4 Best Safety Vest for Hot Weather

If you work in a profession that requires high visibility for your safety on the job, getting a good safety vest is vital to your well-being.

High-risk conditions impose a need for visibility, and a safety vest that is certified to meet the American National Standards Institute safety conditions should be your priority.

While there are many quality safety vests available in today’s work gear marketplace, not all will be comfortable when worn in hot weather or warmer climates.

Best Safety Vest for Hot Weather

So, we went to work to find the best safety vests specifically to wear in hot weather. Our overall favorite is the Error: Unknown Link Type because it is very lightweight and breathable in polyester mesh and has ten pockets, mic tabs, and a zipper closure.

If you work in a very hot, dry environment, you may want to consider the very innovative Error: Unknown Link Type that uses evaporation to keep the body’s core temperature cool through evaporation.

While researching and testing for you, this is what we discovered. 

ProductMaterialClosureSafetyFeatures
Shorfune Safety High-Visibility Vest 100% polyester meshZipperClass 2 ANSITen pockets, 2 Mic tabs, Polyester trim
NYOrtho Mesh Safety Vest Polyester meshHook and loop closureClass 2 ANSISold singly or in packs of 6, 24 or 48
Radians Polyester Mesh SV22-3ZGM Safety Vest 100% polyester meshZipperClass 3 ANSIInside and outside pockets
HyperKewl Evaporative 6538 Cooling Vest 60% Hyperkewl fabric and 40% nylonSnapsClass 2 ANSIPockets, Evaporation cooling

The Safety Vest and its Function

Reflective vests are common gear for police and fire departments, but they can also be found at both construction and industrial sites.

A good quality safety vest can alert others to your presence on-site especially if the work environment is particularly noisy and coworkers wear ear protection.

Normally safety vests approved for professional work will be made of heavy-duty materials that are waterproof. Two commonly used materials are polyester or vinyl.

Bright colors are employed as well as reflective tape or detailing so that professionals can be seen in especially low-light situations such as darkness or bad weather. 

While a vest is not sufficient to prevent accidents, it most certainly affords you more visibility.

Safety Vest Types and Characteristics

For professional use, a safety vest should meet the established ANSI/OSHA criteria as a piece of safety gear. Colors will need to be unique, bright, and highly visible.

They need to stand out and grab attention and they are not produced in colors that are typically found in nature, in industrial, construction, or in typical professional environments. 

And yes, there are various types of safety vests, and they are generally divided into three classes.

1.) A safety vest certified for Class 1 is fine for conditions where hazards are minimal. These low-risk tasks might include traffic speeds that are maintained under 25 miles per hour, parking lots, warehouses, or shopping malls.

These vests should be produced in orange or yellow and include 155 square inches of material that is reflective. These vests do not need to have sleeves, but reflective detail should appear on the shoulders and around the middle of the vest.

2.) A Class 2 safety vest is indicated for situations with a heavier traffic flow, or for situations where visibility is limited or low as in the evening, after dark, or with inclement weather conditions. These vests will feature a greater quantity of reflective tape so that visibility is 360°.

You will often find class 2 safety vests required by contracting firms, public safety entities, engineering firms, surveying firms, and even may be worn by the safety guards that help children cross the street.

Again, orange or yellow are the required colors for at least 775 square inches of vest background while 201 square inches must be dedicated to reflective materials.

3.) Class 3 safety vests are generally mandatory for professionals working in or around traffic that has speeds that exceed 50 miles per hour, or where visibility is really poor. This type of situation can be found by road crews during reparations, railway personnel, and emergency service workers.

For a class 3 vest to be certified, it needs to have 1240 square inches of yellow or orange vest material and 310 square inches of material that reflects. These vests will typically come with short sleeves.

The highly reflective detailing and tape are integrated into these vests to increase visibility even with the smallest amount of light.

In this manner, the light will hit the reflective material and illuminate it for all to see. Some pros even attach small strobe lights onto vests to further increase functionality.

Keep in mind that most safety vests can be worn over your jacket or over a heavy uniform if necessary. When selecting, carefully consult the sizing guide provided by manufacturers, so you get the right size.

Also, consider that not all safety vests on the market are appropriate for professional functions. While it is a good idea for joggers, cyclists, and even dog walkers to have some type of visibility apparel, they will not necessarily need or use a professional safety vest that is approved for professional activities.

Do You Need a Safety Vest?

In most cases, yes. Safety vests afford high visibility to professionals who work in hazardous, low-light, or bad weather conditions.

A construction site may be well-lighted, but with heavy machinery and lots of noise, visibility is not necessarily guaranteed.

For jogging, walking, hiking, and all kinds of outdoor activities a safety vest is a must. And if you are a hunter, you definitely need a safety vest.

Cooling Safety Vests

When you work daily in exceptionally hot weather, heat exhaustion can present a real risk to both your health and your safety. Summer protection cooling safety vests can help you maintain comfort on the job and at the same time keep you safe.

While there is much discussion about the effectiveness and safety of cooling vests, several are produced following ANSI standards. There are four basic types of cooling vests:

1.) Evaporation-based cooling vests. These vests are produced in an absorbent material to soak in cool water. This water will gradually evaporate producing a cooling effect.

