Weighted Vests are one of the best value pieces of equipment you can add to your home gym. They’re relatively affordable compared to barbells, racks, and plates yet can be used for a wide variety of movements. After researching more than 50 weight vests and evaluating 19, we believe the Rogue Plate Carrier is the best weight vest for most people. It’s a minimalist vest that does everything you want right and leaves out the rest. If you want to go heavier than 40 LB, our runner-up the Kensui EZ Vest may suit you better.

Top Pick
Rogue Plate Carrier
The Rogue Plate Carrier is an American-made, heavy duty weight vest optimized for use with our contoured USA Cast Plates and Echo Cast Plates (up to 20 LBS). This simple but robust design was co-developed with Dave Castro, and features a 1000D and 500D Cordura® construction with USA Velcro® straps/fasteners and X-box reinforced stitching. By delivering functional precision and a stabilized fit without the added bulk of unnecessary bells and whistles, the Rogue Plate Carrier offers high-performance athletes a uniquely streamlined, no-nonsense take on the modern tac-style training vest. We’re currently offering the Rogue Plate Carrier in three adjustable sizes and four different colorway options: Black, Ranger Green, Coyote Brown, and Gray. The plate pockets on all versions measure 10.25" (outside width) x 12.25" (outside height), and include a 1000D Cordura® lining. Extra foam padding, stretch woven fabric, and minimized seams on the inside of the vest help prevent chafing and discomfort while on the move, and a short section of elastic at the back of the waist strap makes it easy to facilitate a consistent, snug fit. Specifications: Made In USA Patent Pending Design - Co-Developed with Dave Castro Material Type 1000D & 500D Cordura Weight (Unloaded): 1.12 LB (Medium Size) Size Options: Small, Medium, Large Plate Pocket Width: 10.25" (outside width) Height Plate Pocket: 12.25" (outside height) Compatible with Rogue USA Cast Vest Plates and Rogue Echo Vest Plates Color Options: Black / Ranger Green / Coyote Brown / Gray Care Instructions: Hand Wash, Line Dry USA Velcro fasteners and front/back loops for patches

The Rogue Plate Carrier is one of the few weight vests on the market that was specifically designed for workouts. Its design, which was created in collaboration with the Director of the CrossFit Games Dave Castro is intended to be as sleek and non-obtrusive as possible and they achieved just that. What the Rogue Plate Carrier lacks in flash, it makes up for in function and the most freedom of movement with the largest range of motion of any weighted vest. If you plan to use a weight vest primarily for weights less than 40 LB and in workouts like Murph as well as bodyweight squats and pullups, then this is the best weighted vest on the market. It’s also made in the USA, something that’s important to many of our readers.

Read my full and in-depth Rogue Plate Carrier review here.

Runner Up
Kensui EZ-Vest
Our innovative patent-pending weight-loading vest compatible with all weightplates. The EZ-Vest® allows you to up the intensity and get more out of each rep. Perfect for weighted running, weighted pushups, squats, rows, pullups, dips, handstand pushups, jumps, planks, and many more exercises! • Removable & breathable leather lining • Machine-washable padding • Light-weight and Portable (4lbs) • Doesn't require custom weights • Weather Resistant Powder-coating • Aircraft Grade Aluminum • Heaviest weighted vest • Comfortable Seamless binding • Fits all weight plates • Adjustable Shoulder Strap • Heavy Duty 1680D Ballistic Nylon • Includes 2x Olympic spin-lock collars • Removable Sleeves for compactness • Training guide with 30+ workouts

If our Top Pick doesn’t quite reach the weight capacity that you’re looking for, or you want to utilize the weight plates you already have, then the Kensui EZ-VEST Plate-Loadable Weight Vest is what we’d suggest. The Kensui EZ-VEST is in a league of its own as it’s the only weight vest that uses an Olympic plate adapter to utilize barbell plates for both the front and the back. This is definitely a product we’ve reviewed that made us step back and ask, “why didn’t we think of that.” Although it’s not a vest we’d love to go on a jog with–where it shines is with loading up movements like squats, lunges, chin-ups, and dips with more weight than you could with any other vest. Although it’s pricey, it’s made well using durable materials like aluminum and we were pleasantly surprised just how comfortable it felt during use making it one of the best weighted vests on the market.

Check out my in-depth Kensui EZ-VEST Weighted Vest review here.

