Plate Carrier Weight Vest Essentials: Selecting the Right Gear for Your Training

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A plate carrier weight vest is an increasingly popular piece of fitness equipment designed to enhance the effectiveness of your workouts. By adding a weighted layer, it can help increase muscle strength, endurance, and overall cardiovascular performance, making your training routine more challenging. It’s a versatile tool adopted by various fitness enthusiasts, military personnel, and law enforcement for physical training and to mimic the weight of body armor during exercises.

When considering the purchase of a plate carrier weight vest, it’s crucial to look for features that match your fitness needs. These features may include the quality of material, the adjustability of fit, the ease of movement, the capacity for weight adjustment, and the incorporation of functional elements like MOLLE webbing. The best plate carrier vests are those that blend comfort, durability, and flexibility to accommodate the dynamic needs of your workout regimen.

Key Takeaways

  • A weighted vest can amplify the intensity and efficiency of your training.
  • Selecting the right vest involves considering material quality, fit, and modularity.
  • A well-chosen plate carrier weight vest contributes to improved fitness and performance.

🏆 Best Overall

Rogue Plate

84% 🤩

Robust design
High-quality materials
Adjustable fit
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Best Budget

CAP Vest

78% 🙂

Affordable and versatile
Adaptable weight
Reflective strips
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Best Premium

5.11 Tactec

80% 🙂

Ergonomic design
Versatile construction
Breathable
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Best Plate Carrier Weight Vests

8 Best Plate Carrier Weight Vests

Let’s dive in!


Top Pick: ROGUE PLATE CARRIER

The Rogue Plate Carrier is a minimalist, durable, and versatile weight vest that can hold up to 40 lbs of weight. 

It is made in the USA with high-quality Cordura fabric and Velcro fasteners, and features a patent-pending design co-developed with Dave Castro, the director of the CrossFit Games. 

The Rogue Plate Carrier is compatible with both Rogue USA Cast Vest Plates and Rogue Echo Vest Plates, which are sold separately. The plate pockets are lined with 1000D Cordura and have extra foam padding and stretch woven fabric to prevent chafing and discomfort. 

The shoulder straps are adjustable and padded, and the waist strap has a short section of elastic for a snug fit. The vest also has a one-handed quick-release cable system for emergency situations, and a front/back loop for patches. 

The Rogue Plate Carrier is available in four colors: black, ranger green, coyote brown, and gray.

Pros:

  • Simple but robust design that offers functional precision and stability
  • High-quality materials and craftsmanship
  • Compatible with different types of weight plates
  • Comfortable and adjustable fit
  • Quick-release system and patch loop for added functionality

Cons:

  • Weight plates are not included and need to be purchased separately
  • May not have enough features or padding for some users
  • May not fit some body types or sizes well
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Premium Pick: 5.11 TACTEC PLATE CARRIER

The 5.11 TacTec Plate Carrier is a premium weight vest that offers superior comfort, durability, and performance. It is designed to fit medium and large ESAPI plates, as well as Rogue Weight Vest Plates, which are sold separately. 

The vest is made from 500D nylon and has laser-cut MOLLE webbing for attaching accessories. The vest also has a padded yoke shoulder strap system that distributes the weight evenly and reduces pressure on the neck and shoulders. 

It has an adjustable cummerbund with airflow channels and aerospace mesh, which provides ventilation and breathability. 

The vest also has a one-handed quick-release system, a drag handle, and a front/back loop for patches. 

The 5.11 TacTec Plate Carrier is available in six colors: black, storm, kangaroo, ranger green, multicam, and dark navy.

Pros:

  • Comfortable and ergonomic design that reduces fatigue and strain
  • Durable and versatile construction that allows for customization
  • Breathable and ventilated material that keeps you cool and dry
  • Quick-release system and drag handle for emergency situations
  • Front/back loop for patches and identification

Cons:

  • Weight plates are not included and need to be purchased separately
  • May be too bulky or heavy for some users or exercises
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Best Vest for Walking: GORUCK – RUCK PLATE CARRIER 3.0

The GORUCK Ruck Plate Carrier 3.0 is a lightweight and compact weight vest that is ideal for walking, rucking, and other low-impact exercises. 

