10 Best Racing Vests Tested & Rated

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Investing in a running vest may be something you’ve considered in the past but you haven’t committed to yet. With a large variety of running vests on the market, it can be difficult to choose which one is best for you. We’ve comprised a list of the 10 highest rated vests for racing to help you make your decision. Keep reading to learn more.

Last Updated: May 16, 2017

We decided to do an extra bit of research for this buying guide, to add some more information that may be helpful to your search.

We have added a bunch of info regarding ideal materials, designs and useful features. You will also find some frequently asked questions, which we have come up with during our research, located near the bottom of this guide.

Salomon S-Lab Racing Vest
  • Salomon S-Lab Racing Vest
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Durable
  • Price: See Here
Nathan HPL 020 Vest
  • Nathan HPL 020 Vest
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Holds 2 liters
  • Price: See Here
Evolike Reflective Vest
  • Evolike Reflective Vest
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • 360 degree reflectivity
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Racing Vests

 

1. Salomon S-Lab Advanced Skin 3

This vest is one of the most brilliantly designed models on the market today. It fits more like a vest than a pack, and is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a lot of storage space. It’s designed with top-of-the-line materials and its quality remains unmatched.
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Features: Rather than using a hip or waist belt, this vest uses a twin link fastening system with multiple fastening options. Many find this feature to be great, as it’s more comfortable and you don’t have to deal with the restrictive feeling of the usual belt.

Storage: The main compartment features a two-way zipper and is designed to provide the most amount of storage possible. A zippered pocket on the front is great for holding your phone, cash, or keys. Another zippered outer pocket, made of mesh, is stretchy and quite roomy. There are mesh pockets on either side of the vest for extra storage, and you don’t have to take the vest off or stop running to access them. The top-opening hydration system is held in place by a thermal sleeve, and the bladder can hold up to 1.5 liters.

Cost: While this is one of the more expensive vests on the list, it’s designed so well and is so durable that you will definitely get your money’s worth.
Pros
  • Durable
  • Tons of storage
  • Doesn’t bounce while running
  • Doesn’t rub or chafe
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Storage pockets are easy to reach
  • Comes with a whistle on a lanyard
Cons
  • Price

2. Nathan HPL

The lightweight Nathan HPL 020 vest is a comfortable way to stay hydrated on your run. With a 2 liter bladder and a lightweight design, this vest is a great choice.
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Features: The straps on this vest are wide and made of a mesh material. The back of it contains a large pocket with a zipper for a bladder, which holds 2 liters. Unlike Nathan’s last vest, the HPL 020 has thin chest straps designed to reduce heat retention. A patented 3-way propulsion harness stabilizes movement of the bladder so you don’t have to worry about it bouncing while you run.

Storage: The Nathan HPL 020 vest has a total storage capacity of 6 liters. The bladder holds 2 liters. Despite having a lot of storage capacity, this vest still manages to be lightweight, weighing in at only 13 ounces.

Cost: This vest is moderately priced in comparison to other similar products.
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Bladder holds 2 liters
  • Belt pocket
  • Stabilization harness
  • Easy to adjust straps
Cons
  • Some find it difficult to close and secure the bladder

4. Camelbak Ultra 10

This Camelbak Ultra vest has been tested by professional endurance runners, ensuring that you’re receiving the highest quality product possible.
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Features
One of the great things about this vest is that you’re able to fill the reservoir externally. With a specially designed reservoir valve, you never have to worry about spills or leaks. This vest weighs 1lb 3oz.

Storage
With a cargo compartment, stretch overflow storage, and a sweat-proof phone pocket, this vest allows you to carry all the essentials with you on your run. The front storage pockets are great for water bottles, gels, snack bars, and more. The reservoir can hold up to 70 ounces, or 2 liters of liquid. Altogether, the storage capacity of this vest is 8 liters.