Another Option
5.11 TacTec Plate Carrier
(6 ratings & reviews)
Made from an ultra-durable, water-resistant 500D nylon, the 5.11 TacTec™ Plate Carrier Vest is uniquely designed to give the wearer an increased range of motion with a lightweight feel and optimal breathability. Unlike some comparable weighted vests or flak jackets in the industry, the 5.11 Tactical Weight Vest can hold medium and large ballistic plates—front and back—without the restrictive bulkiness. Yoke shoulder pads reduce friction, adjustable tensional bands improve stability, and innovative air flow channels and aerospace mesh ensure sustained comfort. The 5.11 TacTec Plate Carrier Vest weighs 2.5LB on its own, and can be ordered as part of a package with a set of compatible plates—including your choice of the original Rogue Vest Plates or our new USA Cast Weight Vest Plates (you can compare options below). All weight vests come with durable Duraflex® hardware, a laser-cut micro-loop web platform, and an extended drag handle and quick release system. An athlete doesn’t need to sacrifice comfort or mobility to get all the benefits of a top-tier weighted vest. 5.11 Tactical has created a uniquely lightweight and body-contoured plate carrier, weighing just 2.5LB unloaded, and capable of holding both medium and large ballistic plates, front and back. The carrier is made from durable 500D nylon, and features yoke shoulder pads to reduce friction, adjustable tensional bands for stability, and innovative air flow channels for sustained comfort.

The 5.11 Tactical TacTec Plate Carrier is our previous Top Pick and is still a vest we’d recommend. Originally designed to hold two ballistic armor plates, it was soon upon release repurposed by CrossFit athletes and has been used in countless CrossFit games events, including Murph. Be sure to check out the best CrossFit equipment home gym here. The TacTec Plate Carrier is definitely one of the most tacti-cool looking weighted vests, however, it adds a lot of unnecessary features that make it great for its intended purpose, but not as much when used for exercise. If you like the look, want a vest that’s extremely durable, and don’t mind paying for it, the 5.11 Tactical Weight Vest is still a great option, just not our favorite option.


Budget Pick
North Gym Adjustable Weight Vest
The NG Fury 3D weighted vest will raise your training to the next level. The durable and high-qualitiy produced training vest made of Oxford 600D can be individually weighted with our specific body shaped weights plates. It is designed to stay close to the athlete body and avoids unnecessary movement without putting to much pressure on the torso. Each Vest comes with 1 pair of body shaped weight-plates. During the development, of the vest, the focus was set on designing a vest with an optimized fit for all kinds of athletes. Each vest comes with 2 pairs of different length side straps. Depending on the body extent you can choose the right length for you. The shoulder straps have 2 buckle option so that also the height of the vest can be adjusted to your needs. These 2 features make this vest fit Athletes from skinny to bulky and small to tall. This vest really fits everybody. The position of loading the plates into the vest moved to the side for a better fit and more safety. This gives us 2 major advantages. It is easier to load and exchange the plates and the plates fit tigther in the pocket and have almost no space in the vest which prevents the plates to move.

If a low price is a high priority, but you still want something that’s high quality and can take a beating, then the North Gym Adjustable Weight Vest is what we recommend. Although this isn’t the cheapest option (look at our Ultra-Budget Pick for that) the North Gym Weighted Vest takes pretty much all of the features of the 5.11 Tactical Vest along with 3D Shaped Weight Plates like what Rogue offers and sells it for less than half of the equivalent vest and plates combo from 5.11. We’re big fans of this vest at the price point for those who want a vest designed for rucking, metcons, hero-wods, and calisthenic exercises. And be sure to see our best budget home gym equipment here.

Ultra Budget Pick
CAP 20 LB Adjustable Weight Vest
Adjustable conditioning vest with steel-shot weight packets, weighing approximately 0.75 lb Helps you gain strength and burn additional calories Adds up to 20 pounds of resistance Neoprene padding for comfort; Integrated pocket for cell phone The vest is made with breathable mesh with adjustable clips to match your body type. Width: 14.50; Height: 16.50; Depth: 5.00 & Weight: 20.00 Lbs

The cheapest adjustable weighted vest we recommend is the CAP Barbell Adjustable Weighted Vest and, we are somewhat wary in doing so. For the price, it’s a good value as it weighs in at 20 LB and is shipped to your door for under $50. However, in our experience, you will eventually want to upgrade and we don’t suggest using the adjustable weight feature unless you want steel shot to fall out on your floor (this is the weight that’s used.) It’s cheap, it’s (close to) 20 LB and it fits close to the body thanks to its neoprene material. Understand though, you get what you pay for with this vest. Be sure to check out our guide to building the ultimate $1,000 budget home gym here.

Which Weight Vest is Right for You?

Don’t fall into the trap of buying the coolest-looking weighted vest.

Seriously, the looks of the vest are secondary to the function and feel of the vest (and this rings true for pretty much all best gym home equipment.)

As with most items that you plan to fill your home gym with, I recommend taking a look at the movements you most often do. Do you do a lot of running and quick movements? Then you’ll want a vest that you can be used for those purposes and won’t flop around and feel uncomfortable during use. However, if you do more pull-ups and dips than sprints and longer distance runs, then a vest that has the capability of getting heavy may be a better option.

Here’s the thing, there are vests that can do it all. However, they often lack in some areas if they can do everything. For instance, a vest that can get heavy and be used for running is often time-intensive to adjust the weight and won’t feel very secure during runs. This is why for most people, we suggest a vest that isn’t crazy heavy but instead can add 20 LB or so to your body weight as it will feel the most comfortable and be the most versatile.

