One of the images that fly fishing will inevitably conjure up is a fishing vest.
These have been around for as long as anyone can remember and continue to be popular with anglers of the modern age as well. This is hardly surprising considering how useful these vests can be on a fishing trip.
Of course, vests aren’t all created the same and if you want that is versatile, durable, and comfortable, you have to know what the best fly fishing vest options are.
If you are having some trouble choosing one for yourself, my guide and the list of top choices should be able to help you out:
Fly Fishing Vest Reviews
The Benefits of a Fly Fishing Vest
Let’s face it, fly fishing requires quite a few pieces of gear, equipment, and accessories. From fly boxes to floatants, there are plenty of things that you will need.
Unfortunately, since you find yourself in the middle of a body of water, you can hardly keep all these things by your side.
With a fly fishing vest, however, this task becomes a great deal easier. Complete with numerous pockets, this vest ensures that you have everything that you need strapped to your chest.
Now, depending on the vest that you get, you may be able to do away with other bags altogether. For short fly fishing trips, you could carry all the things you need with you in your vest. So, as you can see, you will be hard-pressed to find a better option.
What to Look For in a Fly Fishing Vest
Here are some of the features you should examine in any fly fishing vest that you hope to buy:
The Different Types
Vests have evolved quite a bit since they were first invented.
This is why you now get to choose between a traditional vest and a vest/backpack hybrid. A traditional vest basically looks like an old-fashioned, lightweight vest with pockets built into its structure.
Vest/backpack hybrids, on the other hand, look a bit different. This is because the pockets resemble those typically found on a backpack. While these vests may be a tad bit heavier, they also offer up a greater storage capacity.
The Type Of Fabric
The next thing that you will need to consider is what the vest is made of. Typically, vests can be divided into categories of those that are made from fabric and those that are made from mesh.
- Mesh Vests – As you can imagine, the main function of mesh vests is to keep the wearer cool. Particularly in hot months, these vests allow for greater air circulation and cut down on how much you perspire while wearing them. However, due to the fineness of the material, these vests also have a tendency to tear quite easily.
- Fabric Vests – If you opt for the fabric vest, then you usually have to choose between vests made of a polyester blend or nylon. The benefit of wearing a polyester blend vest is that these are relatively strong and also quite lightweight. As such, they are quite comfortable to wear for long periods of time, even if they are fully loaded up — With nylon, your real advantage is durability. While it is a tiny bit heavier, nylon is also incredibly strong and is a good option for long-lasting vests. If you want something that is really resistant to damage, you may want to consider ripstop nylon. This material is abrasion-resistant and is unlikely to develop tears. If it does have a rip, the material is designed to prevent the hole from getting any bigger.
Being so close to the water, it would make sense that you would want to protect your belongings.
Now, fly fishing vests tend to be water-resistant rather than waterproof. This means that it will be able to repel water for a short period of time but it can’t be submerged.
Most water-resistant vests are made of polyester or nylon material that has been coated with a water-repellent layer.
Style and Fit
Most fishing vests have a similar style. Nonetheless, there are certain differences in the way that a vest is designed and constructed that require you to take a careful look at each one you are considering.
First and foremost, you should be paying attention to the cut of the vest. Basically, the armholes need to be large enough for you to move your arms about freely. So, while the vest should fit you properly, there should be plenty of space in this region of the vest.
You will also need to look at the shoulder straps on the vest. They should be wide enough to help distribute the weight of a packed vest yet not be so thick that they drape over your shoulders. Too-wide shoulders indicate an ill-fitting vest that can restrict movement.
Then, there is the matter of adjustability. Fly fishing vests are hardly tailored to fit each individual. So, while you should be able to find a vest within your size range (for example, S, M, L, XL, etc.) it is important to consider whether the vest is adjustable or not.
On vests that are adjustable, you will find features at the shoulder and waist that allow you to fine-tune the way the vest fits you.
Now, if you are a woman, you may find it a bit tough to find a vest that fits well. In case the vest that you want doesn’t cater to women’s sizes, you should look for a women’s specific vest. These have been designed to fit the particular dimensions of a woman’s torso better.
Last but not least, you should reflect on how long the vest is. Usually, it is best to have one that stops at your hips, perhaps a bit longer. With this length, you will be able to ensure that the vest doesn’t dip into the water while you are fishing.
The main feature on any vest is the pockets – after all, this is precisely why you are opting for a fly fishing vest in the first place.
The thing to keep in mind here is to choose a vest that has just the right number of pockets. Typically, you shouldn’t need more than 15 or so pockets on your vest.
Well, the reason for these pockets is so that you can better organize your gear and accessories. With too many pockets, you will spend most of your time searching for where you placed certain items.
You will also need to deliberate on the size of the pockets. It is a good idea to go for a vest that comes in a variety of sizes– ranging from small to large. Just think of all of the things that you will need to take with you and imagine whether or not they would fit into the smallest or largest compartment available on the vest.
Your pockets should be equipped with proper closures such as zippers, Velcro, or magnets. After all, you want to make sure that the items will not fall out while you are fishing. Look for good-quality features so that they will not give away easily.
Now, although these are not exactly pockets, another feature to think about are the external attachment points. These include loops and D-rings that allow you to attach larger pieces of equipment to your vest. This way, you really will be able to have everything that you need on hand with you.
Best Fly Fishing Vests 2018 Picks
Here are the fly fishing vests that you should consider getting for yourself:
The Lixada vest manages to offer you the best of both worlds with this ripstop polyester and mesh blend.
The tough fabric ensures that this vest is able to withstand frequent friction and abrasions. This makes it ideal for treks through the brush to get to your favorite fishing spot.
