options
  • Too many plastic buckles

Related: You simply cannot afford to have your vision impaired by projectiles, smoke or stains during a survival situation or Airsoft game. Get the TB-FMA Helmet Goggles and trust them to do a great job protecting your vision. You can even tuck them away in your tactical vest when you do not need them. They are designed mainly for helmets but are pliable and easy to fold. The frame is made out of polyethylene.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrapping up

There is little doubt that a tactical vest is one of the most trustworthy and versatile accessories to have in your outdoor kit. You have surely realized that such an item will allow you to easily carry all the tactical essentials you possess while on duty or simply when playing a friendly game of Airsoft.

At the end of the day, it is great if you select just the right item for you and hopefully, our guide has helped you accomplish exactly that. Don’t hesitate to contact us with feedback or more info. Also, make sure you comment and share the article so that more people can make the right choice when it comes to selecting the best tactical vest.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shawn Harrison

Shawn Harrison

Shawn Harrison is our expert in hunting. He was born in Alaska, so hunting was his hobby since high school. Later, Shawn took a Hunter Training at Alaska Department of Fish and Game to structure his knowledge and now he is open to share his knowledge with our readers. Shawn is taking ‘Safety First’ approach on all of his trips, especially is some people are going hunting for the first time.