I was recently looking at a few pictures from some of my last outings and it dawned on me that it has been more than a decade since I wore a vest to pack all of my flies, tools and sundry flyfishing items afield.
That being said, I can reflect back on a bit of evolution for me in what my gear packing preference was to become, and it started with a small revolution in that I finally said enough-was-enough in packing my heavy vest. Too many pockets that I felt compelled to fill and keep full, too many hanging doodads and such, and the weight was akin to the 50-lb packs I used to shoulder when involved in scouting.
If I needed it, I had it in my vest, and I wore many right out (mostly because they seemed to rot right off of my back
). My wife made me keep them out in the garage because of the smell, but they served me well. Until, I discovered it was alright to use something different.
My evolution took me to using a homemade lanyard while wearing the vest in order to keep my tools closer. Next, I discovered the William-Joseph products and found a wonderful chest pack that I loved so much I wore two of them out. I then expanded up and out with a Fishpond chest-pack to which I soon owned the backpack feature - thus realizing I was in worse shape than when I had the vest
One of the problems with carrying a chest pack was that they stuck out a fair amount. Add that to my belly and the protrusion was considerable and I began noticing I was hanging up on the attachments, zippers and in general the pack as a whole.
I have since gone the minimalist route and carry only a Mayfly Pouch Lanyard - carries two fly boxes tippet and I can attach my nippers, floatant and forceps to nifty little zingers on the sides and on the actual lanyard. The lanyard has a 'D'-ring on the back of the neck to which I can attach my net with a magnet. There is also an alligator clip at the bottom to clip it to my waders, shirt, or jacket preventing it from swinging out when bending over. One more box of flies in my shirt and I'm good to go. I have not missed the other vests and packs. My neck and back no longer hurt as much at the end of the day, and I let my sons carry lunch in when we go, so no worries!
Here is a picture of my current setup with everything you see in the pic exactly how its setup for whatever type of fishing I'm doing:
Let's see what you use and tell us why. No judgements here, just a fun time to see how each of us goes afield to pursue our passion.