Athletes are always looking for an advantage, whether it’s a supplement that’ll speed up muscle gain, the best recovery tool, or a lifting hack. It’s true that nothing beats good old-fashioned hard work, but there are ways to speed up progress.

Case in point: the weighted vest. This simple piece of equipment can help accelerate fat loss and make even the simplest of workouts more difficult, thereby making you stronger and quicker, simply by forcing you to carry additional weight.

There are countless varieties, but we like the Everlast weighted vest, which sits comfortably on your body and is secured by adjustable straps. Unlike other vests we’ve tried out, Everlast’s is durable and holds up after multiple uses on hikes, around the gym, or just during everyday life.

We also found that it was comfortable for people of different heights and body shapes, and that there was no problem adjusting it to each person’s needs.

In truth, the same effect could be done by carrying a heavy backpack. But as certified personal trainer Dr. Rick Richey, host of the Omnia Fitness podcast, points out, a vest has some advantages.

“You don’t have that ‘thunk, thunk, thunk’ feeling you have with a backpack as you do when you’re wearing a vest,” Richey, owner of the New York City-based Independent Training Spot, says. “They’re designed to be worn for reasons like that.”

Don’t just take our word for it: There are 30 5-star reviews for the 20-pound version on Everlast’s website.

Here are some of the other reasons why you should invest (see what we did there?) in this simple, but effective, piece of equipment, and some tips on how to properly use it.

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