Albion Visibility Cargo Vest review – lightweight on-body storage for adventure riding

Albion’s Visibility Cargo Vest was developed as a cycling-specific vest for added storage and extra visibility on endurance bike rides

Albion Reflective Cargo vest being worn
(Image: © Ruby Boyce)

Bike Perfect Verdict

The Albion Visibility Cargo Vest offers comfortable cargo storage for endurance riding although it falls short on reflective visibility .

Pros

  • +

    Lots of handy front-pocket options for quick grab options

  • +

    Good ventilation

  • +

    Easy access front pockets for snacks

  • +

    Lightweight

  • +

    Packable

Cons

  • -

    Not very reflective

  • -

    No hydration hose guides

  • -

    No bladder support can cause the vest to fall to the side

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As mountain bikers are doing everything they can to ditch the backpack by turning to hip packs, frame storage, and cargo liners for storage, ultra-endurance riders and gravel racers seem to be enthusiastically adopting lightweight hydration packs and race vests to carry more water and add more storage so they can ride for longer without stopping. 

Albion’s Visibility Cargo Vest was designed specifically for cyclists adding low profile extra storage when riding long distances and promising to enhance visibility when riding beyond daylight hours.

Albion Reflective Cargo vest rear panel detail

The vest has a slimline close fitted shape to keep flapping to a minimum (Image credit: Ruby Boyce)

Design and specifications

Albion has covered the Visibility Cargo Vest with two large bands of reflective panels across the back, the lower one wraps around the side and makes up the lower of three front bands for 360 degrees of reflective visibility.

The cargo aspect is handled by four pockets on the front and a large rear pocket on the back. The large rear compartment can be accessed from the top or through a lower zip if you're on the move. Albion says the vest can hold a hydration bladder and here's a ribbon tie for suspending a bladder.

The vest uses a lightweight perforated material throughout for breathability. The side panels are stretchy to enhance fit and the closer is handled by three repositionable stretch cords which fasten with simple clips. As there is no built-in structure or support, the vest can be rolled up to roughly the size of a 330ml can and stored in a bikepacking bag or jersey pocket if not in use. It's also machine washable at 30 degrees C, so you can easily clean out any sticky gel wrapper residue from the pockets post-race.

It comes in either a subtle Black/Reflective or the brighter road worker safety jacket Hi-Vis Orange/Reflective color. 

Albion Reflective Cargo vest front pocket detail

There are two smaller top pockets and two larger bottom pockets giving plenty of storage options (Image credit: Ruby Boyce)

Performance

I found the fit very comfortable, particularly on a more aero gravel bike riding position. The fastening clips are easy to do up quickly and the simple clips, elasticated cord loops, and daisy chain anchor points give lots of adjustment if you want to reposition them. The vest only comes in one size and provided me with a flap-free fit. However, if you're a bigger, broader, or boobier rider, it might be a bit tight. I found the vest's light materials offered an impressive amount of ventilation and even on days pushing 30 degrees (very hot for a Scotsman) it was still comfortable to wear. 

The four pockets on the front offer loads of storage options to keep close-to-hand items organized and while riding I didn’t feel the items bouncing around or threatening to escape. The two smaller upper pockets have enough space to store gels, small tools, or similar quick-to-reach items. My petit iPhone Mini fits nicely in there too, but larger-screened phones will be a squeeze. I liked to use the larger lower pockets for loading full of snacks or as a place to quickly stuff gloves or a neck tube while on the move. Those lower pockets will also fit a can or 500ml bottle of juice, although you won't want to ride too long with such a bulky item in them. The vest sits reasonably high on the back so I could still access my jersey pockets as well.

The rear compartment is easily accessible through the lower zip while riding or from the top if you have taken the bag off. There's plenty of space to store extra layers and it will easily swallow a proper waterproof jacket or a bulky puffer jacket with loads of space to spare. It’s best suited to lightweight soft items though the space could be handy for a smash-and-grab shop visit albeit with a potentially lumpy getaway if items aren't packed well.

As there is no structure, I found a hydration bladder tended to slosh to the side leaving the vest sitting a bit skew-whiff. I would like to see a hanging loop rather than a ribbon tie to make fitting a bladder less faffy and there is no hose routing so you will need to figure out our own way of stopping it from flapping around. I fed the hose out the top flap, over the shoulder, and tucked the head into the daisy chain on the front. This worked well but a dedicated exit port and hose guide on the shoulder would make this neater.

While the vest offers plenty of cargo options, the levels of visibility are less impressive. In the dark, the reflective bands throw back a disappointing amount of light, even under bright direct light beams. It's better than nothing, especially if you opt for the very bright orange colorway, however, if being seen on dark roads is a priority I wouldn’t rely on this as the answer. Albion makes no mention of the vest being EN1150 certified either, so the vest won't meet the required criteria for overnight events in a country like France which has high-vis laws for nighttime cycling.

Albion Reflective Cargo vest closure details

Simple looped elasticated cord and clips are effective, adjustable, and lightweight (Image credit: Ruby Boyce)

Verdict

Luckily there is more than meets the eye with the Visibility Cargo Vest. It's super lightweight and comfortable to wear for long rides even in hot weather. There's lots of useful streamlined storage space for all the extra food and layers you might want close to hand or need to quickly stash somewhere during an ultra-endurance event. The rear compartment works ok with a hydration bladder should you need extra liquid capacity although it's better utilized for bulky additional layers. The only real letdown is the disappointing levels of reflective visibility on offer.

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The lowdown: Albion Visibility Cargo Vest
AttributesNotesRating
PerformanceLots of storage, comfortable, and breathable, but reflectivity is disappointing★★★
Construction Feels well made and durable★★★★★
WeightLight and packable ★★★★
Value for moneyConsidering poor reflectivity and minimal design it feels a bit expensive★★★

Tech specs: Albion Visibility Cargo Vest

  • Price: $175 / £125
  • Weight: 145g (actual)
  • Colors: Hi-Vis Orange/Reflective / Black/Reflective
Graham Cottingham
Senior reviews writer, Bike Perfect

Graham is all about riding bikes off-road. With almost 20 years of riding experience, he has dabbled in downhill, enduro, and gravel racing. Not afraid of a challenge, Graham has embraced bikepacking over the last few years and likes nothing more than strapping some bags to his bike and covering big miles to explore Scotland's wildernesses. When he isn’t shredding the gnar in the Tweed Valley, sleeping in bushes, or tinkering with bikes, he is writing tech reviews for Bike Perfect.

Rides: Cotic SolarisMax, Stooge MK4, 24 Bicycles Le Toy 3, Surly Steamroller

Height: 177cm

Weight: 71kg