Diamondback “Dos Clavos” 701 Vest Review
Diamondback “Dos Clavos” 701 Vest System
By Dan Shaw
The first tool belt I ever owned was a second-hand “Grossman Lumber” canvas work apron, circa 1978, when I was about 5 years old. I used this belt every time I’d help my dad around the house with that weekend’s home improvement project. I carried a folding wooden ruler, a few finish nails, an ancient finish hammer, and a pair of rusty pliers. I was unstoppable with that setup and could “fix” just about anything. who would have thought I’d be wearing a Diamondback “Dos Clavos” 701 Vest.
The Journey to Wearing a Vest
Fast forward a few short years to the year 2000 after leaving the technology industry, when I was getting my feet wet building and remodeling homes. I tried several sets of bags – from a Bucket Boss carpenters rig, and CLC leather bags, back to a myriad of waist aprons and shop aprons, to my first “real” set of Occidental bags.
I really liked those Oxi’s, but they never sat quite right, felt heavy after a long day, and didn’t have the placement options that I really wanted. I’m 6’5”, 235 lbs., but don’t have much of a waist or hips to hold traditional bags comfortably. I must have browsed options from Diamondback and Badger for a full year before I got my hands on the Diamondback “Artisan” set. It was love at first sight. All sorts of tool placement options, plenty of storage, and nice and light. But after a few weeks, I started to feel that same weight on the hips and bags sliding down uncomfortably at the end of the day that I’d been trying to avoid for 20 some-odd years again.
I’d looked online at vests from Occidental, Diamondback, Snickers, Atlas 46, etc., but never considered myself a “vest guy”. After I began working with Rob Robillard (Concord Carpenter, Toolbox Buzz), I had a chance to outfit and review a Diamondback “Dos Clavos” vest and put it through the ringer for a while.
On a Saturday morning before my kids’ football and baseball games, I took a few minutes to swap tools from my DB Artisan bags over to the new vest system. I was sure there wouldn’t be enough room for everything, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it all fit! Something that stood out immediately was the vest placement options.
The Diamondback “Dos Clavos” Vest
The vest arrived from Diamondback a few short days after it was ordered. I unwrapped all the components and took about 15 minutes to put it all together. I’m 6’5”, 235 lbs, and the medium/large fit very well. I was able to snug it up, as directed, with a bit of adjustment left for added layers. There is also an XL available.
The Dos Clavos vest system arrived with the following:
- 701 Vest
- RS and LS Clavo Pouches
- Hammer Holster
- Flat Bar Holster
- Gun Loop
- Universal Magnet Clip
- 715 Utility Pocket
- Easy Release Small Tape Holster
I added the following:
- 722 Slingshot
- 716 Utility Pocket
The stitching on the vest looked strong and tight, no frayed ends, etc. The zipper looked durable, and is large enough to operate easily while wearing work gloves, and operates very smoothly. The accessory clips clip onto the straps easily, and are designed to float a bit so items stay put while bending over. I found this feature worked well, except in extreme conditions, where things would fall out from time to time.
- Lightweight breathable vest mesh
- 10 Adjustment Points for the Perfect Fit
- Shock Absorbing Back
- Storage Loop
- Fall Protection Harness Compatible
- 5 Rare Earth Magnets on Clavo pouches, 712 Accessory Pocket & Universal Magnet Clip
- Optional Lumbar/Shoulder Pads for Added Support
Diamondback “Dos Clavos” Vest | Sizes
- The M/L Vest fits waist/torso/chest size 32-44
- XL fits waist/torso/chest size 42-52
Setting Up My Dos Clavos Vest
While all the bigger hand tools fit in the Clavos bags in intuitive places, The vest-mounted options made my go-to items ready and easy to grab right where and when I needed them. The bottom loop in the included Gun Loop holds a cordless tool securely and perfectly balanced at the bottom of the vest, and I found the upper loop holds a Pair of Pica pencils back-to-back just perfectly.