It is designed to fit GORUCK Ruck Plates, which are sold separately. The vest is made from 1000D Cordura and has a padded compartment for the weight plate, which is secured with a Velcro flap. The vest has padded shoulder straps that are adjustable and have a sternum strap for extra stability. 

The vest also has a grab handle and a front/back loop for patches. 

The GORUCK Ruck Plate Carrier 3.0 is available in three sizes: small, medium, and large, and four colors: black, coyote brown, ranger green, and steel.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and compact design that is easy to wear and store
  • Durable and rugged material that can withstand harsh conditions
  • Padded and adjustable fit that provides comfort and support
  • Grab handle and patch loop for added functionality
  • Lifetime warranty from GORUCK

Cons:

  • Only compatible with GORUCK Ruck Plates, which are sold separately
  • May not be secure or comfortable enough for high-intensity or inverted movements
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Best Weight Vest for Crossfit: GORUCK TRAINING WEIGHT VEST 2.0

The GORUCK Training Weight Vest 2.0 is a sleek and functional weight vest that is designed for Crossfit and other high-intensity workouts. 

It is compatible with both GORUCK Ruck Plates and Rogue Vest Weights, which are sold separately. The vest is made from 210D Cordura and has a contoured shape that hugs the body and allows for full range of motion. 

The vest has adjustable shoulder and waist straps that have Velcro closures and buckles for a secure and snug fit. It also has a front/back loop for patches and a reflective stripe for visibility. 

The GORUCK Training Weight Vest 2.0 is available in one size that fits most, and two colors: black and coyote brown.

Pros:

  • Sleek and functional design that enhances performance and mobility
  • Compatible with different types of weight plates
  • Contoured and adjustable fit that conforms to the body and prevents bouncing or shifting
  • Patch loop and reflective stripe for added functionality and safety
  • Lifetime warranty from GORUCK

Cons:

  • Weight plates are not included and need to be purchased separately
  • May not fit some body types or sizes well
  • May restrict chest movement or breathing if worn too tight
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Best Vest for Running: GORUCK RUCK PLATE CARRIER – LONG

The GORUCK Ruck Plate Carrier – Long is a durable and comfortable weight vest that is designed for running, rucking, and other endurance activities. 

It is compatible with GORUCK Ruck Plates, which are sold separately and come in different weights. The vest is made from 1000D Cordura and has a padded compartment for the weight plate, which is secured with a Velcro flap. 

The vest has padded shoulder straps that are adjustable and have a sternum strap for extra stability. It also has a grab handle and a front/back loop for patches. 

The GORUCK Ruck Plate Carrier – Long is available in three sizes: small, medium, and large, and four colors: black, coyote brown, ranger green, and steel.

Pros:

  • Durable and rugged material that can withstand harsh conditions
  • Padded and adjustable fit that provides comfort and support
  • Grab handle and patch loop for added functionality
  • Lifetime warranty from GORUCK

Cons:

  • Only compatible with GORUCK Ruck Plates
  • May not be secure or comfortable enough for inverted movements
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Best Weight Vest for Women: Rogue MIR WOMEN’S WEIGHTED VESTS

The Rogue MIR Women’s Weighted Vests are designed for women to maximize comfort and mobility. 

They come in different weight capacities, ranging from 10 to 50 pounds, and the weight can be adjusted by adding or removing the sandbag weights. 

The vest is made from 1200D nylon and has a patent-pending design that allows the user to breathe easily and train hard. 

It has adjustable straps, and shoulder straps, that give a secure and snug fit. The vest also has a one-handed quick-release system, a drag handle, and a front/back loop for patches. 

The Rogue MIR Women’s Weighted Vests are available in one size that fits most, and two colors: black and pink.

Pros:

  • Comfortable and ergonomic design that reduces fatigue and strain
  • Adjustable and adaptable weight, fit, and functionality
  • Breathable and ventilated material that keeps you cool and dry
  • Quick-release system and drag handle for emergency situations
  • Front/back loop for patches and identification

Cons:

  • Sandbag weights may leak or shift during movement
  • May not fit some body types or sizes well
  • May restrict chest movement or breathing if worn too tight
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Best Budget Vest: CAP Barbell Adjustable Weighted Vest

CAP Barbell Adjustable Weighted Vest | Various Sizes

The CAP Barbell Adjustable Weighted Vest is a budget-friendly option that offers a decent performance and durability. 

