TOP 10 Best Fly Fishing Vest 2023

Many fly anglers consider a fly fishing vest a crucial piece of equipment. Here is why and what you should consider.

Disclaimer: All products in this guide are independently researched by our team. We only recommend products we believe in and never get paid for the reviews.

When it comes to fly fishing vests, the ghosts are divided by fly fishermen and women. Some fly anglers love to head to the water with the least equipment possible. They want to keep it light and simple. Other prefer some sort of bag to carry equipment such as tippet, nippers, pliers or an extra reel.

The modern fly angler has several options to store this gear. There are hip packs (read our Guide here), sling packs (read our Guide here), fly fishing backpacks (read our Guide here) and fly fishing vests which we’ll take a closer look at in this article.

However, not all fly fishing vests are created equal. They come in all sorts of sizes and shapes. In this guide we want to give you an overview of what’s out there and what to pay attention to when purchasing a fishing vest. Afterwards we’ll take a look at some of the best ones on the market and tell you about their pros and cons.

Which Fishing Vest Should I Choose?

In its most basic form a fly fishing vest provides additional storage opportunities when hitting the water. In former days these vests were usually made of thicker material such as cotton or nylon. These vests were very durable. On the downside they were not very lightweight and not as breathable as modern fly fishing vests. Today most fishing vests feature a combination of mesh material and nylon. This dramatically increases breathability on hot summer days.

Some manufacturers make fishing vests that have a slim outline and are great if you want to bring only a little extra gear. They won’t constrain your freedom of movement. Other vests give you the utmost flexibility in terms of bringing as much gear as you want. Some fly anglers love to carry many fly boxes for every possible fishing situation they may encounter. If you are one of them, you should look for a fly vest with many pockets.

Lastly, modern day fly vests often come with a number of neat little features such as rod holders, D-Rings, retractors and much more. The classic fly fishing vest is rather short so you can wade deep when wearing it over your .

Let us now take a look at a range of options for your next fly fishing vest. As all fly fishermen’s and women’s needs and budgets are a bit different, we made sure to give you a range of options to choose from. All of these fly fishing vests can be worn by men and women. In the very last part of this guide we’ll take a look at Fishpond’s Upstream Tech Vest specifically for women.

Best Fly Fishing Vest Quick Answer List

1. Kylebooker Fly Fishing Vest Pack: Best Low-Budget

2. Fishpond Upstream Tech: Best Versatility

3. Kylebooker Fly Fishing Vest Pack FV02:Best New

4. Orvis Pro: Best Fit

5. Simms Tributary: Best Lightweight

6. Kylebooker Camouflage Fishing Vest FV04: Best Traditional

7. Simms G3 Guide: Best Professional

8. Fishpond Upstream Tech Women’s: Best Women’s Vest

9. Columbia Men’s PFG Henry’s Fork: Best Quick-Dry

10. Redington Clark Fork Mesh Fishing Vest: Best Entry-Level

Best Fly Fishing Vests on the Market in 2023

Now that you know what to look for in a fly fishing vests, we want to show you some of our favorites. For each model we’ll dive into the details and tell you what we like and dislike about them. We made sure to include different styles in this ultimate guide so that you have a wide selection to choose from. We have also paid attention to picking fly fishing vests for different budgets. Let’s go.

1. Kylebooker Fly Fishing Vest Pack FV01: Best Low-Budget

Pros:

Most pockets of any vest tested

Good ventilation

Adjustable straps

Cons:

A little bulky

Amazon top review:

I was looking for something not to break the bank, but let me see if I would like a vest as I have always used one kind of pack or another, figured I would get this before I spent the big $$ on a Simms or fishpond.

And all I can say is WOW, I will not be getting a fishpond or simms, why spend they money on a fishpond when this vest is almost the samething, I know because I went by the local sporting good store on my way out to give this a test.

This vest is awesome, plenty of storage space, light weight, adjustable and comfortable. I am so happy with this vest I'm beside myself. It looks to be built well and the price makes it a steal. If you think I'm joking pull them up side by side and compare, then look at the price difference. This is a know brainers.

After having it out on the water a couple times still feel the same way as this is a great vest so much so I have looked at there other products. Don't know if there quality will be the same but as good as this vest is figured it was worth checking out.

Why we picked it:

The Kylebooker FV01 is the outlier in our test in several aspects. It is the only one from a non-traditional fly fishing brand. The Kylebooker FV01 only comes in one size. However, thanks to its versatile system in can be adjusted to fit fly fishermen and women of different builds. The first thing that catches the eye when looking at the Kylebooker FV01 is the amount of pockets it features. This makes it a great choice for people who like to carry a lot of gear. The flipside of this design is the fact that the vest gets a bit bulky. This might provide less room of movement when casting a fly rod.

