We’re huge fans of CrossFit, and one way we get to spice things up with clients is by adding a few pounds for bodyweight exercises.
And I don’t mean piling on the flabby stuff again.
You can completely transform strength training by using an adjustable weighted vest for everything from plyometrics to pull-ups and push-ups.
You can even put on the vest for running to make sure you burn off some extra calories.
Unfortunately, we’ve had a few bad experiences with vests that really weren’t fit for purpose.
So we set out to see if we would be able to find the best weighted vests to recommend to our clients and readers.
Our Top Weighted Vests For Crossfit
1 - Rogue 5.11 Tactec Plate Carrier (Editor's Choice)
One of the best weighted vests we were all able to agree on is this Rogue Fitness 5.11 Tactec Plate Carrier.
I particularly like the easily accessible plate carriers that make this adjustable vest ideal for changing the plates out quickly between different sets.
The durable weighted vest itself is made from a water-resistant 500D nylon material to have a wider range of motion without sacrificing breathability.
It comes with Yoke shoulder pads to reduce friction and adjustable tensional bands to improve stability.
We also think it’s the most comfortable with no pressure points or painful rubbing through the use of innovative air flow channels and aerospace mesh.
- Material: Heavy-duty nylon
- Max weight: 60 lbs
- Military-grade materials make this a lot more durable
- Nicely padded adjustable shoulder straps for fewer pressure points
- Choice of cast or laser cut weighted vest plates
- Available in multiple color options to match up with your gear
- It’s not the cheapest option
All that durability and padding come at a price, but I think it’s well worth it.
2 - RUNMax Pro Weighted Vest
This could be the best weighted vest to use for CrossFit training and running, as you have a convenient place for you phone and a bottle of water.
You can also order extra shoulder pads if you intend to use it with larger weights, although many users notice than they're thinner than expected.
Most users seem to agree that this weight vest can reduce the pressure a lot and distribute it more easily across the shoulders. It's not as bulky as it looks and surprisingly, the material used is strong and of quality grade (just don't expect military quality).
- Material: Nylon
- Max weight: 60 lbs
- Weight plates are included and slot into place perfectly
- Convenient water bottle holder makes it ideal for running
- Optional extra shoulder pads are good if you pile on the plates
- Switching out the weights is a bit tricky
The only downside is that the plate carrier pouches aren’t as quickly accessible.
3 - Cross101 Weighted Vest
This adjustable weighted vest has a weight limit that would suit high-performance athletes a lot more.
The plate carrier pouches will hold up to 80 pounds. It has a designated place for a water bottle and a belt attached on the vest for easy set up.
We also checked the materials and stitching, and it all looks solid enough for a high-intensity workout even under a full load.
The Velcro straps hold the weights firmly, so you can use it even when jogging.
- Material: Nylon
- Max weight: 80 lbs
- Great max weight range
- The materials and stitching are very durable for high-intensity training
- Positive reports that it helps to increase heart rate during cardio
- The vest feels a bit stiff
Just keep in mind that it’s not the best weighted vest for CrossFit in terms of flexibility, which might restrict your movements a bit. But most users still have a good range of motion when doing challenging exercises.
4 - Aduro Sport Weighted Vest
This is another good weighted vest where we particularly liked the open front design.
You know how sweaty you can get during a CrossFit session, and a weighted vest will add more heat again.
This weighted vest has extra resistance to evenly balance the body weights and ensure that it will not slip and slide during cardio activities.
It also feels like one of the most comfortable ones, with an adjustable front belt, soft neoprene material, plenty of padding, and broader, adjustable straps than most other weighted vests.
The durability is questionable, though, since a few users noticed that some of the outer stitches are coming undone, causing some "sand" to leak just within a month. But they either got a replacement or refund, thanks to the lifetime limited warranty.
- Material: Neoprene
- Max weight: 30 lbs (fixed)
- Very comfortable side straps reduce pressure points
- Open design increases air-flow to reduce sweating
- Easy to get on and off with a simple clasp at the front
- Fixed weight means you cannot increase the amount for different routines
The downside is that you can’t adjust the weight, so you would need to order it with the weight you think will suit you the most.
5 - miR Adjustable Weighted Vest
The miR weighted vest has plate carrier pouches that can be easily accessed, which many people believe helps them switch weights quickly depending on the workout.
We also like that the weight vest plates are metal rather than sand, which means they’re nowhere near as bulky as other weighted vests.
You can adjust the weights in 3 lbs increments, which may be perfect for strength training.
