The Vest Guy is a Utah-based company that has been making vests for photographers, military, police, EMS, and others since 1990.
Their products are proudly made in the U.S. and have developed a strong following of loyal users who give the vests top marks for comfort, functionality, features, price, and more.
In this hands-on review, I offer my thoughts on my custom M&M Travel Photo Vest from The Vest Guy.
In the video above, you can get a feel for the features and benefits of this vest, as well as fit, my thoughts on comfort and functionality, and more. I provide an overview of each of these categories below.
The Vest Guy: Features and Benefits Review
It's funny, I have accidentally set my gear down in spots that mucked up my bag so many times...
One of the worst times was last year at Joshua Tree. I spent the night up there, photographing the Milky Way through the night.
I slept in my car for two hours and woke up drowsy and needing a coffee BAD.
I made the half-mile or so hike back up to Barkers Dam just as the sun was coming up.
I raced to get on position. I saw the spot I found the night before, threw my bag down, and got set up as quickly as I could.
Within minutes, the sun was casting this beautiful warm light and climbing fast. I got the shot I wanted (shown above), and it's not a bad shot if I do say so myself!
After getting this shot, I looked down at my camera bag to find it sitting in mud, and covered with thousands of those swamp/mud flies!
Needless to say, this is one of many times in which a photography vest would have saved me a ton of trouble.
Now that I have the M&M Travel photo Vest, I don't have to worry about de-mudding my camera bag.
This thing also has a TON of room for my gear. In fact, this vest will hold the same amount of gear as my 45L camera bag.
As I explain in the video, one front pocket of the vest holds my 70-200mm lens while another front pocket contains a 24-70mm lens.
Also tucked away in the vest was a set of NiSi filters. I had extra batteries, memory cards, and some cleaning supplies in the vest as well. And all of that was carried in the front pockets. There's even more storage on the back of the vest!
Naturally, one of the biggest benefits of a vest like this is that all your gear is right there at your fingertips.
Instead of having to rifle through your camera bag looking for whatever it is you need, you can simply open one of the pockets on the vest and easily retrieve the item.
This makes lens changes faster as well because your lenses are right there on your person, safe and sound in a pocket that keeps them clean and dry as opposed to knocking around in your camera bag.
The two lower cargo pockets you see above are 10"x3.5"x7" while the upper velcro pockets (shown above) are 6"x6".
The cargo pockets have both inner and outer zippers for easy access, and the 6"x6" upper utility pocket has an interior elastic loop, D-ring, and key clip.
The vest also comes with one camera strap, a hydration sleeve, and a carrying handle at the top that makes it super easy to grab the vest out of the back seat.
The Vest Guy takes it to the next level with optional features, though.
You can add a hydration bladder, padded shoulders, and inside zipper pockets, if you so wish.
You can also add a second camera strap, padded shoulders, front and back name tags, an Alaskan pouch (shown above), a laptop pouch, and even zipper silencers.
Truly, The Vest Guy has thought of everything when it comes to the features on their vests.
The Vest Guy: Comfort Review
What's really impressed me about my The Vest Guy vest is that it is supremely comfortable. That's even true with every pocket filled up with gear.
Part of the reason why these vests are so comfortable is that they are 100-percent customized and made to order to your specific needs. Additionally, these vests are highly adjustable, that way you can tailor the fit to your specific needs (i.e., wearing a t-shirt vs. wearing a big, heavy coat under the vest).
That means that in addition to the vest fitting like a glove, you can choose the specific features you want that extend the vest's ability to help you carry gear in total comfort.
What's more, The Vest Guy has a long-standing reputation for quality, and the materials they use to manufacture these vests are top-notch.
In other words, these vests are the height of comfort and are incredibly durable. In fact, your vest will likely outlast your cameras, lenses, and other gear!
I noted in the video that the materials used in creating this vest remind me a lot of the military-grade gear I wore when I was in the Army. That's a good thing!
Between the heavy-duty YKK zipper, durable fabric mesh construction, and beautiful stitching, this vest is made to take its lumps while keeping you comfortable at the same time.
If that's not impressive enough, consider this - these vests are covered by a lifetime workmanship warranty.
When it comes to investing in photography equipment, not many companies offer a lifetime guarantee. But that's what you get with The Vest Guy!
As I mention in the video, I swore up and down for years that I'd never wear a photographer's vest.
It wasn't that I tried one and didn't like it, either. Instead, I was honestly self-conscious about how I'd look in one.
Admittedly, I thought photography vests were a little silly looking, but now that I've actually field tested the M&M Travel Photo Vest, I'm a photography vest convert!
As I noted earlier, the comfort of this thing is off the charts, and quite honestly blows all of my camera bags out of the water.
I love how the weight of my gear is evenly distributed and how stable I feel carrying all my gear right on my body.
Even the best camera backpacks I've owned over the years can feel bulky, cumbersome, and make me feel as though I'm top or back heavy. That's just not the case with this vest.
The Vest Guy: Price
The specific model I have - the M&M Travel Photo Vest - starts at just $214.95.
Depending on the options you select, the price will be more, though.
For my money, these vests are a fantastic investment.
For a high-quality camera bag that fits as much gear, you're going to spend about the same amount of money.
But wearing your gear on your body in a vest like this is simply more comfortable and more functional too.
Like I said earlier, I used to swear up and down I'd never wear a photography vest. But now that I've tried it, I wish I would've made the switch years ago!