I just switched from my vest to a basic satchel. Last time I used the vest it was hot, and I was hot and uncomfortable. And yes, I know there are lightweight and mesh vests out there. But I also noticed that my fishing buddy who uses a lumbar pack was right; I had so many pockets, I didn't know what I had or where it was. So I decided to simplify things and went for the Fishpond satchel. It has a few inside pockets but I realized right away that they were not that convenient, so I just throw the most-used items in the main compartment and lesser used ones in the pockets ...in all probability to be forgotten later.
I may go back to the vest when the weather gets cooler, but for now, I like the satchel.
As with most things in life: it depends.
If I'm hiking into a canyon a few miles for a full day, I use my Fishpond Wasatch since I can carry everything I need (tackle, first aid, rain coat, water, lunch, camera, etc). Got it on eBay for $75 because I'm a cheapskate.
If it's a quick trip for a few hours on the water on the flats, in the marsh, or on a stream, I use my hip pack (WaterDance, eBay $45).
My old school Cabela's vest (ca. 1986) is for when I'm feeling nostalgic on my favorite streams and lakes.
Trip to the local bass and bluegill river means a shirt pocket with some flies, tippet, and other doodads.
I switched from wearing a vest last season, tried a sling pack and didn't like it then got a Goertzen bag. Best thing I've ever bought !
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Pete, where did get that pack? Just curious because Joe Goertzen lives in Missoula and has been selling his stuff around here for a few years and I wonder if he is getting his gear out in the world more. I like his stuff, old school styling and aesthetic, ie not for the weight conscious, ounce shavers. Does that bag go over you shoulder and ride against your hip?
Dean I bought it direct from Joe's website and yes it's worn over the shoulder. He recommends wearing on the left with the waist strap to keep it on but I prefer wearing it over the right shoulder with the bag on my left hip and have removed the waist strap.
I have a couple of vests, a couple shoulder bags, which are actually Army surplus gas mask bags, and a couple of fanny packs, camo pattern of course!
IMO, they can all be very useful, depending on how much you need to carry with you.
Trout.... vest... same one since the '70s... LLBean
River smallmouth.... surplus gas mask bag
Canoe... camo fanny pack
Kayak. ..plastic map case.
Those gas mask bags are great. I bought a fist full of them at a surplus store years ago. 50 cents each. One holds my binoculars and bird book. One has my mushroom field guide and foraging gear. One for warm weather smallmouth river wading. They're perfect for all kinds of outdoor activities.
I went to waist / fanny packs back around 1990 and have never missed the vest. One reason is that it’s just to hot here to put up with even a mesh vest pressing your shirt down onto your skin. It ruins the billowing and wicking effect of a vented casting shirt, that in concert with any perspiration ( and there will be perspiration ) and you get that glued to your skin effect from any shirt fabric.
Yes, it took some time to get used to the fit & feel, the placement of the essentials ( nippers, etc. ) and to overcome the separation anxiety that comes along with the idea of ridding ourselves of all the redundant and unnecessary stuff we tend to think we can’t live without. Just as this is not a one vest fits all world, you’ll come to find that one pack, be it a sling, chest or waist does not serve all anglers.
A quick survey of anglers will find many opinions on which vest is the best ( which is hugely subjective ) and the same would hold true of packs.
I’ve gone through several packs over the years. One has served me well for the last ( guessing here ) fourteen years on rivers and streams, while a couple of others have served as flats / surf packs and warm water packs. My wife too made the jump about fifteen years ago and now sports a very large Fishpond Guide pack, though she keeps its load rather spartan.
When we’re in the drift boat, we just belt them around the seat backs or at times, one will get strapped over the rear leg / casting brace.
With float tubing we simply cinch down the belt to snuggly hug the tube, right over one sides empty pocket. Rather than off loading anything into the float tubes pockets. Does the waist belt get wet? Of course it does. So do our waders, the tubes cover, etc., they were all designed for use around water and they all dry quickly with no ill effects.
Basically what I’m saying is, don’t judge the entire concept of moving away from a vest on an experience with a single pack design. Besides, your wife took the time to pick out a piece of fishing gear for you.
Dude, you gotta' use it!