The Best Travel Vests • An Underrated Travel Wardrobe Essential

Are you looking for the best vest for travel? In this post, we cover the best travel vests on the market and discuss what to look for in a vest.

After all, there’s a lot to remember when heading off to tackle a new city or country. You have tickets, wallet, keys, sunglasses, phone – the list goes on and on! Then you have the adventure seekers who need an extra layer of warmth before tackling in the mountains.

The ideal travel vest will help keep all your essential gear organized, accessible, and protected, but which ones are the best?

We’ve taken the hassle out of endlessly researching different types of vests and collected all the information you need to know right here in our handy buying guide.

We’ve also taken the additional step of compiling our top 10 favorite travel vests for you to peruse and easily see what the market has to offer. So, let’s dive straight in with what you should look for in a travel vest!


The Best Travel Vests

Travel VestRatingWeightAverage Price
Patagonia Men's Burly Man Vest4.5*1.9 lbs$150
Rothco Undercover Vest4*?$50
Columbia Silver Ridge4.3*.7 lbs$120
Foxfire Thunder River Vest4.5*.8 lbs$50
Weekender Traveler Air Vest4.2*.65 lbs$90
Exofficio FlyQ Vest4*.8 lbs$50
Columbia World Trekker4*.8$55
SCOTTeVEST Q.U.E.S.T.4.2*2 lbs$175
SCOTTeVEST Travel4*.7$125
NosiLife Dainely Gilet Vest4.7*.9$90
BJacket Waterproof Vest4.5*1.45 lbs$100

Best Travel Vests for Men


Patagonia Men’s Burly Man Vest


Best Travel Vest - Patagonia Burly Vest

Patagonia has long produced our favorite travel clothes. The men’s Burly Man Vest has to be one of my favorite products of theirs in recent memory – asides from the down sweater!

It’s a soft-shell vest with a durable outer material that has been treated with DWR (durable water repellent) and a fleece lining. It has a stylish slim cut that is flattering to thin and athletic body frames.

Offering all-day warmth with unrestricted movement through the shoulders and arms, this versatile soft-shell work vest has a durable face with a weather-shedding DWR (durable water repellent) finish and a thick pile fleece interior lining.

There aren’t a plethora of pockets here, but it does house a large back pocket that can hold a plethora of items like gloves, a hat, and a scarf.


Rothco Undercover Vest for Men and Women


Just as we mentioned in our last point above, if you’re heading to the city, you don’t want your travel vest to look like you belong out on safari. The Rothco travel vest tackles that problem perfectly by giving you 12 different pockets in a very sleek and discreet presentation to help you blend in while keeping your valuables safe.

Among the 12 pockets, you have a hidden inner pocket to store important gear such as a passport or wallet and keep them safe. You’re also provided with a tablet-sized pocket to keep such devices secure while traveling – perhaps a kindle for reading during your flight? Overall, we love the discreet security that this vest offers city travels. Our one wish is for some waterproofing to keep you on the move through dreary weather.


Columbia Silver Ridge Vest for Men


The Best Travel Vests - Columbia Silver Ridge

Crafting a travel vest that can function just as well in an urban environment as it does out in the heat of an outdoors adventure is a fine line to follow, but Columbia seems to do it with ease here. Their Silver Ridge vest is specially crafted for some hot and sunny adventuring, but wouldn’t raise a single eyebrow if you slipped it on for a day of city sight-seeing.

The vest features Columbia’s Omni-wick technology to easily whisk any sweat away from you for faster drying and increased comfort during your activity, while at the same time protecting you from the sun with a UPF 50 Omni-shade sun resistance. All this outdoor technology is finely presented in a fashionable vest that can easily be worn for an evening out in the town after spending all day adventuring outdoors. You’ll have a security pocket in addition to the standard side pockets.


Foxfire Thunder River Vest


Up to this point, we’ve been targeting vests that have a discrete design that’ll function in city environments, but maybe you’re heading out for some heavy outdoor activity and need a vest focused solely on that! The Thunder River is absolutely brimming with exterior pockets, making it easy to store that camera for easy access, and any other gear you may need on hand for a day out in the elements.

To keep you cool, the vest also features a mesh back for easy airflow and ventilation, along with an easily adjustable design for ultimate comfort and fit.


Weekender Traveler Air Vest for Men


safari vests

Along the same lines as the Foxfire above, we have the male-specific Weekender that is also built with serious outdoorsmen in mind. The vest itself is constructed from a light yet durable nylon fabric that is also water resistant for those wetter days. The mesh back and sides of this vest also works brilliantly to keep you cool during those hotter excursions.

When it comes to pockets, let’s just say that you have options! There is plenty of space for just about everything you’ll need, from the essential phone, keys, and wallet to the activity specific maps, camera, water bottle and any extra gear you’ll be bringing! This vest definitely tops our list for the outdoor-centric traveler looking for serious pocket space and durability.


BJacket Waterproof Vest for Men


For the gentleman travelers out there who would like to blend a little extra style into their travel vest, there’s the BJacket. This vest puts an emphasis on comfort and style with a light yet warm construction and sleek suede shoulder accents. But don’t worry too much about your pocket count! You’ll still get four exterior pockets along with two interior security pockets to make sure you can still carry everything you need.

