Talk to Me About Cross Country Vests

As I get ready to embark on my first cross country outing tomorrow, it occurs to me that I do not own a vest. Trainer is lending me one for the schooling day, but if all goes well and we manage to not die on our first outing I will eventually be needing my own.

I’ve done some preliminary research because who doesn’t hate that person who goes online to ask a question they could have just googled instead. Or is that just me? Anyway…  I’ve read about the difference between the BETA and ASTM requirements and have looked up lists of available vests on the market today. This just made my head spin.

From what I have read and the little I have seen out and about, I have gathered a very short list of things I know I want and the rest is so up in the air that I am taking to the blog to ask all you for suggestions on where to even begin. The big issue I have is that the local tack shop only carries the Tipperary ASTM certified vest and that goes against one of the items on my list, so I can’t go try on  bunch and see what I like.

The AECs aare back in Tryon next month and I have signed up to volunteer two days. Last year they had a small vendor area and I am hoping it returns as well. If I can get some good opinions here then I can go armed with some info to try on as many brands as I can get my hands on.

Here is what I know I want (or at least think I know I want):

1.) BETA approved
2.) Not air
3.) Off the shelf. I am pretty average in my measurements and do not need a custom vest as my starter
4.) Some basic color choices would be nice, but it does not need to get fancy
5.) At least a little cool. It is so insanely hot and humid here that I worry most about heat stroke in a solid vest than how I look or what color the thing is. I know they will all be hotter than not wearing one (much like a helmet), but safety is more important. If I can find one that offers a little better heat dissipation that would be great.

And that is about it.

So…any pointers, tips, suggestions, recommendations? Please lay it on me so that I can go armed with information and ready to try on all the things.

21 thoughts on “Talk to Me About Cross Country Vests”

  1. Beta 3 certified is what you want. They’re a bit heavier and bulkier and hotter, but… they’re worth it for the extra protection. Look for the little Beta 3 label somewhere on the vest. I have an Airowear Outlyne that I’ve been really happy with, and now Airowear also has the AirMesh model, which is supposed to have much better ventilation. I’d also check out the Charles Owen Kontact, too. Different brands fit a little bit differently, so one might seem more comfortable to you than another.


      1. If you can make it to AEC to try them on, that’d prob be the best thing. Otherwise RW has free return shipping, if you needed to exchange it.


      2. I am signed up to cross country jump judge all day Thursday and scribe for stadium Friday morning. Planning to shop Friday afternoon. They had a good selection last year and I’m keeping my fingers crossed it will be as good or better this year


  2. I have a Harry hall Zeus purchases from the uk that’s beta 3 certified but actually pretty darn affordable. Tho honestly I rode with a tipp for years too (in fact I still have it and keep meaning to sell it but haven’t gotten around to it) and it was totally fine. I didn’t really start looking for the higher certifications until I was pretty well sold into the eventing thing and was doing more galloping while on course.


    1. Yeah I’m torn. On one hand I don’t need the highest level when doing an 18″ course where I’ll be trotting more than anything and galloping is only a pipe dream. However, I despise shopping and tend to buy what will last a long time of it means avoiding having to shop again in the near future. Decisions decisions. By the by, what size is your Tipp?


  3. Cool – YES. You absolutely need it down your way! I have something really basic (searched and can’t find the link to it…) that was only about $100 that is certified, but omg is it HOT. But it does a great job and fits well, and that’s what counts. I might have heat stroke if I had to wear it down your way though.


      1. Liz has the same protective vest I do; I was the one that recommended it bc I am always terrified of being impaled on trail if I come off and I really loved mine. I didn’t want a Tipperary bc they’re not going to protect you at all. The vest I have is an Intec model that both Liz and I bought off of Valley Vet for around $120. I looked and they don’t carry it anymore; I think that model was discontinued. But here is another one: https://www.equestriancollections.com/rider-riding-gear/safety-vests/supra-flex-adult-body-protector-vest?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&adpos=1o3&scid=scplp203-255875&sc_intid=203-255875&gclid=Cj0KCQjwnubLBRC_ARIsAASsNNn6F5_a2tTFhQ743G4ZkXR5L6jSOyFV7qU5qQO0KZ_oPvoFG-44RhEaAsAsEALw_wcB It is also by Intec, is less than $130, and is Beta Level 3. Can’t beat that price.


      2. I will definitely look into it. Thank for the link! I think I also need to change my perspective a bit. I’m used to being on Gem for at least 4 hours at a crack. With xc it is more like an hour or two max and for a show way less so the heat may not be as big of a deal as I’m thinking it is


  4. I have the Airowear Outlyne and love it. It meets all your requirements except it doesn’t have any cooling features and I’m pretty sure it only comes in black. I ordered mine from SmartPak, which has free returns if it doesn’t fit. I’m 5’10” and 158 Lbs, most are which are legs. I fit in an L3 with the regular back length. It’s nice because it conforms to your shape and there are several buckles you can adjust so it fits perfectly.

    Have fun XC schooling tomorrow!


  5. Thirding the Airowear Outlyne. It was my only option due to available sizes and I had to order from the UK but I love it. You’d be able to get yours domestic no problem since several US retailers carry the smaller sizes.

    I didn’t notice the heat in it when I schooled xcountry last month, and that was my first time really wearing it while riding. It wasn’t bulky or in the way and you can easily customize the fit. It never rode up on me due to boobage, like the ones I wore as a teen did.


      1. It doesn’t fit your specs, but I love my Tipperary. I have evented up to Prelim in it, had bad falls, been trampled and always felt good after (as much as one can). They do have a newer model that covers the side holes. I have heard great things about the Airowear also, but never been able to see one in person.


      2. I love the look and fell of the Tipperary and it is the coolest on the market. I just worry that it doesn’t meet the highest standards. Of course, I’m doing 18″ amoeba level (even smaller than starter) so it’s likely all I’d need anyway. In fact my first HT doesn’t even require a vest for my level. So much to think aboht


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