A photographers vest or jacket is a great way to carry camera gear and items without using a camera bag.
Vests can be practical in several situations no matter which genres of photography you are interested in.
If you are a photographer who likes to have everything organised, our list of photography vests is for you!
What Are Photographer Vests and Jackets?
A photographer vest or jacket is a piece of clothing that makes carrying your camera gear easier.
They come with different sized pockets and straps. They provide solutions to situations where it’s not possible to carry a camera bag. You’ll find them the most useful if you are into photojournalism, adventure or wildlife photography.
They all have different features and they are made of different materials. So you’ll have to decide which would fit you and for this, consider size, comfort and durability.
The price range is wide, so you can surely find something that fits your budget.
[Note: ExpertPhotography is supported by readers. Product links on ExpertPhotography are referral links. If you use one of these and buy something, we make a little bit of money. Need more info? See how it all works here]
Why Do You Need a Photography Vest or Jacket
With a vest or a jacket, you might only need a small camera bag, or perhaps none at all.
They are ideal for example when you are photographing in crowds and it would be hard to move with a huge bag on your back.
They are also designed for making the weight of any equipment equally distributed so that the photographer is comfortable. They can be lightweight, which also adds to mobility. You don’t have to stand with a bag on one shoulder and then feel muscle pain for days.
This is what makes these vests ideal for wildlife photography. Besides having to move a lot in nature, you also want to be silent. It’s quicker and quieter to reach to one of your pockets than having to open a bag.
It’s easier to keep your eye on your gear this way. You can protect them more because you would more likely feel if someone is trying to open a pocket on your front.
And there is a less chance of accidentally leaving a piece of equipment lying around because you immediately put them in your pockets.
They are also great against harsh weather conditions. They don’t only keep you warm, but they protect your gear and your body heat prevents them from getting too cold.
What I also like about them is that they can look professional. If you see people wearing these in any social situation, you immediately recognize that they are photojournalists or press photographers.
And last but not least, they can also be hidden. A jacket over a photo vest allows you to keep your gear away from prying eyes.
What Are the Drawbacks of a Photographer Vest and Jacket
There are more benefits than drawbacks, but we still have to mention them.
They are not the most casual or elegant things to wear, so they don’t fit every situation. For example, you wouldn’t want to wear them at a wedding where everyone else is in their most beautiful clothes.
If you have more camera bodies, they are not the best choice either. They can’t all hold the heavier items without the pockets being weighed down and looking strange. And this wouldn’t feel too comfortable either.
Plus, you might find that one vest or jacket doesn’t fit every scenario. Having a few different styles and colours is both space-wasting and costly.
Go through our list and find out what kind of photographer vest would match your style.
The Gihuo Men’s Reversible Outdoor Travel Vest is the perfect addition for those who would like to use a photography vest in more situations.
As it’s reversible, it’s like you bought two different vests!
The khaki-beige colour works well for wildlife photography since it can camouflage you.
The black option is better suited to more formal event photography. It looks neat, well made and durable, which is what you want from this type of apparel.
It’s not specifically for photographers, it can be used for travel, sports or hiking. It’s made of cotton so it’s comfortable to wear during any of these activities. Also, it’s washable in your washing machine at home.
It has 10 pockets, 7 exteriors, and 3 of them on the inside, which is great for hiding your most valuable accessories or simply your wallet.
This vest has enough pocket for all your gear. Maybe a tripod wouldn’t fit in it, but you can carry lenses or smaller camera bodies in it. Also, if you a documentary photographer or photojournalist, you could store your notebook in this.
It has 13 front and 3 inside pockets.
It even has an expandable pocket on its back with side zipper closure. Here you can fit a sweatshirt or anything else you wish.
The D-rings found on both sides allow you to clip small items there and carry them without a bag.
You can purchase this photographer vest in three different colours; olive, black or khaki. None of these colours is elegant enough to wear for example at weddings. Maybe the black is more versatile as it fits more situations than the others.
It is 55% cotton and 45% polyester which gives it a bit cheap look, but at least it’s durable.
Another versatile west. The Humvee Cotton Safari Vest is 100% cotton, so it’s ideal even in hot weather.
It can also be used for hiking, camping or fishing, just as well as for photography.
It comes with nylon lined pockets, so you can keep your valuables dry. The hooks and D-rings, elastic and snap epaulette pockets make systematising your gear easy and fun.
Altogether there are 21 pockets, which is impressive!
Note that they run large to allow you to stuff all 21 pockets. So if you don’t plan to carry a lot of things with you, maybe try a smaller size.
This west for women is a surprising piece. At first sight, it looks a simple vest with a clear-out design. But if you look closely, you can see that it has 42 pockets! Yes, 42.
