Best 10 Fly Fishing Vests + Buying Guide [2021]

Fly fishing is one of the most popular types of fishing in North America, but it does require some specialized equipment to really be successful. Of particular use is a high-quality fly fishing vest – have everything available at your fingertips means that you don’t need to keep travelling back to the bank or your camp. This gives more time with your fly in the water and less chance of scaring away the fish.

If you are looking to make your fly fishing adventures more fun and catch more fish, then I highly recommend looking to upgrade your vest.

In this article we have put together a buyer’s guide to help you make your decision and learn more about what and why you should care about a vest.

We have also put together a list of the top 10 bestselling fly fishing vests to get you started.

Quick Summary – Best Fly Fishing Vests

Fly Fishing Vest Buying Guide

Why You Need a Fly Fishing Vest?

Fly fishing requires a lot of small tackle and tools, and keeping them available at all times helps you to keep your lure in the water for longer and hence increase the chance of putting it in front of a hungry fish. But all of this gear can get heavy and bulky – a vest will put all this weight onto your shoulders and keep your arms free to cast. You will certainly notice the difference in how tired your muscles get after a long day’s fishing.

Fly fishing vests have pockets for absolutely everything – you will never get caught out missing that ideal lure or length of leader.

What to Put in Your Fly Fishing Vest?

  • Small flies like tiny terrestrials, midges and minute nymphs
  • Mixed flies
  • Wet box for storing nymphs and minnows
  • Snacks and food
  • Bottled water
  • Leader
  • Fly line dressing
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunblock – SPF 30 or better
  • Fishing multitool
  • Flash light
  • Polarized sunglasses
  • Thermometer for checking water temperature
  • Scissors
  • Dry bag for your valuables
  • Cell phone
  • Spare fly fishing line

Honestly, there are no wrong answers about what you can store in your vest. Everything that you could ever need during a day standing in cold water. Personally I would prefer to keep it to a minimum – you don’t need unnecessary weight to tire you out over a long day.

A good idea is to make note of everything that you don’t use during a fishing adventure, and if you notice the same thing over and over again then you might want to remove it before the next trip.


We have put together a guide to help you choose which brand and model of fly fishing vest to purchase. They all have different features, quality, and cost – so selecting the product that suits your requirements can be the difference between a good and a poor day of fishing.

Whether you are going bass fishing or salmon fishing, you will have to take into consideration all of your personal needs to select the best vest for your requirements.

The Number of Pockets and Storage Locations

One of the biggest differences between fly fishing vests is the number of size of the pockets and mesh storage locations. While it may seem like the best idea is to pick the most pockets, the better idea is to pick one that has the exact number of volume of pockets for your circumstances.

If you intend to go back to your camp for lunch then you don’t need to have large pockets to store your food. 

Or if you don’t intend to swap lures very frequently then you don’t need to keep every fly you own on your body at all times.

Personally I would recommend a lot of small pockets so that you know where everything is and you don’t have to hunt through big pockets to find that particular lure or fly.

Keep in mind – the more you put in your vest the heavier it becomes. So store everything you will need and nothing more.

Go through the list above of all the things you may want to store and cross off everything you don’t need – this will give you a good starting point for the number of storage locations you will need.

Comfort

You are going to be adding a lot of weight to your shoulders, so comfort can be the difference between an enjoyable fishing trip and a week of sore muscles. This can be particularly difficult to predict when looking online at photos. A good idea is to make sure it has extremely wide and padded shoulder straps.

A breathable mesh backing is also a good idea if fishing in hot locations to keep you cooler.

Also have a look at the balance of pockets – if they are all on one side or all at the top or bottom of the vest then you could get a lop sided weight distribution that becomes uncomfortable over time.

Material – Mesh or Fabric

Another part of the comfort question is the material of construction – do you want a mesh material or fabric?

The material also changes the durability with the fabric proving to last longer than mesh and is more durable to cuts and scrapes. The best way to get good value for money out of any product is to make sure it lasts a long time.

The mesh can make the vest more breathable and more comfortable. We generally recommend looking for mesh in isolated areas to help it breath rather than the entire product construction. The mesh also stretches as you move and can give you better maneuverability in your casting motion.

Fly Fishing Vest Selection Video

The video below gives a good overview of some key considerations to think about when making your selection:

Best 10 Fly Fishing Vests

1. Bassdash Strap Fishing Vest 

ON SALE $14.67 OFFBestseller No. 1
BASSDASH Strap Fishing Vest Adjustable for Men and Women, for Fly Bass Fishing and Outdoor...
  • Adjustable suspension system – adjustable shoulder and waist straps, allows custom fit
  • Lightweight material, dries faster and breathes better
  • Padded air mesh shoulder straps provide the ultimate in comfort and breathability

The Bassdash Strap Fishing Vest is one of the most versatile fly fishing vests on the market today as it offers anglers a wide variety of compartments and features that help them store their tackle and gear items. This vest comes in seven unique style and color options that let each angler select the one that’s just right for their own personal preference. 

