The Best Fly Fishing Vests – Store And Use Fishing Gear Easier

The Best Fly Fishing Vests – Store And Use Fishing Gear Easier

Fishing vests are far and away the most popular way for anglers to keep all the essentials close at hand, and for good reason.

Spending a day on the water means you will want to have everything you could need on you, rather than returning to your vehicle for supplies. So which fly fishing vest will perform the best for your needs?

Which type of fly fishing vest will perform for your needs will depend on what you like to carry when you hit the water for a full day of fishing.

In Hurry? This Is Our Top Pick

G3 Guide Fishing Vest

Why is it better?

  • Excellent pocket variety
  • Comfortable
  • Good breathability
Simms G3 Guide Vest
59 Reviews
Simms G3 Guide Vest
  • FREESTONE FISHING VEST: Simms' Freestone Vest takes inspiration from...
  • MULTI-POCKET OUTDOOR VEST: This fishing vest includes 19 pockets for...
  • WATER-RESISTANT ZIPPERS: This sleeveless vest is designed with YKK...

Our Top Picks For Fishing Vests

With that in mind, let’s now take a closer look at our top picks.

Let’s dive into the specifics and review each vest individually. You can use the list below to jump and review specific models, or you can read along and go through all the information.

  1. Simms G3 Guide Vest
  2. Patagonia Mesh Master II Vest
  3. Fishpond Gore Range Tech Pack

Best Overall: Simms G3 Guide Vest

Simms G3 Guide Vest
59 Reviews
Simms G3 Guide Vest
  • FREESTONE FISHING VEST: Simms' Freestone Vest takes inspiration from...
  • MULTI-POCKET OUTDOOR VEST: This fishing vest includes 19 pockets for...
  • WATER-RESISTANT ZIPPERS: This sleeveless vest is designed with YKK...

Simms Fly Fishing gear is simply top-notch. In the world of fly fishing, Simms has a well-established reputation for the quality of their products. As expected, Simms G3 Guide Vest is right on the mark.

Comfort is a real strong point in this fly fishing vest.

The shoulders feature a stretchy mesh material that rides really well even after a full day on the water. And the padded collar remains soft and well ventilated when the sun is high.

The pocket variety is excellent as well. With a whopping 24 pockets throughout, you will be sure to find a place for all your essential fly fishing gear.

Just to describe a few, the chest features 2 large zippered chest pockets, 2 vertical weather-tight chest pockets, and 2 cargo chest pockets. Meanwhile, the back panel features a weather-tight split-back pocket, as well as a large bellowed cargo pocket.

That’s just for starters. This fly fishing vest is truly loaded with exterior and interior pockets. And all of them feature quality closures like non-corrosive YKK® zippers and sliders.

One really helpful feature on the Simms G3 Guide Vest is the ‘third-hand rod holder.’ The rod holder features a Velcro® chest tab as well as a reel seat sling, so you can use both hands when adding tippet material or changing flies.

For those looking for the total package, the Simms G3 Guide Vest has it going on.

Patagonia Mesh Master II Vest

Patagonia is a big name in the fly fishing world.  Their gear is all-around solid and designed to provide what anglers need on the water.

Patagonia makes a few truly great fly fishing vests. After much deliberation, the Patagonia fishing vest we found to be exceptional was the Mesh Master II.

Among it’s many great features, the most prominent feature of this fishing vest is the mesh body. 

This lightweight design offers maximum breathability and reduces the overall weight of the vest drastically.

While this vest is not a ‘minimalist’ design, the Patagonia Mesh Master II has a streamlined design that leaves off  all the excess that some anglers would rather do without.

This fishing vest offers a smart vertical front pocket design that reduces bulk. The pockets feature a 3-layer 100% nylon construction, with a waterproof/breathable design that is also DWR (durable water repellent) coated to keep your gear dry.

The back panel of the vest features a stacked upper pocket that serves to keep contents high above the water while wading.  In addition, the bottom features a large mesh zip pocket that is great for storing a light rain jacket or other extras.

The Patagonia Mesh Master II Fishing Vest is a really comfortable option. The mesh base is cool and dries quickly, while the EVA foam collar provides a pleasant fit.  We are big fans of Patagonia gear and this Patagonia fishing vest is no exception.  If you are in the market for a fishing vest this is one worth taking a closer look at.

Fishpond Gore Range Tech Pack

Fishpond Gore Range Tech Pack
76 Reviews
Fishpond Gore Range Tech Pack
  • 17 exterior and interior pockets
  • Vertical chest pockets hold large and medium boxes
  • Gear attachment tabs, cord loops, D-ring net lash, and Hemostat keeper

Fishpond makes incredibly practical fly fishing gear that looks great and gets the job done. The Fishpond Gore Range Tech Pack maintains that reputation for top quality and performance.

