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7 Best Photographer Vests and Jackets in 2024 (Updated)

Last updated: January 19, 2024 - 10 min read
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The best photographer vest solves several problems at once. It provides easy access to a wide range of items. It frees your hands to focus on operating your camera. And it keeps your gear evenly distributed on your torso, which is better for your back. These considerations are what we looked at while choosing the best photographer vest.

Our top pick is hugely practical and has a bit of military chic about it. We think it offers great value for money, great design, and long-lasting materials. The Spanye Men’s Black Utility Vest is a great choice if you’re looking for the best photographer vest.

Our Top 3 Choices for The Best Photographer Vest
Spanye Men’s Black Utility Vest for Outdoor Activities
Spanye Men’s Black Utility Vest for Outdoor Activities
Spanye Men’s Black Utility Vest for Outdoor Activities
The North Face Men’s McMurdo Parka III
The North Face Men’s McMurdo Parka III
The North Face Men’s McMurdo Parka III
Gihuo Men’s Outdoor Fish Vest Plus Size Khaki Large
Gihuo Men’s Outdoor Fish Vest Plus Size Khaki Large
Gihuo Men’s Outdoor Fish Vest Plus Size Khaki Large
 

What Is a Photographer Vest?

We’ve put together a range of vests and jackets. They range from entry-level prices to full-on extreme weather gear. Some are lightweight, some are waterproof. Some emphasize style, others are focused on practicality. And all of them are excellent in their own way.

Before we look in detail at the choices we’ve made, here is a summary of all our recommendations.

Our Top Pick
Spanye Men’s Black Utility Vest for Outdoor Activities
Spanye Men’s Black Utility Vest for Outdoor Activities
Spanye Men’s Black Utility Vest for Outdoor Activities
  • 100% nylon construction
  • Range of 17 colors
  • 16 pockets of various sizes
  • Lightweight, breathable fabric
Best Severe Weather Choice
The North Face Men’s McMurdo Parka III
The North Face Men’s McMurdo Parka III
The North Face Men’s McMurdo Parka III
  • 550-fill goose down insulation for warmth
  • DryVent shell with sealed seams for waterproofing
  • Relaxed fit for layering and comfort
  • Convertible design with adjustable cuff tabs
Best Lightweight Choice
Gihuo Men’s Outdoor Fish Vest Plus Size Khaki Large
Gihuo Men’s Outdoor Fish Vest Plus Size Khaki Large
Gihuo Men’s Outdoor Fish Vest Plus Size Khaki Large
  • Lightweight and quick-drying fabric
  • Multi-pocketed gilet
  • 20/80 cotton/polyester for comfort and strength
  • Available in 15 colors
Most Stylish Vest
Men’s 9 Pocket Utility Vest for Travel & Work
Men’s 9 Pocket Utility Vest for Travel & Work
Men’s 9 Pocket Utility Vest for Travel & Work
  • 90/10 polyester/cotton for strength and comfort
  • 6 zippered pockets
  • Understated style
  • Lightweight and comfortable
Best Women's Vest
Women’s Q.U.E.S.T. Travel Vest: 42 Secure Pockets
Women’s Q.U.E.S.T. Travel Vest: 42 Secure Pockets
Women’s Q.U.E.S.T. Travel Vest: 42 Secure Pockets
  • 42 pockets - 40 are concealed
  • Water bottle pocket
  • RFID-safe pocket for security
  • Detachable keychain
Most Practical Vest
CampCo Humvee Safari Vest: Hunting, Fishing, Camping
CampCo Humvee Safari Vest: Hunting, Fishing, Camping
CampCo Humvee Safari Vest: Hunting, Fishing, Camping
  • 21 pockets with excellent variety of sizes
  • D-rings, mesh pockets, and epaulets
  • Pen pockets and large patch pockets
  • 100% cotton for comfort
Biggest Carrying Capacity
Rothco Uncle Milty Travel Vest, Black, X-Small
Rothco Uncle Milty Travel Vest, Black, X-Small
Rothco Uncle Milty Travel Vest, Black, X-Small
  • 55/45 cotton/polyester mix for comfort and durability
  • Huge 17 x 11-inch rear pocket
  • 17 pockets in total
  • Belt loop for comfort

Choosing the Right Photographer Vest

As you can see, there is quite a range out there. But here are the details of each recommendation. And why we think they are worth your consideration.

