In search of the perfect safari vest? We’ve been on countless safaris and visited lodges all over the African continent from South Africa to Kenya and everywhere in between. On our first trip, we showed up with a hodgepodge of clothes that were not suited for the bush and had all the wrong colors. Over time we’ve learned to love some of our favorite staples, like a great safari vest.
Safari vests are perfect for holding everything you need on a bushwalk or photography trip. It’s the perfect piece of clothing to hold some sunblock, binoculars, or a camera lens. We love the pockets vests afford you without the added heat from long sleeves and they can be a great addition for some stylish safari wear. After, plenty of research and time in the African bush we have the perfect list to pick up a new safari vest.
The Best Safari Vests
Safari Vests for Women
This is a selection of our favorite safari vests designed for women.
Orvis Pack and Go Vest
Orvis designs some of our favorite items for stylish outdoor wear — perfect for safari wear. The weight of the vest has a nice balance to wear it can be worn independently in warm weather or as an outer layer for cooler days.
It’s pretty lightweight and can fold down into an included stuff sack. A waist cinch and multiple pockets also deliver the practicality and features we want in a vest. As an added bonus the polyester material used is Bluesign® certified and dries out quickly.
Kuhl Stryka Vest
Kuhl manages to blend the line between style and practicality with the Stryka Vest. The vest comes in three colors, but the green is the only one that feels fitting for a safari vest.
The construction material used in the vest is a blend of cotton and nylon that allows for a soft and comfortable fabric with decent moisture management and weight. That means it feels heavy so it’s best for mild climates.
Five pockets supply some good room for carrying whatever you need and that includes the interior chest pocket. The safari vest also features a hood for light rain and an interior cinch waist for a slimming fit.
KOGMO Lightweight Safari Vest
I love this safari vest design – it’s functional, lightweight, and even has a hood. There won’t be many women with a vest on safari, so this is great for standing out from the crowd!
Columbia Silver Ridge Vest
Columbia makes some of the most affordable outdoor gear on the market. This safari vest is 100% nylon and has insect shield repellant.
With only five pockets it’s not the most utility vest on this list, but it is functional and can hold your belongings on the inside of the vest and out. With a tie waist for adjustment, the vest can still look cute and fashionable in all your safari photos.
ExOfficio Women’s Flyq Lite Vest
This safari vest is made by one of our favorite outdoor travel brands. ExOfficio specializes in quick dry and functional travel gear. This vest is 100% nylon, has an elastic bungee hem on the bottom, and has a fleece lined collar. The vest has 11 pockets to stash everything you could need from chapstick to binoculars, and important documents and cash.
I love the organization of this vest on the inside. It ensures you won’t misplace anything. There’s even a water bottle pocket which will come in super handy under the hot African sun. Perhaps the best part about this vest is how affordable it is!
Patagonia All Seasons Hemp Vest
This tough vest made from hemp is stylish and more eco-friendly. It’s an insulated vest so it’s definitely for cool temperatures, but that also makes it versatile for wear around mountains, outdoor work, or in the cooler seasons.
A plethora of different pockets make it great for carrying various items. A smooth liner also aids with layers as it slides easily over other fabrics. Construction is excellent and it’s made to last a lifetime.
Makeitmint Fashionable Safari Vest
I love the makeitmint collection because they offer so many colors. These cute vests make not be the most practical, but if you are looking for a stylish safari vests this is a great choice.
So if you are just looking for a cheap safari vest this may be what you want! This vest has four pockets and zippers on the front to stay organized. It’s great to pair with a khaki skirt and some safari boots while in Southern Africa on a cool day.
Safari Vests for Men
This is a selection of our favorite safari vests designed for men.
Orvis Performance Vest
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better safari vest than the Performance Vest from Orvis. The vest packs a punch with fifteen pockets that are perfect to organize all your essentials. Orvis designs its products for fly fishing, but that outdoor focus is also perfect for safari as they carry a ton of similarities.
This travel vest is made with water-resistant fabric and features hidden interior pockets perfect for travel documents and valuables. It also features nifty features like magnets to hold headphones in place on your shoulder.
REI Co-op Savanna Trails Vest
This vest has plenty of pockets and is heavy on practicality. If you love birding, bush walks, and spend your days fly fishing at home this vest is sure to check all the boxes. It has a classic look that feels right at home in the outdoors around a multitude of climates.
SCOTTeVEST RFID Travel Vest for Men
This men’s safari vest is good for putting over a t-shirt or long sleeved shirt while on safari. The safari vest is great for hiking, camping, fishing, and pretty much any outdoor activity you could see yourself on.
This men’s safari vest has a whopping 26 pockets on the front of the shirt with a few more on the inside of the vest. If you order off Amazon make sure to read the description as all the colors and vests are different and range in different amounts of thickness.
