• #1227

    Several of my older vests are falling apart, shopping for a new one. What is/are the favorite(s) here?

    I wear a vest almost daily even when not shooting; it has handy pockets for cell phone, keys, inside pocket for checkbook and mail, small pocket for hearing aids (like many, I dislike wearing them!), pen, batteries, etc. When shooting, I usually don't load down the vest with camera gear; just a light meter, extra cards/batteries/film, maybe a lens.

    And I do like to have it look civilized as I deal with customers, attend Chamber of Commerce functions etc. I like to wear one un-tucked outer garment to cover other gear on my belt, and the vest is one option for that.

    Browsing B&H online, the Tamrac 153 looks like a useful configuration, and likely better made than my similar but recently shabby one from Bangladesh. I have a nice Filson, but it's shy on pockets and such. And also at B&H the Billingham looks great, with a price to match. I'm tempted. Opinions?

  • #1241
    Jack MacD

    As you might notice from my other postings, I too prefer pockets over bags. I wear a sport coat as my purse, and it is because it has many handy pockets. On the Fall trip I used a rain jacket and a hunting jacket which had large pockets.

    I had vests in the past. But I concluded they are clunky and the pockets are not big enough for S lenses. Yes the vest allows for more weight hung from a shoulder rather than a belt, but why not use a sport coat instead.

    So I am not going to suggest a vest for you to buy from a catalog. Instead, I am going to offer you a vest I no longer use. A very limited addition Leica Vest. I get a kick out of it, but I don't use it. It should be recycled to someone who will use it. Not too subtle, so maybe you don't want it, but perhaps some reader desires it. It will go to the highest offer to help finance my Micro Prism finder. Trust me, this has enough pockets for anyone, including three inside and one huge one on the back. The label says “designed by Leica”

    Attached files

  • #1245

    For the past four years, I have used the Billingham in certain travel situations and could fit my whole bag in the vest which was great for air travel with restrictions. Best to use the Billingham in the fall season since it does get a bit warm.

    Good luck,

  • #1247

    Very thoughtful offer, Jack, thank you! I think I will pass, as there would be a orange vs red clash with my Leica ballcap. 🙂 Actually something more subtle would be preferable. It has some notable features, with the removable document holder, unusual side pouches, epaulets etc. The fabric looks shiny in the pic… I’m sure someone will value the branding and collector aspect more than I.

    Thanks, Arif, for the Billingham comments. The “warm” matter might be an issue, as it’s easy to “layer up” as needed when cool, but there’s a limit to possible shedding when hot.

    I wonder if the Tamrac is cooler than the Billingham… I should get more than one vest, as I have several to replace.

  • #1249
    David K

    That looks like the perfect vest for a Leica shooter. But having stood next to you on this trip I'm afraid it might come down to my knees 🙂 My good friend Roger is about your size but he's out of the country right now. This might be right up his alley.

  • #1327

    I have used quite a number of vests. I shoot with 2 m9 s mostly street and travel in cities. My favorites are the ex officio brand. The vests are light nylon fabric and have both small and large pockets. I have a very light version that i wear over a tee shirt in florida and a more complete version for carrying more.

    The Filson travel vest is very nice and looks better but its safari cloth and too hot for summer . Great vest at 60-75 degrees.

    In colder climates i use the Patagonia nylon puff style vests . These are my favorites because they blend in with the traveling public. With a black patagonia layered shirt and black vest …its very light yet between 40-60 degrees perfect. This is what i used in venice last week . Gets colder i add a layer . Pockets large enough for an m lens.

    The only bag i work out of is the think tank lens bagfor 2 lenses. For S2.

    I never put away my cameras when i am out shooting.

    As david mentioned i am xxl and 6ft 2in.

    Vests are great where i want to look like a pro…events for example …but not so good when trying to fit in. Patagonia vests hold enough for me ..i try to shoot with just 3 lenses and 2 bodies. Can work with 4 lenses if necessary .

    For warm weather above 80 i look for the ex officio which are very light.

  • #1340
    Al Tanabe

    I wear a Columbia Titanium series vest, normal everyday style, not made exclusively for photogs. I put some neoprene lens bags to line the bottom two pockets to fit my M lenses in. Plenty of pockets to keep most items handy and a large pocket in the back for the “emergency” plastic bag for the rain. Last trip I took did not involve taking a bag at all, just the two lenses in the pockets and camera/lens on my shoulder.


  • #1341

    I appreciate the suggestions, gents! I've visited the manufacturer's websites and those of some suppliers too. There are a number of Ex Officio vests, but the search doesn't bring up a light/summer weight model, except at one vendor where it's listed as unavailable (though it looks pretty good).

    At Columbia's website, the search feature (like others) brings up things not searched for… like if I enter “men's titanium vest” it shows 1 vest and 18 jackets (none called “titanium”). Their Men’s Silver Ridge™ Vest looks very suitable, though, and the reviews indicate it's a summer weight item. Might be a good choice, and I like the darker colors it is offered in.

    Thanks again!

  • #1367

    Doug you are right the ex officio line changes frequently . I have one vest that is mesh over 80% of the vest ..so over a tee shirt its nothing . The other is like one of their nylon fishing shirts material but looks similar to the Domke . These two look like fishing or travel vests . The advantage is they are light weight nylon fabric where most others are heavy cotton . Both work great at the beach where you can t lay anything down .

  • #1370
    Mark Gowin

    I came across the Manfrotto Lino pro vest at Photo Plus last week and it looks pretty interesting. It has a mesh back and is a well thought out design. My only problem is that is only comes in black which looks great, but absorbs too much heat in summer.


  • #2172

    Are you actually serious? You wear a photo vest?

  • #28617

    Oh, I don't even remember the last time I wore something like that. I'm more into t-shirts and hoodies, and I think it's the most comfortable clothing.

  • #28620

    I totally understand, such clothing is indeed the most comfortable to wear. But for me, it's really hard to find anything decent in stores, so I prefer to create my custom clothing and order everything from the internet. You can read more information here about the company I worked with, these guys are the only ones that work with high-quality fabric, and I can tell you it was a big problem for me to find a company like that

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