Best Survival Vests of 2019 – Honest Buyer’s Guide

Survival vests are a dramatically underrated aspect of survival gear. Everyone always focuses on the survival packs, but survival vests allow you to hold all of your gear super close to your body and be able to immediately access it! What could be better?

Comparison Chart of the Best Survival Vests

Product

Rating

Price

UTG 547 Law Enforcement Tactical Vest

Best Overall

CONDOR Recon Chest Rig

Runner-up

Yakeda Tactical Vest

Best for the Money

OneTigris Tactical Dog Vest

Best for Dogs

Rothco Uncle Milty Vest

Honorable Mention

What Makes a Great Survival Vest?

There are several features that differentiate a good survival vest from a great one. Here are some of the most important:

Durability

This vest is going to be carrying a ton of gear for you and also likely be exposed to the elements. The last thing you want is a vest that will not be able to handle a good deal of wear and tear.

Amount of Storage Space

Everyone has different needs when it comes to their survival gear – some people like to be able to access their stuff quickly, some want it well organized, etc. Think about your survival needs and then invest in a vest with a lot of pockets and storage space so you can accommodate all of your gear.

Versatility

Of course, you are not going to find yourself in a survival situation every day (at least, we hope not!). That means it could be helpful to choose a vest that could be used for a wide range of other uses, whether that is carrying stuff while traveling, packing your hiking gear, whatever you can think of.

Quick Take | Best Survival Vests

Before diving into our review of the best survival vests, here is a quick take of our top 3 picks:

Review of the Best Survival Vests

Now that you know a bit more about what to look for with survival vests, let’s check out some of the best survival vests we could find:

Pros

  • Fits well
  • Heavy duty
  • Well made of high quality material
  • Comes with a rifle recoil pad on the upper right chest/shoulder area
  • UTG is a well known, trusted manufacturer of survival items, so you know you can rely on their products

Cons

  • Does not have a large amount of customization options
  • Pistol holder is on the smaller side and does not really allow for a quick draw option

The UTG 547 Law Enforcement Tactical Vest is the market leader in survival vests and our number one top choice on this list. It is incredibly tough and durable, even the mesh portion that on many other vests is the first part to tear will last through wear.

It has room to carry everything you would ever want, and it has additional smaller belt pouches for extra items such as glow sticks or more mags (as everyone knows, you can never have too many mags). The included mag pouches hold two M4 magazines, and when fully loaded, the vest can carry twelve magazines in total!

And no matter how full you pack it, this vest will always be comfortable to wear because it is so adjustable. It has Velcro on the shoulders and multiple straps on the back for adjustment on the go, so if you are in motion and things get a little wacky you will be able to fix it without stopping.

Bottom Line

The UTG 547 Law Enforcement Tactical Vest is a top notch vest that is our number one choice for survival vests. Keep in mind the pistol holder is on the smaller side, though.

Pros

  • Heavy duty
  • Has padded straps
  • Easily fits larger people
  • Compatible with MOLLE
  • Pistol mag straps are adjustable

Cons

  • Will take a while to break in
  • Does not come with a pistol holster

The CONDOR Recon Chest Rig is a close second for our top choice behind the UG 547 Law Enforcement Tactical Vest.

This vest is fantastic for carrying anything and everything you could ever need. It comes with two extra pouches on the sides to be filled out with additional supplies. And no matter how full you pack it, it remains almost completely silent – you will not have to worry about the vest jingling around and giving away your position in a survival scenario. 

It is easy to adjust, so it is a simple matter to resize if you need to wear a heavy jacket underneath. And if you do not need excess strapping, the strap ends are Velcro so they can easily be secured down.

Overall, this vest is lightweight and easy to carry, thanks to its awesome weight distribution. Its bungee straps are tension adjustable for maximum comfort and security. There really is not much to dislike about the CONDOR Recon Chest Rig.

Bottom Line

The CONDOR Recon Chest Rig is an awesome survival vest that is our second choice for best overall vest. It does not come with an included pistol holder, though.

Best for the Money:
Yakeda Tactical Vest

Pros

  • Well made
  • Heavy duty
  • Shoulder straps are wide and strong
  • Yakeda is a reliable manufacturer you can trust
  • Sides of the vest have pull tabs for quick sizing

Cons

  • Cell phone carrier on left shoulder is too small for Android phones

The Yakeda Tactical Vest is the best option for you if you are looking for an awesome tactical vest but you have to stick to a budget. But do not worry, you are not compromising anything when you choose this vest! This vest is thick and rugged, particularly in the outer upper mag clip slots, so even the parts of the vest that are exposed are steady and secure.

