Best Fishing Vest Reviews 2017 – Fly Fishing, Stream Fishing Vests

Introduction

  When it comes to best fishing vest reviews 2017, we pride ourselves as researches with actual experience in the field.  Our real world experience with various vests, slings, packs etc, gives us insight into the products we review that may be lacking when you look elsewhere.  We search the web for you, and use our outdoor experience to make recommendations and comparisons that make sense to the potential end user.

Recommended Product Brand Item Dimensions Amazon Rating Manufacturer Price
Most Recommended Maxcatch Fly Fishing Backpack Adjustable Size Mesh Fishing Vest Pack Maxcatch N/A Maxcatch Check Price
Best Value Redington First Run Fishing Vest – Mens Grit/Terra, L/XL Redington 200
1100
1
800
Redington Check Price
Orvis Waterproof Sling Pack Orvis N/A   Orvis Check Price
Patagonia River Master II Vest (RETRO KHAKI, L) Patagonia N/A   Patagonia Check Price
Fishpond Wasatch Tech Pack – Driftwood FishPond 400
2300
187
1800
  Fishpond Check Price
North Star Sports Sandy Point 11 Pocket Deluxe Mesh Fishing Vest, Olive Northstar Sports 50 North Star Sports Check Price

Fishpond Wasatch Tech Pack

  • For those who want everything with them on the water.  This vest/pack does it all, including carry your extra rod.  It has specialized tackle and gear pockets in the front that Zip/fold out for fly boxes and trays.  Behind that are large pockets on each side that will hold small, medium and large boxes.  And behind those pockets is yet another slash pocket that can hold even more.  Above the 3 large combo pockets on either side is an angled zipper pocket that holds smaller items and tackle.  These upper pockets also have a “keeper” inside them to attach your license or other accessories.  There are several tabs and eslatic connection points to hold even more.  On each side of the pack, you have additional small pockets for items like float-ant, or other small gear.  When you unzip the front, you also have access to internal mesh, zippered pockets that hold even more.  It seems as though there’s no end to the places you can put things.
  • And that’s just the front of the pack.  Let’s move onto the back.  You have a stuff pouch and extra accessories pouches.  Then add 3 zippered pouches that get progressively bigger, until you reach a pouch big enough for rain gear, hydration pack or more.  As on the front, there are several elastic connection loops and an additional section designed specifically for holding an extra rod tube.
  • The vest is water resistant, it’s padded for all day comfort, and it has adjustable shoulder straps to customize the fit.
  • When it’s all said and done, this vest is much more than just a vest.  It truly is a vest/pack combo that does it all.  You can carry all the gear you’ll ever need, and throw in the kitchen sink for good measure.

Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest Pack

  • This vest is clearly competing with Fishpond to see who can carry the most gear.  The Maxcatch has almost identical front pocket configurations with two shaped pockets with zip out benches, followed by another a pocket behind that and a similar slash pocket on either side.  It has a similar top pocket with ample elastic and D-loop type connectors to hold items like floatant, pliers or other tools for easy access.  The side pockets do appear to be a bit larger, so you’ll have plenty of room for all your smaller items as well.  So when comparing to the Fishpond Vest, it looks to be a virtual tie.  But the back of this vest is substantially different.   It simply cannot carry the same quantity, because it doesn’t have near as many places to store the gear.  Instead, Maxcatch seems to favor breathability over max carriage.  And this is where the difference might be the deciding factor.  It still has a large expandable storage area on the back along with a base compartment for carrying water or something similar, but instead of the padding and extra pockets they’ve gone with a more breathable and lightweight configuration that will help keep you cooler on the water.
  • This vest/pack is a great option for those who don’t need to carry the “kitchen sink”, but still want enough room to carry more than they’ll need.  And it’s got the added advantage of a great price.

