Open main menu

Major Surplus & Survival TSVB Survival Vest

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
photo:   Major Surplus & Survival TSVB Survival Vest backpack


Price Reviewers Paid: $40.00


1 review
5-star:   0
4-star:   1
3-star:   0
2-star:   0
1-star:   0

In short, this is a deconstructed backpack situated into a vest. I call it my Bug Out Vest. Great to use on solo adventure days or weekend trips, to have in your car or truck in case of an emergency, or just as a wearable bug out bag.

I have owned mine for over 20 years and it still is in great shape (although a little faded) and have traveled everywhere with it, including on my solo trek overseas traveling across Europe.

It has 18 external pockets, including a large pocket located at the lower back that can hold your camping hammock and rain fly, and numerous other pockets, medium small and extra small, to house all of your camping/hiking gear, plus two internal pockets.


  • Breathable
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • D rings—can clip additional gear on
  • Numerous pockets to fit your gear


  • This version is not waterproof
  • Not made of ripstop material
  • Made from cotton

This is the "Major Surplus and Survival brand's version of a "Tactical Survival Vest Backpack (T.S.V.B.) which is a deconstructed survival backpack made into a vest.

This version of a T.S.V.B. is a breathable lightweight and very durable innovation that was created/made for by the online army surplus store Major Surplus & Survival. Created decades ago, inspired by military tactical vests, the  T.S.V.B changed the way people think about camping. 

Military tactical vests are not lightweight, are bulky, and are usually designed for a specific size pockets for designated ammo types.

T.S.V.B features

  • 18 pockets compartments external, 2 internal
  • 2 hand warming pockets
  • 1 X-large pocket at bottom of back for hammock and rain fly
  • 4 large sized drop pockets (no top closure or fly easy access)
  • 2 large Velcro enclosure pockets
  • 3  small  zipper pockets 
  • 3 layered mesh pockets 
  • 2 small Velcro chest pockets (1 with zipper down feature for easy access)
  • 2 inside breast pockets (1 Velcro 1 side entry pocket)
  • 1 knife pocket
  • 3 d rings to clip on additional gear
  • 1 key ring located in breast pocket
  • ykk main pull down zipper to close vest
  • cotton / mesh material
  • no longer in production
  • current model is 11 pockets
additional items can be attached via the two carabiners that connect to the D rings
Mesh slit down the back for ventilation, X-large back pocket for camp hammock and ultralight sleeping bag or can store sleeping bag externally via the two straps that you can see here.


I have owned this survival vest for over 20 years and the only thing that has changed is that the color has slightly faded over the years. No tears, rips, or broken zippers, and even the buttons and zippers are totally functional.

My personal T.S.V.B. houses all my outdoor needs with the exception of food and water, which I use a camo pack for. Having so many dedicated pockets allows me to at a moment's notice take out any of my survival gear in a blink of an eye. No stopping to take off my backpack to look for something then having to re-zipper all the component sides and reattach the compression straps only to then put back on my backpack and tighten the shoulder straps and reconnect the waist belt.

A list of what gear of mine this vest stores:

*Compass and map
*Ferro rod
*Magnesium fire starter
*Victorinox SwissChamp
*Boker magnum Lil giant survival knife
*Eno Junglefest Camp Hammock
*2 solar blankets ( SOS & el cheapo )
*Waterproof matches and Metal Permanent Match Lighter
*Water filtration device (Sawyer or Katadyn)
*SaS survival hand size book
*1st Aid kit
*Ultra lightweight camp towel
*Esbit camp stove and fuel
*Canteen cup /cooking pot and lid
*Ultra lightweight collapsible synthetic jacket that fits inside its own pocket
*Garmin GPS
* Rain poncho

I noticed that when I have used this T.S.V.B. instead of having a backpack that my back was able to handle longer trips as the weight of my gear was distributed across my entire back and chest equally and due to not having to take on and off the backpack to get hold of my gear, which action can cause strain. I also noticed that I stopped less as whatever I needed to get was easily accessible on the fly without having to stop.

The only drawback of this vest is the material. No, it hasn't ripped or ever needed stitching, and it is very breathable and lightweight, but it is made from cotton, which does not wick water away and takes longer to dry and it is not a great insulator, so rated for 2 1/2 seasons (summer, spring, and beginning of fall).

Final conclusion...It is my favorite gear/attire piece that I own, even more then the military tactical vests that I have that are not cotton, but have less functionality and are heavier and bulkier.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $40

You May Like

Recently on Trailspace

Darn Tough Light Hiker No Show Lightweight Hiking Sock Review

The North Face VE 24 Review

The North Face VE 25 Review