How We Picked

Any fitness product that doesn’t require an entire room to be used (i.e. a squat rack) and can be had for those on even the most strict budgets will have many companies selling their own version.

There are many weighted vests on the market, especially with the continued interest in working out at home. However, there are not as many different types of vests as you’d guess after doing a quick Google search. The fact of the matter is, despite all of the brands selling weighted vests, many of them are using the same manufacturers and designs and are simply having their logo placed on the product. This happens a lot in the fitness industry; barbells are notorious for it. However, here we have created a list of the best Olympic barbells to help you out and make a decision. 

So, what we did was first take stock of what we had on hand in both my home gym and my personal training studio. Turns out we had more than 10 different models already from doing various reviews over the years.

I then began to scour manufacturers’ websites to see what was available that I wasn’t aware of. When I found a vest that was a unique design or one I hadn’t used, I bought it and we began throwing it in workouts to see how it felt.

In total we found over 50 different weight vests being sold by companies, but not nearly as many unique designs. The versions we brought in house for testing were ones we had either prior experience with, looked intriguing, or we had been asked to review it.

Simialr to some of the best wieghtlifting belts, here are the various specifications we judged the weight vests on:

Materials: Thicker material like 1000D Cordura will last longer, but it will also not be as breathable.

Weight Capacity: Some weighted vests hold a max of only 14 LB while others can hold up to 225 LB. But, in addition to the capacity, the weight distribution for the front and back is important to consider.

Comfortability: Weighted vests are worn during jumping, climbing, running, pushing, pulling, squatting, and many other movements. It’s essential that the vest be comfortable during use and not impede your range of motion. One particular area of concern is the yoke shoulder straps that go over the traps. These can often be thin and dig in over time.

Stitching: The materials used will only matter as much as the stitching can hold them together. X-box stitching at joints, double or triple stitching at the seams, and no loose ends are all ways to make a vest last longer.

Breathability: Mesh can be helpful for breathing and wicking sweat from the body, however, it can also rip. The best option is having as little material on the body as possible. Various materials can look cool, but if they’re for only that purpose, it’s not needed. Minimalism in weight vests is often the best route.

Security: If you plan on doing any running or rucking with a weight vest, making sure that it’s not flopping around is key. I remember doing Murph one year with a DIY weighted vest that flopped around like nobody’s business. It was a bad time. Multiple security points, most often using velcro make it easy to adjust to one's body type and stay secure.

Adjustability: The more points for adjustment, the more it will fit peoples various body types.

Durability: How long will the vest last. Will the plates rip through the nylon? Will the velcro lose its stickiness quickly?

Value: How does the price match the features, quality, and performance of the vest. This is a key spec we look at when identifying the best weighted vests for most people.

How We Tested the Weight Vests

Once we narrowed down the weight vests to the ones that we felt were worth paying some attention to, we ran them through various workouts.

Depending on what its use case is, a weight vest should perform differently.

For the vests we thought were more suitable for heavyweight, we loaded them up to their maximum suggested weight (and often more) to see how they felt. In addition, we would jump (as much as we could with a few hundred pounds on the vest,) run, bound, and just overall shake to see how if the weight stayed secure and tight to the body.

Most of the weight vests use velcro as the securitization system, so we tested how many times we could place and pull the velcro tabs apart to see how many it would take before we found a noticeable change in the holding power.

For the vests designed to be used for most everything, we used them for most everything. We put them on for runs, used them in workouts that they’re really designed for, like Murph, as well various bodyweight workouts such as push-ups, squats, pull-ups, and box jumps.

Lastly, we weighed the vests and their weight plates (if they came included) for accuracy to their stated weight as we do with all of our barbell and weighted plates. See the best bumper plates here.

Our Top Pick: Rogue Plate Carrier

Best Weight Vest
Rogue Plate Carrier
The Rogue Plate Carrier is an American-made, heavy duty weight vest optimized for use with our contoured USA Cast Plates and Echo Cast Plates (up to 20 LBS). This simple but robust design was co-developed with Dave Castro, and features a 1000D and 500D Cordura® construction with USA Velcro® straps/fasteners and X-box reinforced stitching. By delivering functional precision and a stabilized fit without the added bulk of unnecessary bells and whistles, the Rogue Plate Carrier offers high-performance athletes a uniquely streamlined, no-nonsense take on the modern tac-style training vest. We’re currently offering the Rogue Plate Carrier in three adjustable sizes and four different colorway options: Black, Ranger Green, Coyote Brown, and Gray. The plate pockets on all versions measure 10.25" (outside width) x 12.25" (outside height), and include a 1000D Cordura® lining. Extra foam padding, stretch woven fabric, and minimized seams on the inside of the vest help prevent chafing and discomfort while on the move, and a short section of elastic at the back of the waist strap makes it easy to facilitate a consistent, snug fit. Specifications: Made In USA Patent Pending Design - Co-Developed with Dave Castro Material Type 1000D & 500D Cordura Weight (Unloaded): 1.12 LB (Medium Size) Size Options: Small, Medium, Large Plate Pocket Width: 10.25" (outside width) Height Plate Pocket: 12.25" (outside height) Compatible with Rogue USA Cast Vest Plates and Rogue Echo Vest Plates Color Options: Black / Ranger Green / Coyote Brown / Gray Care Instructions: Hand Wash, Line Dry USA Velcro fasteners and front/back loops for patches

The Rogue Plate Carrier is our top pick for the best weight vest largely due to its value proposition.

