Best Fly Fishing Vest 2022: Organized and Easy To Access Gear

Lance Wilkins
Lance Wilkins
Editor @ CallOutdoors. Outdoor gear-head and adventure addict. I fish, camp and enjoy to writing about my adventures.

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Being a successful fly angler involves having all the right fly fishing tools at your disposal so you can adapt and change your fishing tactics on the water.

When I go fly fishing I carry at least 100 flies, plus multiple tippet options along with pliers, forceps, and nippers, the list goes on.

When fly fishing, fly anglers will often change their tactics up to every 15 minutes until they find what’s working.

The last thing you want to be doing is rummaging through your bag to find that one fly or spool of tippet you’re looking for each time you want to make a change.

So what’s the best and most organized way of carrying all this gear? In the best fly fishing vest.

Quick Access To Your Fly Fishing Gear

The best fly fishing vests have an abundance of storage options, each tailored to your flies, tippet, floatant, and more so you can make those changes with ease without even having to open a bag.

Take a look below at our guide for the best vests for fly fishing.

The Best Fly Fishing Vests From the Review

Top Pick

Simms Headwaters Pro Fly Fishing Vest

Manufactured using quality polyester and nylon, both of which are durable, abrasion-resistant, and water-repellant

Simms Headwaters Pro Fly Fishing Vest

The best fly fishing vest overall is the Simms Headwaters Pro Mesh Fly Fishing Vest.

This fly fishing vest is light, comfortable, durable, and comes with all the pockets and attachment points you could need for having all your gear organized and accessible.

The vest also comes with built-in retractors, and a lifetime warranty, so it’s a vest for life.

Best Fly Fishing Vest For The Money

Elkton Outdoors Fly Fishing Vest Pack

A more affordable option compared to the vests we have looked at above and it comes with an extendable backpack style rear storage area so you can carry a lot more.

Elkton Outdoors Fly Fishing Vest Pack

The best fly fishing vest for the money is the Elkton Outdoors Fly Fishing Vest.

This vest is littered with 13 pockets and 11 attachment points for all your gear needs, plus the back has so much storage even though it’s described as a backpack – it can carry lunch, extra layers, and more without any worries.

Editor’s Choice

Fishpond Upstream Tech Fly Fishing Vest

Made from Fishpond’s own high-quality Eco-nylon. Durable and water-repellent as normal nylon, ensuring their fly fishing vests are long-lasting, bead water, and dry out quickly when wet.

Fishpond Upstream Tech Fly Fishing Vest

One of the best fly fishing vests in my opinion is the Fishpond Upstream Tech Vest.

This fly fishing vest is made from recycled nylon, benefiting the environment, plus it’s durable, repels moisture, has aqua guard zippers for your valuables, and all the pockets and attachment points you could need for all your gear.

Best Kids Fishing Vest

Redington Blackfoot Fly Fishing Vest

The cotton makes the fly fishing vest soft to touch, and comfy to wear while the polyester adds durability and ensures the vest dries quickly and wicks sweat with ease.

Redington Blackfoot Fly Fishing Vest

The best kids fly fishing vest is the Reddington Blackfoot fly fishing vest.

This vest comes in sizes for kids, is made to be durable, quick-drying, plus has enough pockets and attachment points for all the gear and tools kids might need when fly fishing.

Our Top Fly Fishing Vests

Orvis Ultralight Fly Fishing Vest

Made of a combination of quality polyester, abrasion-resistant nylon, and spandex making the vest light, durable, stretchy, and comfortable to wear.

Orvis Ultralight Fly Fishing Vest

The Orvis Ultralight Fly Fishing Vest is made of a combination of quality polyester, abrasion-resistant nylon, and spandex making the vest light, durable, stretchy, and comfortable to wear.

The collar is padded with foam for extra neck comfort and the outer layer features a DWR (durable water repellent) coating.

Materials

Nylon and polyester are naturally water-repellent and with the addition of a DWR shed water quickly in order to ensure the fly vest stays dry while you’re fly fishing.

The fly vest is not waterproof though and will get soaked in heavy rain or when submerged, but the materials also dry quickly, so it won’t take more than an hour in the sun for the fly vest to dry out.

These quality materials also make the fly vest breathable, letting heat out so you won’t overheat while you’re fishing hard on hot days.

Pockets

These fly fishing vests feature 11 pockets; 6 exterior, 4 interior, and 1 rear pocket.

