Photography Vest

I’ve been looking at getting a vest to use with all my photography gear. I normally use a camera bag, but I found it to be far too bulky when I went to competitions. It’s hard to get through the stands and the pits when you’ve got a large back of camera equipment on your hip. I’ve seen a few people at competitions with vests that would work, so I thought this would be a good place to start asking about where to look and what might work well. Basically, I’m looking for something that I can conveniently carry a couple of extra lenses in, a few small tools, and extra memory cards, as well as a few other small items that I might want to have on me. I’m under the impression I don’t want anything made of cotton, since it get’s a bit uncomfortable when it starts to absorb sweat, and I don’t want anything that’s going to be exceptionally loose fitting or large on me. I’d rather not turn around suddenly and run my telephoto lens into a robot or something. Anyway, I’m at a loss as to where to look. It’s kind of hard what will work just looking at Amazon, and the sporting goods stores in town don’t really seem to have anything, so I’m running out of ideas. Any help is appreciated, though I’ve got plenty of time. I don’t think I’ll really have a serious need for it until the season starts.

Fishing vest from Dick’s

>>Originally Posted by RoboMom in 2005
Fishing vest-13 pockets, all of them full, holds:
headset, walkietalkie, 2 pairs safety glasses, color coded index cards, cell phone, glasses (reading + distance), tube of waterless hand cleaner, business cards, pens, earplugs attached to headset with lanyard, money, map of pits because the numbering system is a black hole this year, breath mints, chewing gum, ibuprofen, chapstick, small stapler, carabiner for keys, first aid kit, post-it notes, power bars, small bottle of water, copy of the DAM (decision authority matrix) along with FIRST phone numbers, assorted pins ranging from NEMO to presidential volunteer service award, to plane from Lockheed Martin
Of course, I can’t find anything.<<

NEM’s-I highly recommend this system!

This sounds almost like what I used to do with cargo shorts. I seriously had anything and everything I would ever need in them, almost to the point of needing suspenders.

That’s amazing! My biggest concern, though, is that none of the things you listed is quite the size of a telephoto lens, at least as far as I can tell. So I must ask, is there a pocket or two in there that would hold a cylinder just over 3 inches in diameter and about 5 inches long, and/or one of slightly larger diameter and a couple inches longer?

You could always just clip-on one of those telephoto lens protectors to the jacket or stap of your choice.

That could work, Alex. Only thing is, I’ve actually got something like that, but when I hook it on to myself, it kind of hangs loose. I don’t want it to fly out when I turn quickly and smack something. Can you get something like that that’s a bit more secure?

Some of those fishing vests have a large pocket on one side and they usually have a large pocket in the back. It might be hard to get to but at least is accessible. You might also consider a hip pack for the lens and other items in addition to the vest. The large lens won’t move around as much with your movements and have a tendency to whack you in a tender spot just as you push the shutter.

I have the Woolrich Guide Vest (good Google search phrase) It is sold on-line at a number of locations for about $60. It has a number of large, deep pockets. I use mine on a regular basis and it will hold a lot of items. There are 17 pockets, 6 of which have Velcro or zipper closes to keep things inside (which while a bonus, does make finding things problematic).

There are large pockets that easily hold cans of soda, that is about the size of the lenses you mentioned. There is a giant back pocket, about 12" wide. It’s hard to get to with the vest on, but that may not be a problem for you.

It has a split back opening to allow air flow, because it’s triple thick (pockets inside and out) and heavy (all your junk) it’s hot to wear inside.

It’s also longer than a fishing vest, which will help hide “Photographers Crack” when taking those low level pictures.

If you are wanting to browse more stuff, is a good place to see what your options are. Depending on your needs, you may still want to keep a small hip pack in mind. I have one from LowePro just big enough for the camera and either one lens and a video camera or two lenses. The flash unit fits in the external pocket along with batteries, etc.

