Kelly: I went down the same road, started with the vest and used it for a lot of years, but like you I felt compelled to carry everything including the kitchen sink causing neck and back pain. I briefly tried the chest pack idea, but like you I never did like it much. Then I went minimalist with the lanyard and that worked for awhile, but when I started rowing a drift boat the lanyard became a total pain as it would always be in the way when rowing. The last couple of years I have been using an Orvis Sling Pack (the Safe Passage), that seems to work pretty well, but it is very limited in what it can carry, no room for a rain jacket, coffee mug or lunch so I use a light weight water proof bag to carry those items. Now I see that Orvis has come out with a larger model, called the Guide Sling Pack. I have been eyeballing that but haven't pulled the trigger on it as I'm afraid I will be right back in the boat I was in with the fishing vest weighing a ton........of course loaded with just the essentials!
Here is the Safe Passage:
Fly Fishing Packs / Safe PassageŽ Sling Pack -- Orvis
Here is the Guide Sling Pack:
Fly Fishing Sling Pack / Guide Sling Pack -- Orvis