I have the Fishpond Marabou Vest which is similar to the Flint Hills Vest. It's only my second vest but I'lll use it forever. It holds everything I need, is very light, not bulky, and pockets are easily accessed. It's also very rugged. I've used it for a couple years and scaled banks, busted brush, fell on rocks, hot and cold climes and it still looks new.
Things I don't like. The slim-flat design doesn't allow you to hold many fly boxes up front. I'm limited to two C&F medium boxes which is enough for me. If you like to carry multiple boxes you'll have to stuff some in the back or make room up front. It all depends on how you organize it, I guess. I'm a stuffer.
Right now mine holds everything I need to use my 4, 5 and 6 weight rods and go after trout and bass. I also really like the hand warmer pockets. I also have enough room in the back for a warming layer, gloves and a beanie.
If you're a big guy and want to carry more stuff up front, I would consider going with the Gore Range Tech Vest due to its protruding pouches/pockets.
I've had my Simms G3 Guide vest for about 9 years now, love that thing. It stays cool, has tons of easy storage (which is why I wear a vest over a pack when I do), and looks new since I washed it (I know, I know... I had to, you don't want to hear the story, but trust that I had to). That thing has seen lots of abuse, my only issue was that it has a zipper that sticks sometimes but it's been through the ringer for sure so i have to expect something to snag, eh? I'm betting that the newer models have better zippers, and the darn thing gets a 5-star rating with 12 reviews on their site, whereas the Guide vest only gets 3 (from one reviewer, granted... but 10 of 12 reviewers gave the G3 5 stars, and 2 gave it 4)
It's pricey, but I'm 32 and have a hard time thinking that I'll buy another vest anytime soon... maybe when I pass this one down to my unborn son?
I like my vest for no other reason than that I can't stand modern **** which mostly is about style vs. function . And I'm 31 -- can't even think about how grouchy I'll be when I'm in my 50s-60s.
Vest works great -- I prefer it for holding my net and clippers at easy reach.
The only way I'd use a different system is if I needed to fish really large flies and they wouldn't reasonably fit in the vest. Larger fly boxes are difficult to carry in a vest IME. For bluegill and trout and light bass fishing the vest is great.
I did not own the Fpond flinthill. I owned the wasatch tech pack but sold it after a year (nearly brand new)
Fpond makes some well crafted items and they are pretty bomb proof. PRO. CON...I found them heavy and a little too strappy. That said I still have and love my Tundra tech pack when I absolutely have to carry everything.
I make do with my simms G4 pro jacket and an osprey pack that carries water bladder, extra rod, 2 extra fly boxes, hat/gloves.
When it's too hot to wear a simms jacket or even a light wading jacket, I use a sling pack (Orvis). Or the osprey with the essentials hanging off the front (nippers, hemos) and a box in the pocket.
I doubt I'll ever own a vest again. Although I've been looking at one of filsons...but that would be for pure nostalgia reasons and to get another made in America product. I'd hardly call it a vest though.
i love the long vertical pockets for carrying larger boxes and the padded neck is a nice feature.
but my fav part of the vest is the sturdy mesh fabric its made of.
i hate being hot and this vest works well to keep me cool.
I don't think anyone has ever come up with a more useful arrangement of pockets than the Orvis Super Tac-L-Pac. I've been using mine for 20 years. Now on their new lightweight version they've added a Velcro patch for attaching a Velcro-backed fly patch, which is a nice improvement. My only two complaints are (1) I would like them to add several pairs of sewn eyelets so you can use a pin-fastened fly patch and other pin-on accessories without having to poke holes through the fabric, and (2) I wish it also came in a mesh version for hot weather.
to be honest, i dont need a $100+ vest to carry my gear, pretty much any vest with alot of pockets works well for me, and this one was the last one I had, Pro Vest - Vests and Clothing - Other Fly Fishing Gear +
sold it along with all my FlyFishing gear a few years ago. Of course I couldnt stay away and have all the gear again, except the vest. This vest was very comfortable, more pockets than i could fill, and the 2 big pockets held my flyboxes just fine. And the price was excellent, think it was on clearance thern for 27.99 plus shipping. Only complaint was that i would like either a mesh version, or partial mesh. but even at that, it really didnt get very hot when out on a warm day. Great vest at a great price. The more room for gear means i will take more gear, so now i just use a waist pack, or even just a small box for my flies and a small belt pouch to carry my nippers, hemostats, tippet and a couple leaders.