6 Dog Training Vests: An FDSA Student's Honest Review

 I am always looking for a good vest for dog training. Ideally, I love it when I can find a vest that can hold all my things without needing to rely on additional clothing pockets, backpacks, treat pouches, fanny packs, etc. I also personally have great danes, so most of my gear (lotus ball, toys, volume of treats) is super-sized.

I've tried several vests and have a 13-minute video review if you'd like to take a look and see how they fit on a human with a standard sandwich-sized bag of snack as reference.


Here is a summary of the vests reviewed.

1. Amazon Fisherman Vest

Shop: Flygo Zhusheng Men's Mesh 16 Pockets Photography Fishing Travel Outdoor Quick Dry Vest Breathable Waistcoat Jackets (Medium, Light Khaki) at Amazon Men's Clothing store

Affordability: $27

Ventilation: Excellent, made of mostly mesh construction, can wear in (Mid Atlantic) summer weather.

Storage: Excellent storage provided by the bigger front pockets. While the vest boasts 16 pockets, it's worth noting that at least three sets of pockets are actually stacked on top of one another on both the right and left side. What I've found is that one of the stacked pockets can hold the volume of a full sandwich-sized ziploc bag of treats, but the other stacked pockets then are reduced in terms of the volume of what they can hold. 

For me personally, beyond my key fob, and waste bags, I haven't found a lot of use for all the small specialty pockets, but I imagine they could be useful for a whistle or other small items. There is one very large mesh pocket the length of the back, but it is very difficult to retrieve anything in that pocket without first removing the vest. Pockets do all have some type of secure closure.

Fit: I ordered a men's large and it is pretty tight on me. There is no hip/rear coverage with this vest. 

Video Review: Begins at the start of the youtube link above.

2. LLBean Multisport Vest

Shop: Women's Bean Bright Multisport Vest | Vests at L.L.Bean

Affordability: $79

Ventilation: Excellent - very lightweight material. Can wear in (Mid Atlantic) summer weather.

Storage: Two large zippered side pockets. Two unsecured interior pockets. One large back pocket accessible on right side.

Fit: I ordered a women's large and it fits well on me. It hits right at the hips. There is a cinch at the bottom of the vest, which I personally do not need to tighten. There is no cinch at the waist, making the vest roomy around the middle.

This is my go-to summer/hot weather vest. I don't find the single side pockets a detriment and have less general confusion about what is stored in which pocket during my actual training/reward retrieval.

Video Review: Begins at 2:35 of the youtube link above.

3. Arrak Outdoor Acadia Lady Softshell Vest

Shop: Acadia Lady Softshell Vest (Olive) - Arrak Outdoor USA

Affordability: $135

Ventilation: This vest is very warm and does not have ventilation. It is not a summer weather vest for me, but works in spring and fall.

Storage: This vest has large secured stacked front side pockets, two large secured chest pockets, and a back kangaroo pouch with entry from either the right or left side. It also has tabs where a carabiner could be secured if additional hanging gear was desired.

Fit: I ordered a women's XXL based on the size chart, and it is large in the chest and waist on me. I do however like that it has a waist cinch which can take in some of the extra fabric. This longer length provides hip/rear coverage.

This is my go-to cool weather vest.

Video Review: Begins at 4:45 of the youtube link above.

4. Duluth Trading Company Women's Heirloom Gardening Vest

Shop: Women's Heirloom Gardening Vest | Duluth Trading Company

Affordability: $80 (I was surprised to see this price - I thought I had paid considerably less, but alas, this is the Feb 2023 price listed on the website) 

Ventilation: Not much ventilation, but it is a lightweight canvas material.

Storage: Stacked front side pockets - the side entry pocket is unsecured, while the top entry pocket is secured. There is a large left chest pocket and smaller specialty pockets on the right chest (that I don't use). Two individual pockets in the back that can hold a small tug or ball.

Fit: I ordered a women's large and it fits well with some extra room.

Video Review: Begins at 8:21 of the youtube link above.

5. LLBean Primaloft Packaway Vest

Shop: Women's PrimaLoft Packaway Vest | Vests at L.L.Bean

Affordability: $129

Ventilation: There isn't a lot of ventilation with this vest, but it is a comfortable lightweight down.

Storage: Two large zippered side pockets, one large zippered chest pocket. One large zippered inside pocket. No back pockets.

Fit: I ordered a women's large and it fits well.

I wear this vest often whether I'm actively training dogs or not. It was nice when I had a puppy and wore this vest all day to always have treats handy.

Video Review: Begins at 10:30 of the youtube link above.

6. Amazon Women's Utility Fashion Vest

Shop: WonderWink womens Utility Zip Front Fashion Vest, Navy, Large US

Affordability: $25

Ventilation: There isn't a lot of ventilation, but this is a light-medium weight canvas material and is comfortable. It feels more like a lab tech vest.

Storage: There are large unsecured stacked front pockets, an interior unsecured phone pocket, and a small exterior chest pocket. There are no back pockets.

Fit: I ordered a women's large and it fits well. There are waist cinches to customize the fit. This has longer hip/rear coverage.

This is a great vest for the price. The blue canvas though does show great dane slobber!

Video Review: Begins at 11:41 of the youtube link above

I hope you find your perfect vest and happy dog training! 

Have a vest not here that you love? Leave a comment with a link — we'd love to hear about it! 

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