In a nutshell, you get a made in the USA weight vest designed specifically for being used as a weight vest that can go up in weight to 40 LB total, is extremely comfortable and priced very competitively.

For most people, this is the best option.

Believe it or not, 90% of the competition weight vests were designed to be used by military operators, those in the police force, and other professions where there is the potential to be fired upon. It just so happens, that the ballistic plates typically intended for the plate carriers can be subbed for cast iron or steel plates and used for working out.

Rogue Fitness dwindled down all of the unnecessary ‘tacticool’ elements (I do think vests like the 5.11 Weight Vest look ‘cooler’) for their Plate Carrier and kept the features that matter most. This allows for a Rogue weight vest that is extremely compact, streamlined, and useful. Everything you want, nothing you don’t.

Most people will use a weight vest for running, bodyweight exercises, and general Murph-type workouts and metcons. This is why we recommend the Rogue Weight Vest Plate Carrier. It excels at these things while being able to last an extremely long time thanks to the Cordura fabric and reinforced stitching.

Regarding some of the nuts and bolts…

Padding added to the correct places on this vest alongside the stretch woven fabric serves to encourage enduring comfort for the duration of any bodyweight or heavyweight workout. Without neglecting the value of security, this vest offers a free-feeling fit, holding plates close to the body. You can put this vest on quickly, or take it off to make weight changes, and get back to your training.

Over time, many weight vests and things like sandbags can fade and lose their stiffness or edge. Being that this vest is made using 500D/1000D Cordura fabric (medium and heavyweight nylons sporting polyurethane and urethane coatings), tear strength and abrasion resistance should make trainees feel at ease knowing they should stand the test of time and use. Resistance to rot or mildew, especially when washed and allowed to hang dry, is in addition to toughness.

We’ve used the Rogue Plate Carrier and compared it to the others on the market, particularly the 5.11 TacTec Plate Carrier our previous Top Pick and although the 5.11 was great for its time, Rogue’s is better.

In fact, we reached out to some CrossFit Games athletes for their opinions on the Rogue Plate Carrier vs the 5.11 TacTec Plate Carrier and which they preferred and of the ones we talked to, not one preferred the 5.11 version. These athletes have as much experience with weight vests as anyone, so I trust their judgment.

Although there are many weight vests to consider, currently, the Rogue Plate Carrier is the best weighted vest available.

Runner Up: Kensui EZ-VEST

Runner Up
Kensui EZ-Vest
Our innovative patent-pending weight-loading vest compatible with all weightplates. The EZ-Vest® allows you to up the intensity and get more out of each rep. Perfect for weighted running, weighted pushups, squats, rows, pullups, dips, handstand pushups, jumps, planks, and many more exercises! • Removable & breathable leather lining • Machine-washable padding • Light-weight and Portable (4lbs) • Doesn't require custom weights • Weather Resistant Powder-coating • Aircraft Grade Aluminum • Heaviest weighted vest • Comfortable Seamless binding • Fits all weight plates • Adjustable Shoulder Strap • Heavy Duty 1680D Ballistic Nylon • Includes 2x Olympic spin-lock collars • Removable Sleeves for compactness • Training guide with 30+ workouts

If you’re looking for a weight vest with a high amount of maximum weight resistance and is ideal for more strength training than conditioning, then the Kensui EZ-VEST Weight Vest is our recommendation.

The Kensui EZ-VEST is the most unique weighted vest in our breakdown and likely one of the most unique in the world (except for that one vest called the Power-Pohl that looks like something out of a horror movie.) The separator for it from every other weighted vest on the market is its method of resistance. Rather than steel plates made to fit into the sleeve of the vest, the Kensui vests use Olympic Weight Plates making it excellent for strength training. 

So, instead of having to buy and have shipped (that’s where the cost really eats you) steel plates that can only be used in the vest, the EZ-VEST uses the weight plates you already have laying around your home gym. This means that not only can you use more weight, but you don’t have to pay extra to do so.

For this reason, and others I’ll get into, the EZ-VEST from Kensui is the best weight vest for those that want to add weight to various bodyweight movements and aren’t looking exclusively for a vest for conditioning and metcons like what our Top Pick, the Rogue Plate Carrier is most suited for.