Cost
While this vest is a bit on the more expensive side, it’s well worth the price when you take all factors into account. Camelbak backs all their products with a lifetime guarantee.
Pros
  • Adjustable harness
  • Lightweight
  • External fill
  • Reservoir closes very tightly to prevent leaks.
Cons
  • Some find it to be too heavy.

6. Ultimate Direction PB 2.0

6. Ultimate Direction PB 2.0
This award-winning vest enables you to stay hydrated and comfortable on your run, with lots of convenient storage pockets for items like keys and phones.
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Features
Comes in sizes small through extra-large. Stretch mesh material is used for extreme durability and strength. Unlike previous vests by Ultimate Direction, the PB 2.0 Adventure Vest utilizes side adjustment traps, ensuring that you receive the best fit possible. It weighs 15.5 ounces without the two water bottles, which are included.

Storage
This vest has a storage capacity of an incredible 11 liters. With six non-zip pockets and two zippered pockets, you can definitely carry everything you need with you on your run. Two extra bottle carry straps are also included.

Cost
The Ultimate Direction PB 2.0 vest is relatively expensive.
Pros
  • Side adjustment straps
  • Durable
  • High quality
  • Improved seam strength
  • Comes with two 20 ounce water bottles
Cons
  • Some find that it is smaller than expected and not as adjustable as they would like.
  • Price

7. Inov8 Race Ultra 10

7. Inov8 Race Ultra 10
The Inov8 Race Ultra 10 Running Pack won the ISPO award in the performance accessories category. Weather resistant and durable, this is a great choice for trail runners on all types of terrain.
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Features: Something that sets this vest apart from others is its unique bladder adjustment system. By simply adjusting one or both dials, the level of compression on the bladder is adjusted, tightening it closely to your back to prevent sloshing. The bladder sits low, and this vest was designed for minimal bouncing when running. Reflective details make this a great choice for runners who frequently run in low-visibility conditions. This vest is made of a blend of nylon, polyester, and spandex. It comes in either a size S/M or a M/L.

Storage: This running pack is one of the best models on the market when it comes to storage. The front of the vest has two stretch mesh pockets, great for carrying your cell phone. A large kangaroo stretch mesh pouch on the side is able to be easily accessed while still running which is very convenient. The vest’s total storage capacity is 12 liters (10 liters in the main compartment and 2 liters in the bladder). A reservoir with a zipped pocket hold the bladder, which is included.

Cost: This is one of the most expensive vests on this list; however, its top-of-the-line quality and unmatched features make it well worth the money.
Pros
  • Emergency whistle, emergency blanket, and 150ml cup included with purchase.
  • Bladder is designed to not bounce around.
  • Lots of storage.
  • Adjustable dials for bladder compression.
  • Comes in two sizes.
  • Weather-resistant.
  • Has reflective details.
Cons
  • Price.

8. Patagonia Fore Runner

8. Patagonia Fore Runner
The Patagonia Fore Runner Vest 10L is great for those who want to carry a lot with them. It functions more like a backpack than a vest, and is extremely comfortable and adjustable. This is a wonderful choice for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy long hikes.
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Features: This comfortable pack has adjustable side straps to ensure that you receive the perfect fit. Weighing only 15.8 ounces, this is the perfect vest for those looking for something that’s going to move with them and be non-restrictive. The material is tear-resistant and water-repellent.

Storage: In terms of storage, the Patagonia vest is an incredible racing vest. A huge, top-loading storage compartment is a great place to throw any “extras” you may have with you on your run. Nutrition bars, gels, you name it. It includes two pockets on the front,one is zipped, and the other one is smaller, designed for accessories. Additionally, a key stow pocket is conveniently built in so you can safety carry your keys with you without worrying about them falling out. Its Hydrapack bladder holds far more than other models.

Cost: This vest is priced in the mid-to-high range. Additionally, it’s backed by Patagonia’s Ironclad guarantee.
Pros
  • Adjustable.
  • Lots of Storage.
  • Comfortable.
  • Comes with emergency whistle.
  • Lightweight.
  • Impressive bladder capacity.
  • Durable.
  • Quality material.
Cons
  • Some runners find that they’re not impressed by the bladder hydration system.
  • You have to take the pack off to gain access to some pockets.

