Best Fly Fishing Vests – An Angler’s Perfect Guide [2019]

You’re all geared up for your upcoming fly fishing trip. You’ve got the functional fly rod combo, a classy carrying case, and maybe even a pair of fancy sunglasses to avoid the nasty glare on the water. Maybe you already have your pair of sloggers and waterproof pants in tow. But the one item you might be missing is a fly fishing vest. 

Though it may seem like a silly purchase that your grandpa has, fly fishing vests are just as useful as ever. Nowadays, however, fly fishing vests aren’t quite your grandpa’s style anymore. They’re even more functional than ever and can take your fishing trip to the next level. Read on to learn more about some of the best fly fishing vests available on Amazon.

What is a Fly Fishing Vest?

Simply put, a fly fishing vest provides you with quick and easy access to all your necessary fly fishing tools and supplies. A fly fishing vest features plenty of pockets to store away all your necessary tackle including flies, bait, fly fishing lines, and more. A fly fishing vest also helps to keep your phone, wallet, keys, and other necessities in close proximity for easy access when you need them.

Fly fishing using a vest (Source)

Fly fishing vests are typically available in both mesh and cloth designs, offering you a bit of selection when choosing the option that’s right for you. A fly fishing vest should be light, but durable, and certainly shouldn’t weigh you down when you’re already in deep water.

Are All Fly Fishing Vests the Same?

Though there are many fly fishing vests available online, not all of them are built the same, and not all of them are worth the time (or headache). As with anything sold online, there are always fly fishing vests that are of poor quality or don’t last as long as they should.

Additionally, not all fly fishing vests feature the amount of storage space you need to get the job done. You’ll want to go with a vest that has enough pockets for your needs without overwhelming you. Also, the quality of the material can vary between vests. You don’t want a cheap vest that will fray and breakdown, but you also don’t need something that is outrageously overpriced.

Vest with lots of pockets is a must in fly fishing (Source)

You’ll want a vest that is heavy-duty enough the withstand years of wear and tear but without becoming super heavy and weighing you down. You’ll want to go with a vest that is lightweight yet high quality.

Additionally, as for design, there is a bit of variance in fly fishing vest styles, but generally, they will be form-fitting without being too snug, but not loose. The last thing you want is to slip into your vest, lean over, and potentially lose your supplies because the vest isn’t secure enough. Make sure to look for vests that feature pockets that can be zipped or velcroed down. You don’t want it to lose your bait or other important stuff because the vest you chose wasn’t as secure as it could be.

How to Choose Fly Fishing Vests

With so many different vests to choose from online, it can be difficult to decide which one is the highest quality and will serve you the best in the long run. Particularly if you’re an avid fly fishing angler, you’ll want a vest that can withstand years of wear and tear and plenty of use. Stop the cycle of having to buy a brand new vest every couple of years.

When you’re looking at the wide variety of vests that are available on sites like Amazon, you’ll want to keep your eyes out for a couple of important details that set certain vests apart. First off, you’ll have to look for a vest that features a variety of pockets and compartments that can store all of your important gear that you need within close reach. No more digging for your important stuff in an overfilled tackle box!

Anglatech Fly Fishing Vest Pack for Trout Fishing Gear and Equipment, Adjustable Size for Men and Women

Second, you’ll want to look for a jacket made from high-quality material and the ability get wet without weighing you down in the water. You’ll want something lightweight that can also provide you with plenty of functionality.

Third, you’ll want to keep your eyes out for durable options that are going to stand the test of time. Since clothing generally doesn’t have a ton of factors to consider, durability is always important. You won’t want to replace this vest again and again. You’ll want one that’s comfortable and won’t give you issues when the last thing you want to think about is your clothing.

Quick Take | Best Fly Fishing Vests

Just looking for the top three best fly fishing vests? Here they are:

  1. Anglatech Fly Fishing Vest Pack
  2. Simms Guide Vest
  3. Patagonia Convertible Vest

Review of the Best Fly Fishing Vests

Now that you have an idea of what to look for in your fly fishing vest, we’re going to move on and take a look at some of our favorite vests available online.

Best Fly Fishing Vest:
Anglatech Fly Fishing Vest Pac

Anglatech Fly Fishing Vest Pack for Trout Fishing Gear and Equipment, Adjustable Size for Men and Women

PROS

  • Adjustable Strap to Tighten or Loosen the Vest
  • Variety of Different Pockets- Both Zippered and Mesh
  • Lightweight Materials- Vest Weighs Just Under 1.5 Pounds

CONS

  • Mesh Material Can Get Wet
  • Reviewers Mention That Removable Fly Pockets Aren’t Very Functional

Available in two different colors, this vest from Anglatech is a high-quality, high-capacity fly fishing vest for both the beginner and advanced angler. Each pocket is exceptionally large and features strong, trustworthy zippers that will keep all your gear where it needs to be. There are also mesh pockets available for gear that you don’t mind getting wet.

This vest is a good option for both men and women and features adjustable straps so you can make it as loose or tight as you desire for a comfortable day on the water. The material itself features mesh details making it highly breathable and incredibly lightweight.

The mesh material will keep you nice and cool when the sun hits your back but will also prevent your vest from getting waterlogged. The vest itself weighs just about 1.5 pounds making it a lightweight option that will help rather than hinder you.

Bottom Line

Overall, with the Anglatech vest, you’re getting a high-quality, lightweight, adjustable fly fishing vest that is ideal for both beginning and advanced anglers alike. This vest is a good option for both men and women and will support your fly fishing for years to come.