They are laid out nicely for accessibility and organization and fit all the fly fishing gear you need for a day on the water.

Two of the exterior pockets are made to fit large fly boxes, the next 2 are the perfect size for tippet spools, and the last two are thin and ideal for holding thin plastic packs with sink tips or pre-built leaders.

Fly Patch

On the chest of these fly fishing vests, you’ll find a fly patch on each side for drying flies, and a D ring under each for attaching zingers and tools like nippers, forceps, and floatant.

You can use the 4 internal pockets for any valuable items like your keys or phone, or extra gear, and the large rear pocket is perfect for carrying an extra layer or a rain jacket.

D Ring

There is also a D ring on the back for you to clip your net on, that is easy to access when you’re landing a fish.

The only thing holding these fly fishing vests back is the number of attachment points on the front.

There are only two, and one would usually use at least 3 to cover your floatant, nippers, and forceps.

Also, the sizes on these fly vests run a bit small so you might want to order a size up.

Specs

  • Material: Nylon, polyester, spandex
  • Sizes: M – XXL
  • Pockets: 11
  • Water-resistant: Yes

Pros

  • Light and comfortable to wear
  • Durable and well made
  • Quick-drying fabric with DWR coating sheds water
  • Numerous zippered pockets for all your fishing gear
  • Specially sized pockets for large fly boxes, tippet spools, and more
  • D-rings for attaching zingers
  • Internal zippered pockets for valuable items
  • Net holder on the back
  • Breathable and cool

Cons

  • Sizes run small, order a size up
  • No many zinger attachment points

Orvis Pro Fly Fishing Vest

Made from a combination of quality abrasion-resistant nylon for durability with a breathable mesh back for keeping you cool on hot days.

Orvis Pro Fly Fishing Vest

The Orvis Pro Fly Fishing Vest is made from a combination of quality abrasion-resistant nylon for durability with a breathable mesh back for keeping you cool on hot days.

Materials

The collar is padded and the fly vest is light, soft, and comfy to wear overall.

The outer layers are covered in a DWR coating to add to the Nylons water-repellency.

The fly vest beads water to stop you from getting wet and when soaked in a downpour dries out in less than 30 minutes if in direct sunshine.

Pockets

These fly fishing vests come with a total of 18 pockets, all of which are well sized to fit all your fly fishing gear, and the many pockets are all well laid out for easy access.

There are 10 exterior, 6 interior, and 2 rear pockets for you to keep your gear and items organized.

Exterior Pockets

The 10 exterior pockets include two large zippered pockets for your boxes of flies.

The pockets are compression molded for rigidity making access and finding your boxes easier. The other 8 pockets are sized for smaller boxes, pre-made leaders and sink tips, tippets, and more.

Fly Patches

You’ll also find two fly patches, a D ring under each for putting tools on, plus an elastic holder for adding up to 8 spools of tippet.

This makes accessing and unrolling your tippet a breeze, as it sits perfectly on your waist waiting for any changes you need to make.

Interior Pockets

The interior pockets are perfect for any valuable items or extra’s and the two rear pockets are large enough for storing lunch, a rain jacket, or whatever else you might need.

There is also a net holder on the back which is quick and easy to access when you need it to land that trophy brook trout.

Quality

Overall these high-quality Orvis Pro fly fishing vests are excellent and have everything you could need to keep your gear ready and organized.

The one thing is that they are pretty expensive as fly vests go though, but worth it for the high-quality and well thought out design.

Specs

  • Material: Nylon, Stretch Mesh
  • Sizes: M- XXL
  • Pockets: 18
  • Water-resistant: Yes

Pros

  • Abrasion-resistant for durability
  • Water-resistant DWR coating sheds any water fast
  • Breathable to keep you cool
  • Lightweight and quick-drying
  • Lots of pockets for keeping fly fishing gear organized
  • Large zippered pockets on the inside for your valuables
  • Padded collar for comfort
  • Net holder on the back
  • Elastic holders for tippet spools
  • A fly patch on each side for drying your flies

Cons

  • A little expensive

Top Pick

Simms Headwaters Pro Fly Fishing Vest

Manufactured using quality polyester and nylon, both of which are durable, abrasion-resistant, and water-repellant.

Simms Headwaters Pro Fly Fishing Vest

The Simms Headwaters Pro Fly Fishing Vest is a mesh vest with a mesh back, internal mesh pockets, and nylon external pockets.