Craghoppers NosiLife Adventure Gilet Vest
This safari vest for men was made specifically for a hot climate with UPF 50 sun protection and mesh lining to keep cool. The vest also has insect shield technology to protect against flies, ants, and midges.
The insect shield treatment is guaranteed to hold up for at least 70 washes. The amount of features this safari vest has is incredible. With a sunglasses wipe, RFID blocking passport pocket, and 20 pockets (10 with zippers), this vest is incredibly functional.
HUMVEE Cotton Vest
This vest is 100% cotton and extremely durable. It has a whopping 21 pockets for wallets, a lens pocket, passport-sized pockets, and a water-resistant pocket for electronics. However, every single pocket is lined with nylon to help protect against moisture.
The back of the Humvee vest is meshed to keep cool, and there are adjustable side tabs to store keys and more valuables. Since this safari vest has so many bells and whistles it’s our top-rated choice for photographers in Africa. However, since it is cotton and durable be aware that it weighs more than the other vests here mentioned.
Weekender Men’s Traveler Air Travel Vest
Looking for a lightweight safari vest? The weekender is your answer! This vest is made out of 100% Nylon material with a cell phone pocket, Water Bottle & Map Pockets, and passport pocket, plus many more!
The weekender is one of the more expensive safari vests on this list, but it does come with many perks. It’s water-resistant, stain-resistant, and quick-drying and also has shoulder padding- great if you’re carrying a backpack!
Filson Oil Tin Cloth Vest
This iconic vest is made from Filson’s heavy, abrasion-resistant, and water-repellent Tin Cloth canvas. It’s a work vest that is made for rough work on the ranch, chopping wood, or in the garage. That rough and tumble look makes for a gorgeous piece of clothing that will last a lifetime.
It may not be your standard safari vest as it’s a little warm in the sun, but this vest is designed for adventure or hard work. A stylish piece of safari clothing. Just be prepared for a wait as this piece of clothing is in high demand and sometimes requires a waitlist.
Kids Safari Vest
There probably aren’t a lot of kids on safari, and in our opinion, it’s not the best idea. However, the option below is perfect for children.
Don’t forget about the kiddies while you’re on safari. They will want to look cool in Africa too! The backyard safari vest on Amazon is the perfect khaki vest for a little explorer. For only $15 this safari vest is made of poly twill fabric with two cargo pockets, a zipper pocket with mesh, a clear pocket, and rings to attach little knick-knacks to. It’s perfect for hiking, fishing, family vacations, and getting kids excited about being outside!
What to look for in a safari vest?
With limited space on bush flights, you’ll be wearing your clothes multiple times. You should only need one safari vest to get you through your trip. Check out our favorite safari bags if you want to learn more about packing for a safari.
A good safari vest should be tailored to handle harsh environments. Bonus for materials that are lightweight, quick dry, sun resistant, and bug resistant. We love synthetic materials for their ability to fight dirt and dry quickly.
Many of the safari vests listed below have 5+ pockets. These pockets are great for things like cameras, lenses, chapsticks, and valuables. You tip quite a bit while on safari so we like to keep cash on us. Make sure you are picking a safari vest with an ample amount of pockets for what you need.
The African bush can be hard on clothes. You’ll want to make sure you are picking high quality and durable clothes. Usually, these come with a higher price tag, but it’s well worth it knowing your safari clothes are not going to rip.
Where to Buy a Good Safari Vest?
We have found the best place to buy safari clothes are online. Amazon has great deals and prices and if you are a Prime member then two-day shipping is free. REI is another great outdoor company to find a variety of safari clothes as well. A few of the best safari clothing brands today are TAG safari, Royal Robbins, Ex-Officio, and Columbia.
How to Choose Proper Safari Attire
- The dreaded Tsetse fly is said to be attracted to dark blue colors. Avoid dressing in these colors unless you want to become a target.
- Layering is essential. Game drives usually start early and end late when it is cold. In the middle of the day temperatures can soar, so shedding some layers will save you a heat stroke.
- Always make sure to check the weather for the season you are visiting Africa. It’s not one big giant hot continent.
- Is it the rainy season where you are heading? Make sure to take note and pack for wet days if it is.
- Just because you are in Africa doesn’t mean you can’t be stylish. If you’re after style make sure to choose your clothes accordingly.
Essential Items For A Safari
There are a few things that one should pack for an African Safari:
A good hat is both stylish and functional. In peak dry season there is little to provide shade, UV rays are intense and can easily burn the unsuspecting traveler. Check out our full break down of the best safari hats here!
If you’re planning on going on a walking safari, make sure to pack a good pair of safari boots.
If you want to be able to spot and identify wildlife and birds then a good pair of safari binoculars is a must.
Make sure to get travel insurance before your international trip. We like to use World Nomads!
If you want to get decent photos of wildlife on your safari to make sure to grab a camera well suited for your safari.
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