10 Best Racing Vests Tested & Rated

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If you are on the hunt for the best racing vest currently available this year then you have come to the right place! Here we feature the top 10 best options of 2018, along with their individual Pros and Cons and what to look for before making your purchase.

If you are a runner then you know how important it is to remain properly hydrated during our runs and races. Furthermore, there are always essential items every runner needs during a race in order to perform optimally and give it there all. So, what does a runner need for a race?

 First of all, the proper attire and shoes are of utmost importance. After that, it is essential you gave access to other items you may need during your race—such as water, a power bar, and hands-free storage for other items you don’t want to leave sitting around in your car. Racing vests allow you to do this. They are multifunctional and provide storage for belongs as well as hands-free placement for your water or sports drink. Racing vests make your life easier and allow you to focus solely on running.

Nowadays there are tons of options when it comes to racing vests—it can be difficult to decide on which one to go with, especially if you have never used a racing vest before. That is why we have taken the time to research and review the best racing vests currently available. Below you will find our list of the top 10 options currently available this year—Enjoy and happy shopping!

Last Updated: June 16, 2018
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By Giselle Killebrew:

Our most current update brings modifications within several sections in this page as well as the addition of two racing vests. Both options are affordable and effective options for all of your racing needs.

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
Nathan Fireball Race Vest
  • Nathan Fireball Race Vest
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Best bang for your buck
  • 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

3. Nathan Fireball Race Vest

The Nathan Fireball Race Vest is a highly rated and recommended racing vest this year. It is durable, comfortable, and affordable--a perfect fit for many runners out there.
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Features
This race vest is lightweight and has ample storage room. It can fit a 1.5-ounce bladder, the 12 ounce insulated hot flasks it comes with, and additional items such as your phone and keys.

Storage
This vest has plenty of storage space and has a phone pocket that can fit up to an iphone 6.

Cost
This vest comes at a great price and is highly recommended. It also comes with reflective properties--to additional safety qualities.

4. Ultimate Direction AK Mountain Vest 3.0

4. Ultimate Direction AK Mountain Vest 3.0
This vest will be great both for hiking and running. This is the newest version of AK Mountain and users pointed out that the comfort is even bigger than in the previous versions. That’s why we’ve decided to put in on our list- let’s see the main features.
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The vest is very breathable thanks to Mono Mesh Fabric. Thanks to the boosted ventilation, there’s better moisture management and your skin isn’t irritated. The vest is well fitted and this enabled to reduce the bouncing. There are 3 sizes available. The vest can hold 11,5 L so it’s much more than the previous version. The top pocket on the left is made of waterproof materials so you can keep more precious belonging there. There are also pockets when you can store the bladders. Many other pockets like zipped pocket or mesh pocket can be very useful while storing. There’s even iPhone compatible pocket. Runners also praised the dual access to the main compartment. It’s both from the top and from the bottom. This vest is on the expensive side. We can’t say that the price is low but in this case, you pay for what you get. This high-quality west is worth investing some money as it will last for a long time.
Pros

There are also trekking pole attachments so it’s much easier to carry them

The main compartment is waterproof

The soft flasks are included

Durable and comfortable

Cons

Some users said that the water caused skin irritation

5. Inov-8 Race Elite

5. Inov-8 Race Elite
This vest is a little bit different than the other on our list as it has more minimalism in its design. This doesn’t mean that it’s worse. For some runners, this vest was the best. Check out all the info.
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It will be great for marathons and racing. It’s designed with highly breathable mesh so you stay cool and dry during the run. There are 6 straps so you can easily adjust the tightness. The straps include special sternum ones that don’t slide. For this vest, you can choose both water bladders or just simply bottles. There are many pockets and bungee system. Two large mesh pockets can be used for storing smaller items and the access is still very easy. The overall construction is very durable.The price is very reasonable, it’s not the very expensive product. Definitely great for races.
Pros

Very affordable

There are 7 pockets

The design is very breathable

Cons

Some users said that the access to some pockets could be better

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6. CamelBak Ultra Pro Hydration Vest

6. CamelBak Ultra Pro Hydration Vest
This CamelBak hydration vest is a lightweight, comfortable, and durable option for all runners. It will help you push yourself during your runs without weighing you down or hindering your performance.
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Features: This vest is lightweight and super comfortable. It has adjustable straps for a more custom and secure fit. It also features 3D mesh and cushioning--for optimal breathability and comfort. It is highly durable as well as tear and abrasion resistant.

