A Guide to the Best Lightweight Plate Carrier

A Guide to the Best Lightweight Plate Carrier

Let me keep it in the simplest terms. A Plate Carrier is one of the most versatile pieces of gears that would come in handy for military, defense, tactical, rescue, police, and law enforcement officers among many other types of equipment.

They are also called tactical vests and have been used in many combats like outdoor trainings and also in games like paintball and airsoft.

The best tactical vest will help you in very many ways including to carry armor plates which will protect you against gunfire and also keep weapons, tactical knives, and many other critical gears that combat like trainings may need.

Choosing the best plate carrier is not easy. You need something light and which guarantees not only top rated protection but also high end flexibility. That’s why we have decided to give you the top rated lightweight plate carrier reviews.

Why Our Post?

Well, we are saving you tons of dirty work and time that you would have spent scouting for the best models before actually rounding up your best option. We have also included a comprehensive buying guide and also other additional facts that you need to choose the best vest.

From pricing, users reviews, design features, to new manufacturing technologies, we have considered them all. Read our review to get every trick that will leave you with the best lightweight plate carrier.

vAv YAKEDA Field Outdoor Army Fans Tactical Vest

For the best focus on the best lightweight plate carrier, we chose the vAv YAKEDA Field Outdoor Army Fans Tactical Vest, partly because of its quality; the reviews that it enjoys from first users, and more importantly its natural quality.

The vest is highly adjustable and will fit adults of every size. It supports the S-XXXXL sizes with the maximum waist capacity of 57 inches (145cm).

The smallest waist size stands at 35 inches (89CM) while its longest length is a whopping 22.5 inches (57cm).

Just keep in mind that between its shortest length of 20.5 inches (52cm) to its longest length, this vest can be easily adjusted to fit a broad and small shoulder and torso height.

Thanks to its adjustable Velcro shoulder and side straps you can easily fit this vest for your needs and still enjoy the full freedom of movement.

The vest is also highly breathable and light with mesh design and has been made out of durable and pretty much comfortable high-density 600D Polyester fabric.

It has plenty of removable and easy to re-attach pouches that you can use to carry ammo, multi-tool, and communication devices.

The vest’s hook-and-loop closure system aids easy wearing while the drain holes and the elastic plug-in systems are excellent in case you want a neatly organized mission.

Apart from all these, you will love the various colors that you can choose from, the ability of the vest to hold multiple plates, and above all that the adjustable magazine pouches with 3 on the right and one on the left.

More importantly is a pistol pouch/ carrier that will easily allow you to remove your pistol without a glitch.


  • 600D Polyester fabric
  • 3 adjustable magazine pouches on the right
  • One magazine pouch on the left
  • Weight: 3lb / 1.4kg
  • Size: 22.83x15.74x4.33inch
  •  Color: Jungle green


  • Highly adjustable and will fit adults of every size
  • Adjustable velcro shoulder and side straps
  • Highly breathable and light with a mesh design
  • High-density 600d polyester fabric
  • Removable and easy to re-attach pouches
  • Hook-and-loop closure system
  • Supports the S-XXXXL sizes


  • Pouches not balanced in number on each side
  • Could pose some glitch if over-packed/ if capacity is exceeded

Lightweight Plate Carrier Buyer’s Guide

In order to get the best lightweight plate carrier, you will need to stick to the following tips that we are going to give you. They are simple, easy to follow, and will definitely not let you down at all.

Level of Protection

The fact is different vests and plates will have different protection levels. These rating levels will help you to understand better the types of rounds that your plate carrier can effectively handle at any time.

Typically, the best plate carriers are designed to stop real rounds. The plate inserts that you will include are designed to protect the vital body organs. In fact, some vests will even allow you to carry front and back plates.

In order to have the best experience though, we suggest going for a plate carrier that enjoys a top rated MOLLE attachment.

Know the Ratings

Ratings and certifications are also very important considerations. They will allow you to quickly understand the type of rounds that the lightweight plate carrier you are looking at will be able to stop on a real-time approach. Here are a few ratings that you can start with.

Handgun Calibers Levels

Level II: Works for 9mm and also .357 magnum short handgun ammunition but rifles.

Level IIA: Great handers for 9mm to the .40 short barrel handgun ammunition and not rifles.

Level IIIA: Handles .357 and the .44 magnum long barrel handguns ammunition and not rifles.

Rifles Calibers Levels

Level III: Works against the 7.62 FMJ super core ammunition.

Level IV: Best against the .30 steel for the armor piercing rounds.

The Plate Types

There are different types of plates that lightweight plate carrier can handle. Depending on your preference, it will be very important that you go for a vest that will hold the type of plates that you need. Some of the best plate types include the following.

SAPI Plates

SAPI also known as Small Arms Protective Inserts are some of the most common plates. They are used by almost all branches of the military. And to be much more specific are the exact plates that we use in the Marines.

SAPI are specifically tailored to stop the higher caliber rounds.  They are made of ceramic that are basically covered in pretty tough composite materials.

Kevlar Vests 

Apart from SAPI plates, we have the Kevlar. Kevlar are awesome too. However, they are quite ineffective for rounds that are larger than 9mm.

It is therefore pretty vital that you choose your vest in line with the type of plate that it can hold and which you intend to use for your protection.