With its slick looks, the vest is still surprisingly durable for the serious traveler. The material is completely water-repellent, machine washable, and has reinforced seams for all your adventurous traveling escapades.

Bulky backpacks and finicky purses begone! We’ve covered absolutely all the essentials you need to pick out the perfect travel vest for your adventure of choice and start keeping all your essentials safe and secure in your new army of pockets.


SCOTTeVEST Travel for Men


Luckily for the men out there, SCOTTeVEST also produces a top-notch travel vest aimed at the travel and adventure-oriented gentlemen. While it doesn’t have as many pockets as the QUEST above, this travel vest still boasts 26 individual pockets to keep all your travel gear organized and in one place. An RFID blocking pocket is the perfect home for your wallet and passport, while the multitude of electronics pockets and wire passageways allows you to charge items without ever taking them out of your pockets!

The lightweight and breathable vest material make it a breeze to wear all day for whatever your adventure of choice may be. Strolling around the city, spending a day on the trail, or even a beach day – you’ll have everything you need at your fingertips!


Best Travel Vests for Women


Exofficio FlyQ Vest for Women


For the female traveler that goes everywhere from the occasional jungle trek to exploring a big city and a safari here and there, there is the FlyQ vest. The FlyQ is loaded with many different pockets – one if which is RFID blocking – to keep all your essential items close at hand for any adventure; all arranged in an attractive style that is suitable just about anywhere.

The built-in water, wind, and stain resistance ensure this vest will keep pace with all your adventures, while the durable construction will keep it in your travel clothes rotation for many trips to come!


Columbia World Trekker for Women


safari vests

The same Omni-shield technology that we were so fond of in the men’s Silver Ridge vest from Columbia again makes an appearance here in the World Trekker, and we’re no less impressed. The phenomenal water resistance along with the lightweight nylon construction make this vest ideal for exploring the great outdoors in either rain or shine.

The discreet pocket construction and sleek design, however, makes this vest perfectly acceptable for air or city travel. An interior security pocket and passport specific pocket are both perfect for keeping your essentials close by and eliminating an extra purse or handbag for your day out. We are therefore fairly sold on the World Trekker, and place it very high on our list for the best travel vests for women!


SCOTTeVEST Q.U.E.S.T. for Women


If you have worries about finding a vest with enough pockets for all your things, the QUEST vest categorically puts those fears to rest! With an incredible 42 total pockets, you are practically guaranteed to find a place for everything you need on your travels. Amongst all these pockets you have an RFID blocking area for your credit cards, along with an oversized pocket for tablets such as a Kindle or iPad.

The material is also treated for water and stain resistance to maximize your outdoor fun; you even have a storable hood for when the weather turns cold or nasty! So if you’re planning on lots of gear for your trip – from camera lenses to souvenirs – we highly recommend this slick looking vest for every occasion!


NosiLife Dainely Gilet Vest – Women’s


If the 18 pockets in the women’s QUEST vest above seems a little overkill for your needs, then easily temper it with this submission by Craghoppers. The NosiLife contains a manageable 18 pockets – one of which contains the standard RFID blocking material. The rest are conveniently placed throughout the rest of the vest; one even functions as a dry bag to keep sensitive electronics safe in the rain!

The vest itself is protected by UPF 50+ sun protection for those outdoorsy days and features insect repellent technology to help in keeping the bugs off you during your adventures. All these outdoor perks are balanced, however, by a streamlined and trim design that makes the vest perfect for just about any occasion!


Best Travel Vests for Both Men and Women


Patagonia Down Sweater Vest


Best Down Vest Patagonia Sweater Vest

Patagonia makes our favorite packable down jacket, so it’s no wonder they make one of the best down vests. The down vest uses 800 fill down and their new recycled polyester for the shell. The result is a down vest that will keep you warm and do a decent job at fighting moisture. We also find Patagonia’s nylon material to be extraordinarily comfortable without that obnoxious crinkly/swishy sounds cheaper down items make.

With its wide range of colors and appealing brand name, the down vest feels at home in the mountains, the beach, or in the city streets. The only drawback to the garment is a high price tag that comes with Patagonia vests. It’s also not the warmest down vest on this list, but by doing so, it remains slim fit and attractive.


REI CO-OP Down Vest 


Best Down Vests REI 650 Down

The REI Co-op down vest is perfect in its simplicity. With a down fill of 650, it’s warm enough for crisp temperatures and frosty mornings. This down vest doesn’t bombard you with fancy features or hefty price tags.

It’s stylish without being overbearing, and has all the essentials that make a good down vest, such as hand warming pockets and soft-to-the-touch nylon shell fabric. While it may not be perfect for extreme outdoor sports, it has everything you need for simple trail hiking or tooling around town in the spring or fall months. 


Arc’teryx Cerium LT Vest


Arc’teryx Cerium LT Vest

If you’re looking for a down vest at the highest end of the market, look no further than the Arc’teryx Cerium LT Vest. This down vest screams quality with its 850-fill goose down, Coreloft synthetic insulation (to prevent dampness in sweat prone areas), and ridiculously soft shell fabric and internal lining.

