Review Viper South African Assault Vest

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#1
"What the hell has this got to with photography?" I hear you ask. :D For some time I have been looking at various options for when I am out on shoots, particularly at equestrian shows where I am often in a field or arena for hours on end. In the past I have used a rucksack type bag which is a pain to get on and off all the time and I have also used a more traditional type of bag but quite often I am moving around and it gets a bit awkward.

Apart from the usual camera equipment I have mobile, car keys, notebook, fags & lighter and a large bottle of water so pockets start to get weighed down with all the extras. I was looking at photographer type vests which are similar to fishing vests but they were either quite flimsy, too expensive, the pockets weren't big enough or just plain uncomfortable.

Somebody suggested on another thread that I look at military webbing as they are usually well made and have various pockets of differing sizes, sometimes you can get modular systems whereby you just add on what you want. After searching through a few surplus sites I came across the Viper South African Assault Vest which looked as if it might suit my needs and luckily my nearest shop had one in. An hour later and having parted with £29.95, which incidentally is a hell of a lot cheaper than some vests on offer, I was the proud owner of one of these in black.



I have now used it a couple of times and I can fit in everything I need for a day out, be it at an equine competition or an airshow. The pockets are big enough for lenses, Epson P-2000 storage device, filters plus all the other bits and pieces required including my personal effects. What you can't see from this photo is that on the back there is a long pocket which runs down the spine and easily takes a large bottle of water, apparently you can get a Camelback Bladder in there as well. To the side of this are some straps which I reckon you could fit a monopod to if need be.

In use the vest is comfortable and the load is spread evenly across the shoulders making it much easier to wear than a rucksack for prolonged periods, obviously everything is to hand immediately which is a huge bonus.

If you're looking for something to carry your gear, be comfortable and not restrictive I can highly recommend this, particularly at the price I paid.
 
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#2
Nice review and obviously a great piece of kit.

Thanks
 

Jimmy_Lemon

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#3
Great review :) odd request but any chance of a list of how many pockets there are and rough sizes? I am really tempted to get one, but really want to make sure I have enough room for everything. For example is there a pocket big enough for a camera? Also any idea if it is waterproof?
 
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#4
I have one of these... in camo :(
I never thought it would be suitable for photography. I'll give it a look at in the morning.
 

fraggle101

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#5
Hacker, iv just bought one of these! lol. i was at the war and peace show.. i found a couple of places selling them, the first place had them for £35 but when i looked at it i wasnt happy with the utility pouches not having quick release buckles.. so i had a look around.. i found another place that didnt have one but kindly shopwed me their brochure from Viper and thats how they come.. anyway the last place i checked was Soldier Of Fortune, these used to be my favorite place for my military kit.. anyway, they had one for £25!! so i got it..

Im going to shoot a race tomorrow and im going to try it out there.. (y)

Thanks for the review.. (y)
 
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#6
Good stuff! I've just noticed the 1D MkIII in your sig, is that new?
 

tiler65

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#8
Hey congrats on the camera but your web link does not work in your signature Tony.
 

fraggle101

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#9
Good stuff! I've just noticed the 1D MkIII in your sig, is that new?
Its new to me!! lol.. got it about a month or so ago.. im in love... haha..

One thing with the vest.. there isnt a pocket big enough to fit my 5D (With grip).. i went on a job today and had to sting both cameras around me neck!! doh!




Hey congrats on the camera but your web link does not work in your signature Tony.
Yeah.. i haven added it as a link.. cos im a dumbass..!!! lol.. I'll try and fix.. (y)

Btw.. dont expect too much from my site!! its rubbish! as it was ME that built it!! haha..
 

fraggle101

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#11
yep, as long as you reverse the hoods.. its a nice comfy bit of kit..
 
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#12
Try www.usmcpro.com for military kit, they have some good stuff, the lower end and the higher end gear the US uses.
 
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#15
can you imagine being in the wrong place at the wrong time with one of these. I can imagine someone calling the cops!
 

fracster

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#17
It is not something one would wear in Manchester on a Friday evening, but they sure as hell are great to wear all day out in the country.

But then you knew that and (hopefully) were subjecting this thread to your own splendid brand of humour?
 

fracster

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#18
can you imagine being in the wrong place at the wrong time with one of these. I can imagine someone calling the cops!

Any worse than being Brazillian and having a backpack on the tube???????????
 

KayJay

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#24
I don't know, I found the fanny packs to be particularly interesting. The large one looks to be the most useful. No one would ever see it, looks like a snug fit.
 
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Yv

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#27
Kata do 'fanny' bags, as in, round the waist bags which I thought would be a great idea, being as my strongest point is my hips, but I tried one on in Calumet, big enough to hold a dslr, 3-5 lens and usual bits and bobs [cards, purse, ciggies, etc] and it was darned awkward - carried forward, it got in the way and twisted round to rear felt like I had an even bigger ass than I already have :(

Mind you, as much as I like Colins army vest, I suspect the Met might take more of an interest in me than normal :LOL:
 
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#28
I had one of these and I must say their very handy when you have all sorts of stuff you want to have easy access too.

Well worth paying £25-30 for!
 

fraggle101

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#29
I wore my Viper al day on the Hastings meet, it was very comfy even though i still have a bad shoulder.. it took almost everything i wanted to bring.. even my tripod!! it fitted in the quick release loops on the back!! very handy..
 

arclight

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#30
I use the Kestrel waistcoat from:-

http://www.countryinnovation.com/store/waistcoat-c-19.html

The other models on that page use a material that is too light, but the Kestrel is ventile - waterproof, highly breathable and strong.
RAF has been using ventile for immersion suits for about three quarters of a century and still do.
It has large breast pockets accessed from each side of the front zip and a long large pocket at the back.
There are also security pockets (zipped pocket inside another pocket) for your wallet etc.
 
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#31
RAF has been using ventile for immersion suits for about three quarters of a century and still do.
They do, but they use a different grade of ventile which provides far greater resiliance & protection than that available commercially. Still damn good though (y)
 
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#33
linky t the original
http://www.sofmilitary.co.uk/military/index.asp

would I be able to fit an 80-200f2.8L in the big pockets if it can I might have to pick one up to freak people out when i shoot rugby :D (guess is the same size as 70-200 f2.8L)
I shall raid a military shop I know in town and see if they have one suitable then report back
If I think on in the morning I will try it out for you and report back !
 
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#34
Does anyone have any dimensions for each pocket? I went to my local army n navy store to be told that they could order me one in but I'd have to pay up front and basically if it wasnt what I wanted once it arrived, tough.
They had the Webtex version in stock but at £50 I would rather hold out for the Viper

Looking at them I think they're a great idea for wearing under my normal camo jacket and the extra pockets would be very useful.
 

fraggle101

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#36
the 70-200 2.8 IS fits lovely in the Viper..
 
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#39
I have the Domke Photogs Vest, now available for £25 including delivery from Calumet on eBay. Prices vary widely and this is a real bargain. I paid £40 from mine a few months back, also from Calumet and even that price was good, at the time. The front pockets are large enough to take a 1D3 or similar.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Domke-Shooter...aAccessories_BagsCases_JN?hash=item5ad56c698b

I think it might blend in a little better at a wedding as well...

 
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