It comes in different weight capacities, ranging from 20 to 150 pounds, and the weight can be adjusted by adding or removing the sandbag weights. 

The vest is made from neoprene and has a mesh pocket for a phone or MP3 player. 

It has adjustable clips and straps that give a secure and snug fit. The vest also has reflective strips for visibility and safety.

Pros:

  • Affordable and versatile weight vest for various exercises
  • Adjustable and adaptable weight and fit
  • Mesh pocket for convenience and entertainment
  • Reflective strips for visibility and safety

Cons:

  • Sandbag weights may leak or shift during movement
  • Neoprene material may run hot and cause sweating
  • Clips and straps may break or loosen over time
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Best Vest for Full Range of Motion: Rogue HYPER VEST® PRO

The Rogue Hyper Vest Pro is a sleek and functional weight vest that enhances performance and mobility. 

It comes in different weight capacities, ranging from 10 to 20 pounds, and the weight can be adjusted by adding or removing the steel weights. 

The vest is made from Cordura fabric and has a contoured shape that hugs the body and allows for full range of motion. 

It has adjustable shoulder and waist straps that have Velcro closures and buckles for a secure and snug fit. 

The vest also has a front/back loop for patches and a reflective stripe for visibility.

Pros:

  • Sleek and functional design that enhances performance and mobility
  • Contoured and adjustable fit that conforms to the body and prevents bouncing or shifting
  • Patch loop and reflective stripe for added functionality and safety
  • Lifetime warranty from Hyperwear

Cons:

  • Steel weights may rust or corrode over time
  • May not fit some body types or sizes well
  • May not have enough weight capacity or features for some users or workouts
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How to Buy the Best Plate Carrier Weight Vest

When choosing the best plate carrier weight vest, your selection should be guided by a blend of durability, comfort, and adjustability to ensure peak performance and value for your budget. 

Here are key factors to consider:

Color Options: You have the choice of several colors such as tan, black, and gray. The color may influence visibility or match with your other gear.

Size and Fit: Ensure the vest fits snugly to minimize movement during exercise. The best vests have adjustable straps to accommodate different body sizes.

Comfort: Quality vests prioritize comfort with features like foam padding and breathable materials. 

Weight Increments: Check the compatibility with branded weight vest plates like Rogue Echo Weight Vest Plates or economy versions, ensuring they match the vest’s size and attachment system.

Plate Carriers: Brands like Rogue Plate Carrier and Condor Sentry Plate Carrier offer reliable models. The 5.11 TacTec Plate Carrier is noted for its comfort.

Adjustability: Look for a secure attachment system that holds the plates firmly and allows you to scale the weight.

Budget: Determine your budget beforehand, considering both initial costs and the potential need for additional Weight Vest Plates.

Durability: A vest made with Cordura material, especially 1000D, will likely have a longer lifespan.

Example Vest Specifications
FeatureDescription
MaterialDurable and breathable, prefer 500D or 1000D Cordura.
Vest PlatesCompatible with Rogue USA Cast Weight Vest Plates.
StrapsAdjustable for a customized fit.
PaddingAdequate foam padding for extended wear.
BreathabilityMesh and channels to encourage airflow.

Benefits of Using Plate Carrier Weight Vest

When you incorporate a plate carrier weight vest into your workouts, you’re employing a military-inspired design that’s acclaimed for its ability to enhance a variety of fitness domains. 

Here are some benefits you’ll reap from this robust training tool:

Enhanced Strength and Conditioning: Your resistance levels elevate when you use a plate carrier during your training, critically aiding in strength and conditioning improvements. This is because the additional weight challenges your muscles more than bodyweight exercises alone.

Optimized for Full-Body Workouts: Integrating a weight vest into movements across your workouts — from running to bodyweight exercises — ensures that your whole body benefits, targeting multiple muscle groups for a comprehensive fitness approach.