Fishpond did a great job designing this vest to be light and functional in order to avoid the weight of a traditional fishing vest. This design removes much of the unnecessary material that doesn’t add any real benefit to a fishing vest.

With that said, the practical elements remain strong. For example, this vest offers 17 pockets that range in size to fit everything from your fly boxes to leaders and tippet.

Adjustable and wide shoulder straps distribute weight nicely and offer a ton of comfort for those gear-heavy trips that require all the essentials. And external attachment points provide for quick access to zingers and forceps.

When the sun is high in the sky, the Fishpond Gore Range Tech Pack provides excellent ventilation with mesh backing on the rear of the vest as well as the inner front.

Fly Fishing Vests FAQ



Fly fishing vests need to be rugged enough to handle the varied conditions they will encounter season after season, while also providing comfort, breathability, and flexibility.

The two best materials to achieve these goals are mesh and fabric.

Mesh is a netted material that is extremely breathable. That makes it very suitable for fishing during the hot summer months.

Mesh fly fishing vests are also very stretchable, enhancing your movement ability when you’re on the water.

Fabric is not as flexible or breathable as mesh. However, it is a more durable material. The most popular fabrics are cotton, nylon, and polyester.

A combination of mesh and fabric can provide a very good combination of strength, breathability, and flexibility.

Some of these combination vests are able to be zipped down and tied so that the mesh panels are able to help keep you cool.


A fly fishing vest presents you with ample storage capacity.

However, unless you follow some sort of system, you will struggle to locate what you want when you need it when you’re out on the water.

Over time, you will find the system that works best for you. In the meantime, here are some tips from fishing experts that will prove helpful:

  • Have a single working fly box where you keep your most popular flies. Put it in a large pocket that you can easily reach with your dominant hand. Have a smaller fly box with backup flyes in a smaller pocket.
  • Use smaller pockets for smaller items. This may include leaders, tubes of flotant, disinfectant powder, knot-tying tools, lip balm, and pocket knives.
  • Use zingers (retractable leashes) to attach nippers and hemostats.
  • Purchase tippet caddies to hold spools of tippet to your vest.
  • Make use of the large zippered pouch on the back of your vest to put in your lunch and water bottle.



A well-equipped fly fishing vest will ensure that you don’t get caught short on the waterways when the weather changes or your fishing demands a specific tool.

You should always carry the following essentials with you in your fishing vest:

  • Clippers
  • Forceps
  • A Poncho
  • Sunscreen
  • A spare car key
  • A first aid kit
  • A flashlight
  • A plastic bag
  • A thermometer
  • Insect repellant

That list may seem as if you will be weighing yourself down too much. However, they are al important.

Try to get mini sizes of repellants and sunscreens and get small versions of the other items so long as they function effectively.

You do not want to overstuff the vest or it will compromise your comfort and movability.

Top Fly Fishing Vest Features To Consider

Top Fly Fishing Vest Features To Consider


You don’t need to spend a million bucks on a fly fishing vest, but be warned; a cheap fly fishing vest loaded up with gear can be really uncomfortable.

You might be surprised how quickly all that weight can add up.

Carrying a variety of fly boxes, leaders, split shot, and maybe a light rain jacket in back is not uncommon.

If you want a comfortable vest then it is really important that you look at a quality option.

Cheap and flimsy fly fishing vests will cause a variety of problems, and will usually become so uncomfortable that you’ll want to take the vest off in short order.


Before you select a fly fishing vest you need to know what you intend to carry in the vest.

Even though they are designed for carrying fly fishing gear, there is no standard sized fly box, so you’ll have to make sure your fly boxes will work with the fishing vest you like.

Beyond that important detail, you also should be selecting a fly fishing vest based on your other gear carrying needs.

Most anglers will want pockets for leaders, split shot, extra tippet material, dry fly desiccant, etc.  You get the picture.

Make sure the vest you like will also carry the gear you like.


Fly anglers probably access their fly boxes more than any other single piece of their kit.

You want to look at a fly fishing vest that will make it really simple to retrieve your ‘go-to’ fly boxes.

We all have those boxes that we like to keep, but rarely use. Inner pockets are ideal for stashing away those boxes we don’t access regularly.


Hopefully you are fortunate enough to use your forceps regularly – while you are removing hooks from the mouth of fish.

Handy tools like forceps, nippers, and dry fly paste are really meant to be kept on the outside of your vest so you can just grab them at a moments notice.

Most quality fly fishing vests provide other options to avoid fumbling through pockets for the tools that you need regularly.

The best fly fishing vests will have built-in retractors and tabs for keeping those tools at-the-ready.


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