9. Ultimate Direction AK 2.0

9. Ultimate Direction AK 2.0
The Ultimate Direction AK 2.0 is a great choice for anyone looking for all the benefits of a minimalist style vest, while maintaining all the great features of a traditional style vest. This award-winning vest has been updated and improved upon, ensuring that you’re receiving the best quality possible.
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Features
Stretch mesh is used to increase the durability of this vest. A special kind of nylon is used to provide this vest with extra-strong seam strength. Its pockets can be cinched, which is great for keeping everything secure and held in place.

Storage
This vest’s total storage capacity is 4 liters. There are two pockets for valuables such as your phone or keys. It weighs only 7 ounces without the water bottles, and 12.5 ounces with them.

Cost
While priced on the more expensive side, you’re still definitely getting your money’s worth.
Pros
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Comes with two water bottles
  • Increased seam strength
  • Flexible
  • Breathable
Cons
  • Some find this vest to be somewhat restrictive while running, mainly due to the water bottles.

5. SLS3 Running Hydration Vest

5. SLS3 Running Hydration Vest
The SLS3 Running Hydration Vest is comfortable, non-restrictive, and very practical to have with you on a run. This is a great choice for anyone looking for a minimalist style vest with all the features of a standard one.
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Features
This vest is designed to be resistant to sliding around while you’re wearing it. Comfortable, wide strips ensure that the weight of the vest is distributed evenly, so you’ll still have a smooth run. They’re made of breathable mesh which is great for hot days. Two reflective strips on the back are there for extra safety and visibility.

Storage
There’s a small pocket on the front for items such as keys, and a larger pocket that zips which is great for holding your phone or iPod. A back pocket, which also zips, measures 6.5 by 10.5 inches. Two 9.5 ounce flasks are included in the front pockets.

Cost
This vest is affordable and priced relatively low compared to others of its kind.
Pros
  • Adjustable straps
  • Bounce-free
  • Comes with 2 water bottles
  • Reflective stripes
Cons
  • Does not include hydration bladder

10. Triwonder Marathoner Vest

10. Triwonder Marathoner Vest
If you’re looking for an affordable yet high-quality hydration best, look no further. One of the most lightweight running vests on the market, the Triwonder Marathoner vest is so non-restrictive that you’ll barely notice it’s there.
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Features: Made of polyester net and nylon spandex yarn, the elasticity of this vest is incredible. Not only that, but it’s extremely breathable, making it a great choice for hot days. It has full side adjustability, so you can customize the size to fit you perfectly. Wide shoulder straps ensure that weight is evenly distributed and minimizes bouncing. In addition to the vest, you’ll receive two quality 8.5 ounce water bottles.

Storage: A stretchy, breathable mesh pocket on the front left side of the vest is great for storing your phone. This vest only weighs 4.6 ounces.

Cost: This vest is one of the most affordable on this list.
Pros
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Comes with two water bottles
  • Price
  • Adjustable sides
Cons
  • Some runners would like more storage capacity.

3. Evolike Reflective Vest

3. Evolike Reflective Vest
This vest does an excellent job of providing 360 degree visibility. Retro-reflective stripes line the entire vest, ensuring your safety on your run. It’s made of EvoClimate fabric, which is 100% polyester, so you can rest assured knowing you’ll be comfortable in it. Not only do you get the vest, but it also comes with 2 slap wristbands, 2 Velcro straps, and a durable bag.
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Features
Made with EvoClimate fabric, this running vest is an excellent choice for those looking for a comfortable, flexible fit. This vest comes in sizes small through extra-large, and the company has also recently added a kids’ size and an “extreme” size if you’re looking for a vest to wear over a bulky jacket. At night, this vest is visible from up to 650 feet away.

Storage
This EvoLike vest contains one pocket, which measures 4 by 6 inches.

