Fly Fishing Vests vs. Packs: Which Is Best for You?

Fly Fishing Vests vs. Packs: Which Is Best for You?

Fly fishing requires you to use several pieces of equipment—such as flies, lines, and reels. Wearing something that can hold all these items when you’re in the water is very helpful. The discussion amongst fishers is between fly fishing vests vs. packs: which is best for you? So, let’s highlight the pros and cons of each selection.

Case for Vests

The traditional fly-fishing vest has its benefits. Its price is the largest selling point. Typically, a vest is less costly than a pack, so it’s the best option if you’re just starting the sport. Additionally, all your essential equipment can be easily accessed when it’s on the front of your vest. It won’t weigh you down because the vest is lightweight. There is no shortage of options and styles available, so you’ll find one that works best for you.

Case Against Vests

Having your flies front and center can be a hassle to deal with when you’re casting or trying to get a grip on your fish. It also can be troublesome to get the vest on over your everyday attire, particularly if you are wearing multiple layers for winter fishing.

The most egregious case against vests is they are solely for fly-fishing purposes. If that’s all you plan on doing, then that’s great! However, if hiking, boating, or swimming is involved, the vest won’t have room to store water, tools, and other equipment.

Case for Packs

If you want to wear multi-purpose garb, then choose a pack over a vest. Generally, the pouches are deeper, allowing you to pack items that can’t fit inside a vest. Unlike the Velcro that secures things on a vest, packs have zippers that securely keep your items from falling out.

Furthermore, a pack can be on your back, which allows for easy movement. You could swing it around to the front like a vest if you’d like. Regardless, you’re not jeopardizing the accessibility of your gear when you use a pack. The mobility of the pack is beneficial; you can quickly tighten or loosen it up to fit around your shoulders, and on a scorching summer day, it’ll keep you cooler than a vest.

Case Against Packs

Other than the fact that packs are more expensive, they don’t have many downsides. They’re more than worth the investment if you’re an avid angler that goes out numerous times a year. You can fit many things inside of them (just be careful not to overload them.)


Ultimately, the choice is yours in the fly-fishing vests vs. packs debate and which one is best for you. If you’re looking for a good fly-fishing vest, surf around Ed’s Fly Shop to pick one up today! We’ll ensure you are satisfied with our price match guarantee, and you’ll get free shipping with US orders over $30.

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