The 10 Best Tactical Dog Vests
This wiki has been updated 20 times since it was first published in December of 2016. If your four-legged friend does a lot more than snooze on the couch all day, try equipping it with one of these handy tactical dog vests. They are designed to enable military and police K9 dogs to carry their own gear, but can also be used by hikers and campers who take their pets everywhere, as well as dedicated service animals who want to help lug around their owners' stuff. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.
June 07, 2019:
While there's a certain appeal to loading up your dog with a ton of gear — it frees up your hands, and can help tucker him out even more than just the hike itself — be careful not to exert Fido too much, as he's liable to overheat. One of the reasons why the OneTigris MOLLE Harness earned the top spot is its mesh interior, which lets your pooch get a little fresh air. Also, you can customize just how much of a load he'll carry, so you won't have to worry about pushing him too hard.
If you're more concerned about how your pup acts on his walk than whether or not he'll survive it, the Lifeunion Patrol will give you plenty of control over his movement. It doesn't offer much in the way of storage, but that's hardly a concern when you're worried about him flying off the handle — literally — every time you see another dog or person.
Of course, every seasoned owner knows that walking your pooch with a vest is only half the battle — getting him to wear it is the other half. The Excellent Elite Spanker makes this easy since it has buckles on each side, so you can quickly snap it on your furry friend even if he's losing his mind over the prospect of a walk.
Strengthening The Human-Animal Bond Through Practicality
The same can be said when traveling through the wilderness or keeping a companion animal armed and protected in the battlefield.
From unconditional love to providing toys, clothing, and food, there is no denying the strength of the bond formed between a human and his canine companion, regardless of the surrounding physical or emotional environment. With that in mind, there is also practical significance to outfitting a pooch with an accessory designed to keep him mobile and relevant to the activities at hand. For example, you may outfit your pet with a sweater to keep him warm during those brisk winter walks in the snow, or an LED vest to keep him safe at night. In each of these examples, an accessory is used to enhance the outdoor experience, allowing both human and pet to brave the same surroundings together. The same can be said when traveling through the wilderness or keeping a companion animal armed and protected in the battlefield. For these types of rugged expeditions and environments, a tactical dog vest is just what Fido ordered.
Similar in shape to a harness, the tactical dog vest is a versatile accessory that serves a variety of purposes related to work, training, exercise, and recreational activities. Functionality and security set the tactical vest apart from more conventional options, and its optimization for supporting Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment straps allows MOLLE vests to accommodate additional items for the field or expeditions in unfamiliar surroundings.
There are many types of circumstances in which tactical dog vests work splendidly. Going back to a focus on security, for example, they provide a superior level of protection for both police dogs and military working canines accompanying their handlers into battle or other dangerous situations. Their additional storage pockets also make them perfect accessories for service dogs who are tasked with carrying medical supplies, water, and other emergency items. They're also ideal for hunting purposes, providing visual cues to a dog owner in the wilderness, while also being capable of storing supplies and bait. Finally, the accessory is a great option for the pooch who just loves to be outside, as the extra weight can assist with his training and deliver a healthy form of exercise.
The tactical vest facilitates a great deal of control over an animal's entire body, which comes in handy when training a highly-active puppy or an aggressive dog. Unlike an ordinary leash and collar, the vest is easily held, lifted, and pulled without causing any harm to a dog's neck or appendages. An additional benefit includes overall protection from inclement weather, harsh sunlight, and even projectiles in the most extreme of circumstances.
Fitting Fido For The Expedition
One of the most important considerations to make when investing in a tactical dog vest is the material from which it is made. The best tactical vests are engineered from sturdy nylon. Whether you're a police officer or someone who simply enjoys an outdoor adventure with a furry friend, your vest of choice should be durable, resilient, and waterproof, ensuring Fido stays dry, safe, and protected from physical harm during the trip.
If this is a concern when considering a MOLLE tactical vest, then look for an option whose storage pockets are removable to lighten the load.
Knowing that all breeds come in different shapes and sizes, it's definitely important to take accurate measurements of your dog's body, including the length from his shoulders to the base of his tail, the girth around his chest, and the size of his neck.
As useful as extra storage pockets are, just keep in mind that the objects stored inside the pockets will add additional weight and bulk for the dog to carry. If this is a concern when considering a MOLLE tactical vest, then look for an option whose storage pockets are removable to lighten the load. The vest chosen should also have a sturdy handle, making a pooch easy to grab and lift in the event of an emergency. Additionally, quick-release buckles will make it easy to secure and remove the accessory.
For hunting expeditions, it's always a good idea to look for a vest equipped with some type of integrated ID panel in the event you and your pet get separated from each other along the trail.
A Brief History Of Tactical Dog Vests
Outfitting canines with clothing and protective accessories is nothing new. In fact, the action of doing so dates as far back as ancient Egyptian times. During this age, the dog wasn't just revered as a hunter and protector, but also as a symbol of the afterlife and continued faithfulness to its human owners.
By 2008, the design of the tactical vest was adopted by the United States Navy and is still in use today.
The concept of body armor itself has been around for centuries. As early as 1400 B.C.E., soldiers outfitted themselves with plates of metal as a means of protecting themselves in battle. As one of the closest parallels to modern body armor, chain mail was originally adopted by the Romans after realizing its benefits when fighting the Celts. Layers of tightly-woven metal rings could disperse the energy from an attack and conceivably prevent weapons from piercing the wearer. Chain mail was flexible, easy to make and repair, and allowed for freedom of movement during battle, as opposed to the restrictions of solid metal plates.
King Louis XI later popularized the idea of canine fashion in the 15th century by equipping his own pets with jewelry and clothing. This trend continued well into the 19th century with upper class society adorning their pets with entire wardrobes for many daily activities.
The invention of Kevlar in the 1960s allowed for the creation of most modern body armor we know today. The military-style tactical vest was introduced in 2006 by the United States Marines. Although it weighed more than its predecessor, it also provided a significantly higher degree of protection in the field for both humans and dogs, while distributing weight more evenly around the body. By 2008, the design of the tactical vest was adopted by the United States Navy and is still in use today.