Importance Of The Vest Used In The CPAT

Everything about CPAT Vest

The Candidate Physical Ability Test or CPAT is an entry-level pass or fail assessment for all the aspiring firefighters in the United States. Eight crucial tasks in this test cleverly assess the physical skills of the candidates and determine if they are fit or not to become firefighters. This article discusses the usage of an important piece of firefighting gear or vest and explains how it is used during this test.

What is the CPAT Vest?

The vest is a 50-pound weight that is strapped to the candidates during the test. The purpose of this vest is to simulate the weight of the breathing equipment and heavy firefighting gear that firefighters must wear during every fire-rescue operation.

How is the Vest Used during the CPAT Test?

The rig must be worn by all candidates throughout the following eight task assessments that are part of the test: Stair Climbing, Hose Dragging, Equipment Lifting, Ladder Raising & Extension, Entering with Force, Search, Rescue and Ceiling Breach events. Apart from this, an additional weight of 25 pounds must be worn by all candidates in the Stair Climbing event, thus making the overall weight of the gear a total of 75 pounds during this event.

All tasks in this test are physically challenging in terms of the endurance, agility and flexibility, that are required to complete them. Moreover, the vests (along with other testing equipment such as the hose-pipe, saw, ladder, weighted mannequin, pike-pole etc.) add a greater but essential challenge to the efforts of the candidates. Test events that include stair climbing, running, dragging or lifting heavy equipment are especially challenging when performed along with the additional weights.

How to Train with the CPAT Vest?

Every training program or self-training regimen should include training with additional weights. For training purposes, the candidates could simulate a vest by putting 50-75 pounds of weight(s) in backpacks or they could buy or borrow a weighted vest. To begin with, it is difficult to train while wearing the outfit all the time. To get used to it, you could initially start walking or jogging short distances with it. After some practice, you could gradually increase the distance of the walk or the jog.

Another way to warm-up to the vest is to use it during your casual training in the gym i.e. for example on the treadmill or the elliptical walker. Once you are used to the shift, you may start practicing for the stair climbing and other tasks in the test. However, it is advised that you practice all the events, first without the vest, master the timing and then add the weight to your training. This way the extra pounds will not weigh you down from the very beginning and wane your spirits. To start with, it is recommended that you use the weighted vest in the presence of a trained professional, so that you will be advised on how much further you could stretch with the load.

How to Procure the CPAT Vest?

You could purchase a new or used (cheaper) gear from online shopping sites such as Amazon, BestBuy etc. or from sports or departmental stores such as Walmart etc. Generally, training vests are available in different sizes and with different features. They are also available for both genders. Some trainers recommend buying a 75-pound vest that comes with a 50-pound weighted vest and a 25-pound attachment. This gives you the flexibility of removing the 25-lb attachment during events other than the stair-climb, hose-pipe, ladder lift etc. where you will not require it. Brand new vests are usually quite costly, so you must make sure that you buy one with a lifetime or long-term warranty. One such vest is available for purchase at

Thus far, we have discussed all the aspects of the test attire, including its significance and usage instructions. We hope that this article has provided you with enough material on how to use and train with the weighted clothing. Best of luck with your CPAT training!