The adjustable suspension system of the Bassdash Strap Fishing Vest means that each user can have the vest adjusted to comfortably fit their own body shape or size, no matter how large or small. This vest is one of the best on the market as it is crafted from a premium polyester material that is lightweight and fast-drying while also offering good breathability to ensure that your skin will remain cool on hot summer days. 

The Bassdash Strap Fishing Vest is perfect for fly fishing, as well as anglers who like to wear a fly fishing vest for their saltwater excursions while fishing for various saltwater species along the flats of coastal areas. With a total of 18 pockets and other compartments that make it possible for anglers to carry a net and other items, the Bassdash Strap Fishing Vest is easily one of our top picks when it comes to fly fishing vests. 

2. Flygo Mens Summer Outdoor Work Safari Fishing Travel Photo Vest

Many anglers prefer to have a vest that offers the old, classic-style appearance while still providing much of the same new features that modern fly fishing vests offer. The Flygo Mens Summer Outdoor Work Safari Fishing Travel Photo Vest is perfect for these types of fishing enthusiasts as it is relatively affordable for almost any angler and offers just what you need for fly fishing. 

This vest model comes in more than 20 different color combinations that allow each angler to select the type of vest that best suits them and their own particular tastes. Many of the vests are made with the standard mesh material, but others come with a solid cotton linen style fabric that is breathable and tough enough to withstand anything you might encounter on the water. 

This lightweight fly fishing vest offers anglers with a number of different pockets and velcro-locked compartments that are specially made to hold some of the most important gear and equipment items that fly fishing anglers typically use. This vest can also function as a general fishing vest that lets anglers store many of their most important tackle items on their person instead of inside a tackle box

3. Obcursco Fly Fishing Vest for Men and Women

Bestseller No. 1
Obcursco Fly Fishing Vest Pack Adjustable for Men and Women with Breathable Mesh, Trout Fishing...
  • HIGH LEVEL OF COMFORT: This vest made of high-quality light mesh fabric and premium rips top breathable polyester shell to stay sweat absorbency, light weight as well as breathability.
  • EXPANDABLE STORAGE WITH FISHING ROD HOLDER: Large and expandable to store more gears (pliers, fishing lure boxes, wallet, phone, keys and other accessories you need in your life.
  • MULTI-ZIPPED POCKETS: Four generous chest pocket, four zipped front pockets, two inside pocket, four side mesh pocket, and one generous back pocket in total. It can distribute your fishing accessories...

Some of the best fly fishing vests don’t need to be overly complicated or focus too heavily on the fashionable side of things. The Obcursco Fly Fishing Vest for Men and Women is one of the best fly fishing vests on the market today as it provides everything most anglers need in a compact, lightweight vest that’s comfortable to wear. 

This vest is made of high-quality light mesh fabric and breathable polyester that helps anglers stay cool while fishing on swift mountain streams or in the heat of the midday sun along coastal areas. The vest features several zippered pockets and even offers anglers a rod holder strap that can be utilized by those who sometimes need to hike a considerable distance to reach the best fishing locations. 

The Obcursco Fly Fishing Vest for Men and Women is an ideal, one-size-fits-all model that almost any angler—young or old—can wear. The vest is also designed with safety in mind as it features reflector plates on the back shoulder which could help save the life of a lost angler in the event that a search and rescue team is looking for them. 

4. Kylebooker Fly Fishing Vest Pack

Bestseller No. 1
Fishing Vest Mesh for Men and Women(Army Green)
  • 【Lightweight and Comforable】This fishing vest only 23 oz 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...
  • 【Professional Design】This Fly Fishing Vest with 17 exterior and interior pockets and rod holder loops & a variety of accessory loops to hold all your gears.Gear attachment tabs, cord loops, D-ring...
  • 【Adjustable】One Size fits Most – Adjustable shoulder and waist strap design suspension structure to fit with most shapes and sizes.

The Kylebooker Fly Fishing Vest Pack is another great addition to our list of the best fly fishing vests currently available on the market. This vest is typically priced much higher than some of the other models on our list, but the overall quality speaks for itself. The vest is made of a high-quality polyester material that is extremely durable, yet breathable and able to dry rather quickly compared to other fabrics. 

The vest features a total of 17 interior and exterior pockets, most of which are sealed with a premium-quality zipper. There are also various accessory loops and gear tab attachments for serious anglers who pack in a considerable amount of gear with them on their fishing trips. 