It comes in two colours, beige and black. You can wear both of them anywhere. They are elegant enough so you can wear them on several occasions, like important events.
It’s perfect for carrying your camera gear, passport, tablet, or anything else you usually keep on you. This makes it suitable for travel photography as well.
It has 18 interior pockets which help you keep your valuables safe.
It has small practical features, such as an eyeglass cleaning cloth, a detachable keychain, and a water bottle holder. It also comes with a hood which can be folded and hidden.
There is even an RFID wallet pocket which prevents credit card skimming technology.
And last but not least, its weight management system prevents you from looking weird from the gadgets weighing down the pockets.
This photo vest is a relatively elegant choice. It’s 90% polyester and 10% cotton, and it’s lightweight.
There are 11 different colours to choose from. Probably the black one is the most elegant, but it can be boring if you don’t need it for fancy events.
Its pockets are well-constructed, and they are not getting bulky. You probably won’t be able to fit your bigger lens in them, but smaller ones can be easily carried.
You’ll still need to carry your bigger pieces of equipment with you in a bag or on a camera strap. But this vest helps you by keeping your smaller accessories close to your hands.
There is an internal pocket which is perfect for storing your wallet, so you don’t have to pay attention to safety.
This item is called a fishing vest, but who said that you can’t wear it for photography? Also, it’s suitable for travelling, camping, or kayaking as well.
It comes in two colours, khaki and grey. Both are better for photographing in nature or somewhere less elegant, such as a sports event.
It includes 19 pockets, 5 of which are internal. You can put your most valuable gadgets there.
It has a soft, padded collar to make wearing it comfortable. It is lightweight and breathable, but it can also keep you warm.
It’s 100% nylon fabric with a 100% polyester mesh lining. It would be a problem during hot summer days if it wasn’t this breathable.
If you are looking for a lightweight, yet durable photo vest, this might be the one for you. It’s also a multifunctional vest. You can use it for fishing, travelling, outdoor adventures, or various kinds of photography.
This item is 20% cotton and 80% polyester.
It’s mildly waterproof and it dries really quickly. It won’t fully protect you from heavy rains (which vest does?) but it can keep your gear safe in drizzle rain.
It comes with 16 pockets, which give enough space for your personal items and smaller pieces of camera equipment.
These pockets are not bulky, so the vest is a relatively elegant choice.
It is available in 14 colours, so it’s another vest to offer you more fun options.
The North Face Men’s McMurdo Parka III is a photographer jacket. This is the perfect apparel item for colder weather.
It’s a really cool-looking jacket which is also practical. It’s waterproof, made with a DryVent shell, and it features sealed seams. It also allows water vapour to escape, so even though it’s a warm jacket, it is breathable too.
There is an internal pocket to keep your important documents or gadgets safe and warm.
Also, the external pockets are large, so you can fit pieces of your equipment in them. It’s not going to be enough for carrying several camera bodies or lenses. But if you go outside with one camera, you can easily store everything in this coat.
Handwarmer pockets are also beneficial, as you’ll be enjoying your photo session more if you can warm your hands a bit.
This 100% nylon photo vest is a durable, tear-resistant and versatile option. It’s lightweight, breathable and washable.
Of course, you can wear it for any activities from photography to fishing, hiking or travelling.
It has multiple zippers and flip pockets which you can store any kind of gear in. These pockets have a large capacity, so you can easily carry smaller camera bodies or lenses in them.
You can find pockets on the inside to keep your most important things safe. D-rings also make storing easier.
It comes in two styles and 15 colours, so you have a lot of designs to choose from. Photography vests usually don’t come in such many colours, so if you’d like to have a unique look, choose from these.
It’s even available in fluorescent green which can be practical in bad weather conditions or other extreme situations.
The creators of this item were inspired by the M-65 field jacket, one of the most iconic utilitarian designs.
The Langly Field has multiple reinforced flap pockets. It has an adjustable hood and cuffs, and it’s completely water-resistant.
They offer two designs, one for travel and one for photography. The photo option comes with a photo bundle. It has a lens wipe, lens filter, battery or film holder, cap holder and memory card holder.
You can wear it anywhere. No matter whether you have your gear with you or not, this jacket is incredibly stylish and practical. Keep yourself safe from the elements, not only when you are out there photographing.
And did we mention, it’s unisex?
As you see, photo vests and jackets come in a lot of shapes and colours on a wide price range.
If you are a photographer who spends a lot of time outside, you might consider buying one. Make sure to choose the right size, and reckon with the changes stuffing your pockets can make.
Also, choose comfort over design. Your lenses and cameras can be heavy. If you keep them in your pocket instead of camera bags, it can result in many uncomfortable hours. If the photo vest is not the right size or it’s not strong enough, it’s inconvenient.
All of these photo vests are great quality, and every kind of photographers can find one for their style.