2.) Cooling vests with Cold Packs are produced to hold cold packs in pocket compartments. Many packs will maintain flexibility when cold and are lightweight. The cold packs generally last only a few hours before requiring replacement. 

3.) Cooling Vests that are Phase Change – These cooling vests also use compartments for cold packs but are produced in a fabric that uses 58°F as the freezing point. Because the freezing temperature is higher, the cold pack is slower in melting providing cooling longer.

4.) Cooling vest with Circulatory Power will circulate cool water without interruption through the vest. Again, these vests can generally produce cooling for about four hours before losing capacity. Unfortunately, they require the use of a backpack-type cooler to contain ice water for circulation.

The Reviews

Best Overall Safety Vest for Hot Weather

1.) Shorfune Safety High-Visibility Vest

This is a well-made 100% polyester mesh safety vest manufactured for high visibility. Completely made in mesh, polyester trim has been added for increased durability and resistance to wear and tear.

A zipper makes putting it on or removing it quick and easy. Despite it being completely made out of nesh, it features a whopping ten multi-pockets for all kinds of accessories while at work.

Three pockets have a flap closure, together with four pockets for pens and pencils, and a larger pocket. There are two inside pockets as well, so you’ve got plenty of room for a phone, pencils, flashlight, and whatever else you may need.

Reflective strips that are two inches in width have been positioned both vertically and horizontally for increased visibility. 

It is available in either fluorescent yellow or orange and is fully in compliance with ANSI Class 2 safety requirements. Breathable and lightweight, it also comes with two upper chest mic tabs. Sizes include a medium through XXL.

Pros

      • 100% polyester mesh
      • Fluorescent yellow or orange
      • ANSI Class 2 compliant
      • Ten pockets
      • Two body mics
      • Polyester trim for increased durability
      • Vertical and horizontal reflective strips
      • Zipper closure
      • Machine washable

Cons

      • Quality control issues
      • Sizing may run small
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Best Class 2 Safety Vest for Hot Weather

2.) NYOrtho Mesh Safety Vest

This safety vest is manufactured in polyester mesh fabric for breathability. It is incredibly lightweight and ideal as a reflective vest for hot summer weather. Seams have been reinforced to contribute to sturdiness despite their lightness.

This NYOrtho vest complies with ANSI class 2 safety requirements meaning that it meets all the requirements for high visibility at work. Thanks to a generous one-size-fits-all design it can easily be slipped over any type of clothing. While it is ideal for summer heat, it can be worn over winter garments.

Available in two size categories, 32-44 and 44-58, the vest comes with expansion bands to accommodate various body shapes and sizes. The band secures with a hook and loop closure.

Made in a yellow lime color, it features reflective tape that is two inches in width on the chest, back, and shoulders. It is also a cost-effective choice as it is sold singly, or in packs of 6, 24, or 48.

Pros

      • Neon color
      • High visibility
      • Two-inch-wide reflective detail
      • Lightweight polyester mesh
      • ANSI Class II
      • Machine washable
      • Sold in multi-packs

Cons

      • Could have more sizing options
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Best Class 3 Safety vest for Hot Weather

3.) Radians Polyester Mesh SV22-3ZGM Safety Vest

This is a very cost-effective choice in a class 3 safety vest, but above all, it is produced in 100% polyester mesh.

It features a zipper closure with two-tone orange and reflective trim that is two inches in width on a base color that is bright yellow-green. The contrasting trim is meant to increase visibility while on the job. 

It features two inner pockets and one pocket on the upper left chest. It is also available in orange.  Sizes are available starting with medium all the way to 5X-Large. 

The vest is machine washable, and the manufacturer says it will maintain its initial brightness even after 25 washings.

Pros

      • 100% polyester mesh
      • Lightweight
      • Class 3 ANSI
      • Outside and inside pockets
      • Zipper closure
      • Available in orange or yellow-green
      • Machine washable
      • Reflective strips

Cons

      • Some sizing considerations
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Best Cooling Safety Vest for Hot Weather

4.) HyperKewl Evaporative 6538 Cooling Vest

Produced in 60% Hyperkewl fabric and 40% nylon, this vest will cool for five to ten hours, meaning that your entire workday will be covered.

The design features an oversized vest design with a v-neck and with cut pockets. There are various sizes and high-visibility color options, and this vest features a closure with snaps.

This innovative vest cools through evaporation. The vest needs to be soaked and squeezed out before being worn. It is designed to work in very hot weather, and preferably dry as opposed to humid.

As the water evaporates, it keeps your core temperature cool. It is fully compliant with ANSI Class 2 requirements and features reflective strips.

Pros

      • Innovative fabric blend for evaporation
      • Pockets
      • Snap closure
      • Reflective stitching
      • High-visibility colors
      • ANSI Class 2 certified

Cons

      • Not great in high humidity
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Conclusion

If you work in a high-risk profession in a hot climate or in seasonal hot weather, visibility is synonymous with safety.

Your visibility on the job will reduce the chances that you are involved in an accident. Despite the heat, you need a safety vest, and it might eventually save your life.