1. Spanye Men’s Black Utility Vest

Spanye Men’s Black Utility Vest for Outdoor Activities
Brand
Brand
Spanye
Material
Material
100% nylon
Waterproofing
Waterproofing
No
Sizes
Sizes
XS to 3XL
Key Features
Key Features
Mesh panels, 16 pockets, 17 colors
Best For
Best For
Anyone looking for a practical vest at a low price

This Spanye 100% nylon photo vest is a durable, tear-resistant, and versatile option. It’s lightweight, breathable, and washable. You can wear it for any activity from photography to fishing, hiking, or traveling.

It has multiple zippers and flip pockets that 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 allow you to store things for easy access.

It comes in two styles and 15 colors. So you have a lot of designs to choose from. Photography vests usually don’t come in so many colors. So if you’d like to stand out from others, choose from these color options.

The Spanye vest is even available in fluorescent green. This can be practical in bad weather conditions or other extreme situations.

 

2. The North Face Men’s McMurdo Parka III

The North Face Men’s McMurdo Parka III
Brand
Brand
THE NORTH FACE
Material
Material
100% nylon faille
Waterproofing
Waterproofing
Waterproof and windproof
Sizes
Sizes
XS to 3XL
Key Features
Key Features
Removable hood, taped seams, certified goose down filling
Best For
Best For
Anyone looking for a coat for any weather

The North Face Men’s McMurdo Parka III is a photographer jacket. This is the perfect photography jacket for colder weather.

It’s a really cool-looking jacket that’s also practical. It’s waterproof, made with a DryVent shell, and has sealed seams. It also allows water vapor to escape, so it’s breathable.

There is an internal pocket to keep your important documents or gadgets safe and warm.

The external pockets are large, so you can fit sizable pieces of equipment in them. It’s not going to be enough for carrying several camera bodies or lenses. But if you go out with one camera, you can easily store everything you need.

Handwarmer pockets are also beneficial. You’ll enjoy your time outdoors more with warm hands. But it also makes using the buttons and menus on your camera easier. It’s not cheap, but the North Face Men’s McMurdo Parka III will protect you in almost any weather.

 

3. Gihuo Men’s Outdoor Fishing Vest

Gihuo Men’s Outdoor Fish Vest Plus Size Khaki Large
Brand
Brand
Gihuo
Material
Material
Cotton and polyester
Waterproofing
Waterproofing
Water-resistant
Sizes
Sizes
S to 3XL
Key Features
Key Features
15 different colors, 10 pockets and two D-rings, breathable fabric
Best For
Best For
Staying cool while carrying plenty of gear

If you are looking for a lightweight yet durable photography vest, this Gihuo Men’s Outdoor Fishing Vest might be the one for you. It’s also a multifunctional vest. You can use it for fishing, traveling, or any outdoor adventures.

This vest is 20% cotton and 80% polyester. It’s moderately waterproof and quick drying. It won’t fully protect you from heavy rains, but it can keep your gear safe in a light drizzle.

It comes with 16 pockets. That’s enough space for your personal items and smaller pieces of camera equipment. These pockets are not bulky, so the vest feels comfortable even if you have to wear it for a long time.

The Gihuo vest is available in 15 colors, so it’s another vest that offers you more style options.

 

4. Beat the World Men's 9 Pocket Utility Vest for Travel & Work

Men’s 9 Pocket Utility Vest for Travel & Work
Brand
Brand
Beat The World
Material
Material
Polyester and cotton
Waterproofing
Waterproofing
No
Sizes
Sizes
S to 3XL
Key Features
Key Features
10 colors, 6 zippered pockets, lightweight
Best For
Best For
Carrying a small amount of kit in warm weather

This Beat the World Men’s 9 Pocket Utility Vest is a subtle yet fashionable choice. It’s 90% polyester and 10% cotton, which means it’s lightweight.

There are 11 different colors to choose from. The pockets are well-constructed, but not too big. 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 Beat the World Vest helps you by keeping your smaller accessories easy to access. And there is an internal pocket that’s perfect for storing your wallet.

 

5. SCOTTeVEST Women’s Q.U.E.S.T. Travel Vest

Women’s Q.U.E.S.T. Travel Vest: 42 Secure Pockets
Brand
Brand
SCOTTeVEST
Material
Material
Cotton and nylon
Waterproofing
Waterproofing
Water-repellent
Sizes
Sizes
XS to 4XL
Key Features
Key Features
40 hidden pockets, handwarmer, RFID, and electronics pockets
Best For
Best For
Women looking for stylish and practical travel solutions

This SCOTTeVEST Women’s Q.U.E.S.T. Travel Vest is a surprising piece. At first sight, it looks like a simple vest with a clear-cut design. But if you look closely, you can see that it has 42 pockets. Yes, 42!