Cost
Considering all you get with this product, the price is extremely affordable. The company also offers a 30-day money back guarantee.
Pros
  • Flexible
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Adjustable
  • Strong Velcro closures
  • Machine washable
  • Multiple sizes
  • Keeps you cool
Cons
  • Some find it to be thinner than expected.

Criteria for choosing 10 Best Racing Vests

Running is no longer considered as an exercise but also as a lifestyle. It is a great activity that gets the blood pumping and endorphins rushing, leaving the body feeling relieved of excessive wastes energy and feeling fresh. However, dreary weather can make any runner second-guess a decision to head outdoors. Don’t let Mother Nature impede you! Arm yourself with the right apparel for a comfortable workout. In this guide, you’ll learn about running vests that keep you covered and comfortable during summer to make you as an athlete achieve your desired goals.

It is well known that a nice running vest is of equal importance as any running gear like the running shoe or running pants. If a runner has on a running vest that is uncomfortable, it will not only give him or her a hard time exercise and running but other athletes doing the exercises with him or her will also be on the wonder. The runner will definitely have a rough time and the goals will go underachieved.

The right running vest will keep you dry and free from chaffing while you are running. Luckily there are so many innovative brands offering high-tech running vests, it’s hard to make a bad decision. Still, the perfect option is out there waiting for you. This guide will help you learn how to choose the best running top for your needs.

Style

There are basically variety of styles of running vest not only for male and female but also for children and adult runners. The styles are mostly differentiated by the design of the vest, tank and length of the running vest, weather short or long.

Running tanks are typically made for women, though they can also be found for men. Tanks, especially those that are racerback style, provide the most flexibility for movement in the arms and the most airflow to the underarms—which can help keep things cool and dry during long or hot (or both) runs.

When the weather gets cooler, longer bottom keep the runner warm. Some runners even prefer layering of long bottomed vests over shorter sleeved vest, shirts or tanks in order to maintain comfort during long run, especially if the weather might change. Long bottomed running vests are typically worn during regular exercise runs or training runs. Other runners even prefer to keep the vest clothing minimal during racing in order to maximize on speed.

The most popular style of running top for men are technical simple designed vest because they provide flexibility and comfort when made from the right materials. Running-specific simple vests are typically made from fabrics that will keep things nice and dry to prevent chaffing and discomfort, while still offering a high range of movement in the arms.

The climate and weather definitely has a say on  the style and design of running vest the athlete has to choose. An athlete can select a short bottomed running vest which has thin fabric, which is designed to keep the athlete dry and cool during his or her work outs. short bottomed running vests also help in protecting the runner from too much heat, which leads to giving the athletes body too much heat that is uncomfortable for exercising. some running vests are baggy, hence giving the athletes body allowances of getting good airflow, while some running vets are body fitting.

Fabric

 Running vests are typically composed of synthetic fibers, synthetic-cotton blends or cotton fibers. Fabric type generally dictates how well the top fits, how breathable it will be and how long it will hold up in the long run.

Synthetic Fibers: Running vests made of 100 percent polyester provide the highest amount of moisture-management for breathability, but styles with sleeves sacrifice best fit for women. While short and long sleeve tech shirts tend to fit men better than women, tanks made completely from synthetic fibers do fit the female torso well. However, synthetic blends (think polyester-elastic) can also provide great fit for women in sleeved styles without sacrificing sweat wicking capabilities, especially in pullovers or zip-up jackets.

Synthetic-Cotton Blends: Synthetic-cotton blends (like a polyester-cotton or nylon-cotton blend) tend to provide fantastic fit, while still having a good amount of sweat-wicking moisture management. These fabrics tend to be a little less breathable than completely synthetic blends and are more likely to show sweat.

Cotton Fibers: vests made of 100% cotton, although breathable, provide the least amount of moisture management. Though breathable, they are also highly absorbent and will soak up sweat, which can lead to chaffing and overall discomfort since the running vest will feel heavier. That said, cotton is soft to the touch and provides a comfortable fit for shorter-distance runs.