Greg McKaskle

Learn not to do that :slight_smile:

Seriously though, I have a photo vest that has a space for large lenses in the back- it fits my 70-200 2.8L easily. I’d much rather have a sling, though, that attaches to the mount points.

If you’re carrying a 300 2.8 then you need a sling regardless.

I had the opportunity to photograph 3 bowl games and countless hundred college games and found that a simple fisherman vest, as cheap as it was, worked great.

More $$ spent means more options. Goto @#@#@#@#$@# and bring your gear, load up a vest, and see how it wears on you.

Well, I think what I’m going to do right now then, is I’ll go check out the fishing vests at Dick’s on Friday, since I’ll have gotten paid. Hopefully I’ll remember to bring some gear so I can make sure it will work. If it does, I might just go that route for now. Having seen some of the actual photography vests, I’m not sure I’m willing to spend the amount money they want for the really nice ones right now, since I’m out of a job on the 14th, and don’t know if I’ll be able to find part time work to replace it. If I don’t find something soon, though, I might look into something nicer, and see if I can’t get it for Christmas or something

Also try the photography forums- my favorite is - helps to have someone vouch for you if you’re new, but folks are always upgrading / cross grading their gear.

Via photography on the net I found that link (another photography site)

And for a review of it,

after a bit more research, I’m considering a camera belt. anyone here have any experience with those? I know Tamrac sells them, but they’re a bit more expensive. They are modular, though, which is why I’m starting to consider them

I’ve used them and don’t like them… but that’s me. When you try to fit through a door you can smack your gear into the walls- it took ALOT more training and I never got the hang of knowing where my gear was in proximity to my surroundings.

With a vest your gear is spread out and is logically placed- with the belt- unless you have suspenders- it’s going to sag… plus if you ever do find yourself able to sit you aren’t going to like the idea of your 70-200 2.8L smacking into the floor because it’s on your left hip :wink:

BUT- get one and try it out :slight_smile: What worked for me works for me- what works for you may / is something totally different.

Thanks for the info. The biggest issue I’m having choosing either way is the fact that I don’t want to 1) figure out how to return something to a retailer I’m not familiar with or 2) find I’m stuck with $80 worth of something that won’t work because the retailer won’t take it back.
So while I’d love to be able to just try stuff out, there’s not exactly a place in town that sells this stuff and can let me try it in store, and I’d rather not deal with #2 right now. So I guess I need to check Amazon for some of this stuff, since I’m pretty sure they’ll take stuff back. But until then, I’m basing my decision on what info I can get out of everyone who’s tried these already and can tell me what they liked and didn’t.

Cabelas has all kinds of fishing vests and packs:

So does Gander Mountain:

OP, how many bodies do you have? When I shoot an event I typically load my primary lens on my best body, and my less used lens on the other body. I then throw one over my shoulder and hold the other in my hand. (Never ever around the neck)

Any other things I need I keep in a fanny pack.

Sometimes my Father uses a harness he set up, but its a glorified fanny pack really, in the only extra thing it has is a lens bag to carry an extra telephoto.

I’ve got two, and a third in the mail. I’m also looking at picking up a flash unit, and I’ve got a couple filters as well. Add to that a couple bits of hardware, as well as a few other miscellanious items (cell phone, radio, clif bar, etc.). I found at competition I needed a small pack to carry everything, but a lot of it I wanted easy access to without having to take the pack off, hence this thread. I figure a vest is a pretty good way to distribute everything comfortably without having to take off and dig through a backpack or shoulder bag of some sort.


However, there are some good and hopefully water resistant fishing vests that might do the same job for alot less money.

I shoot video now but back when I shot stills I used a backpack, yes that meant I had to take it off to get something like to transfer a lens, it also gave the lens some place soft to fall (into the backpack) if it jumped out of my hand and at least on me a backpack feels comfortable, the fannypack’s hurt my hips after awhile.

I have never tried the vest yet though.