I think most people are best off with a weight vest they can use for conditioning, which is why we place the Rogue Plate Carrier as our Top Pick. The Kensui EZ-Vest can certainly be used for dynamic movement, but it’s not as well suited for it as others.

However, where the EZ-VEST shines is in its ability to progressively overload pull-ups, dips, push-ups, and other calisthenic-type movements. This is very difficult to do with other vests or belts, but the EZ-VEST is great for just this purpose.

The ease of using the system is handy as well. The plate sleeves feature a locking nut that is easy to hand tighten and stays pretty tight just by using your hands.

The sleeves are removable in case you’re doing push-ups and want weight on the back, but not the front sleeve to get in the way when going chest to deck. There’s a prototype design in the works that will make this function even easier and quicker to use, which I’m looking forward to.

The weight capacity of the Kensui EZ-VEST is higher than any other weight vest commercially available

They have multiple options, but their Max vest goes up to a load of 225 LB.

This means for someone on a true budget or that wants a minimalist gym, they could technically use the vest for squats and hinge movements, not just pull-ups and dips.

That said, there are people out there with 225 LB pull-ups (at a max of 135 LB added weight for pull-ups, that’s definitely not me.)

I will say, although the weight capacity is high, that doesn’t mean it’s incredibly comfortable at those weight increments. Using 45 LB plates on the vest does feel a bit awkward as they can get in front of your chin and bounce a bit, but for a max out set, there’s not much of an issue using them. Be sure to also check out the best gymnastic grips for crossfit here. 

All in all, I’m surprised how much I like the EZ-VEST. I was skeptical and I do think it could be improved with some of the materials, but there really is nothing else like it. It has my full recommendation.

Another Option: 5.11 Tactical TacTec Plate Carrier Vest

Another Option
5.11 TacTec Plate Carrier
(6 ratings & reviews)
Made from an ultra-durable, water-resistant 500D nylon, the 5.11 TacTec™ Plate Carrier Vest is uniquely designed to give the wearer an increased range of motion with a lightweight feel and optimal breathability. Unlike some comparable weighted vests or flak jackets in the industry, the 5.11 Tactical Weight Vest can hold medium and large ballistic plates—front and back—without the restrictive bulkiness. Yoke shoulder pads reduce friction, adjustable tensional bands improve stability, and innovative air flow channels and aerospace mesh ensure sustained comfort. The 5.11 TacTec Plate Carrier Vest weighs 2.5LB on its own, and can be ordered as part of a package with a set of compatible plates—including your choice of the original Rogue Vest Plates or our new USA Cast Weight Vest Plates (you can compare options below). All weight vests come with durable Duraflex® hardware, a laser-cut micro-loop web platform, and an extended drag handle and quick release system. An athlete doesn’t need to sacrifice comfort or mobility to get all the benefits of a top-tier weighted vest. 5.11 Tactical has created a uniquely lightweight and body-contoured plate carrier, weighing just 2.5LB unloaded, and capable of holding both medium and large ballistic plates, front and back. The carrier is made from durable 500D nylon, and features yoke shoulder pads to reduce friction, adjustable tensional bands for stability, and innovative air flow channels for sustained comfort.

The 5.11 TacTec Plate Carrier was, at one time, the best and pretty much only option if you wanted a high-quality weighted vest. To be honest, it became popular kind of by happenstance.

The 5.11 Weight Vest wasn’t initially designed to be used as a fitness implement. It was meant to be used as a flak jacket to hold ballistic plates for operators in the military. It just so happens that the ballistic plates can be replaced with steel plates that vary in weight and be used to make workouts more difficult.

The CrossFit Games got a hold of the vest and started using it in their competitors and its popularity among the CrossFit and Garage Gym Community took off and the rest is history.

The 5.11 Weighted Vest has been copied hundreds of times over, but that’s exactly why it and the others aren’t our Top Pick. They’re not designed specifically for fitness and features a lot of unnecessary features that add bulk and difficulty in adjustment.

Yes, the 5.11 TacTec Plate Carrier is the most ‘tacti-cool’ weight vest. But, functionally, it’s not as good as our other picks.

It still is good enough to make our list, but it’s no longer the king of the mountain.

The 5.11 TacTec Plate Carrier does use great materials although it’s no longer made in the USA. Using 500D Nylon that’s weather-resistant and durable, I’ve never heard of someone having issues with any part of the vest wearing out other than the velcro losing some of its stick after a lot of use.

There’s a reason it’s been used in some of the most difficult training competitions in the world and even after being used, is given to competitors to continue using for decades in their own gyms.

One part of the vest that is nice for long-term wear is the yoke. The shoulders feature a thicker foam-filled shoulder system with mesh backing to allow breathability. I prefer the minimalist design of the Rogue Plate Carrier, but for extremely long rucking and training, the shoulders on the 5.11 Vest will prove to be a bit more comfortable.

However, the 5.11 Weight Vest is bulkier overall. If you’re somewhat small, you’ll feel like you’re swimming in the vest and although the double velcro system keeps the vest secure to your body, it’s excessive for exercise and is too difficult to remove.

