There are a lot of fly fishing vests on the market these days. So, how do you know which one is best for you? In this blog post, we will take a look at some of the best fly fishing vests for 2022 and compare their features. We will also look at what goes into making a great fly fishing vest and what to consider when purchasing your first vest or your next fly fishing vest. Whether you are looking for a high-end vest or an economy model, we have you covered!  Keep reading to find the best fly fishing vest for you.

Considerations for Selecting Fly Fishing Vests

The benefits of a vest include comfort/feel, mobility, and accessibility. Vests are usually lighter and easier to wear than fly fishing packs. Vests have convenient access to tools and other gear. One drawback to a vest is the lack of room for carrying water. Many fly fishers use the large back pouch for a water bottle, but it can be uncomfortable when fishing and hard to reach when needed. Vests may also get hotter during the summer months than a sling pack.  Vests fit in between the capacities of a swing pack and a backpack and are often a great middle-ground for most fly fishers.

Photo By Glen Rushton/ Unsplash
A Great Fly Fishing Vest Helps Keep all of Your Gear Close to Hand, but Out of the Way.

There are a few things to consider when selecting a fly fishing vest. First, think about the materials. Vests are usually made from canvas, nylon, or polyester. Canvas is the most durable option, but it can be heavy. Nylon is lightweight and easy to pack, but it may not withstand tough fishing conditions as well as canvas or polyester. Polyester is a happy middle ground–it’s durable and relatively lightweight.

Then, consider the cost. Vests can range in price from $30 to $300. It’s important to find one that fits your budget, but don’t sacrifice quality for the price. Also, make sure to check if the vest comes with any warranties or guarantees.

Finally, consider features. fly fishing vests come with a variety of pockets, loops, and rings to hold all your gear. Each zippered pocket provides protection against losing gear. Some even have built-in fly boxes and hydration bladders. Choose a vest with the features that you need and that will make your fishing trip more enjoyable.  We have provided some information on these key factors to help you choose the best fly fishing vest for your needs. Fly fishing is a great sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Let us help you find the perfect fly fishing vest for your next trip.

Why do you need a fly fishing vest?

There are a variety of reasons why you might need a vest. For one, it can help to keep all of your materials organized and within easy reach. Additionally, a vest carries all of your extra supplies while out on the water.  These include fly boxes, nets, leader and tippet material, snippers or pliers, floating indicators, lunch, water bottles, etc... Vests often have loops or clips that can be used to attach other gear such as nets. All of these factors make a vest an essential piece of gear for any angler.

The different types of vests and their features?

Hundreds of fishing vests are available on the market and each is designed with different features to suit the needs of fly anglers. Fly fishing vests have some common characteristics, but there is also a lot of variation in materials and material quality. The number of pockets and pocket size also differs between models and makers. Some vests have simple designs and basic utility.  Other vests offer many advanced features. Vests are classified into two groups: traditional and mesh.

Traditional vests are made from solid cotton or nylon and are heavier than mesh fabric vests.  However, they are often more durable. Traditional vests have many pockets to hold fly fishing gear and fly boxes.

The basic traditional vest is usually made from durable cotton materials like Cordura or denim, and usually has multiple pockets for storing tools, tippets, fly boxes, and other gear. These vests are typically very affordable, making them a great option for beginner anglers.

Traditional Fly Fishing Vest
Traditional Fly Fishing Vest

Modern mesh vests use nylon, polyester, and spandex.  They are comfortable and breathable on hot summer days. The mesh vests have pockets, tool loops, net rings, rod holders, and retractable cords.

More advanced modern vests will often include features like mesh panels for better ventilation and have higher-quality construction overall. These vests can be quite expensive but offer a lot of utility for fly fishers.

How to choose the right vest for you?

When looking for a fishing vest, you need to consider the materials, the space and size of storage features, access to your gear, and the comfort factor.  We recommend a best

Mesh vests have benefits and drawbacks. First off, they are generally the most comfortable. The mesh is lightweight and contours to your shoulders better, which helps with mobility. Mesh is also going to be much cooler during the summer months as moisture and sweat can easily evaporate through the openings. This trait also makes mesh vests much easier to dry when wet. One downside of mesh vests is they are not as durable as solid fabric vests and can rip if snagged by a branch or thorn.

What can I put in my pockets?

The size of pockets matters, depending on the type of fishing you are doing, the size of lures, the distance to your base vehicle or camp, and the amount of moving you will do. If the vest will replace a pack, you will need a larger fly vest with big pockets. A smaller lightweight may be better for fishing after work or if you prefer the minimalist approach to fishing. Pocket placement can be a key to a highly functional vest. Premium and top-tier vests position pockets to create comfort and efficiency of movement. Many vests quickly bulk up with over-filling pockets. If the pockets will bulk up, make sure they are organized to prevent impacts on casting and mobility.