To help a runner to be in control of his or her body heat, in both cold and hot temperatures, the advisable running vest material should be light-weight and high performance material designed to remove moisture  from the athletes or runners skin.

Example of material utilized to make technical running vest fabrics are Polyester, Lycra and Nylon.

Technical Running Vest Fabric are Breathable.

Breathable fabric is essential when running. In a nut shell, breathability basically is analyzed by the ability of a fabric to absorb and release moisture by itself, hence allowing flow of air through the fabric. In this case, it is a simple definition that the best technical running vest fabric are made to  allow the runner’s body to sweat pro-efficiently, breathe and regulate the body’s core-temperature.

Technical running vests keeps the runner cooler because moisture is moved to a greater surface area and away from the runner’s skin. this happens because moisture moved to a greater surface area allows occurrence  of evaporation more rapidly. In-short, a synthetic running vest fabric can keep a runner cooler and drier than just wearing any vest from any kind of fabric.

Technical Running Vest Fabric are Lightweight.

Apart from breathability, light-weight fabric is another important consideration to look upon when choosing the best technical running vest. This is because the best running vest technical fabric is designed to reduce moisture substance away from the skin. Running vest made from cotton holds moisture and that makes it way in-suitable for runners because it is not light throughout the working out exercise.

Seasonality

Depending on the season of your running time, you choose which type of running vest to choose. When running in colder or unpredictable weather, it’s best to layer running vests to maintain comfort through the entire run. Longer bottomed base layers under a shorter vest or shirt and jacket can keep the runner dry and warm in the winter. In the heat of summer, it’s best to wear as little as is comfortable on top to avoid overheating.

For outdoor athletes or runners that exercise for seasonal games and sports, here are some dressing tips for their outdoor work outs;

During summer times, breathability if key in choosing your running vest fabric because it will allow you to breathe, leaving your body feeling cool and comfortable hence  allowing you to run and exercise effectively. During winter times, athletes should dress in warm running vest fabrics. It is important to note that whenever athletes exercise, the temperature of the athletes body rises and the heart beat rate is boosted. Runners can substitute to putting on gears that cover their hands, ears or head to hinder them from feeling or getting cold when they have their running vest on.

Summer or winter or any weather condition, nothing can hinder an athlete from exercises. Especially not a running gear. The runner should keep comfortable with the right kind of exercising gear and running becomes as good as the athletes’ lifestyle. The day to day temperatures should not be an hindrance for an athlete to restrain from exercising.

Comfort

One of the most very important criterion when settling on which decision brand to make in regards to running vest for your routine and work outs is comfort. The natural bouncing of an athlete’s body greatly magnifies rubbing, chaffing or  points of body pressure when running. comfort is far much important especially when the athlete exercises are long distances or longer times, because comfort will make the athletes work easier.  For a running vest to be considered comfortable, it should have stretchy and elastic fabric to cling on the athletes body and  of straps that are adjustable. On the side of a running vest, adjustable straps create allowance for adjustment to the runner. They also chafe and rub more. Running vest with  straps on the shoulder for adjustment are advised because they can fit the athletes body just as the athletes wishes.

Just like any running gear, a comfortable running vest will give the athlete or runner an efficient and easy time to concentrate on the exercise rather than the vest.

Apparel Basics

Running vests are typically made to block wind, retain warmth, and repel water. Most running apparel is made from a lightweight polyester blend; although, you’ll see many brands use special fabric technology to put their own spin on the classic blend. Running  vests are ideal for chilly weather and dusk, when temperatures drop and reflectivity is necessary.
Suit Your Needs Before buying a running  vest, it is important to assess your running environment and personal preferences. Is it typically cold where you live or would a lightweight mesh jacket be sufficient? Do you get cold easily or do you need more ventilation? Since you know your body better than anyone, be sure to choose a  vest based upon your comfort level. For those who often encounter windy conditions, a running vest would be more suitable than a jacket, provided that the temperature is mild enough where sleeves aren’t necessary. Running vests do an excellent job at blocking the cold wind so you can retain more heat. Running jackets provide greater coverage and warmth, while some still offer excellent breathability. After assessing your environment, start choosing which specific features you want your running apparel to have.