Finally, the price at $200, not including shipping or the cost of the weight plates is a bit high considering it’s imported. The Rogue Plate Carrier is made in the US and is $75 cheaper.

In the end, if you add the 5.11 TacTec Plate Carrier to your home gym, it’s not a bad choice. We just think there are better options available since it was brought to market.

Budget Option: North Gym Adjustable Weight Vest

Budget Pick
North Gym Adjustable Weight Vest
The NG Fury 3D weighted vest will raise your training to the next level. The durable and high-qualitiy produced training vest made of Oxford 600D can be individually weighted with our specific body shaped weights plates. It is designed to stay close to the athlete body and avoids unnecessary movement without putting to much pressure on the torso. Each Vest comes with 1 pair of body shaped weight-plates. During the development, of the vest, the focus was set on designing a vest with an optimized fit for all kinds of athletes. Each vest comes with 2 pairs of different length side straps. Depending on the body extent you can choose the right length for you. The shoulder straps have 2 buckle option so that also the height of the vest can be adjusted to your needs. These 2 features make this vest fit Athletes from skinny to bulky and small to tall. This vest really fits everybody. The position of loading the plates into the vest moved to the side for a better fit and more safety. This gives us 2 major advantages. It is easier to load and exchange the plates and the plates fit tigther in the pocket and have almost no space in the vest which prevents the plates to move.

If you’re on a budget but still want a high-quality vest with multiple adjustment points and the ability to hold vest plates, the North Gym Adjustable Weight Vest is our budget pick.

This vest came onto our radar out of nowhere. There are quite a few vests we’ve used and reviewed such as the Invest Pro Weight Vest that were good, but not as comparable to vests like the 5.11 TacTec Plate Carrier. See my full Invest Pro Weight Vest review here.

The North Gym Adjustable Weighted Vest takes pretty much the same design as the 5.11 Weight Vest, offers 3D Shaped Plates that contour to the body (similar to Rogue’s patented design) and offers the vest, plates, and shipping for almost half the cost of just the 5.11 Vest.

And, to be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were imported from the same place.

The North Gym Adjustable Weight Vest does pretty much everything well in the same way the 5.11 Vest does. The yoke is padded well with breathable mesh on the backside.

The adjustment system is twofold with the side straps and an overlapping top strap for both the back and front that utilizes high-stick velcro (although, like the 5.11 the velcro will wear out over time as is expected with the material.)

The side straps are perforated to allow a good amount of airflow while still being sturdy. They are flexible, much like 5.11 so the vest moves with you as much as it can.

The material of the vest is 600D Oxford Nylon and is then finished with a PVC coating to improve water resistance.

A couple of patches are included with the vest, including an American Flag patch, although don’t be confused by the branding, the vest is imported.

I tested the weighted vest for bodyweight squats, pull-ups, sprints, dips, push-ups, and other types of movements in which vests are typically used for, such as Murph. The range of motion on the vest is good as the shoulder pads don't restrict movement. 

If you’re on a budget and don’t want the original 5.11 or our other picks, the North Gym Vest is a great, budget-friendly option that works very well.

Ultra-Budget Pick: CAP Adjustable Weight Vest

Ultra Budget Pick
CAP 20 LB Adjustable Weight Vest
Adjustable conditioning vest with steel-shot weight packets, weighing approximately 0.75 lb Helps you gain strength and burn additional calories Adds up to 20 pounds of resistance Neoprene padding for comfort; Integrated pocket for cell phone The vest is made with breathable mesh with adjustable clips to match your body type. Width: 14.50; Height: 16.50; Depth: 5.00 & Weight: 20.00 Lbs

If you’re on an even tighter budget than what our Budget Pick allows (we get it, sometimes you have to start small) then we suggest the CAP Barbell Adjustable Weighted Vest.

I want to make this clear, the CAP Adjustable Weight Vest is not great. It won’t last years and I wouldn’t suggest changing out the weights, but if you’re on a budget and understand that you’ll likely have to upgrade eventually, it’s your best option.

I’ve used many of the cheaper weight vests and the problem is most either don’t get heavy enough or are too uncomfortable to really even be useful.

The CAP Adjustable Weight Vest goes up to 20 LB (perfect for typical CrossFit Hero WOD’s like Murph) and feels very much like a weighted shirt. The side wraps are made of a flexible neoprene fabric that isn’t very breathable but allows the weighted vest to sit close to the body.

Instead of plates, the CAP Weighted Vest uses little bags of sand. This is one of the reasons they can sell it for as cheap as they do as sand is extremely cheap. And also be sure to check out our guide to building a budget home gym on Amazon here.

It’s nice the bags can be removed and therefore the vest is adjustable in weight, but, the material used is so thin, cheap, and badly stitched that I’ve had the bags break and steel shot end up all over my gym floor. It’s annoying and an example of trying to make a product as cheaply as possible.

