Chest rig and vest

The Ultimate Chest Rig Guide

Chest rigs or tactical vests are an essential part of your tactical gear as they make it easy for you to carry around the necessary equipment. They also provide easy access to any item that you may require instantly.

Chest rigs are lighter and easier to handle as opposed to plate carries, which are designed to hold ballistic plates along with your equipment. If you do not need any armor, the chest rig is ideal.

Factors to Consider

When you’re getting a chest rig, you need to look at several different features to ensure that they fit your requirements:


We’re not talking about getting a chest rig that matches your unicorn jumpsuit. The color of your rig determines whether you stand out from the crowd or mix into the background. In other terms, it determines your visibility.

If you’re using a chest rig, you most likely intend to keep a low profile. This is why colors such as coyote brown or olive drab are popular options for those out on the field or stuck in the middle of the forest. Even though black is a neutral color, it sticks out too much and should be avoided.


Chest rigs may either feature MOLLE webbing or pockets, or both. Although ultimately, the MOLLE chest rig is considered to be the best, it is not ideal for beginners. This is because it’s more expensive with the added cost of purchasing separate pouches. It also takes some time to get the hang of them since, initially, you’ll be struggling to figure out which pouches you need and why.

Pocket rigs are a win-win because they will have an element of MOLLE in the straps and back support and pre-made pockets. In addition to that, you can attach more pockets if you need extra space.

The Harness

There are two types of harnesses: the X and the H harness. Both work well and can be worn by anyone. While the X-harness fits a small frame better, it has the tendency to ride up a bit when you run. The H-harness distributes the weight of the rig evenly but can be too much to handle by someone with a small body frame.

The Weapon

The pouch sizes on chest rigs vary based on weapon size. The standard space in chest rig pouches is for 5.56mm magazines or less. For larger weapons, you might need custom-made pouches.

Factors That Shouldn’t Influence Your Decision

Often, we end up making the wrong decision because we consider the wrong features as being the most important. When you’re buying a chest rig, you don’t need to worry about the following:

  • Capacity – chest rigs are generally light with a little bit of storage space. Don’t go looking for one with too many pockets.
  • Comfort level – since chest rigs are adjustable, you don’t need to go by fit. Any chest rig can be tweaked around to fit you properly so that it doesn’t ride up when you run.
  • It’s okay to start with a rig that has fewer pockets. If needed, you can buy more separately and attach them when required.

How to Load Up Your Chest Rig

It’s important to remember that all your pouches don’t have to be full at all times. Only pack what you really need, and your chest rig will feel much lighter and more comfortable when you’re out on the field. Even the smallest bit of extra weight can feel like a lot on a chest rig.

End Note

Regardless of which rig you go with, remember not to load your chest rig with large or bulky items that can slow down your movement or prevent you from quickly taking out what you really need. Keep any storage pockets around your shoulders empty for free movement, and always make sure that any first aid items, such as band-aids, are easily accessible, even if you are injured.