Best Weighted Vests

Best Weighted Vests, December 2021

Weighted vests are possibly the most underrated workout pieces that you can use. Relatively cheap compared to barbells, plates, and other workout equipment, they provide a whole lot of value for your money, and they can be used for different exercises.

One thing about weighted vests (that is apparently taken for granted by a lot of people) is that they simply make other workouts better. It is really easy to dismiss weighted vests as excessive or unnecessary, but I'd argue the opposite.

Weighted vests, while intended for the more devoted gym-goers, will actually help anyone get stronger and faster if used properly. 

Darin Hulslander, C.S.C.S., the head of This is Performance, a Chicago-based training studio with online programs had this to say about weighted vests: “Training with a weighted vest can be super-beneficial for power athletes or Olympic lifters, especially on moves like squat jumps or box jumps to build strength and explosive power.”

Adding a weighted vest to your workout gear can potentially improve your overall performance in any of those areas, so I've gathered what I believe to be the 10 best weighted vests for you to push your limits in.

Don't have time to read? Here's our top pick!

#1

5/5

Rogue Plate Carrier

Rogue Plate Carrier is my #1 choice for best weighted vests and it's hard not to see why.


40lb weight capacity, intuitive design, comfortable material, and competition tested durability put it squarely at the top.

Man wearing brown vest while running

Although this is a really good way to improve cardio, some people are apprehensive. Strapping weight to your body and doing cardio at the same time isn't for everyone.

Learning to remain calm when you cannot breathe as easily can become an activity to improve the autonomic nervous system's function and to learn how to trigger your parasympathetic system against the usual fight-or-flight response - aka, push through "the wall" of cardio or working out.

Weighted vests have a lot of benefits to their users. If you’re reading this article wondering if weighted vests would do you any good, yes I assure you they will.

Take your time to read through this article, and make a decision on which one of the weighted vests will work best for you. 

Top 7 Best Weighted Vests

1. Rogue Plate Carrier

Made in the USA, this weighted vest was developed in conjunction with Dave Castro, who directs the annual athletic competition, the CrossFit Games.

This vest is one of the few that was made specifically for workouts, hence it is good at what it does.

It was designed with minimalists in mind, with little thought put into aesthetics, but a lot of effort put into functionality.

It provides the most freedom of movement during workouts as it has the widest range of motion for any weighted vest on the market.

  • 40lb weight capacity
  • 1000D Interior and 500D Exterior Cordura®
  • 1lb vest weight
  • various weight plate options

The Rogue Plate Carrier can hold up to 40lbs and Rogue offers multiple weight pair sizes for you to choose from.

It is important to note that this vest is intended to be used only as a piece of workout equipment, and not as body armor, but that should be obvious given the Laser Cut plates explicitly say so.

Regardless, the Rogue Plate Carrier is my top choice and the material, customizable patches, weight options, and design make it a great choice for best weighted vest.


2. 5.11 TacTec Plate Carrier

This weighted vest was designed for high-level performance while at the same time maintaining a high level of comfort and ease of use.

It was originally designed to carry two weight plates, at the same time, be as comfortable as can be.

It features padded shoulder yokes, and back yoke shoulder pads to distribute weight evenly.

It also has abrasion-resistant and lightweight 500D CORDURA® nylon. It has a couple of other cool features (mentioned on their website) that are worth mentioning. Those features include: 

  • Cast and Laser Cut Weight Plate Options
  • 40lb weight capacity
  • official plate carrier provider to the CrossFit Games
  • Customizable Patch Options

5.11 TacTec Plate Carrier is designed with military-inspired usage so naturally, many of it's features are geared towards that. Some of these features include:

  • An Extendable GrabDrag handle for emergency exfiltration
  • One-handed quick release
  • Water-resistant coating
  • Oversized airflow panels
  • Web ID loop

You also have the option of two types of weight plates: Cast and Laser Cut.

Similarly, you have the option of customizing your 5.11 TacTec Plate Carrier with patches, just like the Rogue Plate Carrier, which is an added bonus to personalize your workout gear.

This vest is a bit pricey and that’s the main reason it isn’t on the top of this list, but if you have the money to spend, it's one of the best price-to-performance ratio.


3. RDX R1 Adjustable Weighted Vest

The RDX R1 Weighted Vest can help you take your strength training to the next level.

It's made with durable Cordura® material and sturdy neoprene that’s resistant to punctures and abrasions, the RDX weighted vest promises to transform your workouts. 

Dual seams along with the vest guarantee split-resisting resilience against the strain of added weights. It is obvious that this weighted vest is for the big boys.

It has 20 removable weights adjustable up to 40 pounds with 2 pounds per block.