Materials

The Simms mesh vest is manufactured using quality polyester and nylon, both of which are durable, abrasion-resistant, and water-repellant, and being a mesh vest, these fly vests are super light, breathable, and dry out quickly.

Pockets

The Simms mesh vest features 20 pockets in total, more than enough to hold all your gear and they are all well laid out for easy access and to keep your gear organized.

There are a total of 10 exterior pockets, 8 internal pockets (some are mesh pockets), and 2 rear pockets. 

External Pockets

The external pockets will happily fit up to 8 boxes of flies, tippet spools, and whatever else you need easy access to.

You’ll also find 2 D rings for your floatant and putty, plus two built-in retractors.

Retractors

The two built-in retractors are perfect for storing your nippers and forceps.

They hang out of the way above your waist while you’re fly fishing, and can quickly be pulled into action whenever you need them.

Internal Pockets

The 8 internal pockets are great for snacks like power bars, holding your wallets, keys, fishing license, plus any extras you might need.

While the 2 large rear pockets can hold extra layers, a rain jacket, lunch, and drinks.

Net Holder

These fly fishing vests also come with a net holder on the back and a fly rod holder on the front.

The holder for your rod allows you to safely stow your rod in the fly vest when needing two hands to tie knots, instead of leaving it on the floor or holding it in between your legs.

The Simms Headwaters Pro Fly Fishing Vest is one of the best fly fishing vests thanks to its feature set, but it’s pretty expensive.

Warranty

Don’t let the price put you off though, as these fly vests come with a lifetime guarantee. Simms will fix or replace them for free if something goes wrong, and just fix them for a small fee if they wear out.

Either way, you have a fly vest for life.

Specs

  • Material: Nylon & Polyester
  • Sizes: S-XXL
  • Pockets: 20
  • Water-resistant: Yes

Pros

  • Stretch mesh design for breathability and lightweight comfort
  • Net attachment and a fly rod holder to keep your hands free
  • Durable and long-lasting design
  • 20 pockets for keeping fly fishing gear organized
  • Two built-in retractors for nippers, forceps, and more
  • Water-resistant materials ensure you stay dry
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Internal pockets to keep valuables safe

Cons

  • A little expensive

Top Pick

Simms Freestone Fly Fishing Vest

Made from quality 100% nylon with a 100% polyester mesh lining. Durable and naturally water-repellent so you won’t have to worry about clipping the fly vest on any branches or rocks as it’ll handle it.

Simms Freestone Fly Fishing Vest

The Simms Freestone Fly Fishing Vests are made from quality 100% nylon with a 100% polyester mesh lining.

Materials

Both nylon and polyester are durable and naturally water-repellent so you won’t have to worry about clipping the fly vest on any branches or rocks as it’ll handle it.

Plus any light rain showers won’t have your fly vest soaking wet, keeping you and your gear dry.

Quick Drying

Another great thing about the fly vest is that it dries quickly if it does get wet, saving you the discomfort of wading around in a soggy vest all day after a quick downpour.

This fly vest features a soft collar for comfort around your neck area and the polyester mesh ensures breathability to keep you cool on those hotter days on the river.

Pockets

There are a total of 19 pockets on this fly vest including 12 external pockets, 6 internal pockets, and 1 rear pocket.

The pockets range in size and include larger pockets for big boxes of flies, smaller pockets for tippets, and the large rear pocket is perfect for carrying a rain jacket.

D Rings

On the front, you’ll find two D rings for attaching your tools like nippers and forceps plus a holder for your rod.

This allows you to store your rod when you need to use two hands without having to lay it down on the floor and risk it being damaged.

Net Holder

There is another D ring on the back of the fly fishing vest for holding a net.

It’s conveniently located so you can put one hand behind you and grab it with ease when landing fish.

Warranty

These fly fishing vests are a bit expensive but they do come with a lifetime warranty, and if they wear out you can send them back to Simms and they’ll fix them up for a small fee, essentially giving you one fly fishing vest for life.

