Think Tactically About Tactical Vests

We’ve curated a range of tactical vests, utility vests and gilets that stretches from cosy comfy to urban survival. 

Photo Creds: Mr Porter

Tactical vests have a rich history. Long before the word ‘tactical’ was affixed before them, they were just vests with pockets and nifty uses, often with designated purposes. There’s the external contraption that fishermen dangle their scissors from, there’s the back bullet pocket on Tory shooting vests, the knife-holder in the utility vest your grandad threw on over an everyday shirt. 

And, of course, the final form of all tactical vests: military modular vests loaded with quick releases, rifle bolsters and RADAR tech. 

Now that all of these influences have crossed the sartorial bridge, there’re huge varieties and ranges, blurring the boundaries between utility and tactical and crossing into the territory of the humble gilet. We’ve selected a few to cover all bases, delivering urban armour, fleece-lined, down-stuffed, or just laid-back no-nonsense.

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NemeN Pito Tactical Nylon Tote Vest 

NemeN is standing on the shoulders of giants: Massimo Osti’s, Lorenzo Osti’s, Carlo Rivetti’s, Errolson Hugh’s. The brand is the 2022 culmination of Italian techwear-leaning design. 

This Pito Tactical Vest keeps it light with garment-dyed nylon and a solid pocket count of 6. It gets very exciting, however, when you consider that it can turn into a tote bag by zipping the base and attaching the shoulders over the arm holes together to form handles. Genius. 

Stone Island Shadow Project Glass Linen Gilet

Keeping to the theme of really expensive vests with hidden details, this Shadow Project piece has a ‘glass linen’ outer layer, which is a SI technical term for an ultra-thin layer of polyurethane film bonded to linen. In essence, you get a shiny and reflective linen that looks a little bit like glass. 

The core of Shadow Project’s Glass Linen gilet is a mesh inner that’s loaded with hidden pockets. 

And Wander Kevlar Vest 

And Wander builds on the military influences by incorporating a kevlar-blend into its vest. With a 7% dash of aramid (the basis of kevlar), And Wander has bolstered the piece’s strength and durability. It isn’t stabproof, but it will last a very long time. 

The Kevlar Vest excels in sleek minimalism, with hidden pockets that don’t protrude too much and subtle contrast stitching. 

Taion Crew Neck Button Down Vest 

This one marks a departure from overt utility and brings us to another feature: vests for warmth. Taion is infamous in certain circles for their down vests. The Japanese brand has become synonymous with well done down and they layer it into everything from vests to scarves. 

The Crew Neck Button Down Vest is geared towards insulation with a 650-fill-power down lining. Bonus? It’s still compact enough to fold into a ripstop travel bag. 

Carhartt Prentis Vest Liner

In design, this vest liner is a million miles away from a classical tactical vest, but it fulfils a lot of the same roles: there’s storage and it’s sleeveless. 

There’s an added bonus: the Prentis Vest Liner is lined with fleece, keeping you not just prepped but maxing the cosiness out. 

ST95 Delta Vest 

When ST95 was launched by Osti in 1995, many of the jackets incorporated dedicated mobile phone pockets. The design trend was prevalent until the early 2000’s until phones got small enough to fit into jean pockets. 

ST95 was marketed towards a younger consumer and capitalised on affluent youth affinity with technology. That trend is continued with ST95’s 2022’s offerings: this Delta Vest has an angled old-school phone-sized pocket on the left shoulder, paying homage to the brand’s beginnings.  

New Balance All Terrain Hybrid Vest

New Balance’s All Terrain collection focused on footwear for trails and the outdoors, creating room for a stylised departure from the mainline. Within it, New Balance also produced cargos, fleeces and vests. 

The All Terrain Hybrid Vest keeps the formula simple: a couple of pockets, a two-way zip, patchwork fleece material. It’s a solid all-rounder. 

Fuzz Zip Utility Vest 

Sheffield’s own Fuzz is pretty new to the game but they’ve managed a very good vest. Taking inspiration from hunting jackets, the piece is loaded to the brim with pockets (a grand total of 8), and finished with a crinkle fabric that gives off different tones in different conditions. 

The Zip Utility Vest keeps it clean and simple with enough room for an assortment of essentials and unmentionables.  

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