The Kylebooker FV01 is made of premium polyester and mesh fabric in the back of the vest. This gives it a good breathability even on hot summer days. The collar is not as well padded as in other models such as the Simms or Filson but still provides enough wearing comfort. The wide shoulder straps add to that since they distribute the weight of the vest equally. At 19.4oz (550g) the Kylebooker vest is the heaviest one in our test besides the Filson. That comes as no surprise given the amount of pockets of the vest.

The Kylebooker comes in a traditional green which gives it a classic look. Another option for traditionalists is the grey version. If you are into colors you can choose from a bright red or blue. At only $45 the Kylebooker Fishing Vest FV01 is by far the cheapest in our test. It certainly is a good choice for the money conscious fly fisher.

2.Best Versatility: Fishpond Upstream Tech

Pros:

Big lower pockets hold even big streamer boxes

Solid fit despite its size

Integrated net holder in the back

Cons:

Lower pockets can obstruct casting if fully loaded

Amazon top review:
Received as a gift to replace my fishpond pack that has seen better days. Works well, and has a lot of storage. It is somewhat warm to wear, more than you would expect. I do like it and would recommend it to others.

Why we picked it:

The Fishpond Upstream Tech Vest is another great fly fishing vest that is very versatile. It features 14 interior and exterior pockets. The ones on the front are extra large to hold even big fly boxes like the Fishpond Tacky Big Bug Box. On the back of the Fishpond Upstream Tech Vest you find a neat attachment for your fly fishing net. Adjustable waist and shoulder straps make sure the vest fits tightly no matter how packed it is. The Fishpond vest is made of recycled nylon material.

A mesh interior ensures a low weight which in turn makes the Fishpond Upstream Tech Vest comfortable to wear all day. Padded shoulder straps add to that comfort. The Upstream is the pinnacle of the Fishpond vest collection. If you want something a little cheaper the Fishpond Sagebrush Mesh Vest and Fishpond Gore Range Tech Pack are also great options from one of the premier fly fishing gear manufacturers.

At $199 the Fishpond Upstream Tech Vest does not come cheap. But the build quality ensures you will have fun with this fly fishing vest for years to come.

3.Best New: Kylebooker Fly Fishing Vest Pack FV02

Amazon top review:

I ordered 4 different vests and this one was the winner, mostly because of the fit, but it's also a great, versatile vest. I tried vests from Bassdash (runner up), Maxcatch, and Anglatech before this one and ended up returning all of them because they were way too big for me (5'10" 165lbs) even when cinched all the way.

I have worn this vest out about 5 times now and it has been excellent. There are tons of pockets, the zippers operate smoothly, and the backpack provides extra storage for a rain shell, sandwich, beers or whatever else you want to carry for the day. The rod holder is amazing. Many loops and attachment points.

I liked this vest so much that I ordered the non-backpack style vest for hotter days or shorter outings as wearing a backpack for several hours in the sun definitely makes your back a little warm and sweaty. This would not be an issue during cooler months.

【Lightweight and Comforable】This Fishing vest combining both a traditional fishing vest and fishing backpack to provide all the functionality you will ever need on any fishing trip! Trout fishing vest pack only 33oz weight ,It is made of lightweight breathable fabric . Mesh back allows for air to flow freely so you can stay cool and dry. Especially in hot weather.
【Professional Design】This fly fishing backpack is equipped with all the storage you will need for your fishing trips including: 2 hard shell fly compartments, 8 general storage pockets and a 3 section extendable rear backpack!D-ring gear attachment on the back, accessory clasps with spring cords, rod holder loops & a variety of accessory loops to various tools .
【Adjustable】One Size fits Most – Adjustable shoulder and waist strap design suspension structure to fit with most shapes and sizes.
【Multifunctional】Great for All types of fishing- Perfect for Trout Fishing,Fly Bass Fishing ,Outdoor Activities etc.And that would make a great gift as well. Do not hesitate, get this functional vest as a thoughtful gift to anyone you want!
【Superior service】Kylebooker are very concerned about customer satisfaction and desire to provide excellent customer service.If you're not satisfied with our products please don't hesitate to contact with us,let's make it right.

4.Best Fit: Orvis Pro

Pros:

Tight fit

Excellent padding around the collar

Big pockets that don’t obstruct casting

Cons:

Not adjustable

Amazon top review:
Love this vest. Purchased for a "brothers trip" fall of 2019 and could not have been more pleased. As i had to fly to the destination- very light weight. As we were in Jackson Hole, excellent durability. As im a bit of a gear geek who subscribes to the philosophy, make your gear work for you. Don't work for your gear! This piece of kit was perfect. It worked for me at every turn, tribute or river. I have room to spare for my next trip along with continuing to carry the extra supplies i bring. Its a bit on the extra $ side, and definitely more than it should be. But a bomb proof piece of gear ill be using for MANY years to come. Highly recommend.