  • 40lb weight capacity
  • easily customizable weight options
  • Cordura® material for comfort and durability 
  • QD-1™ lining for moisture wicking and dryness

It is easily modifiable to suit any mixture of weights for your training level.

The RDX R1 Weighted Vest also features a hook-and-loop belt with comfortable pad (EVA™ anti-vibration pads) shoulder attachments designed to relieve pressure from the weights.

What makes this weighted vest so great is that it is highly customizable in terms of weight distribution and works well for running, bodyweight workouts, and general training.


4. Hyper Vest Elite Weight Vest

If this weighted vest has a superpower, it would be its exceptional comfort. Everything about this vest just feels good on the body.

It is great for walking, running, rehab, performance and endurance training, OCR (obstacle course races), weight lifting, and functional fitness.

It was designed in such a way that it doesn’t have any “hot spots”. It is almost like it has cooling vents within its fabric. Its design is super comfortable.

Its thin profile allows for a wide range of movements.

  • 10lb, 15lb, 20lb weight options
  • Cordura® material for comfort and durability
  • Open design helps breathability
  • lightweight for improved mobility

Hyper Vest Elite Weight Vest has a reflective flexible side lacing for a highly adjustable fit. It has a maximum of 40 pounds weight.

If you have used regular weighted vests and then try this one out, you will be blown away by how much comfort it provides.


5. Hyper Vest PRO

I know I said the Hyper Vest Elite Weight Vest has comfort as its superpower. Well, the Hyper Vest PRO is comfort itself.

According to Hyper Vest, it is “...the most comfortable, form-fitting walking vest on the market.”

Hyper Vest PRO is a great choice for men and women alike because of the unisex design.

It has mostly the same features as the Hyper Vest Elite, such as the exceptional comfort, the thin profile, the wide range of motion, the cooling feature, the reflective flexible side lace, and so on.

  • 40lb weight capacity
  • Unisex Design to fit all bodies
  • Various Sizes and weight sizes
  • Open Design Helps Breathability and mobility

With a large selection of sizes, all starting with 10lbs pre-loaded, you have plenty of choice depending on your body size, dimensions, and training needs. You can buy each weight pack in 5lb increments.

Small starts at 22lb, Medium at 24lb, Large at 34lb, and XL at 48lb.

Hyper Vest PRO features a similar design to the Hyper Vest Elite which makes it very helpful for all forms of training, but especially CrossFit and running.


6. Garage Fit Variable Weight Training Vest

The Garage Vest is a revolutionary tool for those who like to keep it moving when working out.

This arrangement offers the individual the greatest possible range of motion since the weights are bound tightly to the core to avoid moving or loosening, even though the user participates in rigorous exercises.

Despite the fact that the Garage Fit Weight Training Vest has a heavy-duty design with its adjustable weights, It feels great throughout your workouts while doing your push-ups, sit-ups, squats, and the like, so you don't have to hurt yourself to push yourself to your very limits.

  • 10lb Weight Capacity
  • Unisex Design
  • Easily adjustable weight distribution
  • Breathable Material

It has a relatively low max weight at just 10 pounds (20 pieces of 0.5 pounds each), hence it is good for beginners, and it also allows you to build your resistance slowly.

Another awesome feature is the Garage Fit weight control vest's lightweight construction; it features Velcro straps that fasten and adapt easily to fit a range of body shapes. Stretching weight pockets allow changing the vest's variable weight convenient for everyone.


7. CAP Adjustable Weight Vest 

This is one of the most affordable weighted vests around, which means that if you have limited funds, you always get value for your dollars.

This particular weighted vest is very basic in design, but that does not mean it is a bad design in general. I just think that it could be better.

It isn't very durable. On the other hand, if you are trying to save money, this may be your best option.

It comes in sizes ranging from a standard 20lb all the way to a hefty (and more expensive) 150lbs option.

  • Affordable Cost-to-Performance
  • 20lb - 150lb Weight Capacity
  • Open Sides for breathability
  • Short Style for Comfort

The side wraps are made of less-breathable neoprene material and are wrapped around the wearer's upper body for increased support of the weighted vest, allowing it to be placed against the wearer's chest, providing some comfortability. 

The CAP Weighted Vest uses small weight packs in the compartments to allow you to adjust the overall weight and weight distribution to your liking.

Overall, this is an ultra-budget weighted vest that won't beat the quality of the top choices, but no cap, it offers plenty in its own right in terms of max weight capacity.


8. GORUCK RUCK Plate Carrier 3.0

GORUCK is one of the best brands when it comes to durable, military-style workout and training gear - the GORUCK Ruck Plate Carrier 3.0 is just the latest of that gear.