The Kylebooker Fly Fishing Vest Pack is an option that is considered to be one-size-fits-all since it can easily be adjusted on the waist and shoulder area to fit male and female anglers of all shapes and sizes. This high quality vest serves as a formidable fly fishing vest, but can also be used in general outdoor outings as well. 

5. M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest Pack

Bestseller No. 1
M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest Adjustable Size Mesh Fishing Backpack
  • Combines the versatility of a backpack with the comfort of a vest
  • HOLD EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO TAKE –2 main molded pockets to hold and protect your flies on the go;3 main zippered compartments to store your fishing gear -- and they're all expandable
  • ONE SIZE FITS MOST –Adjustable shoulder and waist strap design suspension structure

There’s no denying that the M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest Pack is one of the best fly fishing vests you’ll find on today’s market. This vest features a number of high-end zippered compartments and pockets that are specially designed to hold a fly fishing angler’s most important tools, equipment and other gear items. 

While this vest might be a bit more expensive than most of the options on our list, it is still considered a deal as it provides anglers with literally everything they need for a fly fishing excursion. The M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest Pack comes in eight different color combination options that let anglers select the one that best fits their own personal sense of style. 

This vest is made with a one-size-fits-most approach as it can easily be adjusted to fit most anglers that are close to average size. Best of all, the M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest Pack comes with a one-year warranty, as well as a lifetime repairing warranty which covers most potential malfunctions that might occur. 

6. Anglatech Fly Fishing Vest Pack

Bestseller No. 1
Anglatech Fly Fishing Vest Pack for Trout Fishing Gear, Adjustable Size for Men and Women
  • PLENTY OF STORAGE - Keep your fishing gear and equipment well-organized and quickly within reach.
  • ADJUSTABLE SIZING – Adjustable shoulder and waist straps for the perfect fit.
  • COMFORTABLE – Breathable mesh back allows for air to flow freely so you can stay cool and dry.

It’s easy to see why so many anglers consider the Anglatech Fly Fishing Vest Pack to be among the best fly fishing vests for the money. This vest features a number of premium, feature-rich components that are typically found on the high-end vests which cost upwards of a few hundred dollars. However, it is available at a price that most anglers can usually afford and offers everything you need to have a successful outing on the water. 

This vest features a number of zippered pockets, as well as specialized compartments that are made to hold certain tools like a pair of fishing pliers, fishing line, and even a large water bottle or canteen. The Anglatech Fly Fishing Vest Pack is made of breathable mesh material that has the ability to dry quickly while offering enough strength to withstand any of the usual wear and tear that’s associated with the rigors of fly fishing deep in the wilderness. 

Anglers report that this vest is exceptionally comfortable and can be adjusted to fit almost any angler as it can be tailored to the waist and shoulder size of each user. This is one of the most lightweight vests on our list, but the Anglatech Fly Fishing Vest Pack is no slouch when it comes to durability. 

7. Bassdash Fly Fishing Vest Multi Pocket Waistcoat

Bestseller No. 1
BASSDASH Fly Fishing Vest Multi Pocket Waistcoat Adjustable Size Gifts for Men Women
  • Adjustable suspension system – adjustable shoulder and waist straps, allows custom fit
  • Lightweight material, dries faster and breathes better
  • Padded air mesh shoulder straps provide the ultimate in comfort and breathability

Many fly fishing anglers might be searching for a vest that doubles as one which they can wear for any other type of angling as well. The Bassdash Fly Fishing Vest Multi Pocket Waistcoat is the ideal choice in this case as it can function beautifully as a fly fishing vest, or a general fishing vest that is capable of holding a considerable amount of gear and equipment items. 

With 10 different stylish camo patterns and color combinations, each angler can select the type of vest that best fits the look they’re going for on the water. The Bassdash Fly Fishing Vest Multi Pocket Waistcoat is made of some of the toughest polyester material that is commonly used to craft premium-quality fly fishing vests. 

The back portion is made with breathable mesh material while the shoulders and waist can easily be adjusted to fit the size of each individual angler who wears it. With several different zippered pockets, as well as two hard-case, waterproof compartments, this vest is capable of toting just about anything into the wild for a serious fishing excursion. 

8. Flygo Men’s Casual Outdoor Vest 

Bestseller No. 1
Flygo Men's Casual Lightweight Outdoor Travel Fishing Hunting Vest Jacket with Pockets (Blue,...
  • LIGHTWEIGHT & WARM: Travel fishing vest for winter made from a lightweight fabric blend plus soft warm fleece lining that’s designed to offer a minimal amount of waterproof protection and...
  • MULTI-POCKETS: Travel work fishing vest with warm sherpa lined has 5 functional varying size pockets total, including secure zippered pockets and velcro fastening pockets, you can handily store your...
  • HIGH QUALITY & STYLISH: Quality fabric, refined craftsmanship, soft, cozy sherpa lining, windproof and thermal. Stand collar, full zip up closure, sleeveless, chest "outdoor" embroidery, PU leather...