The Plate Weights

How much weight can your plate carrier hold? This is very important and basically the main consideration when you want to buy a lightweight plate carrier. For lightweight carriers, you will concentrate around the extra small, small, or medium plates which weigh between 2.8 pounds and 4 pounds.

Vest’s Flexibility

It is very important that your best lightweight plate carrier enjoys a top rated “MOLLE” (Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment) compatibility. This will enable you to enjoy high end flexibility when using your vest and more importantly, the highest levels of customization. You will be able to add or even subtract a number of modular that can be used for specific activities.

Personal Budget

Finally, you might want to consider what you are comfortable paying for your vest. I must admit that some of these vests are super pricey. However, depending on your budget, you can easily shop and buy within your means.

Additional Facts: Must-Know Things About Plate Carriers

In case you want to buy a lightweight plate carrier that will not disappoint you, there are a number of things that you must understand about them. In this section, we add some of the best facts to go with.

#1: Are Plate Carriers Tactical Vests?

Plate carriers are also known as tactical vests. They are super ideal for military, defense, rescue, and law enforcement personnel, and even better can be used by the airsoft and paintball gamers too.

#2: What Magazines Size Can Plate Carrier Hold?

Most lightweight plate carrier/ vests will easily accommodate some of the most popular magazine sizes including the .223 and the .556 rounds. However, anybody who wants to carry a much larger caliber round can always purchase larger magazine pouches with the ability to get attached through the MOLLE systems of the vests.

#3: What are the Main Types of Tactical Vets?

Depending on their use, we can have quite a number of categories for the tactical vests. This will include the following.

  • Vests for tactical situations
  • Combat training vests
  • Hunting vests
  • Paintball vests
  • Airsoft vests
  • Fishing vests

#4: Do You Risk Overheating when U​sing Plate Carriers?

Most definitely! And that’s why you’ll want a vest with a MOLLE functionality that can help you to keep hydrated. This means finding a vest with a highly hydration bladder attachment at the back. Nonetheless, you can use vests with straps that can secure the hydration bladder in place and over your vest.

#5: Can Tactical Vests be Machine Washed?

No! You shouldn’t machine wash any tactical vest that you come across unless instructed otherwise by the manufacturer in their user manual or cleaning instructions. However, most of the tactical vests that we have come across can be washed pretty well with wet soft fiber fabric or sponge.

#6: What is the Ideal Weight of a Lightweight Plate Carrier?

The weight of the best lightweight plate carrier will depend on your need. It also leans heavily towards the manufacturer’s preferences. Nonetheless, you will find that most of the plate carriers that you will easily use would range somewhere between 2 pounds and 6 pounds when completely empty.

#7: What are the Recommended Attachments for a Plate Carrier?

Apart from a hydration bladder that we already mentioned above, there are many other ideal attachments that will work pretty well with any top rated lightweight plate carrier. Some of the most common ones include:

Admin Pouch: This is a super cool poach when looking to run around with smaller accessories including pens, batteries, notepads, small touches, mini multi-tool, and any other thing that you might want to access fast.

Dump Pouch: This is best for people who intend to use their lightweight plate carrier for military training or even shooting. The poach helps to hold your magazines for a fast reload rather than putting them on the ground. In short, you will save so much time between reloads.

#8: What Materials Are Plate Carriers/ Tactical Vests Made Of?

There are a number of materials that will come in handy when making the best lightweight plate carrier, airsoft vests, and tactical vests. They include many infused fiber layers that have been boosted with pretty high tensile strength fabrics such as nylon, polyester, and polyethylene among others.

Why this Product

Let me just say that being on the line of fire has never been anyone’s favorite thing. It wasn’t mine when I was at the marine and surely it cannot be yours too. However, when duty calls, the love for the country comes first.

Nonetheless, you should keep yourself alive. That’s how you win a combat. And this vest, the vAv YAKEDA Field Outdoor Army Fans Tactical Vest will be the thing to help you do that any day.

Even though it is pretty light, this vest has the capacity to carry different types of plates. The plates can be worn on the front, back, and also along the sides.

This makes it one of the best vests that you can have in an open line of fire. For a fact, it is also super adequate.

With just that single slip around your shoulder, you will have secured everything that you might need to last a day in the battlefield. It offers a range of storage options that allows you to pack up all the gear that you need.

Like you learnt from our description above, it allows you to carry ammo, first aid kit, intercom, and a few power bars.

However, you won’t be embarrassed irrespective of your body size. Thanks to this vest adjustable belt and Velcro straps you will be able to fit in no time.

In fact, if you are just starting out on combat related activities you will love the ease by which this vest fits and how you can easily walk, hold your hand, draw your gears, and simply operate with this vest on.


Now you have it all; the best tricks to choosing a top rated lightweight plate carrier. Hopefully, you can choose a plate carrier that suits your needs, your budget, or possibly even gift your loved one their first lightweight plate carrier.

In case you are looking for where to buy and detailed tips to follow, these reviews and buyer’s guide will be your best shot really. Just remember to shop extensively, compare different manufacture technologies and also what the previous users say.

These are some of the most vital facts that you want to look at so that you can always make the best pick. Nonetheless, most plate carriers will come in almost the same models and designs such that you really don’t have to strain at all when picking a color.

The jungle green design is usually my favorite and I guess many people love it too. So if it is a first for you, you can always start with it.

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