Building on the success of the Ruck Plate Carrier 1.0 and 2.0, the 3.0 has improved in nearly every aspect.

Providing a comfortable wearing experience with 1000D Cordura® nylon, it's also highly durable, which is part of their military-grade pedigree.

Even more so, it has lumbar padding, along with secure design so it won't move even while upside down or moving.

  • 1000D Cordura® nylon
  • 10lb - 45lb Weight capacity
  • Padded Hook-and-Loop Plate Pocket
  • Extra Padding for Comfortable use

GORUCK Ruck Plate Carrier 3.0 also has extra padding for comfortable use from the lowest 10lb weight up to the 45lb max. 

One of the best features is that it's durably designed with plenty of straps and handles to keep it snug, but it's also easily washable because of the lack of mesh and zippers - simply hose it down and hang it up.

One downside is that the weight is entirely located on the front chest pocket which might be uncomfortable for some workouts, but overall, a great weighted vest.


9. Condor Sentry Plate Carrier

Continuing the trend of military-style training gear is the Condor Sentry Plate Carrier.

Much in the vein of the GORUCK, it's a very lightweight, tactically-aesthetic weight vest that is sure to please even the most hardcore CrossFitters.

It has a max weight of 40lb, much like many of the weighted vests on this list.

You can fit Rogue Echo Plates or Rogue Cast Plates, or any Medium or Large ESAPI plates (up to 10.25” x 13.25”).

  • 40lb Weight Capacity
  • open side design for breathability
  • Lightweight for comfort 
  • durable material and padding

As mentioned, the Condor Sentry Plate Carrier is lightweight and features an open design for breathability to keep you cool during training.

It has hook-and-loop webbing for further support to keep it in place, emergency drag handle, removable padded mesh shoulders, padded mesh interior for comfort, and adjustable shoulder straps.

For further customization, you can also attach patches like the GORUCK, 5.11, and Rogue weighted vests.


10. MiR Short Weighted Vest

If you're looking for choices when it comes to your weighted vests, then look no further than the MiR Short Weighted Vest.

As you can tell by the name, the MiR Short Weighted Vest is designed to be worn primarily around the chest, allowing for more core mobility.

The best part of this weighted vest is as I said, the amount of options you have for weight.

Even though it's a "smaller" weighted vest, it comes in plenty of weight options.

  • 15lb - 90lb Weight Capacity Vests
  • 1200D nylon for enhanced durability
  • small design useful for various workouts
  • Removable 3lb Weights for additional customization

How many? The smallest starts at 20lbs (with removable weights in each) and is offered in 30, 40, 45, 50, 60, 75, 80, and 90lb versions as well. So yeah, plenty of choices along with the ability to take weights in and out of pockets as you please.

Aside form that, it only measures 11" across the chest, making it very small which is great for movement intensive workouts like CrossFit and running.

Using heavy-duty 1200D reinforced nylon with double-padded shoulders and mesh ventilation, it's a smaller-designed weighted vest that can handle a big workload.


Which One is Best for You?

Weighted vests can be a great addition to your workout gear. They help in strength training, endurance, and cardio. With the extra weight you carry from the vests during workouts, you burn more calories with them.

A frequently asked question about the vests is how it affects the back, spine, and knees. Fortunately, there isn't much to support this claim directly. While weighted vests can be more intensive on the legs, most of the stress is felt through the muscles and ligaments.

Picking a good weighted vest, as seen by my list of best weighted vests, comes down to a few factors:

  • Comfort
  • Durability
  • Cost
  • Weight Capacity
  • Design

Each of those weighted vests offers anything from short-style weighted vests, full-size weighted vests, lower weight capacity for cardio, higher capacity for CrossFit or lifting, and cost from budget options to more expensive vests.

Whichever one you pick should match whether you want something for CrossFit, cardio, bodyweight workouts, along with the other considerations.

Final Thoughts

I talked about a lot of weighted vests today, but I feel like this list includes some of the best out there that match various needs when it comes to your training.

Budget options like the CAP Adjustable Weight Vest, to the more expensive 5.11 TacTec Plate Carrier, lighter weight vests such as the Garage Fit Variable Weight Training Vest, to the all-around best weighted vest in the Rogue Plate Carrier.

No matter what you need a weighted vest for, these options are all winners in my book, and should be winners in your gym bag too.

Denver Matheson
 

I spend a lot of time at the gym and even more time in the kitchen giving my body what it needs to repair itself and grow stronger. The third most important place for any athlete is their research zone. That's exactly why this site exists, to help me share all of the information I've learned throughout the years just like people did for me in the first place!

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