Why we picked it:

Orvis is another big fly fishing brand offering a solid fly fishing vest with their Pro model. Similarly to the Patagonia Mesh Master II, Orvis stacks the front pockets vertically. The lower pockets are much bigger than the Mesh Master ones’ though giving you the possibility to store even large fly boxes (for streamers for example). Featuring 18 pockets in total, the Orvis Pro comes close to the Simms Freestone Vest. Just like the Patagonia the Orvis Pro also features two back pockets. One of them is a reach-through and the other one closes with a zipper.

The material of the Orvis Pro promises to be extra abrasion resistant. On the flipside the vest does not come in as light as the Patagonia Mesh Master II. At 17.5 oz (496g) it does not feel heavy either. It comes across as more sturdy overall since the fabric is not made of mesh but nylon. The nicely padded collar adds to the comfort and makes it a good choice for long days on the water.

5.Best New Fly Fishing Vest: Simms Tributary

[caption id="attachment_277" align="alignnone" width="290"]Simms Tributary Fishing Vest Simms Tributary Fishing Vest[/caption]

Pros:

Very lightweight

Plenty of pocket options

Mesh fabric provides good ventilation even on hot days

Cons:

Not as durable as other Simms vests

Why we picked it:

For the new season American manufacturer Simms comes out with their new Simms Tributary fishing vest. At $79.95 this one is an excellent choice for the minimalist and for women as well. This fishing vest boils it down to the essentials and is focused on reducing the weight while providing you with ample storage opportunities.

The padded collar of the Simms Tributary ensures great wearing comfort all day long. Besides the multiple pockets, this vest features a D-ring for your landing net and a rod holder. Comes in two colors and multiple sizes. Excellent value for money.

6.  Best Traditional:Kylebooker Camouflage Fishing Vest FV04

[caption id="attachment_279" align="alignnone" width="300"]Kylebooker Camouflage Fishing Vest FV04 Kylebooker Camouflage Fishing Vest FV04[/caption]

Material: 90% cotton + 10% polyester with mesh, breathable, softable, durable, lightweight and comforatble, suitable for all seasons.
Humanized & Practical Design: 5 zipper pockets and 6 velcro pockets, 2 big inner zipper pockets, a detachable windproof layer on the back, the practical design for fishing vest makes your hands free and it is convenient for storage all kinds of essential thing. Multiple zipper and velcro pockets can hold almost everything you need for outdoor fishing, hiking or hunting, climbing.
Sizes: Please refer to size chart from X-Small to X-Large, including Lenght, Bust and Shoulder Size. There are exist small errors due to different cutting processes and measurement methods. Please check the SIZE DETAILS before purchasing the order.
Multipurpose: The fly fishing vest is perfect for fishing, hiking, climbing, hunting, river rafting and other outdoor activities.

7.Best Professional Vest: Simms G3 Guide

[caption id="attachment_280" align="alignnone" width="300"]Simms M's G3 Guide Fishing Vest Simms M's G3 Guide Fishing Vest[/caption]

Pros:

Wide lower pockets for big items

Great weight distribution around the shoulders

Cons:

Heavier fabric – not ideal for the summer

Why we picked it:

If you want to look and fish look like a pro, go for the Simms G3 Guide. This model is the pinnacle of Simms’ fly fishing vest line and leaves nothing to be desired. 24 pockets make sure you can bring any gear you want.

The Simms G3 Guide has a very nice and snug fit and does not hinder your casting. Besides all the classic features of a fly fishing vest, the Simms G3 Guide comes with two built-in retractors to attach your nippers or pliers for example. Every time you think you’ve discovered all the pockets on the vest, you find another one.

Wide lower pockets for big itemsGreat weight distribution around the shoulders:Heavier fabric – not ideal for the summer:If you want to look and fish look like a pro, go for the . This model is the pinnacle of Simms’ fly fishing vest line and leaves nothing to be desired. 24 pockets make sure you can bring any gear you want.The has a very nice and snug fit and does not hinder your casting. Besides all the classic features of a fly fishing vest, the comes with two built-in retractors to attach your nippers or pliers for example. Every time you think you’ve discovered all the pockets on the vest, you find another one.

8.Best Women's Vest: Fishpond Upstream Tech Women's

Pros:

Women specific, more slender fit

Great attachment options

Cons:

A little bulky

Why we picked it:

Although all of the vests reviewed in this article can be worn by women as well, Fishpond has set out to create a fly fishing vest especially for women with their Upstream Tech Women’s. The women’s specific fit rides higher and has the option to be cinched down to ensure a snug fit.

The Fishpond Upstream Tech Women’s features padded, adjustable shoulder straps and mesh nylon on the back for increased breathability. We liked the fact that it also comes with a net slot in the back and velcro fly patch to store your wet flies to dry.