How comfortable are fishing vests? Are they breathable?

We prefer waders and wading jackets that are breathable and comfortable.  The ability to wick sweat through layers of material, known as breathability, prevents overheating and uncomfortable dampness.  Not all vests provide the same breathability.  Polyester and nylon and polyester are often best. Cotton gets heavy when wet and has low breathability.

How Accessible are Tools and Gear?

Fly anglers often carry all of their equipment while fly fishing, especially when fishing backcountry creeks, rivers, and lakes.  It is important that your fly vest allows you to get to different tools quickly and that fly boxes are easily accessible and within reach. Some vests make this easy with retractable cords on the vest. Easy access prevents fumbling through small or overcrowded pockets. All the pockets need to have a functional purpose and fit standard gear and tools.  These tools include nippers, tippets, forceps, and nets that should be on the outside of the fly fishing vest for quick access.

Consider these extra features

The typical fly fishing vest has several pockets of various sizes to hold tackle and other supplies, as well as a loop or D-ring at the shoulder for attaching a net or additional gear. Some fly vests also have built-in fly drying patches to store wet flies while you're still out on the water. Velcro rod holders are another potential feature to secure your fly rod while you're wading or hiking to your next fishing spot. Other fly vests have foam fly holders that let you easily store and organize a variety of flies. These are just a few additional features that you might find on a fly fishing vest - so make sure to choose one that has the features that are most important to you.

Economy vs premium gear - what's the difference?

Economy vests are typically made from lower-quality materials and cost less than premium vests. They may not be as durable or breathable as premium vests, and they may not fit as well. However, they can be a good choice for anglers on a budget. Premium fly fishing vests are made from higher-quality materials, are more durable, more breathable, and usually fit better. Premium vests can be a good choice for anglers who want the best possible performance, spend significant time on the water, or want to use the same vest for many years.

The best vest for you will ultimately be the one that best suits your needs and budget. There are a wide variety of vests on the market, so we have done a lot of research and sifted through thousands of reviews to help you with making a purchase decision. Your fishing vest is key to being able to quickly access your supplies when you need to add tippets, replace flies, and land fish.  With so many options available, you're sure to find the perfect vest to last for many years to come.

GearHacking's Top 5 Picks for the Best Fly Fishing Vests for 2022

1 - Premium Gear – SIMMS GUIDE VEST

Gear Greatness

Simms is known for high-quality products that perform under extreme conditions.  Many top guides and anglers wear Simms products. The Simms Guide Vest is premium gear and may be the best vest on the market today.  The vest includes padded shoulders and a padded collar, which makes this one of the most comfortable vests. The Simms guide vest has great functionality and superb quality and was designed by experts for use by guides technical fly fishing experts.  Just wearing one may make you feel like an expert.

Tech Specs

The Simms Guide Vest has 26 pockets for all of your storage needs while on the water. Eight zippered pockets allow you to keep your essential items secure, while four quick-access mesh pockets provide a place to store items you need to grab in a hurry. In addition, there are 14 built-in storage pockets for everything from tippet to sunglasses. The vest is also equipped with a D-ring for attaching extra gear, and the back panel features a loop system for attaching a net. With all of these features, the Simms Guide Vest is sure to keep you organized and prepared for whatever the day on the water brings.

The Simms Guide Vest is a must-have for any angler. It's built with all the features you need to make your fishing trip a success. Built-in retractors keep your tools within reach, and a rod holder with velcro and a reel seat sling means you can keep your hands free for other tasks. Plus, the 100% nylon fabric is built to withstand the elements. Whether you're an experienced angler or just getting started, the Simms Guide Vest is sure to make your time on the water more enjoyable.

The vest is built to keep you comfortable on the water all day long. Whether you're an experienced angler or just getting started, the Simms Guide Vest is a great choice for all of your fishing needs.  Check out this premium vest by clicking the link below.

Best Premium Gear Fly Fishing Vest

Simms Guide Vest

Check Price at Cabela's

2 - Top-Tier Gear – Orvis Clearwater Mesh Vest

Gear Greatness

The Orvis Clearwater Mesh Vest is a versatile and stylish piece of fishing gear that is perfect for anglers of all levels of experience.  The vest is designed by Orvis, a highly-respected fishing company that provides a great warranty.

The vest is made from a lightweight polyester mesh that allows for breathability and comfort, even in the hottest weather. The vest also features a double-chest strap system for security and stability, and an easily accessible on-chest tippet holder. Additionally, the vest has four zippered pockets and four velcro pockets that are perfect for gear. Ultimately, the Orvis Clearwater Mesh Vest is a great choice for anglers who want a top-tier functional and stylish vest that will help them enjoy their time on the water.