Some anglers might prefer to select a vest that doubles as an all-around, versatile piece of outdoor apparel that can be worn for a number of different occasions. The Flygo Men’s Casual Outdoor Vest is the perfect choice in this case as it is considered a capable fly fishing vest, but one that can also be worn for outdoor safaris, work, travel, and just about any other function one might imagine that involves the need to store several different tools and gear items on one’s person. 

Made of 100 percent, lightweight polyester material, this vest is both tough and light enough to hold all of your most important gear and tackle items without weighing you down too much in the process. There are several zippered compartments on the Flygo Men’s Casual Outdoor Vest that are specially designed to hold items of various sizes. 

With 18 total styles of vest that each offer their own unique color, it’s easy to see why so many consider this to be the ideal outdoor adventure vest that can be worn on a number of different occasions. 

9. Skydream Fly Fishing Vest & Backpack

ON SALE $14.67 OFFBestseller No. 1
BASSDASH Strap Fishing Vest Adjustable for Men and Women, for Fly Bass Fishing and Outdoor...
  • Adjustable suspension system – adjustable shoulder and waist straps, allows custom fit
  • Lightweight material, dries faster and breathes better
  • Padded air mesh shoulder straps provide the ultimate in comfort and breathability

Serious fly fishing anglers have likely heard of the Skydream brand as it is known for producing various styles of fly fishing vests that work perfectly in the outdoors for dedicated fly fishing enthusiasts. The Skydream Fly Fishing Vest & Backpack is a clear addition to our list of the best fly fishing vests as this model features some of the most impressive stitchwork, as well as fabric material you’re going to find on the market today for less than a few hundred dollars. 

The vest features 12 exterior and 5 interior pockets that are all specially designed to hold certain items. Some of these zippered compartments are designed to protect valuables like one’s wallet, keys, and cellphone while other sections of the vest are capable of holding some of the most common fly fishing equipment. 

The fabric is made of high-quality breathable mesh that’s also designed to be mostly water-resistant and capable of drying quickly should you get wet while fishing. The back is made with extra padding, which equates to an overall more comfortable experience with the Skydream Fly Fishing Vest & Backpack compared to other styles of fly fishing vests that are available for a similar price range. 

10. Lightbare Fly Fishing Vest Pack

Bestseller No. 1
Lightbare Fly Fishing Vest for Men with Pockets for, Army Green, Size One Size
  • LIGHTWEIGHT MATERIAL: Comfortable, durable, dries faster and breathes better
  • BREATHABLE MESH: Padded air mesh fabric shoulder straps provide the ultimate in comfort and breathability
  • MULTI ZIPPERED POCKETS: 18 total pockets (including 14 zippered pockets with smooth conceal zippers) with specific design functions for everything from fly boxes to thermometers

The Lightbare Fly Fishing Vest Pack is another great addition to our list of the best fly fishing vests on the market today. This is another example of a quality vest that some users prefer to wear when it comes to outdoor photography, work, or any other activity where you might need to keep your most important tools close at hand. 

This vest is made of durable fabric material that’s more lightweight than most styles of fly fishing vet on our list. This means that the Lightbare Fly Fishing Vest Pack will likely dry much faster if you do happen to get soaked on your outing. With 18 total zippered pockets and other compartments, there is no shortage of places to put your valuable fishing tools and equipment. 

This vest comes in four main color combination options and offers adjustable straps for the shoulders, as well as the waist of each user. This vest is relatively affordable for most anglers and offers just what you need to get started in the world of fly fishing. These qualities are why so many users consider this to be among one of the best fly fishing vests for beginners on the market today. 

Conclusion

Getting a high quality vest for your fly fishing needs will make your life easier for years to come. You won’t realize how useful a vest is until you try it. No more stirring up the water and scaring the fish every time you want to change flies or grab some pliers.

There are also some other buyer’s guide on the internet to learn more about fly fishing vests that you might find useful like this one.

If you have tried some of these fly fishing vests then please let us know what your thoughts are in the comments section below.

Happy fishing!

Last update on 2021-07-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Russ Egan
 

Russ is an avid angler. He has fished all over the world, primarily for Saltwater game fish but also for local prize fish. Russ writes reviews for all of his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. His favorite reel is a Shimano Tyrnos for an overhead reel or a Shimano Curado for a baitcaster. His dream is to catch a Black Marlin.