Maximized Endurance: While on the move, whether rucking or simply engaging in aerobic activities such as running, the added load promotes cardiovascular and muscular endurance, demanding more from your heart and muscles with every step.

Maintained Range of Motion: Despite the extra weight, a well-designed plate carrier allows you to retain your natural range of motion, making it a versatile training apparatus across a broad spectrum of movements and exercises.

Increased Workout Intensity: Without needing extremely complicated routines, your standard workouts are intensified, leading to potential gains in fitness levels and toughness — a simple, yet effective way to escalate your training regimen.

Imitation of Load Bearing: By simulating the load that military personnel carry, you can better prepare your body for real-world physical tasks that require you to carry weight, building a practical kind of strength and resilience.

Remember, while the benefits are significant, it’s crucial to select a plate carrier that fits well to avoid discomfort and to progressively increase the weight to prevent injury. 

How We Chose and Tested the Plate Carrier Weight Vests

In our pursuit to identify the best plate carrier weight vests, your performance and safety stood paramount. 

We meticulously selected vests known for their durability and strength—qualities evident in products like the Rogue Plate Carrier and the Hyper Vest Elite. 

Such models promise both endurance and reliability, catering to diverse fitness routines.

Selection Criteria:

  • American-Made: We prioritized vests like those from Rogue that boast American craftsmanship.
  • Materials and Stitching: Your gear is only as strong as its weakest link. We assessed the stitching quality and the durability of materials such as elastic and plate pockets.
  • Performance Reviews: Feedback on models, including the Hyper Vest Pro, informed our choices.
  • Fitness Accessory Features: Vests were judged on their versatility as a fitness accessory, debunking one-size-fits-all myths.

Testing Methods:

  • Weight Distribution: We ensured the weight vests provided an even load across your torso—an essential factor for your balance and posture during workouts.
  • Adjustability and Pockets: Vests with ample pockets and adjustability, such as the Tactical Vest, were put through movements to gauge their effectiveness.
  • Warranty and Rogue Shipping System: We considered the warranty and shipping services for hassle-free purchasing and replacements.
CriteriaImportanceExample Products
DurabilityHighRogue Plate Carrier
Made in the USAModerateHyper Vest Elite
Weight FlexibilityHighTactical Vest
Warranty and ShippingModerateRogue Shipping System

Each vest underwent rigorous stress tests to simulate usage during cross-training, rucking, and running scenarios.

By focusing on the essentials and leveraging in-depth reviews and empirical testing, we’ve highlighted options that will maximize your fitness goals without compromising quality or budget.

FAQ

What are the benefits of using a plate carrier weight vest for running?

Using a plate carrier weight vest for running can enhance your cardiovascular endurance and strength due to the added weight, which creates additional resistance. This can lead to improved overall fitness and performance.

How do 5.11 weight vest plates compare to GORUCK for durability and comfort?

5.11 weight vest plates are known for their even weight distribution and comfort, featuring adjustable waist and tensional bands. GORUCK plates are also highly durable, with a focus on ergonomic design for extended wear.

What makes a weighted vest suitable for CrossFit training?

A weighted vest suitable for CrossFit training would typically have durable construction, like 500D ballistic nylon, and design features that promote stability and comfort during varied, high-intensity movements.

How to select the best weighted plate carrier for women for fitness activities?

Select the best weighted plate carrier for women by looking for adjustable straps for a secure fit, ergonomic design tailored to the female form, and appropriate weight distribution to prevent discomfort and injury during workouts.

What are the considerations for choosing between curved and flat weight vest plates?

Choosing between curved and flat weight vest plates depends on the fit preference and comfort level. Curved plates may offer a more contoured fit to your body, while flat plates could be less obtrusive during certain exercises.

What is the typical weight range for plate carrier vests used in fitness routines?

The typical weight range for plate carrier vests used in fitness routines varies, but most are designed to carry between 10 to 30 pounds, allowing you to adjust the weight to suit your individual strength and fitness level.

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AUTHOR

Robert is a fitness enthusiast who has been passionate about staying strong and healthy for most of his life. He loves writing about fitness topics and also manages a team of expert writers for his site, Home Athlete Zone. He has his own home gym where he works out almost every day.