It comes in two colors—beige and black. They’re timeless enough so you can wear them to any occasion.

It’s perfect for carrying your camera gear, passport, or tablet. This makes it suitable for travel photography as well.

It has 18 interior pockets that help you keep your valuables safe.

It has small practical features. It has things like an eyeglass cleaning cloth, a detachable keychain, and a water bottle holder. It also comes with a hood that can be folded and hidden.

There is even an RFID wallet pocket that prevents credit card skimming.

And last but not least, the SCOTTeVEST Women’s Q.U.E.S.T. Travel Vest has a weight management system. That prevents you from being uncomfortable with your gadgets weighing down your pockets.

 

6. CampCo Humvee Safari Vest

CampCo Humvee Safari Vest: Hunting, Fishing, Camping
Brand
Brand
CampCo
Material
Material
100% cotton
Waterproofing
Waterproofing
No
Sizes
Sizes
XS to 3XL
Key Features
Key Features
21 pockets of various sizes, D-rings, and epaulets
Best For
Best For
Carrying lots of equipment while staying cool and comfortable

The Humvee Cotton Safari Vest is 100% cotton, so it’s ideal even in hot weather. Along with photography, it can also be used for hiking, camping, or fishing.

It comes with nylon-lined pockets so you can keep your valuables dry. The hooks, D-rings, elastic, and snap epaulet pockets make organizing your gear easy. There are 21 pockets to keep your gear in, so there’s plenty of room.

It’s available in two colors—khaki and black. The black one might be better for photographing on the streets or indoors. And khaki might be better in nature.

Note that the Humvee Vests run large to allow you to stuff all 21 pockets. So if you don’t plan to carry a lot of things, maybe try a smaller size.

 

7. Rothco Uncle Milty Travel Vest, Black, X-Small

Rothco Uncle Milty Travel Vest, Black, X-Small
Brand
Brand
Rothco
Material
Material
Cotton and polyester
Waterproofing
Waterproofing
No
Sizes
Sizes
XS to 4XL
Key Features
Key Features
Large (17 x 11-inch) rear cargo pocket, 17 pockets and three D-rings
Best For
Best For
Carrying lots of gear in cooler weather

This Rothco Uncle Milty vest has enough pockets for all your gear. Maybe a tripod wouldn’t fit in it, but you can carry lenses or smaller camera bodies in it. And if you’re a documentary photographer or photojournalist, you could store your notebook in this.

It has 13 front, one rear, and three inside pockets.

The expandable pocket on its back has a 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 and carry them without a bag.

You can purchase this photographer vest in three different colors—olive, black, or khaki. Maybe black is more versatile as it fits more situations than others. But with three choices, you can find the one that best suits your style.

The Uncle Milty is made of 55% cotton and 45% polyester, so it’s durable.

 

Do You Need a Photographer Vest?

Photographer vests can be very helpful while shooting. Read on to see if it’s the right choice 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 best fits your needs. So you’ll need to consider size, comfort, and durability.

The price range is wide, so you’ll find something that fits your budget.

 

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 when you are photographing in crowds and it would be hard to move with a huge bag on your back.

They are also designed to distribute the weight of equipment equally so that the photographer is comfortable. You don’t have to stand with a bag strap on one shoulder for long periods. And they’re usually lightweight, which adds to mobility.

Also, you can reach small accessories quickly. Keeping all your memory cards in one pocket and your cleaning cloth in another ensures that you can grab them easily.

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 in one of your pockets than having to open a bag.

They are also great against harsh weather conditions. They keep you warm. But they also protect your gear and your body heat prevents your equipment from getting too cold.

What I also like about them is that they can look professional. If you see people wearing these in any situation, you 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.

 

Conclusion: The Best Photographer Vest

There’s no doubt that a photographer vest can be a game-changer in a number of situations. It’s often not practical to carry a bag around with you. And many vests allow you instant access to your gear. They also keep your hands free.

We think that the Spanye Vest hits just the right balance between style, versatility, and practicality.

Our Top 3 Choices for The Best Photographer Vest
Spanye Men’s Black Utility Vest for Outdoor Activities
Spanye Men’s Black Utility Vest for Outdoor Activities
Spanye Men’s Black Utility Vest for Outdoor Activities
The North Face Men’s McMurdo Parka III
The North Face Men’s McMurdo Parka III
The North Face Men’s McMurdo Parka III
Gihuo Men’s Outdoor Fish Vest Plus Size Khaki Large
Gihuo Men’s Outdoor Fish Vest Plus Size Khaki Large
Gihuo Men’s Outdoor Fish Vest Plus Size Khaki Large