Best Simms Fly Fishing Vest:
Simms Guide Vest

PROS

  • Waterproof Teflon Finish
  • Made Out of Durable Ripstop Nylon
  • 26 Pockets in a Variety of Sizes and Shapes

CONS

  • No Adjustable Straps

With an impressive 26 pockets, the Simms Fly Fishing Guide Vest is available in two different colors and five sizes. Made out of durable ripstop nylon and with a water-resistant Teflon finish, this vest will last for many years and many fishing trips to come.

Two retractor clips and four D-rings offer a variety of storage options for other important gear while not adding any additional bulk to your vest. An included water bottle allows you easy access to hydration when you need it, while a rod holder makes storing away your most essential tools a breeze. This is a good option for both beginners and advanced anglers, offering plenty of storage space for easy access to everything.

Bottom Line

Overall, this fly fishing vest from Simms offers a wide variety of pockets and a waterproof finish, two details that are both essential and highly beneficial for all of your fishing trips.

Best Patagonia Fly Fishing Vest:
Patagonia Convertible Vest

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PROS

  • Comes with Patagonia Repair Policy
  • Dedicated Pockets for Specific Fly Fishing Gear
  • Can be Adjusted to Add an Additional Patagonia Pack
  • Lightweight and Breathable Mesh Material— Weighs Less Than a Pound

CONS

  • One Size Only
  • Fewer Pockets

If you know anything about Patagonia, it’s probably that they love the environment and that their quality is unmatched. The same goes for this convertible fly fishing vest. The vest itself is made out of a lightweight and breathable polyester, while the pockets are made out of lightweight and fast drying nylon.

The internal pockets are designed with leader material, tippets, and spools in mind, so all of your gear has a dedicated home that you can access quickly. Patagonia also offers similar pieces you can attach to add even more storage capacity to your vest for longer, more intense fishing trips.

The breathable mesh body of this vest makes it perfect for hotter days where you want a vest but not the extra heat associated with it. This jacket weighs in at just under a pound, making it an incredibly light option that won’t weigh you down when you’re out fly fishing in the thick of it.

Bottom Line

Though this Patagonia fly fishing vest offers less in the way of pocket quantity, it offers more in the way of dedicated pockets designed for specific gear in mind. It also is incredibly lightweight and features a mesh design that will keep you cool and dry.

Best Fly Fishing Vest Backpack:
M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest

M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest Adjustable Size Mesh Fishing Backpack

PROS

  • Adjustable Straps
  • Backpack Functionality
  • Breathable Mesh Material
  • Plenty of Large Storage Spaces and Fly Fishing Rod Storage

CONS

  • Fewer Dedicated Pockets

Now, have you gotten this far through the article and thought how you’re really not a vest guy (or gal)? Then take a look at this fly fishing backpack-style vest! You are really getting an all in one option with this vest since it has storage for more than just fly fishing gear. The vest itself is made out of highly breathable mesh and features an adjustable strap on the sides to make sure that it fits securely to your back.

Two shell pockets add protection for your flys themselves, making sure that none of them get crushed or squished inside the backpack. Though this vest only offers 16 pockets, they’re larger than some others and the backpack offers plenty of space for anything you may need, including your water bottle, keys, wallet, and phone. 

There’s also a space specifically dedicated to the fly fishing rod itself. Even if you aren’t fly fishing quite yet, this vest could still be highly functional for other outdoor activities like hiking and camping.

Bottom Line

Overall, this vest offers a lot of storage and the backpack style adds even more functionality. This could serve more purposes than just fly fishing, making it a versatile option that you’ll use for many years to come.

Best Orvis Fly Fishing Vest:
Orvis Hydros Strap Vest/Fully Loaded

Orvis Hydros Strap Vest/Fully Loaded

PROS

  • 28 Dedicated Pockets
  • Adjustable Strap Suspension
  • Crafted Out of Nylon with a Waterproof Finish

CONS

  • Only Available in One Color
  • Only Available in Average Men’s Size

If 26 pockets just simply aren’t enough for you, the Orvis Hydros, Fully Loaded Vest comes to the rescue with 28 pockets! Each pocket is designed with a specific purchase in mind and no detail is overlooked in terms of pocket capability.

The adjustable suspension set up on this vest allows you to loosen or tighten it as needed while padded mesh shoulders make this option incredibly comfortable. As for the construction, this vest is made out of nylon and features a waterproof finish similar to the previous option. Though this option could work for both men and women, this vest is only available in a men’s M-L.

Bottom Line

Though this vest is only available in a men’s one size, this fly fishing vest makes a positive statement with 28 pockets all dedicated to a certain piece of fly fishing equipment. Additionally, the adjustable straps add a bit of size customizability.

Conclusion

Though the saying may be “less is more”, that doesn’t always apply to fly fishing vests. While you don’t want something that’s heavy and will weigh you down, you do want a vest that’s highly functional with plenty of pockets and dedicated spots for everything you need quickly when fly fishing.

Fly fishing can get chaotic quickly, so you need a vest that will support you rather than hinder you and get in the way. Focus on a vest that’s made of out a lightweight, breathable material, and the more pockets the better. Regardless of whether you’re a beginner or an advanced fly fishing angler, a vest is a key piece of equipment for your fishing arsenal, so make sure to pick one that will best suit your needs.