In search of the perfect safari vest? We’ve been on a countless number of safaris and visited lodges all over the African continent from South Africa to Kenya and literally 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 bush walk or photography trip. We love the pockets vests afford you without the added heat from long sleeves. It’s the perfect piece of clothing to hold some sunblock, binoculars, or a camera lens. After, plenty of research and time in the African bush we have the perfect list to pick up a new safari vest.
What to Look for in a Great 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 likes 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.
The Best Safari Vests
Safari Vests for Women
This is a selection of our favorite vests designed for women.
LE3NO Womens Lightweight Safari Vest
Although this is not a technical piece of clothing I think it looks fabulous for women wanting to look fashionable while on safari. The piece goes great with a safari hat and pants. 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!
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!
Columbia Women’s World Trekker 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.
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 vests 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 vests designed for men.
Mright Safari Vest for Men
This polyester blend 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 10 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.
Royal Robbins Field Guide Vest
There’s a reason we recommend Royal Robbins all over this site – because we genuinely love the company and their products. This field vest is made with UPF 30 sun protective nylon fabric and has a whopping 17 functional pockets. 13 of the pockets are exterior while four are interior to keep valuables safe. The back of the vest has mesh pockets for good ventilation.
Craghoppers Nat Geo Nosilife Davenport 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!
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!
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.
Choosing Good Safari Clothing
- 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!
I used this a lot in the on my Ruaha safari. Early mornings in the park can be pretty chilly so it helps break the cold. Once the sun comes out temperatures climb and things get very dusty. So, I use the shemagh to cover my face and electronics.
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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