9.Best Quick-Dry: Columbia Men's PFG Henry's Fork

Pros:

Great value for money

Plenty of pockets in all sizes

Good mix if mesh and solid fabric

Cons:

A little bulky

Amazon top review:

Great vest, I have worn a few times while trout fishing and really got it dirty one time. It washed-up great. The only complaint I have is that the fabric and plastic clasp used to secure the front is very small and not very secure at all and can fall off. Mine has fallen off a couple times now...I may have to try adding some stitching or something to hold it in place so it doesn't fall off.

Why we picked it:

The Columbia Men’s PFG Henry’s Fork is our favorite when it comes to quick drying fly fishing vests. Available in two colors (Fossil – pictured above – and carbon) this vest is made from Columbia’s Omni-Shield™ material that promises to withstand all liquids below 170°F from entering the fabric. The result is that it dries 3-5 times faster than conventional material.

Besides these quick-drying capacities, the Columbia Men’s PFG Henry’s Fork convinced with its multitude of pockets and attachment options. The big lower front pockets can easily hold even big streamer boxes, tippet spools, floatant and other essential fly fishing gear. A neat little feature is the license window on the right chest pocket that means you don’t even have to take the license out of your pocket if you’re checked. The cushioned shoulder part ensured all-day wearing comfort.

10.Best Entry-Level: Redington Clark Fork Mesh Fishing Vest

Pros:

Very lightweight

Solid ventilation

Cons:

Lacks adjustment options

Amazon top review:

I'm now into my third season of using this vest for wade fishing the Sarasota Bay flats. I fish several times per week, but I make sure I rinse the salt water off the vest, along with all my other gear, if the bottom edges get wet. It has weathered several cycles through the washing machine and is no worse for wear. All the zippers are still in perfect working order - no corrosion. It has plenty of pockets for all my gear and leader material. The loops work well to hang my scissors, net, etc. I attached a little magnet system to the loop on the back of the vest, the other half of the magnet to the hoop end of my net, and then I can easily reach back and attach my net to the magnet on the back and this keeps the net out of my way when not in use. I bought the large/extra large size and this way I can wear the vest over my life vest when I prefer to fish out of my kayak. I found this to be much more cost effective than the extra cost of a combo fishing/life vest with no compromises to the number of pockets available.

Why we picked it:

The Redington Clark Fork Mesh Fishing Vest is a fantastic beginner’s fly fishing vest that has the potential to stay at your side for years because it has all the features you’re looking for in a quality fishing vest. Nine pockets are more than enough for most fly fishermen and women to hold all the essentials and even a small packed lunch if you’re out for a long day.

The padded shoulders and light mesh fabric make the Redington Clark Fork Mesh Fishing Vest comfortable to wear even when fully loaded. Besides all the front pockets, this vest features another big zippered pocket on the back that can even hold your catch if necessary. For around $30 the Redington Clark Fork Mesh Fishing Vest is a fantastic price to value product.

Conclusion on Fly Fishing Vests

We hope you enjoyed our big review of the best fly fishing vests. As you can see they come in all different forms, shapes and sizes. If you are looking to bring a lot of gear, pick one with a lot of pockets such as theFishpond Upstream Tech Vest. In case you want the utmost in casting flexibility and freedom go for a lightweight model such as theThe Patagonia Mesh Master II Fly Vest. If you want a cool, classic look you can’t go wrong with theFilson Guide.

Best Fly Fishing Vest 2023: FAQs

What is a fly fishing vest?
A fly fishing vest is a piece of gear that you wear over your waders. Made of lightweight material such as nylon it can hold many items you need when fly fishing, such as fly boxes, tippet spools, pliers and clippers.

What do you put in a fly fishing vest?
You can put a number of things in a fly fishing vest. These could be tools you need on the water such as fly boxes, tippet spools and pliers. A small lunch should also fit into your fly fishing vest.

Are fishing vests worth it?
You can get a quality fishing vest for less than $50. It can be a great and helpful tool as it offers you to stow away items such as nippers, pliers, sunglasses or fly boxes. Moreover, you can attach a landing net on the backside since most modern fishing vests have D-rings.

Are fishing vests supposed to be short?
Fishing vests tend to be shorter than a jacket let’s say because fishermen wear them over their regular clothes. When wading deep a shorter fishing vest can come in handy since even the lower parts of it won’t get wet.

Note: If you click on one of the links and purchase a product we earn a small commission that helps support our operations. We only recommend products that we think are worth using ourselves.

Learn more about fly fishing gear:

Best Fly Fishing Vest 2023
Best Fly Fishing Sling Pack 2023
Best Fly Fishing Chest Pack 2023
Best Fly Fishing Reel Case 2023
Best Fly Tying Vise 2023
Kylebooker Fly Fishing Catalog 2023

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