Tech Specs

The Orvis Clearwater Vest is a technical fly-fishing vest designed to provide anglers with ample storage and quick access to their gear. The vest is made from 100% recycled ripstop polyester and features two fly-drying patches, zippered side pockets, and rubberized tool docking tabs for attaching tippet spools or forceps. The vest also has two large front pockets that can accommodate fly boxes, and the adjustable straps allow the vest to be customized for a comfortable fit. The padded collar provides comfort for a full day of fishing.  Whether you're an experienced fly fisherman or just getting started, the Orvis Clearwater Vest is a great option for keeping your gear organized and close at hand.

Top-Tier Fly Fishing Vest

Orvis Clearwater Fly Fishing Vest

Check Price at Amazon

3 - Mid-Tier Gear - Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest

Gear Greatness

The Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest is a great choice for anglers who want a vest or vest/backpack combo that can hold everything they need. The 100% polyester construction is lightweight and comfortable, and the padded shoulder straps make it easy to carry. One size fits most, making it a great option for both men and women. The vest has plenty of pockets to hold all of your gear, and the back panel is designed to keep your back cool and dry. The Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest is an excellent choice for anglers who want a versatile, lightweight vest that can hold everything they need.

Tech Specs

The Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest is a versatile and functional piece of gear for anglers of all levels. The 17 exterior and interior pockets provide ample storage for tackle, flies, and other gear, while the gear tabs and cord loops keep everything organized and within easy reach. The D-ring net lash is perfect for attaching a landing net or other gear, and the comfortable shoulder straps make it easy to carry on long hikes or wade through deep water. For anglers who want the best of both worlds, the Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest/Backpack combo is a perfect choice.

This innovative design features a vest that can be worn as a standalone piece or converted into a backpack, making it ideal for fishing trips of any length. The tech specs on this vest are top-of-the-line, and it's sure to provide years of reliable service. Whether you're just starting out or are a seasoned pro, the Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest is an essential piece of gear.

The vest features adjustable shoulder straps for comfort and distributes weight well. The breathable mesh backing keeps you cool in hot weather.  There are two hard drop-down fly benches for your flies.  The built-in rod tube holder keeps your hands free when needed. There is a one-year warranty and a lifetime repair warranty for this product.

Mid-Tier Fly Fishing Vest

MaxCatch Fly Fishing Vest/Backpack Combo

Check Price at Amazon

4 - Economy-Tier Gear - BASSDASH Adjustable Strap Fishing Vest

Gear Greatness

The BassDash Adjustable Strap Fishing Vest is a great option for anglers who are looking for a vest/backpack combo. The padded shoulder straps make it comfortable to wear, and the 18 pockets provide plenty of storage space for tackle and other gear. The loop attachments are great for attaching tools and retractable cords.  The 100% polyester construction is durable and lightweight. Overall, the BassDash vest is a great choice for anglers who want a versatile and durable vest. The system is also expandable because you can purchase just the vest or the vest/backpack combo.  BassDash is a newer fishing equipment supplier with some well-designed fly fishing products.

Tech Specs

The BassDash Adjustable Strap Fishing Vest with the vest or vest/backpack combo is a great product for the fly fisherman. It is made of 100% polyester and has padded shoulder straps for comfort. The D-ring for your fishing net, a strobe holder loop for low light, rod holder loops, a knife lash tab, and other loops make it a versatile piece of equipment. The backpack portion is great for carrying extra gear, water, and supplies. This product is durable and well-made. It is a great value for the price. I would recommend this product to anyone who is looking for a vest/backpack combo for fly fishing.

Economy Tier Best Fly Fishing Vest

BassDash Adjustable Strap Fishing Vest

Check Price at Amazon

5 – Entry-Level Gear - Allen Company Ultra-Light Gallatin Strap Pack Fishing Vest

Gear Greatness

The Allen Company Ultra-Light Gallatin Strap Pack Fishing Vest is perfect for anglers who want maximum storage capacity without the bulk. The lightweight design features 14 accessory pockets, including two large zippered front pockets that are perfect for storing standard 4" x 6" boxes. The vest also has other large and small zippered pockets and two velcro pockets. The adjustable straps ensure a comfortable, customized fit. Whether you're fishing for trout or bass, the Allen Company Ultra-Light Gallatin Strap Pack Fishing Vest will help you keep your gear organized and within reach.

Tech Specs

The Allen Company Ultra-Light Gallatin Strap Pack Fishing Vest is a must-have for any fisherman. It fits most and can be adjusted at the neck and waist for a comfortable, customized fit. There is a padded neck yoke to increase comfort.  The high visibility lining ensures that you'll be seen in low light conditions, and the molded zipper provides extra durability. With so many features, this vest is sure to make your next fishing trip a success.  This minimalist vest provides a D-ring at the back for a net and has many loops to connect a tippet spool holder, hemostats, and other accessories.

