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kglissmeyer1 01-16-2013 01:08 PM

Evolution or Revolution Regarding Fishing Vests
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 :D). 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 :eek:.

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.

Best Fishes,


Rip Tide 01-16-2013 02:21 PM

Re: Evolution or Revolution Regarding Fishing Vests
For trout fishing, I use the same vest from LLBean that I've had since the late '70. The old vest has had plenty of repairs over the years but it was obviously well made to last this long. It doesn't have a lot of pockets like most vests do nowadaze and I'm not compelled to fill the ones that I have. In fact I leave one empty on purpose.
I HATE having stuff dangling off of me, so I don't use zingers. My nippers are on a cord fastened inside a pocket. You always use them the same distance away from from your eyes anyway so it makes no sense to me to have them on a retractable or a bungie.
I tried a chest pack exactly one day. Couldn't see my feet.:rolleyes: I have enough trouble stumbling around without that problem added.
My saltwater vest is pretty much the same the trout vest only with even less pockets full. I usually only carry one fly box.
My hook file and pliers go in homemade foam holsters/sheathes attached out of the way on the inside. Spare spool along with a water bottle in the back pocket

mcnerney 01-16-2013 03:30 PM

Re: Evolution or Revolution Regarding Fishing Vests
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! :D

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

fredaevans 01-16-2013 05:53 PM

Re: Evolution or Revolution Regarding Fishing Vests
Remember many years back (gear fishing for Steelhead in Washngton/BC) that I'd get home just exhausted. Hadn't even taken my waders off. Had wife type bring out the bathroom scale and climbed on. Took off all my gear and reweighed myself and I'd lost close to THIRTY TWO POUNDS!

Talk about a lot of gear stripping from that point on. Do you really need two pounds of pencil lead, or will just a couple of feet do? Nothing I could do about the boots and waders .... that was almost a 1/3'rd of the total.

Bless Breathables!

planettrout 01-16-2013 10:48 PM

Re: Evolution or Revolution Regarding Fishing Vests
I have been doing this for awhile and always seem to return to using a vest. I had an Orvis Chest Pack back in the early 80's (hated it) and have used vest/backpack combos from WJ and Fishpond...which I find to be uncomfortable, unwieldy and heavy. I use a minimalist chest pack from Fishpond with a lanyard from time to time and stay away from lumbar packs which do not suit my deep wading style...the progression has looked like this:

Columbia Vest on the Frying Pan ...late 70's. This one lasted into the early 90's...

Orvis vest on the Madison daughter Ally wearing my Teeny Vest I picked up for tubing...

Simms Vest on the Stillwater River, MT..I wore this one out...

Simms Vest on the East Walker River...I gave this to my son when he retired his Orvis...

Simms Vest on the East Walker River...the current one...

...and yes, I still carry way too much stuff...:p


recriger 01-17-2013 01:14 PM

Re: Evolution or Revolution Regarding Fishing Vests

The wife brought a Kindle home from Christmas this year and i brought home 3 gift cards. 2 of them were to Bass Pro, and 1 Cabella's(I consider myself a rather lucky guy). So i decided to try one of these out. I have it all packed up, just looking for a time to go play in the water here in good old Ohio.

Just not sure how i want to carry my flies. I could keep the bigger box in the main compartment, or there is a foam pad with 6 rows on it in the little compartment. I gotta say that the magnetic closures are cool, just have to see how long they last.:)

nickel 01-19-2013 12:52 AM

Re: Evolution or Revolution Regarding Fishing Vests
I always seem to go back to a vest as well. The only time I go minimalist is when I'm fishing small spring creeks this is when I use a waist pack and lanyard. A vest just stands the test of time for convenience for me and everything is where I need it. I have been using a Columbia III forks vest for a few years now. For me I always carry a net (except spring creeks) and having a D ring on the back of my vest for a magnetic lanyard to attach my net is a big convenience. Vests or wading jackets seem to only be the option for this style of carrying a net. I have also lightened my load as much as possible by using ultra slim fly boxes and only carrying the days worth of gear.

williamhj 01-19-2013 01:40 AM

Re: Evolution or Revolution Regarding Fishing Vests
Reminds me of the rule that the quantity of stuff will expand to fill the available space. With fishing its that plus another fly box... I use a waste pack and lanyard though and down to pockets and lanyard sometimes.

itchmesir 01-19-2013 10:54 AM

Re: Evolution or Revolution Regarding Fishing Vests
I'm a fan of sling packs.. everything stays behind me and well out of the way until I need it.. then I just swing it around and I can access everything.. They are smaller.. So you are limited to not being able to pack away the kitchen sink in a pocket like with a vest... Also I'm a bigger guy.. chest packs just make me look bigger.. and get in the way a lot more

littledavid123 01-19-2013 11:15 AM

Re: Evolution or Revolution Regarding Fishing Vests
Filson foul weather waxed vest for me. Simple, comfortable and doesn't have a lot of pockets begging to be filled, plus the waxed canvas is near bomb proof and has a cool retro look to it.


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