The Small Tape Holster took some getting used to. I tried 16’ Fat Max and Tajima tapes, thinking they would be easier to access in the tight-looking holster, but noticed that the 25’ FatMax, my go-to, was easier to fish out that the smaller tapes. The hammer and flat bar holsters are probably my favorite feature of any DB bags. I can no longer live without these.
The Universal Magnet Clip is perfect for storing and swapping between bits frequently used. I keep 3 or 4 commonly used bits stuck securely. The 715 Utility Pocket holds my small Lee Valley double square inside, and a few additional go-to bits on the outside. The “float” that the buckle has keeps items from falling out when bending over and works quite well.
How’d It Fit?
The vest itself fit well out of the box but took a few days to fine-tune. The Clavos bags were simple to install, and DO NOT BUDGE during daily use, thanks to the secure hook and loop closures. When adjusted all the way forward, they were in just the right spot for me. I installed the lumbar support and shoulder pads to the vest but found the shoulder pads to be a tad bulky for me, so I removed them.
I do like the way the lumbar pad sits, and it seems to take a bit of wear and tear off my lower back. I was most impressed how after cinching up the shoulder and side adjustment straps, all the weight of the entire system was transferred evenly throughout the torso, no weight focused on shoulders or hips at all.
When you unzip the vest at the end of the day, you can feel all the weight of the vest fall back on your shoulders. I’ve worn several different sets of suspenders with belts in the past as well and would say that this vest system was hands down more comfortable than any of those.
I can’t believe its taken me this long to try this vest – what a BIG difference ~ Rob Robillard
Room for Improvement?
While my overall impression remains high, I did find a few small things that left a bit of room for improvement.
- The utility pockets tip and slide around on the vest straps a bit more than I’d like, and I did lose the occasional bit or fastener when leaning over.
- The vest is made from a durable mesh but still manages to trap some heat during warmer weather. It was a noticeable difference from wearing suspenders (or just a belt)
- Like most vests and suspenders, shirts and sweatshirts have a tendency to ride up/bunch up. Tucking in my shirt helped, but was still a minor annoyance.
- There is no area on the back of the vest for additional tools or fastener accessories to mount to.
How Much and Where to Buy?
The Dos Clavos System retails for $585 – $591 directly from DB online, or from ACME TOOLS Online As tested with my additions, the total price was $657. Even with the steep overall cost, I would recommend this system to anyone that has chronic back or hip pain or has always had trouble being comfortable wearing a traditional tool belt. It’s money well spent!
Thoughts on the Diamondback “Dos Clavos” 701 Vest | 6 Weeks Later
I’ve put the Diamondback “Dos Clavos” 701 Vest through its paces for the past 6 weeks. Swapping tools from a finish set-up to light framing, I think it’s safe to say that I’m now a “Vest Guy”. I’ve seen less fatigue at day’s end, less frustration with slipping and sagging throughout the day, and very intuitive tool placement that helps tremendously when in tight spaces or on a ladder.
Diamondback “Dos Clavos” 701 Vest | Made for Trim Carpenters
A few things I did notice were a lack of storage for bulk fasteners and a full-sized slot for a speed square. While it’s made for trim carpenters, I’ve been wearing it to do a demo and frame all the way to the finish. I added a DB 722 Slingshot to the outside of the left pocket for fasteners, which helped immensely and learned to live with my square sticking up a bit. Rob and I are considering a second vest and using the Artisan bags, for carrying a heavier load, for framing and remodeling work, and dedicating the Dos Clavos to a finished setup.
I am impressed with the Diamondback “Dos Clavos” Vest. It’s super comfortable, and rugged and is an ergonomic lightweight tool carry system that is nice to your body!
If my 6-year-old self could have had this set up around the house way back when my dad could have retired from home improvement work years earlier. I would have had that old house ship-shape in no time flat!