Many users didn't like the single strap system because it doesn't hold the weight vest in place, especially when doing horizontal movements like push ups, and mountain climbers. Also, the Velcro is not as durable as it needs to be to quickly adjust the vest.
- Material: Nylon
- Max weight: 60 lbs
- Conveniently adjustable weight vest in 3 lbs increments
- Included weights are metal, not sand, to make them less bulky
- Designed to provide more upper body movement
- Better padded shoulders would be great for heavier weights
The padding in the straps is the only downside, as I think it could be a bit broader to better distribute the pressure.
6 - CAP Barbell Adjustable Weighted Vest
The CAP Barbell is a best budget weighted vest for CrossFit if you want to have maximum flexibility for your movements.
You’ll also struggle to find higher weight options, and we’ve seen a few athletes use it at the maximum 150 pounds for pull-ups with a difference.
Some users complain that the pockets to insert the weight bags in can be a little tight, although it's no big deal for most.
A few users also noticed that the vest design they got had limited pockets for the weighted bags, so if they bought the 40 lbs version, they would need to buy a second vest to upgrade and add more weights.
- Material: Nylon and polyester
- Max weight: 150 lbs
- The weighted vest is flexible to not get in your way of different body movements
- Great maximum amount of weight for high-performance athletes preparing for CrossFit workouts
- Vest comes with good padding on the shoulders for more comfort
- Given the size, it would be great to have a holder for a water bottle
The only thing I wish they would add is some sort of strap or holder for a bottle of water.
7 - ZFOsports Weighted Vest
The ZFOsports adjustable weighted vest has well-designed plate carrier pouches that mean you shouldn’t have any major delays if you like to change the weight depending on the exercise.
I also like the pocket for a phone, which makes it ideal for running as well.
Even when heavy loaded, many users say that it doesn't require shoulder pads during intense bodyweight workouts or runs.
Depending on your built, the length might not be an advantage as most shorter users mention that the lower pockets hit their pelvic bone, even when just walking and most especially during squats or sit ups.
- Material: Nylon
- Max weight: 80 lbs
- Provides a convenient pocket for your phone
- It’s easy to adjust the iron weights
- Positive comments that the one size fits all design is suitable for taller people
- It’s not very breathable so you could sweat more
One thing we did notice is that the materials and design don't have much ventilation, so you could end up sweating a lot more.
8 - Bear KompleX Weighted Vest
This is probably one of the heavy weighted vests for CrossFit available, and if you need that kind of range, then fair play for achieving that level of fitness and strength.
Because of that limit, it also has some stronger buckles made of steel rather than plastic, which will make it a lot more durable.
This weight vest has easily adjustable straps to allow expansion for comfortable breathing while increasing your range of motion without restrictions.
Many users also approve of the material used because it's water-resistant and it doesn't rub on your chest during workouts like most weighted vests do.
- Material: Nylon
- Max weight: 200 lbs
- Extra strong buckles made from steel make it more durable
- Water resistant coating means the heavy weighted vest won’t get wet
- Available in a good range of colors
- Doesn’t come with weight plates
Just keep in mind that you’ll have to order the plates separately, so don’t get too excited about the price.
9 - Hyperwear Hyper Vest Pro
What stands out the most about the Hyperwear HyperVest Pro is the materials are stretchable, and you can tighten it for a perfect fit. It hugs your body comfortably like a compression shirt.
That should reduce the amount of movement even in some plyometric exercises.
Some users complain about tiny holes developing in the pockets just after a few uses as well as some inner stiches breaking that made the weighted vest wobbly when working out.
- Material: Lycra Nylon
- Max weight: 46 lbs
- Stretchable material makes it feel more comfortable
- Comes in different size options to get the perfect fit
- Thinner design should give you full-body movement
- The weight limit is a bit low for the more serious athlete
Just be aware that the Hyper Vest Pro has relatively small plate carrier pouches, which might not suit high-performance athletes.
10 - V-Force Weighted Vest
The final one of our recommended CrossFit adjustable weighted vest is this V-Force option.
It might have a smaller limit, but the advantage of that is that you get a weighted vest that is shorter. This leaves most of your core exposed for better cooling and range of motion during your workouts.
Many users love that they can use this weighted vest without a problem during running, cardio exercises, and upper body training, although it becomes slightly uncomfortable with higher weights.
It also comes with a sweat-stopper liner that's perfectly attached to the vest, which most users highly appreciate.