Specs

  • Material: Nylon, Polyester
  • Sizes: S-XL
  • Pockets: 19
  • Water-resistant: Yes

Pros

  • 2 x D-rings for attaching retractors
  • Plenty of storage space for all your fly fishing gear
  • Multiple pocket sizes to match fly boxes, tools, and tippet
  • Padded collar and neck strap for comfort
  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Water-resistant to keep you dry
  • Quick-drying materials
  • High quality and durable materials
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Pock placement is perfect for access and mobility
  • Net attachment on the back is easy to access

Cons

  • A little expensive

Editor’s Choice

Fishpond Upstream Tech Fly Fishing Vest

Made from Fishpond’s own high-quality Eco-nylon. Durable and water-repellent as normal nylon, ensuring their fly fishing vests are long-lasting, bead water, and dry out quickly when wet.

Fishpond Upstream Tech Fly Fishing Vest

The Fishpond Upstream Tech Fly Fishing Vests are made from Fishpond’s own high-quality Eco-nylon.

Materials

Fishpond actively collects wasted nylon from things like fishing nets or old backpacks and turns it into their own recycled nylon material.

Anglers all over the world are seeing their fishing grounds being polluted by trash and waste, and by choosing products like this, are making a difference to the overall health of the planet, and the fish they want to catch.

Build

Fishpond’s eco-nylon is just as durable and water-repellent as normal nylon, ensuring their fly fishing vests are long-lasting, bead water, and dry out quickly when wet.

This fly fishing vest is one size fits all and comes with adjustable waist and shoulder straps to give you a perfect fit, larger fly anglers may find it a little tight though.

Pockets

The vest features many pockets with 14 in total.

The many pockets are well located for accessibility and come in a range of sizes to suit all your gear.

You’ll find 9 external pockets for your gear and 5 internal for any valuables and accessories you don’t need to access that often.

Tool Attachment

The vest also comes with 6 tool attachment points, giving you space to hold everything from nippers to floatant and tippet.

There is also a removable foam velcro fly patch, plus a rod holder so you can use two hands without having to lay your rod down on the floor.

On the back, you’ll find a larger pocket for holding extra layers, lunch, drinks, and a rain jacket, plus a sling for your net too. There is a place for everything on this vest.

Quality

This is the most expensive vest in the review, but it is durable, made from eco-materials and it comes with a lifetime warranty, so it’s one vest for the rest of your life.

Specs

  • Material: Eco Nylon
  • Sizes: One size fits all
  • Pockets:14
  • Water-resistant: Yes

Pros

  • Velcro foam fly patch attachment
  • Multiple tool attachment points for nippers and forceps
  • Adjustable waist and shoulder straps to fit most fly anglers
  • Made from ECO recycled nylon
  • Water-guard zipper on the internal pockets for valuables
  • Large zippered pockets fit up to 5 fly boxes
  • Light mesh interior with padded shoulder straps for comfort
  • Water-resistant and quick-drying
  • Large back pocket for a rain jacket, lunch, and drinks
  • Integrated fly rod holder for keeping your hands free
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • A little expensive
  • Not the best fit for larger anglers

Best Fly Fishing Vest For The Money

Elkton Outdoors Fly Fishing Vest Pack

A more affordable option compared to the vests we have looked at above and it comes with an extendable backpack style rear storage area so you can carry a lot more.

Elkton Outdoors Fly Fishing Vest Pack

The Elkton Outdoors Fly Fishing Vest is a more affordable option compared to the vests we have looked at above and it comes with an extendable backpack style rear storage area so you can carry a lot more.

Any fly anglers reading this who are shopping on a budget or find normal vests a little limiting in terms of gear space should take a hard look at this vest.

Materials

This fly fishing vest is made from quality 100% nylon making it both durable to abrasions and water-repellent.

Water beads off nylon naturally ensuring that the fly fishing vest doest get soaked easily, and dries quickly when it does.

Fit

This vest features a one size fits all design and you can adjust the shoulder and/or waist straps to find the perfect fit.

The vest is light when empty and comfortable to wear thanks to the soft collar and breathable internal mesh that keeps you cool.

Pockets

There are a total of 13 pockets on this vest and it’ll easily carry everything you need for a day on the water.

There are 2 hard shell fly compartments, 8 general storage pockets, and a 3 section extendable rear backpack.

Hardshell Compartments

The hardshell fly compartments remove the need for boxes if you want them to, as they are built-in to the vest.

They are also perfect for keeping a selection of flies handy or storing wet flies while the remainder of your collection stays in your boxes in the other pockets.

Attachment Poinst

The outside of the vest features 11 attachment points in the form of loops, webbing, and D rings, more than enough to clip on any tools.