I think the best option is to just use the vest as is. Don’t adjust the weight, don’t take the little steel shot bags out of the vest, just use it as is and forget about the adjustability feature.

Most of these downsides are lifted when you realize the vest can be had for under $50 with free shipping. Honestly, it’s insane how cheap it is for so much weight.

If you want the absolute cheapest weight vest we recommend, but still something that you can actually get hard training out of for a few years, then the CAP Adjustable Weight Vest is our recommendation. However, understand it’s not perfect, but it is cheap.

Weight Vest FAQ

What’s the best weighted vest for Hero WOD Murph?

Murph is a legendary CrossFit workout that involves a 1 Mile Run, 100 Pull-Ups, 200 Push-Ups, 300 Air Squats, and another 1 Mile Run all done while wearing a 20 LB weighted vest. It’s an absolutely brutal workout and I dread it, yet look forward to it every year (I don’t know how this makes sense.)

The best weighted vests for Murph are ones that breathe, are secure so theyre not flopping around on pull-ups or hitting you in the face on runs, and can use 20 LB. The Rogue Plate Carrier is the best weight vest to be used for Murph in our opinion.

What plates do you recommend for weight vests?

If you want made in the USA plates, the Rogue USA Cast Weight Vest Plates feature a fantastic shape that wraps around the body.

If you want the best value, the WOLF TACTICAL Vest Plates are a good option.

Or, you could just build your own DIY Weight Vest for under $50:

Does it matter if the vest is adjustable in weight or not?

Yes, in my opinion, an adjustable weight vest will be used more often as it’s more versatile.

Why should I buy a more expensive vest?

Cheaper vests are priced in such a way because they use inferior materials and construction methods. If it’s not something you plan to use very much in your training, then cheap is fine and you can spend your money elsewhere.

However, if you want something that will last, buy once, cry once.

What size should I get for a weight vest?

I suggest starting with a 20 LB weight vest for men and 14 LB for women.

Should I get a ladies specific weight vest?

This may sound weird, but if you have a really large chest, I'd suggest it. If not, I don't think it matters. Ladies weight vests are supposed to leave room so the vest isn't compressing the chest. They can be helpful, but they can also look kind of weird. For most, I think it's more of a gimmick, but some women do really like them.

The Competition

Condor Sentry Plate Carrier: The Condor Sentry Plate Carrier is a solid, budget-friendly weight vest. Much like the 5.11 Tactical TacTec Plate Carrier, the Condor Sentry Weight Vest uses an operator-style of design and is not specifically made for fitness. It’s priced well and almost took our Budget Pick spot, but the North Gym Adjustable Weight Vest won out due to a similar price point and better overall design. The straps on the side of the Condor Sentry use buckles which can come loosened during training and there have been quite a few reports of the buckles breaking. The yoke straps are too narrow which causes uncomfortability and scraping on the neck. Also, there have been reports of the plates breaking through the thin nylon fabric. This is a decent option for the price, but not good enough to make our list.

Hyperwear Hyper Vest ELITE: It was tough to keep this vest off the list. However, after using the vest for almost a year, I prefer the flak jacket style type of vest and I think other people will as well. It’s a cool design that stays close to the body and moves well, but I’m not confident in it’s durability over the long-term and at $300, I don’t feel it’s better than the other options that are all cheaper and the max weight of 20 LB will disappoint quite a few people that would ultimately like a heavier vest over time.

Hyperwear Hyper Vest PRO: Same likes and dislikes as the ELITE model, except this one doesn’t go up above 20 LB.

Hyperwear Hyper Vest FIT: The Hyperwear FIT Vest is made for more relaxed training. The weight comes from steel shot similar to our Ultra-Budget Pick and it’s an overall cheaper feeling vest that’s not designed for serious training. If you just want something to add to your walks and lunges, this can work, but I think there are cheaper options available that accomplish the same goal.

Aduro Sport Weighted Vest: There are many vests that borrow this design. It’s quite smart in how it sits on the body and allows a lot of breathability, however, in our experience and in reading other opinions and reviews, the steel shot that fills the vest falls out pretty quickly along the seams. In addition, with only one adjustment option, it can fit awkwardly on certain body types. Also, the vest isn’t adjustable. It’s cheap, but will ultimately disappoint over time.

RUNFast/Max Adjustable Weighted Vest: This is a best seller on Amazon, and for good reason. It’s adjustable up to a high weight and is priced well. Our issue with the vest is that the materials are cheap, most of the filling is sand that ends up falling out, and the sewing is poorly done. This vest is very similar to the CAP Adjustable Weight Vest, but with a higher price and a higher potential weight option. We feel the uncomfortability of the vest lowers its utility, especially with the shoulder straps, and that’s at a lighter weight. Using it with 140 LB as is possible would be very difficult.

miR Weighted Vest: The miR Weighted Vest is made by the same company that makes the RUNFast/Max. The miR is a very similar design, but made with better materials and is therefore more expensive. I like the design, but I haven’t had enough use with the vest to recommend it at this point. I will update when I do.