Special Design Features Running  vests have a plethora of features to keep you warm, comfortable, and protected against the elements. Here are some favorite features that are good to look for:

  • UPF protection to protect against the sun’s rays.
  • Reflective accents to keep yourself visible in low-light environments.
  • Accents can come in the form of reflective fabric or piping.
  • Moisture-wicking capabilities to wick away perspiration so you stay dry and comfortable.
  • Pockets to hold essential items like car keys, energy gels, license, or debit card.
  • Flat-lock seams to provide a smooth, chafe-free fit.
  • Thumbholes to act as faux-gloves keeping your hands warm and protected.
  • Breathable mesh panels to keep you cool in warmer conditions.
  • Waterproof or water-resistant properties to keep the water out.
  • Wind-resistant to block the wind and keep you warm.
Functionality

Many women enjoy wearing sports vests both inside and outside the gym. Today’s sports vests are well-designed and stylish affairs that can look as good on an errand run as they can in a yoga class. Many sports vests feature reinforced bra support elements, making them very comfortable garments to wear. Razorback sports vests are particularly popular as they give arms a full range of motion and also add more support to the chest.

 

Other Important Factors To Consider

Is the running vest my right body size?

The right running vest body size brings along comfort. It is among the major consideration for a runner to choose a running vest that well fits his or her body so that the runner may not spend much time worrying about the racing vest while undertaking his or exercises but instead on the race.

what features would i want my racing vest to have?

Features on the vest like zips and pockets are also important to consider when choosing a racing vest. For long distance racers or racers that exercise more often in a day, a pocket may be useful for storage purposes. keeping your mobile phone, a bottle of water or any other minor equipment the racer might need while doing his or her exercises. The zip is important because after the racer keep his requirements in the pocket, the zip encloses the pocket so that the items may not fell down while the racer is on the move.

Frequently Asked Questions.

 

Q. What is best technical vest fabric for running?

A. To help a runner to be in control of his or her body heat, in both cold and hot temperatures, the advisable running vest material should be light-weight and high performance material designed to remove moisture away from the skin.

These technical fabric basically utilizes materials such as Polyester, Lycra and Nylon.

Technical Running Vest Fabric is Breathable.

Breathable fabric is essential when running. In a nut shell, breathability is defined by the ability of a fabric to absorb and release moisture by itself, hence allowing flow of air through the fabric. In this case, it is easy to see that the best technical running vest fabric made from synthetic materials allow the runner’s body to sweat pro-efficiently, breathe and regulate the body’s core-temperature.

Technical running vests keeps the runner cooler because moisture is moved to a greater surface area and away from the runner’s skin. this happens because moisture moved to a greater surface area allows occurrence  of evaporation more rapidly. In-short, a synthetic running vest fabric can keep a runner cooler and drier than just wearing any vest from any kind of fabric.

Technical Running Vest Fabric is Lightweight

Apart from breathability, light-weight fabric is another important consideration to look upon when choosing the best technical running vest. This is because the best running vest technical fabric is designed to reduce moisture substance away from the skin. Running vest made from cotton holds moisture and that makes it way in-suitable for runners because it is not light throughout the working out exercise.

Q. what are the key factors should i consider when choosing the best racing vest for myself?

A. when choosing the best racing vest in stalls or the market, the following are key features you look at;

  • Reflectivity
  • packablity
  • insulation ability
  • moisture wicking
  • quick drying
  • sun-protective fabric
  • waterproof
  • breathability

 

Hopefully the list above has helped you narrow down your options. Investing in a running vest is a great decision, especially once you’ve done your research, read reviews, and compared products. Remember to take this list into account, and whichever one you decide on, we know you’ll love it!


 

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