Redington First Run Fishing Vest

  • The Redington First Run Fishing Vest is a great “starter” vest.  Not only is it made from durable, lightweight mesh material, but it has sensibly placed pockets that can carry virtually anything you’ll need for your fishing day.  With several front zippered and velcro’d pockets on the front and a unique tippet pocket near the upper right shoulder, you shouldn’t have any trouble locating the gear you want when you want it.  It also has a comfortable padded collar for long days on the water.  The back has the usual large carry pocket and D-ring for attaching a net. 
  • At a price point of less than $60.00, this is definitely a vest worth considering.

North Star Sports Sandy Point Mesh

  • This lightweight vest is for the fisherman that doesn’t need to carry everything, but still needs to carry enough gear to take away the worries on a long day. The North Star Mesh fishing vest is built with a lightweight material with a mesh back for all day comfort and coolness.  With 6 zippered front pockets for fly boxes and gear. 2 chest pouch pockets with 2 additional inside pockets with zip down fly bench for extra fly carrying ability. This vest has 4 elastic and bungee cord loops for attaching tools and other quick accessories like pliers, floatant, clippers and more. The back of the vest is a big mesh pouch that gives you the added space you might want.  With an adjustable strap on the sides and top, this vest is virtually a one size fits all. If lightweight and breathability are your priorities, this vest just may be the one for you.
  • Oh…one more thing…at only $45.00 this vest is a bargain.

Orvis Waterproof Sling Pack

  • I know, I know … how is a sling pack listed in the “best vest” category?  Well, when it comes to taking the gear you want with you, we felt that we couldn’t overlook this item.
  • It has a large flex seal, YKK waterproof zippered compartment, another smaller zippered compartment that is water resistant.  It also has a water bottle compartment that makes it really convenient to reach by simply reaching behind you without swinging the pack around.  The compartments are really self explanatory – one large compartment that has dividers and an internal zippered pocket to hold most everything you’d ever need on the water.  It also and additional waterproof bag for extra protection of items like your cell phone.  The bag is removable to make it convenient to retrieve and use your phone or camera.  The smaller, water resistant pocket sits on the very outside of the pack and it’s designed to hold items that don’t need as much protection from the elements.  Finally, it has the typical tippet holder that can take several spools of your favorite tippets.
  • The front of the sling has a quick access open sling that holds your hemostats or other small tool like knot tying accessories
  • While this item is not technically a vest, it is something that you shouldn’t overlook when searching for the best way to keep your gear with you on the water.  Furthermore, this type of pack typically interferes less while you fish, and they are more comfortable for wearing all day.

Patagonia Minimalist Mest Vest

  • Patagonia is a name that all anglers and outdoorsman can take seriously, and they’ve come up with a creative way to keep the price down, and comfort up.  This vest is designed with the short trip in mind.  Its “minimalist” name says it all.  Only a couple of pockets and a fly foam patch on the front keeps this vest truly light weight.  Made of breathable and durable mesh, this vest has adjustable shoulder and side adjustments to customize it to your unique fit. 
  • If you love Patagonia products – and most of us do – then this short, extremely lightweight vest should be in the running for one of the best vests available.

Conclusion

  • Finding the best vest is of course, very subjective.  It really comes down to what you want out of a vest, and what you can afford.  We’ve tried to review items that generally fall in the middle of the pack economically, but still provide the features you need in a quality fishing vest. 
  • If you’re looking for something lightweight, breathable, and capable of carrying just enough stuff to keep you going on the water, we recommend the Patagonia Minimalist.  If you know you’ll be out for a while, and you like to change gear regularly, it’s a bit of a toss up between the Maxcatch and the Fishpond Brand.  If you like your gear out of the way, but you still want easy access, consider the Orvis Sling Pack. 
  • From my experience on the water, especially fly fishing, I recommend the Orvis as the best vest of the bunch.  It’s lightweight, it keeps your important things dry, there’s plenty of storage, it’s comfortable to wear all day, and most importantly, it stays out of the way when I’m fighting some heavyweight salmon or steelhead.   
  • We hope this helps you make a more informed decision when it comes to the most important decisions of your life – and sometimes the most important decision is what you’ll be taking with you to your favorite fishing hole.

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