To me, 5.11 has always been a company you could count on to provide you with quality gear at a reasonable price. For many years I thought of them as more of a brand for the mall cop, gray men who love to post on the internet about how they recon their route for Black Friday at their local Dicks Sporting Goods. All jokes aside, my opinion of the company has recently peaked as I see them producing more niche items that are quite nice. One of the 5.11s mottos is that they provide purpose-built gear, and the purpose of today’s gear for this review is to make you sweat. While I certainly do not consider myself a cross-fitter or a member of the cult known as Orange Theory, I do enjoy a workout about once a day. When 5.11 asked me back in September if there was anything in their current product line I was interested in testing, I chose the TacTec Trainer Weight Vest.
The TACTEC® Trainer Weight Vest was provided by 5.11 for this review and while I am allowed to keep the product indefinitely, this will not change my opinion on this product or any of 5.11’s current or past offerings.
I tested the TACTEC Trainer Weight Vest over the course of four months while using it 3-5 times a week as part of my workout routine. I filled the vest with actual ballistic plates as I do not currently own any trainers.
5.11 TACTEC Trainer Weight Vest – Quality and Comfort
The Trainer Weight Vest (TWV) is constructed of a rugged 600D polyester. There are compartments in front and back for carrying weight plates or sandbags. 5.11 states you can use their own plates or Rouge plates in the carrier. The vest goes over the head, bib-style, with a padded yoke that keeps the straps and vest comfortable. The front and back panels are not only padded, but the padding uses breathable mesh fabric to help you stay cool and dry during workouts. Prior to receiving the TWV, I was working out in my CRYE JPC 2.0 and while that is a very comfortable carrier that also comes with ventilated mesh, I was getting pretty sweaty in it. The TWV offers considerably more breathability and comfort than a traditional plate carrier.
While I have not had my TWV for that long, I can attest to the durability of the product as a whole. I have read many reviews from other users stating great durability after 6-7 months of hard use. With that being said I can see where there are two potential weak points on the vest. As is common with all velcro items, they will wear out over time so I would expect the cummerbund velcro to lose its stickiness after a solid three years of daily use. A potential solution for this could be to use a tube-style cummerbund like what First Spear offers but this would add cost to the system overall.
Another potential weak point could be the elastic pockets of the cummerbund as they are thin in spots. Please take these with a grain of salt as I have no hard data to support that this will happen, it’s just my opinion. Overall the comfort of the TWV is great, I can wear this thing for hours while running around and stay quite comfortable.
5.11 TACTEC Trainer Weight Vest – Features
The TWV is packed with features from top to bottom so let’s get into them. The bottom front of the vest is covered in standard PALS webbing for securing extra gear or adding a pouch. Above that is a generous hook and loop field for attaching ID patches or whatever your heart desires. Behind the hook and loop is a small felt-lined pocket for your electronics. I placed my phone here on a few occasions and it felt pretty secure. The back of the vest has the same webbing on the bottle but features felt-cut molle on the top. I’m not really sure why 5.11 did this but here it is.
The cummerbund of the vest could be removed for whatever you desire but the included one works just fine and interfaces on the back just like the CRYE JPC 2.0 allowing for great adjustability. The cummerbund also has two elastic pockets for holding your skittles or snuffs if you are about to hit a really heavy set on the bar. One pocket is zippered while the other is just enclosed. I really like these pockets and I think they are a great way to store items while you go for a run in this vest.
The interior of the plate bags has lots of adjustabilities to hold whatever sized plates you find yourself using and I really appreciated this feature. As mentioned before the whole interior of the vest is lined ina very breathable fabric to keep the sweat down as much as possible.
- The price is just right at $135 for the non-camo variations
- Adjustable plate bags
- Super breathable mesh
- Offered in strange colors, no just black or ranger green variations
- Elastic cummerbunds could be a weak point year down the road
In summary, the TACTEC Trainer Weight Vest is a super comfortable piece of workout equipment that will definitely increase your heart rate and sweat output. I like seeing 5.11 bring a less tactical-style weight vest to the market at a very reasonable price. Ill definitely be keeping my copy and using it for many workout sessions to come.
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