This vest also includes a chin box collar that prevents cold winds from hitting the back of your neck, along with a durable, water-repellent finish that will keep you and the down filling dry in light rain and dew. While other vests may have more features, none can compare to the quality of the Arc’teryx Cerium.  It’s the best down vest on this list, but like most Arc’teryx products they come at a premium hence it taking the number six spot.


Kuhl Spyfire Vest


Kuhl Spyfire Vest

It would be a shame to talk about down vests without mentioning at least one that is made from goose down feathers. While duck down is more abundant in the marketplace, goose down has an inherent advantage; the feathers are larger, which gives them more lift and the ability to trap and redistribute more air.

This gives goose down vests a much higher loft than those made of duck down. The Kuhl Spyfire is one of the leaders when it comes to backing goose down vests. You can expect the same standard bells and whistles, such as DWR-treated outer fabric, elastic armholes, and zippered hand and chest pockets, with the added warmth of the 800-fill goose down internal stuffing. 


Amazon Essentials Vest


Amazon Essentials Vest

Another great intermediate down vest is the Amazon Essentials Vest. This fantastic little vest is also simplistic in design, with puffy nylon. For optimal portability, it packs into its own front pocket and can be tucked away in your backpack. It is designed well enough that it never looks cheap, and the nylon external shell fabric will protect it against rips, tears, and abrasions.

It has a quilted pattern to maximize heat distribution and is categorized as medium weight in the realm of ounce-counters. All in all, it’s a cheap “down” vest for those that don’t need extreme protection from the elements or don’t want to spend much. I suggest you spend the extra $40 and get the REI Down Vest for a much higher value. REI is a well-run company with excellent company standards and a goal to be climate neutral in the next year, Amazon isn’t even in the same realm.


Eddie Bauer Downlight Vest


Best Down Vest Eddie Bauer

Eddie Bauer is a popular clothing manufacturer well-known in the industry for the comfort and style of its pieces. Naturally, this has carried over to their down vest. However, outside of these considerable attributes, they have also added a few key features to set them apart from the pack.

The audio port in the internal chest pocket is a big one. It’s the perfect spot to house and protect your music player whether you are climbing, hiking, or heading to the grocery store. It also comes with many of the sought-after features of a down vest, such as a durable polyester shell, a DWR (durable water-resistant) finish, and 800-fill insulation with a universal fit. Honestly, what more do you really need out of a down vest? 


Ranking Vests For Travel


Pockets and Pockets

The ideal travel vest is first and foremost a smorgasbord of different pockets to ensure that everything you possibly need on a standard day in your trip can easily find a home. For the female travelers out there, this can be particularly helpful; we all know that many of the best and most comfortable women’s pants out there are painfully pocket deficient. A good travel vest can, therefore, eliminate a clunky purse that also runs the risk of being stolen in an unfamiliar city.

But the male traveler can equally benefit from a travel vest that compiles everything you could possibly need into one place. No more unslinging a backpack to try and hunt for tickets, or opening and closing a briefcase to fish out a passport during your travel day. So once again, pockets and more pockets! Make sure your travel vest can fit everything you want to have on you for your day.

Construction

It’s always important when purchasing travel clothes to consider the quality and material used. Synthetic materials for standout vests as they’re quick to dry which can keep you cool or warm. While cotton articles tend to hold moisture and are slow to dry. This is important in cold weather destinations with snow/rain or tropical destinations high in humidity.

When looking through different brands and types, one element that we are always looking for is durability. You want to ensure the vest lasts for your trip(s) and beyond! Pay close attention to the manufacturing and material/stitching quality of your vest. Is it an established manufacturer, or an off brand?

Do they stand behind their product and offer an extended warranty? While you’re at it, take a look and see if the vest is water resistant if you’re heading into a wet environment. If you’re traveling to dry and sunny climes, check to see if the vest is UV resistant.

Security

As we alluded to earlier, traveling the world always carries the risk of becoming the victim of petty theft.

While eliminating extra bags by condensing all your gear down into a vest certainly helps, it doesn’t completely protect you from pickpockets who congregate at travel hubs or the more modern thieves who utilize Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to swipe your credit card information without even coming close to you!

It’s a nice touch, but with the increasing use of chip cards, it’s an outdated tactic as chips cannot be skimmed. To mitigate these risks, we highly recommend you look out for travel vests that include hidden pockets where your valuables can be carried.

Comfort and Style

It may seem like a no-brainer, but please try to track down a vest that is going to be comfortable for you to wear and is suitable for your travel plans. Heading to a warm tropical location? A bulky and heavy-duty vest may not be the most appropriate – aim for something a little lighter such as nylon or polyester!

Along these same lines, you’re likely to draw some unneeded attention if your strolling down the city streets in a big, safari-style vest draped with pockets; aim for something a little more city appropriate, eh?

So now that we’ve covered the critical buying points for the ideal travel vest, let’s move on to our top suggestions!


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