Storage: This vest has overflow pockets for additional storage. It can also hold two 17oz quick stow flasks as well as a clip to hold on to your keys. Lastly. this vest also provides you with a secure phone pocket so you can run hands-free as well as easily access it if you happen to need it.


Cost: This CamelBak is affordably priced and, on top of everything, it also offers reflective features for additional safety during your runs and races.

7. Ultimate Direction TO Race Vest 3.0

7. Ultimate Direction TO Race Vest 3.0
Next product on our list is To race Vest 3.0. The newest version of the product is definitely lighter than the previous one. The back is really breathable but it’s still lightweight. This means that it will be great for racing where additional weight is bad for you.
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There are special T- hook straps. They enable to adjust the vest to your needs. There’s also possibility to carry camera or phone with you thanks to bottle holsters. You won’t also have problem with keeping your phone as there are special pockets for it There are also two layered pockets if you want to store the other things. To make the vest even more attractive to customer, brand applied special holders for trekking pole. It comes with two bottles so you can stay hydrated during your race. The vest is available in 3 sizes and it’s unisex. The price is an average for racing vest, users said that the vest is worth the price.
Pros

The fabric is really breathable

Runners stated that it was very easy to find the right size

Trekking pole loops are very interesting feature

Cons

Users said that some pockets are hard to use during the race

8. SLS3 Running Hydration Vest

8. 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.

9. Evolike Reflective Vest

9. 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

Being prepared for a running workout session or a race goes beyond just being physically fit–it also requires the proper running attire. Running is a lifestyle; it’s a great physical activity that enhances blood circulation and leaves you feeling refreshed. Unfortunately, dreary weather can make any runner second-guess a decision to head outdoors. Don’t let Mother Nature impede you! Grab the right sporting apparel and head out for your run–no matter the weather, you can get your run in! In this  buying guide, we will go over running tops and racing vests that will keep you covered and comfortable during those rainy seasons and help you achieve your running goals.

Running vests are just as important as the right pairs of shoes and running pants. An uncomfortable running vest can decrease your performance–so it’s important to get the best one for you.

A good running vest is designed to keep you dry and has moisture wicking properties. It should also prevent any chafing from occurring and ensure you are comfortable during your entire run. The market currently several running vests brands to choose from. While it’s great to have all of these options it can make it difficult to choose the right running vest–so you need to be informed of what to look for before making your purchase.

Style

Most male athletes prefer a running vest that is simple female racers prefer those that are stylish and trendy. It’s important to note your own preferences and look for a comfortable and flexible option that works best for you. Technical racing vests are made of fabrics that will keep you dry, prevent chafing, and ensure your overall comfort.

Climate and weather definitely has a say on the style and design of running vest the athlete has to choose from. There are short bottomed running vests, which are made with thin fabric and designed to keep you cool and dry during your workouts.  Short bottomed running vests also protect you from excessive heat and encourage proper ventilation and maximum breathability.

Vests typically have a simple design and many people consider unisex options–since it’s often difficult to distinguish between the two anyway. They are lightweight and comfortable for all users.

Fabric

The best racing vests are composed of light cotton fibers, synthetic fibers, or synthetic cotton blends. Fabric determines how the vest will fit and features such as moisture-wicking abilities, breathability, comfort, and how lightweight it is.  Vests made of 100% polyester are ranked among the best among the most breathable and apt at moisture management. Blended synthetic and cotton fibers also provide adequate moisture management properties but are far less than vests made of 100% polyester. Racing vests made from pure cotton will provide the least amount of moisture management and breathability but provide you with a good fit and adequate warmth.

To help a racer be in control of their body’s’ temperature, in both weather conditions temperatures, the advisable running vest material should be lightweight and of high-performance material designed to remove moisture away from the skin.

Running vests are breathable and made of Polyester, Lycra, and Nylon. They keep you warm and dry during the winter and in the summer they regulate your body temperature and provide maximum breathability, comfort, moisture-wicking properties.