There is a holder for your rod too, meaning you can have your hands free to build leaders and tie on flies with ease.

Net Holder

The back of the vest has a ring for your net and a pocket system for adding anything from layers to rain jackets, lunch, drinks, and more.

The only issues with this vest are that when fully loaded, it becomes bulky and a bit cumbersome to walk around in, plus there are no drying patches for your flies to tippet spool holders.

Specs

  • Material: Nylon
  • Sizes: One size fits all
  • Pockets:13
  • Water-resistant: Yes

Pros

  • Light, breathable, and comfortable to wear
  • Plenty of storage for all your fly fishing gear
  • D rings for attaching nippers and more
  • Built-in fly boxes for easy access
  • Breathable mesh interior
  • Internal pockets for valuables
  • Extendable backpack type rear storage with 2 large sections for extras
  • Well laid out pockets for easy organization

Cons

  • A bit bulky when full of fly fishing gear
  • No tippet spool holder or fly patches

Best Kids Fishing Vest

Redington Blackfoot Fly Fishing Vest

Made from a mixture of polyester and cotton. The cotton makes the fly fishing vest soft to touch, and comfy to wear while the polyester adds durability and ensures the vest dries quickly and wicks sweat with ease.

Redington Blackfoot Fly Fishing Vest

The Redington Blackfoot Fly Fishing Vests are made from a mixture of polyester and cotton.

The cotton makes the fly fishing vest soft to touch, and comfy to wear while the polyester adds durability and ensures the vest dries quickly and wicks sweat with ease.

The vest also consists of a mesh inner lining for breathability, to help keep you cool on those warmer days out on the river.

Sizing

These fly fishing vests come in a range of sizes from Small to XX-large and there are even youth sizes for kids.

They are true to size and fit well.

There are a total of 11 pockets on this fly fishing vest, 9 external for your gear, 2 internal for your valuables, and a larger rear pocket for any extras like a rain jacket.

Pockets

Each pocket is specially sized and placed for easy access to your boxes of flies, tippet, floatant, and any other bits of gear.

On the front, you’ll find a single D ring for tools, which is a little limiting as one would usually need 2 or three for your nippers, forceps, and floatant.

Rod Holder

But, there is a holder for your rod on the front, so at least you can use two hands with ease whenever you need to.

On the back of the vest, you’ll find another attachment point for your net which is easy to access with one hand, making landing fish easy.

Materials

There are some drawbacks to this fly fishing vest compared to the others, mainly that the inclusion of cotton means it won’t dry as quickly as the others, and that the zippers catch and can be hard to unzip.

But, being one of the most affordable fly fishing vests in the review, some negatives are to be expected.

Specs

  • Material: Polyester & Cotton
  • Sizes: Youth, S-XXL
  • Pockets: 11
  • Water-resistant: Yes

Pros

  • Light and comfortable to wear
  • True to size and fits well
  • Large back storage panel for extra gear like a rain jacket
  • Multiple pockets for all your fly fishing gear
  • D ring attachments for any tools
  • Well laid out pockets for organization
  • Built-in fly rod holder to keep your hands free
  • Fast wicking and quick-drying to keep you cool and dry
  • Padded collar and mesh back for added comfort

Cons

  • Zippers can be a little tricky
  • Doesn’t dry as quickly as non-cotton vests
  • Limited external attachment points

Rothco Kids Fly Fishing Vest

Made from a blend of cotton and polyester. These vests are thick, durable, and are designed to keep up and survive the active lifestyle of children.

Rothco Kids Fly Fishing Vest

The Rothco Kids Fly Fishing Vest comes in sizes S-XL to match any age from 3 – 14 years old and is made from a blend of cotton and polyester.

These fly fishing vests are thick, durable, and are designed to keep up and survive the active lifestyle of children.

Porkcets

These fly fishing vests feature a total of 16 pockets, 13 external for your gear and 3 internal for any valuables.

Each pocket is easily accessible and they come in a range of sizes to match fishing gear like boxes for flies, multi-tools, tippet, and more.

D Rings

On the front, you’ll also find two D rings for attaching your nippers, floatant, and forceps to, plus a holder for your rods so you can use two hands with ease when you need to.

There is also a fly patch for drying any used flies on too.

There is also another D ring on the back of the fly fishing vest for attaching a net.

