Best Fly Fishing Vest and Buyers Guide

An often overlooked piece of equipment in the fly fishing world, having a vest that is well-organized, durable, and comfortable can be the difference between loving the sport and simply being frustrated.

Often times you don’t have a boat out there with you when fly fishing, so you need to have places to store all the essential things you need because wading back and forth to shore regularly is an unwanted, and unnecessary, interruption to what ought to be a rhythmic experience.

Here are a few things you should be looking for when purchasing a fly fishing vest:

How many pockets?

There are certain things you need. Other things you want. Things that are nice to have. And of course, unnecessary luxuries. Exactly what falls into each category can depend on you, your preferences, your style, your location, and a variety of other factors.

No matter who you are though, there is a thing called too much. How do you know what’s too much? A few ways:

  1. you can’t find something when you need it
  2. your vest starts weighing too much and is therefore cumbersome or uncomfortable
  3. you find something in there one day and can’t even remember putting in there to begin with

The biggest amount of control you have over whether or not you’ll end up with extra stuff in your vest is on the initial purchase of the vest.

I think about 15 pockets is a great number to shoot for. 10 will be ok, 20 probably won’t hurt. But in your search for a fly fishing vest the thing I’d start with is finding a vest with around 15 usable, accessible, pockets.

What size pockets do I need?

Keep this one simple. You’ll want a balance between big and small pockets. Keeping our total number of 15 pockets in mind, I’d try to find a vest with around 8-10 small pockets and 5-7 large pockets.

Again, depending on how much you know about where you’ll be doing the majority of your fly fishing these numbers could change. But for most situations this should be an adequate starting point.

Mesh or Traditional?

Mesh tend to be a little cooler and have a little more give to them in terms of allowing movement. If you’re fishing in hotter areas you may prefer mesh, but overall, I’d say this is a personal choice to consider based on our next and final category…



If you’ve read what we’ve written about waders, you know that comfort is king for us. Go to a store and try some on. Most stores will let you put things in them to simulate weight. If you’re online, order a few and do the same thing at home with household items. Then return the ones you don’t want. Almost all vests these days will have something built in to reduce the stress on the neck and shoulders, so personal feel of the vest is going to be a critical factor.

You’re going to be wearing this thing a lot, we think it’s worth it to spend a little more upfront and be sure you have a vest that feels good on your body!

We recommend sticking with the big name brands for fly fishing vests, Orvis, Cabela’s, Simms, Reidngton… If you buy a solid vest from these companies, it should be a purchase that lasts at least a few years. If you opt for the WalMart brand it’s more than likely you’ll be back there within the year. Do yourself a favor and get a solid, reputable vest the first time. It will save you money in the long run and provide for more enjoyable, less stressful, experiences in the water!


Best Fly Fishing Backpack Vests

Anglatech Fly Fishing Backpack Bag

Anglatech Fly Fishing Backpack BagIf you don’t want to change your backpack every year, then you will need something that is heavy duty and that can withstand constant abuse. In that aspect, the AnglaTech Fly Fishing backpack is the perfect thing for you.

This backpack is especially convenient due to the fact that it looks like a vest. Its multiple compartments may be smaller in size as compared to your average backpack, but the one in the back is enough to fit two to three medium-sized tackle boxes. Furthermore, it comes with a 1.5-liter water bladder to keep you hydrated through the day.

The breathable mesh from which this vest-like backpack is made is very comfortable, allowing the air to flow even when the weather gets hot. The design also offers superior weight distribution, further increasing the comfort of the backpack.

Pros Cons
  • It is very comfortable to wear
  • It has enough space to keep all your essential items
  • Stylish design
  • It comes with a hydration bladder
  • Two waterproof front pockets
  • It might be too big for some people