Seasonality

Typically racing vests are meant for the hot summer seasons, but some are great for colder weather–and even help keep you warm. This is why it’s important to choose your vest based on the climate you typically run in. If you are running in colder weather you will need to layer up and go with vests made of pure cotton. This will help keep you warm and comfortable during your cold runs.

During the summer months, a light racer vest is recommended. These are typically made of pure polyester, polyester blend, or pure synthetic fiber. This allows them to regulate your body temperature wick moisture away from your body, and comfortable.

Breathability is of utmost importance during hot summer months–it’s important you stay cool and comfortable so you don’t overheat, so keep this in mind when choosing your running vest. During the winter, athletes should dress in warm running vest fabrics. It is important to note that whenever you exercise your temperature and heart rate elevates, so you need attire that will help keep these level.

Reflective features

If you are a road runner or like to run at night, reflective features are highly important to you as well.  This allows you to be seen by drivers and bikers, reduces the chances of an accident, and increases your overall safety.

Comfort 

Comfort is another important thing to consider when shopping for your racing vest. During runs, our bodies naturally bounce –which can magnify rubbing, chafing, or pressure points on our bodies. The farther we run the more important comfort it is.

A comfortable racing vest is stretchy, adjustable, and breathable. Adjustable straps allow you to create a more custom fit–which helps prevent any chafing due to unnecessary rubbing.

Apparel Basics

Many running vests come with weather-resistant features, additional protection from the wind and the rain, and help keep your body temperature regulated. They are lightweight thanks to their polyester or polyester blend material–others are made of high quality or compound blends.

While running vests can be worn in mild chilly weather, but extreme low temperature will require running jackets or hoodies.

Below are some additional features to look for when searching for your vest:

  • UPF and UVR protection against rays from the sun.
  • Reflectivity–enhances the safety of a runner
  • Accents in the form of piping or reflective fabric.
  • Moisture-wicking properties
  • Pockets and storage space–and how accessible are they?
  • Flat-lock seams that prevent chafing and provide a smooth fit
  • Thumbholes
  • Breathable mesh on the inside panel of the vest for optimal ventilation
  • Check for weather resistant features: waterproof, wind resistant, water resistant, and quick drying ability. These are important because they offer you additional protection from outdoor elements, such as harsh weather.
Functionality

When choosing the best racing vest for yourself, or a fellow racer, it’s important to consider the racer’s functionality. You need to ask yourself: Is the racer a long or short distance racer? Where does the athlete race? What are the runner’s racing vest preferences? Racing vests are each designed differently, for different types of races, and for both genders. A racing vest designed for one racing activity may not be comfortable for another racing activity–which is why you need to know what you are specifically looking for before making your purchase.

Other Important Factors To Consider

Size

It’s important to get the right size vest for additional comfort. The wrong size can hinder your performance and cause chafing.

Additional Features

Many vests feature zips, pockets, and additional storage space. These are especially useful for long-distance runners and during your races.

Frequently Asked Questions.

Q. What is the best fabric for racing vests?

Lightweight and moisture-wicking fabrics are ideal for running vests. This allows them to keep you cool, dry, and comfortable during your runs.

Typically Polyester, Lycra, and Nylon are the most sought out fabrics for racing vests

Breathability: Breathable fabric is essential for runners. It absorbs and releases moisture on its own by enhancing ventilation and helps regulate your body’s temperature as well as breathe and sweat efficiently.

This also allows them to keep you cooler during your runs because they have the ability to move moisture away from your skin and evaporates sweat much more rapidly. A  synthetic running vest fabric will alse efficiently keep you cool and dry during all of your runs.

Lightweight: Another important feature is how lightweight the fabric is. You don’t want to be weighed down during your runs and lightweight vests are designed to reduce moisture from your skin. Those made of cotton, however, may retain moisture–making it less lightweight than other options.

Q. What other factors should I consider when making my choice? 

 Before choosing the best racing vest for you it’s important to also consider the consider the following:

  • Reflectivity
  • Packability
  • Insulation ability
  • Moisture-wicking properties
  • Whether or not it’s quick drying
  • Sun-protective fabric
  • Waterproof
  • Breathability

We hope our 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!


 

Here are some sources we used while conducting our research