If you want to make this vest your own, there is a large Velcro area on the upper back that you can use for personal branding. The belt is firm and will not bunch up, and its hook and loop size adjustment makes it so you can easily keep the belt centered.

Plus, the best is also removable, so you can use it as its own stand alone item. The right butt shoulder rest contains a semi firm tube that allows for extra absorption of shotgun recoil, so you will never have to worry about soreness or bruising. And of course, this vest comes with a pistol holder with two adjustable straps so you can position it exactly how you would like.

Bottom Line


The Yakeda Tactical Vest is a great vest that will save you a few dollars. Just know that it is not the most compatible with Android devices.

Pros

  • Fits great
  • Easy to clean
  • Great quality
  • Lightweight and slim fitting
  • OneTigris provides good customer service

Cons

  • Straps could use more padding
  • For male dogs, the back strap may be slightly uncomfortable

The OneTigris Tactical Dog Vest is our number one choice for a survival vest for your best friend. Why should you be the only one who gets supplies in an emergency? Have Rover carry his own food and water so his chances of survival are increased as well!

This vest is a fantastic option for your dog. It will not inhibit their movement in any way. It has handles to grab onto at either end if necessary, so you will always be able to control your dog in intense situations.

It is versatile, and it can be customized with patches, so it is also an excellent option for service dogs. It comes with three pouches for storing items, and it is compatible with MOLLE, so you could always add on additional pouches as well for increased storage. It is lightweight and slim fitting, so it is something your dog may actually enjoy wearing. Really, you can’t go wrong with the OneTigris Tactical Dog Vest.

Bottom Line

The OneTigris Tactical Dog Vest is the best survival vest option for your dog. Just know you may have to adjust the straps if you have a male dog.

Honorable Mention:
Rothco Uncle Milty Vest

Pros

  • Versatile
  • High quality
  • Has seventeen pockets, all with zippers or Velcro for extra security
  • Has a D ring stitched to the back of the neck so it can be hung on a hook

Cons

  • Not waterproof

The Rothco Uncle Milty Vest is a fantastic survival vest if you are looking for a vest that is maybe a bit more low key than the others on this list, and that can serve you multiple purposes beyond being your go to for emergency situations. That is why this vest is our choice for honorable mention – it is both useful and comfortable!

Users report that they are able to wear this vest every day for a wide variety of activities, from hiking to riding their motorcycle. It can be washed multiple times, as it is made of a polyester and cotton mix which prevents shrinking.

It closes with both zippers and snaps, so you can wear it casually, or, if it is fully loaded, you can close it all the way up for maximum support. It has a sneaky hidden lower back pocket that is specifically designed to offset the weight of all the front pockets so the vest remains comfortable – and it is large enough to carry around a water bladder.

Bottom Line

The Rothco Uncle Milty Vest is a great versatile vest that will still come through for you in emergency situations. You may want to pack a shell in one of those pockets, though, as this vest is not waterproof.

Items to Carry in a Survival Vest

So you have got the vest…now what? If you do not know where to start with packing your survival kit, here are some ideas:

Multi Purpose Survival Tool

You will not know how much you rely on everyday tools until you are without all of them…and in a survival situation, the right tool can make all the difference. Find yourself a survival tool that combines essential items such as a knife, a bottle/can opener, a flint, tweezers, pliers, etc.

Food

You certainly will not get very far without a supply of food to sustain you. Make sure you pack your vest with the kind of food that will not go bad and will not require heat or water to eat – power bars are a great choice.

Water

Many of the vests featured on this list have room for some kind of water bladder. If you can, go with that option, but if you can’t, make sure you save one of the pockets in your vest for some kind of water purification system such as tablets.

Self Defense

It will certainly not be necessary in all survival situations, but it can provide some peace of mind to have some sort of weapon on you in case you need to defend yourself. Many survival vests have holsters that can hold guns, and pockets that can hold other kinds of weapons such as Tasers.

Conclusion

Survival vests will empower you to take your survival game to the next level. Think long and hard about what would best work for you, personally, with a survival vest, and then check out some of our awesome models reviewed here – you will not be able to go wrong.     

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