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Fly Fishing Vests to Add to Your Gear Collection

Get a list of the best fly fishing vests, including features and pricing. Use this guide so you can buy the right vest the first time.

Best Fly Fishing Vests

I’ll be honest, I’ve always thought vests were cool. By that I mean figuratively and literally. If you met me I’m an unusual woman in my ability to experience cold temperatures, and I get hot very easily. I can’t really wear sweaters in the winter, and when I lived in Atlanta I didn’t really wear a winter coat for years.

I can’t say it’s something I shouldn’t have expected about myself, given that my dad wore shorts all winter when I was growing up. It’s in our blood. Which gets me to my point – I prefer vests over coats, just generally speaking. I’m used to wear them and I have several for the winter.

Now that I’m starting fly fishing, I’m figuring out how to carry my fly fishing gear. I’ve talked on this blog about the essentials and accessories I like for fishing, and the big question mark I’m still figuring out is how I enjoy carrying them. I have a sling pack and I have a waist pack, but I’m really interested in fly fishing vests due to my love of the vest in general. So I’ve got great news . . . you’re going to benefit from my research.

At the time of this writing I’ve decided to get a Fishpond Upstream Tech vest for women, and I’ll update this post when I have a chance to use it for awhile so I can report on the results. I’m excited to field test, but in the meantime, let’s go over some important things about fly vest, which impacted how I chose.

How to Choose a Fly Fishing Vest

Here are the questions/ideas you should consider when choosing a vest for yourself.

  • How much gear are you going to carry? I would take your gear and divide it up into “pockets” on a table or the floor to see what you’re going to need. If you only have ten pockets worth of stuff, you don’t need a vest with 26 pockets.
  • What else are you going to carry? Do you typically carry lunch? Beers? A rain jacket? Maybe you like to remove layers as the day goes on and need somewhere to put them. Some of the vests have pockets and some are actual backpack combos.
  • What do you like to have accessible? Consider what gear you like to have at the ready. Do you mind digging into your pocket for nippers or do you want them to be on a zinger? There are tippet roll loops on several of the vests too, which keeps it right in front of your chest. Also note where the tools go.
  • Do you need warmth or breathability? Some of the vests are mesh, but they typically have less pockets. If you are run hot like me, you might want a more minimalist vest. Of course, you can adjust your layers to work for you as well. You’ll need to find the balance.
  • How much water will the vest see? There is always the risk of falling into water, but some have more waterproof/water resistant fabrics than others. Regardless, always have a waterproof pouch in your vest to hold your keys, wallet, and phone.
  • What is your budget? That really goes without saying, but these vets vary greatly in price. They start at under $50 and go up to $300.

Are Fishing Vests Worth It?

Well, that is hard to say. What you wear fly fishing is certainly personal to a large extent. A fly vest is going to distribute the weight on your front and back (if loaded properly) and can keep those common used items right in front of your face.

What is nice about a vest is that everything is very accessible AND organized. I think there’s a huge benefit to that, especially for a disorganized person such as – me. Check out the features of the vests below and see if they are going to work for you!

Fly Fishing Vests

Fly fishing vests are specifically designed for fly fishermen (and women) with plenty of storage, adjustable sizing, and comfortable fits. Check out the list of vest on the market from lowest to highest in price, with all the features that each has to offer.

Have you ever tried a fly fishing vest? I’d love to know which brand and what your thoughts are in the comments!