It sits in the middle and one can easily access it with one hand while fighting a fish.

Materials

The one negative to this fly fishing vest for kids is that it gets wet easily.

It’s made with 55% cotton, and although cotton is nice to wear, it soaks up moisture and takes 3-4 hours to dry when wet.

So if it does rain a lot while you’re out fishing, be aware that this vest will stay wet for a while.

Specs

  • Material: Cotton & Polyester
  • Sizes: S-XL
  • Pockets:16
  • Water-resistant: No

Pros

  • Lots of pockets for fly fishing gear
  • Good pocket layout for organization
  • Back panel D ring for net attachment
  • Integrated rod holder
  • A D ring on each side on the front for retractors
  • Light and comfortable to wear
  • Internal pockets for any valuables
  • Soft fly patch for drying flies

Cons

  • Not water-resistant and will get wet easily
  • Once wet it takes a few hours to dry

What is a fly fishing vest?

Fisherwoman Fly Fishing In a River
Fisherwoman Fly Fishing In a River

A fly fishing vest is a vest anglers use to store all the gear they need while they are walking around river banks or lake shores.

Unlike a normal vest, these fishing vests are covered in pockets and places to attach fishing tools, and they’re made from breathable, durable, water-repelling materials that keep you comfortable while fishing.

Why use fly fishing vests?

Anglers who fly fish need to carry a lot of different pieces of equipment in order to catch fish.

You’ll often have 4 or 5 fly boxes, 4 tippet spools, nippers, forceps, floatant, indicator putty, a net, snacks, a rain jacket, the list is endless.

You can, of course, keep all this in a bag but imagine standing in a river needing to change flies.

Less Hassle

You’ll start by putting your rod between your legs, getting your bag out, picking a fly and getting your nippers out and putting your bag back on.

Then grabbing the end of your line, tying on a fly, then putting your nippers away again. It sounds like a nightmare doesn’t it?

Quick Access

With fishing vests, all you have to do is holster your rod, nip off the fly with your attached nippers, unzip one pocket, get a fly out, tie it on and you’re good to go.

NOTE

Fishing vests make all your gear close, organized, easily accessible, and have handy places to hold your rods and nippers so you do things quickly and spend more time fishing instead of rummaging in your bag.

What makes the best fly fishing vest?

Fisherman Standing at Shallow Part of a River
Fisherman Standing at Shallow Part of a River

The best fishing vests will be comfortable, durable, plus store and hold all the gear you need for a day of fishing in an organized and easily accessible manner.

Pockets

A good vest should come with 10 or more external pockets of differing sizes to match things like fly boxes and tippets.

TIP

A good vest will also have internal pockets for valuables, plus a large rear pocket for a rain jacket, lunch, or water.

External Storage

The best vest will also have external places where you can attach things in retractors (usually D rings) you need often like nippers, and they’ll even have a place to hang your net and store your rod too so you can use both hands when you need to.

Things to consider when buying a fly fishing vest

What’s Your Price Point?

Fishing vests like most fishing gear follow the rule of ‘the more you spend the higher the quality’.

High End

If you go for the more expensive options, like the Simms Pro Mesh Vest, you’re getting a vest that’s made of lighter, more comfortable fabric and you’ll get a lifetime warranty too, ensuring you have the same vest for the rest of your life.

Budget Friendly

That being said, budget-friendly vests like the Redington Blackfoot or the Elkton Outdoors vest offer you all the organizational and storage features you need from a vest but might not last as long, and are made from heavier fabrics that don’t dry as fast.

Does Materials and Design Matter?

Man Fishing in a River
Man Fishing in a River

The materials your fishing vest is made from defines a few things including breathability, durability, weight, and how quickly the vest gets wet or dries.

It’s not just about the vest materials though, it’s also about the vest design.

How Vest Designs Vary

Vests designs include mesh or solid fabric, or a mixture of the two.

Mesh

Mesh vests are a lot lighter to wear, as they use less fabric and therefore dry a lot quicker too, as there is very little fabric for water to soak into.

They’re also breathable as the holes in the mesh allow hot air to escape and keep you cool. 

Solid Fabric

Solid fabric vests are a bit heavier to wear, a little less breathable, but they are a bit warmer for when you’re fishing in colder conditions.

Solid fabric vests will also absorb more water than mesh vests, and end up taking longer to dry because of this.

