The Top 6 Dog Training Vests, Bait Bags and Aprons

May 16, 2022

Many clients have asked about which dog training vest I wear. In this post I’ll share my favorite products for carrying food rewards and supplies like gloves for outdoor dog training sessions in all types of extreme weather.

Please keep in mind that I train every day, outdoors from -55°C to +34 °C (that's -67°F to 93°F) , with many dogs. If you don’t train a lot, you can probably just put the food or toy rewards into the pocket of your clothes. But the more supplies you bring to outdoor training, the more challenging it is to find each item when you need it ASAP. For example, if one dog has allergies, and you need to keep their rewards separate from the others, then having more than one pocket is helpful. If you’re dropping items or losing them, then a training vest can help to organize your rewards and gear.  

Here are my 6 favorite options for carrying rewards and training supplies. (These are not affiliate links so I don't earn any money for my recommendations):

  1. My favorite dog training vest is the Helsitar Training Vest (see the tracking photo). I purchased from Clean Run Even though I paid for international shipping, it was a worthwhile investment for me. I wear it nearly every day, unless it’s in the wash. It’s expensive, but holds everything I need comfortably, without ever slipping down like an apron. Also, the reflective tape is a nice safety feature. 

    Here’s what I'm currently keeping in my vest:
  • My left front zipper pouch holds poop bags and chalk to mark directions on the trail.
  • The left front lower pocket has keys on a keychain and Go Pro cover and spare gloves or headlamp (for when training finishes after dark).
  • The left front top pocket contains the GoPro on its Shorty tripod.
  • The front right large pocket contains enough food rewards to fill a Ziploc sandwich bag.
  • I fill the large pass-through back pocket with a thin, 50 foot longline and 3 balls, and 8 tracking articles (1 inch square of rubber).
  • the inside breast pocket is for security e.g. emergency recall whistle.

The inside drawstring keeps the waist nipped in, instead of swimming in volume. I can’t believe the zipper has withstood all the punishment we dish out. 

Consider purchasing a roomy size. I buy the largest size, so I can wear it on top of my parka and it’s easy to reach items like food, even while I’m wearing ski gloves. 

I remember one crazy day tracking at the French River, Ontario when it was cold, there was an unanticipated downpour, and our camp was a 20-minute ATV ride away. That day, I put this vest on my dog Rickard, and it helped him with the elements while I wore my fleece. It dried quickly on a hanger, and the next day we were good to go.

  1. My second favorite is the Helsitar Pro Training Pockets (aka kilt or training apron) bought this product before I discovered their vest. I still have 2 that are fully functional. Compared to the vest, kilts/aprons have fewer pockets, so you can't store as many supplies. Because it hangs from a belt, it has the tendency to slide down on your hips when it is full. (I hate holding the leash for my tracking dog and trying to keep my apron from falling down to my knees). But when the weather is hot, then the apron is more breathable and cooler than a vest with fuller coverage. 

  1.  A far cheaper option to conveniently store training treats is to use a bait bag. When I’ve been training indoors and didn’t need to carry as many supplies as in the field, I preferred the PetSafe Treat Pouch. (PetSafe is the same company that makes BusyBuddy Squirrel Slow Feeder Toy.)

    The magnetic opening is quick, easy, and kind to dry hands already suffering from handwashing and weather. It’s durable, machine washable, and if you still have some food when you get home, you can store the bait bag right in your fridge so it’s ready to go for your next training session:

  2. Many people swear by the Hurtta Training Vest, and it’s a more popular brand than Helsitar amongst the professional dog trainers I've talked to. Hurtta’s dog training vest is widely available online e.g. from Ruffdog

    Or on

    I haven’t owned one, but every other Hurtta product I’ve purchased has been outstanding. For example, the Hurtta Extreme Warmer coats are very durable, washable, and stand up to daily training in extreme conditions. The demo dogs in my videos are wearing Hurtta dog coats which I generally purchase from HomesAlivePets in Edmonton They have fantastic customer service, and if you’re ever in Edmonton, it is definitely worth spending a few hours at their retail store.


Inside Canada, similar products include:

5.     Ruffdog Campari Unisex Vest - I have not tried it, but it looks similar to the vest I use. The magnet pockets (to hold magnet balls on a rope) are a nice touch.

6.    Training kilts are on sale at Ruffdog at the time of writing:

Ruffdog Cyna Unisex Training Kilt 40% OFF, Sale price $29.97 CAD,  Regular price $49.95 CAD.

Did I capture your favorite or miss an excellent dog training vest? Share in the comments below.


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