- Material: Nylon
- Max weight: 45 lbs
- The materials and stitching are solid, making a more durable option
- Short design means you won’t need to take it off for certain exercises
- Available in different camouflage designs
- Some people find it’s not comfortable enough with higher weights
The only thing we think could be improved a bit is the padding, which doesn’t seem thick enough with the bigger plates.
These are the five areas that you need to focus on to make your buying decision.
1. High-Quality Materials
I’ve had a few clients who started using their standard weighted vest for running during a CrossFit session. The problem is that they don’t have the most durable materials, as they won’t come under too much strain during running.
The most durable weighted vest is made from either nylon, polyester, and neoprene, which are all known for their strength But you should also consider the breathability of the material.
A weighted vest for CrossFit has to use strong and durable nylon to be light, breathable, and avoid breaking up under the pressure of a workout.
For the weights, you can also choose from either sandbag-like weights or small bars of solid metal plates.
Sandbags are more appropriate for lighter vests since they have the tendency to leak or burst when stiches break over time.
So if you're planning to hit the gym every day, it's better to stick with heavy-duty steel bars that tend to be heavier and more damage-resistant. Since it's more solid than sandbags, it has lower chances of moving around so much during bodyweight workouts and runs.
One thing to look out for is a lifetime warranty.
This would generally indicate that the company is confident that its design won’t start falling apart after a few sessions.
2. Water Resistance
Technically, I should say sweat resistance, but companies always highlight their products’ water resistance.
Now, if you’re doing CrossFit right, then you should end a session with your clothes dripping in sweat.
When you add weight vests for CrossFit to the mix, then not only will your heart rate  and water consumption go up, but you’ll also sweat a hell of a lot more.
The last thing you want is for your weighted vest to become saturated in sweat. That would generally mean you’d have to wash it after every use, rather than just wipe it down.
3. Maximum Weight
While we do have one non-adjustable weighted vest on the recommended list above, I generally advise folks to invest in one that allows for different weight options using plate carrier.
Different weight plate carrier and bags generally come in 2 to 3-pound increments, which gives you a lot of flexibility.
But you also want to check how easy it is to switch out the plates.
The faster you can do this, the more suitable the vest is for different types of CrossFit routines. Simply add or take out plates as you need to achieve your goals.
Of course, if you're just starting out or recovering from an injury, it's more fitting to use a lighter vest with weights ranging from 4 to 20 lbs. But for serious CrossFitters and bodybuilders, anything above 20 lbs seems to be the best option.
4. Comfort And Padding
Don’t just look for padded shoulder straps. While the thickness of the padding is important, you also want to look at the width of the straps.
Wider shoulder pads generally mean that you have a more even weight distribution and don’t end up with pressure points.
This is important for running and CrossFit training, where your body’s up and down movement causes more pressure on the straps.
“The other reason trainers love the weight vest: It turns bodyweight drills into grueling strength-builders. You could argue the vest is the most efficient way to perform loaded moves because all the weight is closer to your natural center of gravity.”
The best weighted vests will come with a load of additional weight plates to add to the plate carriers.
I think this is usually the most cost-effective way to gain more flexibility and not have to worry about buying more plates later.
I also like to see a water bottle holder, as I tend to use the weighted vest for running and hiking as well. It just frees up my hands and feels more natural.
If you like walking or running at night, choosing a weighted vest with reflective strips would be advantageous.
Finally, I heavily rely on my power tunes for training, so if there’s a pocket for my iPhone, it’s a big plus for me.
Are Weighted Vests Bad for Your Spine?
No, weighted vests aren’t bad for your spine unless you already have neck or back problems. If you wear them correctly and maintain good posture and technique during training, then they shouldn’t be the cause of back problems.
Do Weighted Vests Help With Crossfit?
Yes, weighted vests help with CrossFit by adding more weight to your core. This makes many of the exercises a lot more straining, and you could get a lot more benefits out of every single training session.
How Heavy Should Weighted Vests Be?
Many weighted vests range from 4 lbs to 60 lbs, but some manufacturers make vests that weight as much as 120 lbs. But according to most studies, a great weighted vest should be at most 10% of your body weight.
For example, a 200-pound individual's limit should be 20 pounds.
If you're just starting out, you may want to start with just 5% of your bodyweight and work your way up as you go.
What Is The Best Weighted Vest For Crossfit?
If you need a weighted vest with maximum durability and the most flexible way to increase the weights, then the Rogue Fitness 5.11 Tactec Plate Carrier is your best option.
It’s not just a highly adjustable weighted vest, but it will stand up to even the most competitive athletes out there.
Order yours today and see how much more sweat it will add to your weight training.