V-FORCE Weight Vests: V-FORCE is one of the original made-in-the-USA adjustable weight vest designs. They have a simple strapping system with an extremely high max weight that’s been copied the world over. I’d like more time with the vest before recommending it. I’ve used it and it didn’t feel as form-fitting as some of the other options, however, the weight options are high.

V-MAX Weight Vests: These are the same as V-FORCE but with a wider belt and different designs while costing more. Seems redundant.

BOX Weight Vests: Again, the same as the V-FORCE and V-MAX Vests but marketed towards CrossFit Athletes.

Titan Fitness Adjustable Weighted Vest: Although the weight is cast iron and they can go up heavy, the vest itself is very cheap, uncomfortable, hard to breathe in, and the adjustment system is weak and simple. Just okay, although cheap.

Brute Force Operator Training Vest 2.0: I haven’t used this vest yet although the reviews give me an idea as does looking at the design. Appears to be high quality with good materials, but it doesn’t come with weight and isn’t very breathable.

Invest Pro Weight Vest: I’ve had and been able to test and review the Invest Pro Weight Vest since it was released a couple of years ago. It’s a good vest, again, modeled after the 5.11 Tactical Vest, but doesn’t do anything better than the 5.11 except have a lower price. This vest is imported, however, compared to many of its competitors, it feels overpriced as many others have come to market. This vest does lack breathability as the sides have no way for airflow and there is a double velcro system that makes the vest secure, but also difficult to take off. You can see our full in-depth review of the Invest Pro Weight Vest here.

TRIBE WOD Weighted Vest: This is another vest designed after the 5.11. I haven’t used it, but it appears to be very similar to our Budget Pick, the North Gym Adjustable Vest as they both use 600D nylon and are imported. The price on this is more expensive and I don’t like the side strap design as much as I don’t think it will be as secure over the long-term.

Titin Weighted Shirts: Although not exactly a weighted vest, these accomplish the same purpose. However, it appears the company has folded as they’re not longer for sale anywhere.

Uncommon Breed Weight Vest Carrier: We did a full in-depth review on the Uncommon Breed Weight Vest Carrier years ago and overall liked it. However, it doesn’t appear they are making it anymore. Regardless, it’s a decent value vest, but I wouldn’t recommend it over the others on our list.

Cross101 Adjustable Weighted Vest: This is a good, budget-friendly option. It’s made by the same company that makes the miR Weighted Vests, however, it’s a much cheaper design. The fit is pretty bad and most people will practically swim in the vest. The weights are also very cheap and use sand as the filler which will inevitably leak.

Further reading

The Best Weightlifting Belts for 2021 Cover Image

The Best Weightlifting Belts for 2021

After many years of researching, testing, reviewing, and speaking with lifters about weight belts, we decided to compile the best weightlifting belts from over 75 currently on the market. For most trainees, the 8.5MM or 10MM Thick Pioneer Cut Belt is the best weightlifting belt on the market. For CrossFit and Olympic Weightlifting Athletes, the Rogue USA Nylon Lifting Belt is the best option we’ve used, unless you’re wanting a leather competition Oly belt, in which case we’d recommend the Rogue Oly Ohio Lifting Belt. For competitive Powerlifters, the SBD 13MM Lever Belt is the best lever belt for powerlifting that is easy to use, extremely stiff, and made of high-end materials. Read More

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The Best Olympic Barbells for 2021

After researching over 150 barbells and using nearly 85 of them, we've determined that the Rogue Bar 2.0 is the best multi-purpose Olympic Barbell and the Rogue Ohio Power Bar is the best powerlifting bar for most people for 2021. Factoring in price, warranty, performance, and availability, these bars stand out amongst the rest. We'd rather not have the same company hold both of the top spots, but it's hard to argue against the value these bars provide. Read More

The Best Weighted Vests for 2021 Cover Image

The Best Weighted Vests for 2021

Weighted Vests are one of the best value pieces of equipment you can add to your home gym. They’re relatively affordable compared to barbells, racks, and plates yet can be used for a wide variety of movements. After researching more than 50 weight vests and evaluating 19, we believe the Rogue Plate Carrier is the best weight vest for most people. It’s a minimalist vest that does everything you want right and leaves out the rest. If you want to go heavier than 40 LB, our runner-up the Kensui EZ Vest may suit you better. Read More

The Best Trap Bars for 2021 [Buying Guide] Cover Image

The Best Trap Bars for 2021 [Buying Guide]

After researching and using nearly 30 trap bars, we've determined that there is still much to be desired in a trap bar we'd recommend for most people. Despite this, currently, for 2021, our Top Pick for the best trap/hex bar is the Rogue TB-1 Trap Bar. It offers the best value among the trap bars currently on the market, although there's still much room for improvement. This said, many would be just fine choosing one of our more budget-friendly recommendations. Read More