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How to Make a Tactical Vest

Make your own military tactical vest.
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A tactical vest can be a great aid to people engaged in a variety of activities. Paintball players, photographers, hunters, campers and others may find the added cargo room, as well as the look of one of these vests, appealing. Since buying a tactical vest can be a little expensive, an easy alternative is to make your own.

How To Make Your Own Tactical Vest

Buy a vest to use as your base to work from. This vest should fit well, and it shouldn't be too loose before modifications are made. Strong cloth, such as a thicker, cotton twill, work nicely as it can hold the weight that a tactical vest will be carrying.

Mark where on your vest you want to make changes. Do you want to add pockets? Cartridge loops? A permanent knife sheath? No matter what changes you wish to add, measure them carefully and then mark on the vest where you will be adding them.

Measure and cut out the additions you'll need from your spare cloth. To add extra reinforcement to pocket panels, cut them a little large and fold the edges over. Stitch the edges so that the raw cloth is held underneath. This process helps keep the cloth from unraveling and makes the stitching stronger.

Before stitching on your additions to the actual vest, mark where the fasteners for the pockets will be and attach them. Whether those fasteners are buttons, snaps or Velcro patches, they're easier to apply before the pocket is sewn on than afterward when there isn't as much room for needlework.

Stitch your additions to the vest itself. Things to keep in mind at this stage are just where the weight will be supported, and whether you want to reinforce any stitching before you declare the project done. Once these additions are added, and the fasteners are tested to make sure they close properly, you have your very own tactical vest.

Things You'll Need:

  • Vest
  • Cloth
  • Tape Measure
  • Chalk or Other Non-Permanent Marker
  • Pins
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Sewing Machine (optional)
  • Fasteners (buttons, snaps, Velcro patches, etc.)


When adding pockets to your vest, keep in mind what you will be storing in them. If you need quick access, then the pockets could be left without a top flap, making it an open storage area. If you will be running or doing other athletic activities in your vest, then a flap should be added and somehow secured. Keep in mind that whatever alterations you make for your vest, they should be specialized to you and to what you'll be doing while wearing it.

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