At the same time, the mesh back keeps the air circulating and keeps you cool at all times. The vest is available in a universal size but has handy adjustable straps so that you can make it fit you better. There is also a hip strap that makes sure the vest clings tightly to your waist.
Unfortunately, this does mean that it can be difficult for people of all sizes and heights to have this vest fit them perfectly.
The benefit of this vest is that there is a smaller number of pockets but they range from medium to large size. This will prevent you from having to rummage through pockets to find what you need. There is a large back pocket where you can store larger items that you don’t require immediately.
In addition to various different loops all over the vest, there is also an accessory attachment ladder which works well for those thin, long pieces of equipment.
What I like most about this vest is that you can take everything you need in it.
For instance, you don’t need to carry additional fly boxes with you. This is because it is already equipped with two hard shell pockets that perform this function for you!
There is also an expandable backpack on the vest – This allows you to tote around as little or as much as you require for your fishing trip.
Of course, there are also compartments in the front of the vest to keep important items within easy reach.
Among many of the external attachment points, there are also loops that allow you to carry a fully extended rod in the front of your chest. One thing is for sure, though, you will never be lacking in storage capacity.
The other perk of this backpack is that it is water-resistant. This means that you will be able to keep many of your belongings safe, at least to a certain extent. At the same time, the material is very lightweight, which prevents it from feeling too hot on a warm day.
The only drawback is that it can be tricky to adjust this vest to suit your particular frame, making it a bit difficult to wear.
If you want to pack as much as possible into your vest but not be overly bothered by the weight, then this is the vest for you.
This vest is equipped with medium and large pockets for all types of gear and accessories. There are two hard shell cases for even more secure storage. If you are hoping to carry a few larger pieces, the large pouch at the back of the pack makes this possible.
To top things off, this vest allows you to carry your rod in the front and the net in the back. So, if you have this vest on, there really is no need for any other type of carrier.
Despite all of these features, the vest is actually quite lightweight. As such, you will be able to pack a few more things in, before you begin to feel the load that you are carrying.
Also, it has a mesh lining at the back which allows you to stay cool while you are fishing, without compromising the overall durability of the vest.
There isn’t a great deal to complain about this vest but one thing that is a tad bit annoying is the adjustable buckles. Once you have fully loaded up the vest, they have a tendency to drop, making it difficult to keep the vest on your shoulders.
Unlike many other fly fishing vests, this one is made from ripstop nylon – This means that branches and brush will not be able to make a tear or dent in the material.
This is good news for anyone who has to go through different terrain before they are able to fish.
Of course, the manufacturers have also kept your comfort in mind which is why large areas of the vest are made up of mesh.
One of the advantages of this vest is the number of pockets, their size, and how they are arranged. If you like to be extremely organized, you are simply going to love the way that the compartments are structured. There is another compartment at the back of the vest for any non-essentials that you may want to carry.
One of the features that makes this truly one of the best options is two waterproof pockets. So, if there are any valuables that you want to keep, you can do so here, knowing that they will be thoroughly protected.
The addition of a water bottle holder is also a nice touch.
The only thing that mars this vest is the fact that the zipper has a tendency to come undone once the vest is all loaded up.
Do you tend to fish in balmy or warm conditions?
If so, then you are going to want this vest on hand.
It is almost completely made from mesh which doesn’t just make it comfortable, but also ensures that it is incredibly lightweight as well. The material of the vest has been designed to be moisture wicking and fast-drying. So, even if you do happen to get splashed, you can be quite certain that the vest will be dry in no time at all.
Of course, this does mean that it can be quite difficult to keep important items protected from any moisture.
What’s great about this vest is that it has an almost-perfect number of pockets. So, you don’t have to be concerned about getting bogged down with too many items, there is just enough space to take what you need. The pockets are also well-positioned in the front of the vest. Keeping them separate makes it easy for you to pick out any gear that you need incredibly quickly.
The vest also comes in a variety of sizes, complete with sizing options for smaller and younger anglers as well. Despite this, the style and fit of the vest can make it a bit cumbersome to wear.
If you are looking for an old-school type of fly fishing vest, you will be more than happy with what this option has to offer you.
The large pockets are precisely placed so that you will be able to quickly and easily reach all that you need, without having to put down your rod. There is even a pocket in the interior of the vest, where you can store something as large as a fly box. The pocket is made from mesh, however, so that you aren’t wearing heavy, claustrophobic layers.
In fact, this vest has a secret feature!
While it is almost completely made from polyester, the back portion of the vest can be rolled down to reveal a lighter, cool mesh layer.
The other benefit offered up by this fishing vest is that it is also water-resistant, allowing you to stay dry during your trip. In case the vest does happen to get wet, it is quick-drying which means that you will be comfortable again very soon.
The vest does come in a variety of sizes and is particularly well-suited to those with larger builds.
However, a word of warning is required as these vests seem to run a bit small. So, you will need to be careful about the size that you choose.
Out of all of these well-designed vests, I would have to say that the Anglatech fly fishing vest wins the title of the best fly fishing vest.
- PLENTY OF STORAGE - Keep your fishing gear and equipment well-organized and...
- ADJUSTABLE SIZING - Adjustable shoulder and waist straps for the perfect fit.
- COMFORTABLE - Breathable mesh back allows for air to flow freely so you can stay...
- LIGHT WEIGHT - Premium materials keep this vest small and light.
This vest is a modern take on a classic favorite and greatly increases the number of items that you can take with you while you are fly fishing.
Also, the vest doesn’t just have pockets, it has customized storage spaces for your gear, which means that you don’t need to take any other carriers with you at all.
It is also lightweight, water-resistant, and an all-around great vest to own.
This concludes this guide and review of the best fly fishing vests on the market for you.
Last update on 2019-01-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API