Best photographic vests and jackets: 6 tested

Billingham PhotoVest - £195/$299

With classic styling, the Billingham PhotoVest will appeal to a broad range of photographers, but it's the practical advantages that this versatile garment has to offer that really piqued our interest.

Based on the 10-year-old original PhotoVest, the updated version is still designed to give photographers fast access to their kit, but benefits from the latest fabric technology (Cordura 500) to offer improved performance and comfort. The result is a lightweight, comfortable vest that affords plenty of freedom of movement.

The material is supple and enables you to move quickly and quietly - a plus for wildlife photographers - although the lack of colour choice (it's only available in light khaki) might prove to be restrictive if you're looking to camouflage with your surroundings.

The ventilation flap around the back enables some airflow and helped us to stay cool during periods of physical exertion in chilly weather, although we envisage that the thickness of the material might make it less suitable for use in warmer climes.

The range of pockets on the vest (eight in total) means that you can carry a fair amount of kit, with the weight and bulk of your spare lenses and accessories spread across your body rather than being concentrated on your shoulders, back and neck as it would be with a bag.

The extra-large compartments are protected from moisture by flaps, with some featuring zips for added security.

Being able to quickly scoop a lens or flashgun out of a pocket rather than having to remove and rummage through a bag meant that we were able to work more intuitively. All in all, it's a well-made product that should offer wide appeal.