Best Entry Level Fly Fishing Vest

Allen Company Ultra-Light Gallatin Strap Pack Fishing Vest

Check Price on Amazon

Best Fly Fishing Vest FAQs

When looking for the best fly fishing vest, there are many factors to consider. It can be difficult to figure out what you need and want in a fly fishing vest. There are so many different brands and prices that it's hard to know where to start.

We've created a comprehensive buyers guide of frequently asked questions to help you choose the best fly fishing vest for your needs. This guide will help you understand what to look for when making your purchase, so you can be confident that you're getting the right product for you.

1.    Do you need a fly fishing vest?

Whether you need a vest or not depends on how you like to fish. If you like to carry all of your gear with you, then a fly fishing vest is a great option because it offers a lot of storage space. If you like to organize your gear, then a fly fishing vest can also be helpful because it has specific pockets for different types of flies, floats, leaders, and weights. Most fly fishermen use a vest for convenience while fishing out in the water. It's important to find one that fits well and is made from breathable materials so that you stay cool and comfortable even on hot days.

2.    How do I choose a fly fishing vest?

There are a few things to consider when choosing a vest. Carrying capacity is important, as you'll need to be able to fit all of your gear in the vest. Organizing your gear can be helpful, both for keeping track of everything and for being able to find what you need quickly. Convenience and comfort are also important; you'll want a vest that is easy to wear and won't weigh you down. If you are looking for comfort, a padded collar is an important aspect.  Size and material are also factors to consider; make sure the vest is the right size for you and choose a material that will be comfortable in all weather conditions.  See the top of this article to see the things we consider when selecting a vest.

3.    What do you put in a fly fishing vest?

Fly fishermen look for a vest that has enough storage to carry all of the essential gear that they might need while out on the water. A good fly fishing vest typically includes a lines, leader, tippet, boxes, floats, weights, tools, water, and possibly a lunch.

Make sure to pack the essentials for your outing and always double check that you have everything before hitting the water. Having the necessary gear can make all the difference when it comes to successful fishing trip.

6.    What is the pocket on the back of a fishing vest for?

One of the most common uses for the pocket on the back of a fishing vest is to carry water. This is especially helpful on hot days when you're out on the water for several hours and need to stay hydrated. Another common use for the pocket is to carry lunch or snacks. This can come in handy if you're planning to be out on the water all day and don't want to have to stop and leave to eat.  The pocket can also be used to carry extra fly boxes, or any other gear that you don't need easy access to. This can be helpful if you want to keep your pockets free of clutter.

7.    How do I organize my fly fishing gear?

Organizing your vest is a personal decision for each fly angler and often takes some time to figure out.  It will depend on what type of fishing you are doing, whether you are right- or left-handed, and what equipment you use most. I like to put specific fly boxes in each front zippered pocket to secure my flies, having lost boxes full of hand-tied flies to poor vest design.  I also often attach retractable string systems to my boxes in the zippered pockets.  Hemostats connect to the loops in an easy to reach place and my tippet holder is attached to a loop.  I put floats and weights, in front outside pockets for easy access.  Floatant goes into a smaller zip pocket or on a caddy attached to a loop.  I connect my net to the D-ring on my back with a magnetic connector for easy retrieval and return.  The net is connected to a line and a loop on the vest.  I use interior pockets for fly line, a leader wallet, and flies I may not be expecting to use.  The internal stretch mesh organization pockets are used for medium level gear that are nice to have like a thermometer or maybe another bottle of water.  Try out these suggestions and modify to fit your personal preferences.

8.    How do I keep my fly leader and tippet organized?

There are a couple different ways you can keep your fly leader and tippet organized. One way is to use a tippet holder. This is a little device that you can attach to your vest or bag and puts all of your tippet spools in one place. This is great if you change flies often or are looking for a specific size tippet.

You can organize your fly leader using a leader wallet. This is basically a little book that you can put all of your leaders in. Each leader has its own slot, so it's easy to find the one you want. Plus, it keeps them from getting tangled up together.

Making the Decision on Your Vest

So, what are the best fly fishing vests that you want to look at further? The selection of a vest varies from person to person based on skill level, the number of days you spend on the water each year, how you treat your gear, your measurements, and your pocketbook. We've tried to provide a variety of the best options for you to choose from based on reading thousands of reviews and our personal experience in fly fishing. We hope that you found this information helpful and that you find the the best fly fishing vest for you. All you have to do now is tap the Check Price button on the best fly fishing vests listed above to Gear up and Get Outdoors! Thanks for stopping by!

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