Different Vest Materials

The main materials used for fishing vests are nylon, polyester, and cotton.

Nylon and Polyester

Vests made from nylon and polyester are light, durable, and naturally water-resistant and will bead off any light rain keeping you dry.

Polyester and nylon also dry fast, meaning if you do get caught in heavy rain, it won’t take long for your jacket to dry.

Check out the Simms Headwaters Pro Vest in the video below…

Produktguide: Simms Headwaters Pro Mesh Vest

Cotton

Vests made with cotton usually include some polyester in the fabric blend too, and the inclusion of cotton means that they are warm, soft and comfortable to wear but soak up water easily, and take a while to dry out, a few hours longer than nylon or polyester.

How Many Pockets Will I Need?

The main idea of fishing vests is being able to store all your fishing gear in the vest in an organized and accessible way.

For you to do this, you’re going to need to have the right amount of pockets, and have them in the right places.

Number of Pockets

The best vests will have around 8 front pockets in various sizes to match fly boxes, tippet spools, floatant and more.

This makes the gear you need often, quick and easy to access.

TIP

There should then be a few internal pockets, ideal for valuables like car keys, your fishing license, or the shopping list for the way home.

Back Pocket

Finally, a great vest will have a pocket on the back panel of the jacket for keeping larger things like a rain jacket or your sandwich for lunch.

If you have all of these pockets covered, then the vest you’re onto is a winner.

Attachment Areas

Man Teaching a Child Fly Fishing
Man Teaching a Child Fly Fishing

The final thing your vest needs is some places to store your tools like nippers and knives or a place to attach your rod and net.

D Rings

A great vest will have at least 2 or 3 D rings on the front for holding your nippers and floatant, so you don’t have to open up your pocket to find them everytime you need to use them.

TIP

There should also be another D ring for you to clip your net to on the back, so you can walk around without having to hold your net in one hand as you move up river.

Rod Holder

A vest with a holder for your rod is also useful.

When you need to use two hands, when tying a knot for example, you can holster your rod in your vest instead of holding it between your legs or laying it on the floor.

Summing Up

Thanks for reading my article about the best fly fishing vests, I hope you enjoyed it.

I don’t know a single fly fisherman who doesn’t find their fly fishing vest extremely useful and all fly fishermen should own one.

Having all your fishing gear a reach away makes life so much easier when changing flies, adding tippet or floatant, and even when lading fish.

If you haven’t which of the fly fishing vests in the review is for you, here are the fly fishing vests I would choose, and for different reasons.

Top Pick

The best fishing vest overall is the Simms Headwaters Pro Mesh Fly Fishing Vest.

This vest features an abundance of pockets, all well laid out for accessibility with pockets in every place you could want one.

The vest also comes with a holder for your rod, retractors built-in for your nippers and other tools, plus extra external attachments for anything else you want quick access to like floatant.

This fishing vest is light, comfortable, breathable, drys quickly, and comes with a lifetime warranty too, so it’s a fishing best for life.

Best Fly Fishing Vest For The Money 

For someone who is on a budget or any fly fishermen who like to carry a lot of gear, the Elkton Outdoor fishing vest is a great choice.

There is a storage area for all your gear on this vest from your net to your rod and a load of hanging points for all your tools.

The back even has 3 large storage spaces for extras like layers, drinks, and more.

Editor’s Choice

If I had to choose one, it would be the Fishpond Upstream Tech Vest.

The thing I love about these fishing vests is that they are made from recycled nylon and by buying one you’re removing nets from the ocean and wasted nylon from landfills.

Plus, the vest is durable, comfortable, functional, and has all the tool attachments and pockets you could need for your gear.

Feel Free To Share!

Thanks again for reading my article, I hope you found it useful.

Please feel free to share the article with your fishing buddies or anyone looking for a fishing vest.

Having a good fly fishing vest makes the world of difference when you’re stalking them and I hope that you found the fly fishing vest for you.

You might enjoy checking out some of our other articles on fishing accessories. Such as these articles about best lens color for fishing, best fishing shoes, or best fishing watch.

We cover almost everything you might need for your next fishing adventure whether you’re planning on chasing bass, steelhead, or kayak fishing around the Florida flats.

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Lance Wilkins
Lance Wilkins
Editor @ CallOutdoors. Outdoor gear-head and adventure addict. I fish, camp and enjoy to writing about my adventures.
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