21 Best Fishing Vests Of 2023: Recommended By River Guides

Me with a good fishing vest for all my gear
This is me with my first fishing vest that lasted me about 20 years. I know a quality fishing vest is well worth the extra money if it lasts this long and does what it is supposed to.

I have been using fishing vests to help me organize and carry all my fishing gear for over 35 years. I have also had the opportunity through my guiding business and through my tackle store to try out dozens of fishing vests and the fishing vests in this article are the best of the best.

The best fishing vest is the Simms Guide Vest which is a very well-designed high-end fishing vest that sells for about $179.00. Another one of the best fishing vests is the Fishpond Gore Range Tech Pack vest for $149.00. A good low-priced fishing vest is the Pellor Fishing Vest for $39.99.

See these great vest and 18 other vests worth buying below.

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Fishing vests which are also known to some as fly fishing vests are a great tool for stream and boat anglers and are used by fishing guides like myself, but some vests are pretty basic while other fishing vests are more functional.

Fishing vests are also used by kayak, canoe, and boat anglers to keep all their gear organized and these vests have built-in flotation to keep you safer on the water.

If you are a river angler and you don’t think that a fly fishing vest is right for you, then the only other option is a fishing pack which can come as a waist pack, a sling pack, or a chest pack. If you think a pack might be a better fit for you or you want to compare, be sure to check out my page on the best fishing packs.

And once you determine if you need a pack or vest make sure you check my list of things that every good river angler should have in their vest and packs on my page River Fishing Gear: Everything You Need To Succeed.

When looking for a good fishing vest you want to consider these things:

  • Fit
  • Comfort
  • Function
  • Durability and quality
  • Warranty and Customer Support
  • Price – budget

Some other important things to consider are the weight of the fishing vest, the material it is made from, breathability, and if it’s weather-resistant or not.

In this article, I will show you the best fishing vests at all price ranges as well as what to look for in a good vest and what to avoid so you don’t end up losing half your gear.

Quick Guide On The Best Fishing Vests

This is a quick reference list of the best fishing vests by category. See all the details and find out why we recommend these vests below.

Best Performance Fishing Vests

Best Mid-Range Fishing Vests

Best Standard Fishing Vests

Best Economy Fishing Vests

Best Women’s Fishing Vest

Best Youth Fishing Vest

Best Fishing Vest and Pack Combo

Maxcatch Fly Fishing Backpack – Our Rating 7.5

Best Boat PFD Fishing Vests

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What You Should Know Before You Buy A Fishing Vest

There are some really nice looking vests at some of the bigger e-commerce stores but looks can be deceiving and they often are.

Some fly fishing vests that I have reviewed look great but are just cheap China-made crap that is poorly made with low-quality materials and are made by companies that probably don’t even fish. These products are likely not even field tested by actual anglers.

If you are not careful you might end up ordering a vest with lots of 5 star reviews and be the one leaving reviews like this:

“however every zipper I used to open and close the pockets broke or didn’t work after the first use. Quality is less than poor. Too bad. I really liked it.”

Actual Customer Review

I, and my guides, and other anglers have experienced or seen many problems with some of these cheap quality fly fishing vests. Some of the things you should consider are:

  • Cheap Material – It’s not uncommon to talk to clients that have bought cheaper vests online and they complain that it feels of poor quality.
  • Poor Fit – I’ve tried some vests that just don’t feel comfortable especially after you front load the vest with all your gear. They ride up on the back and you often need to put something in the back of the vest just to balance it out. Some come with should straps that don’t hold.
  • Poor Design – Sure, that cheap vest looks great in the picture but then you get it home and realize some pockets are too small to fit your little boxes, or they are not in a good position, or the velcro strap doesn’t close, or line up once you fill the pocket. Anglers complain of bending over to net or pick up a fish and some of their gear falls into the river. This is all poor design from brands that probably don’t fish.
  • Poor Zippers – So you are on the river and you need to get to your bait container or your fly box but, ooops, the zipper slider (the part you pull with your fingers) snaps off and now you can’t even open the pocket. Or the zipper part splits open without you realizing it and you lose some of your gear. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for some of the cheap brands on the market to use crappy zippers that break, come open, or don’t even line up properly. This is one of the most common complaints about these China brand fishing vests.
  • Poor Stitching – It’s not uncommon for the cheaper vests to start falling apart within days, or weeks, or after the first season and it’s often worse after you wash the vest. These cheap china crap vests are slapped together so fast that they fall apart much faster than a vest made by a reputable company. They are often single-stitched and not able to take the stress and pressure of the bulging full pockets.
  • Poor Build – Just like above, some vests are built so fast that the pockets can be misaligned, or the velcro straps do not line up. Often complaints of pockets in bad spots or pockets that are too small.
  • Fake Reviews – I have read through some of the reviews on vests that have tons (hundreds and maybe thousands)of great reviews and I found many reviews for other products or for reviews that are not even for the vest I’m looking at. There are a lot of BS reviews on some websites guys so be careful.
  • Warranty and returns – Many of the cheap vests have 1-year warranties and from what I hear they can have poor customer service and horrible return shipping prices to send them back to China. It’s buyer beware! You are always better off buying from a reputable USA or Canadian company that stands behind their product.

Testing Out The Best Fishing Vests – And The Worst!

Bending down in a fishing vest to release a fish
A good fishing vest will have zippered pockets and pockets with Velcro flaps that hold well and ensure that your gear stays put. Good pockets will allow you to bend over to release your fish and nothing will fall out.

Back when I owed my fishing store I would order many new fishing vests from many different brands just to test them out on the river for a couple of weeks or even for a couple of months. Some fishing vests were great and I continued to sell them in the store while others were not-so-good and were sent back.

After testing I realized what a good vest should have and how it should perform.

After a few years of trying out dozens of different fishing vests, I was able to narrow down the best fishing vests and the best companies to buy from. I also figured out which vests and which companies not to buy from.

I have compared 21 of the best fishing vests so you don’t have to and so can easily see which vest is best for you.

I have provided a full comparison chart of all the fishing vests below.

The Most Comfortable Fishing Vests – Proper Fit And Comfort

A comfortable fishing vest
Even with the front of your vest stuffed full, the best fishing vests won’t ride up your back and they will stay comfortable and in place all day.

Some vests sag forward when they are full of gear in the front of the vest which is not comfortable. Once you pack in enough stuff into those front pockets the back of the vest rides up which can pull on the back of your neck and shoulders and also throw off your balance.

Some vests will have extra padding on the shoulders to provide extra comfort and they may offer a shoulder strap system to adjust the vest so it sits on your shoulders evenly and is more balanced which provides more comfort, especially after a long day on the water.

The most comfortable vests on the market are the:

  • #1 Simms Guide Vest – Which has built-in padded shoulders
  • #2 Orvis Men’s PRO Fishing Vest – Padded collar and shoulders
  • #3 Fishpond Men’s Upstream Tech Vest – Padded shoulder and adjustable shoulder and waist straps for a better fit

Some vests don’t have secure pockets so your gear might fall out when you lean forward to pick up a fish. And some vests absorb water so they get heavy when wet or they don’t dry out fast which can cause mildew.

Simms Guide Vest: #1 Most Comfortable Fishing Vest

The Simms Guide Vest
The Simms Guide Vest is one of the most comfortable and best fishing vests on the market.

Simms has always been known for quality and performance and it’s this reason that many top guides and top river anglers wear Simms products.

The Simms Guide Vest is 1 of 3 vests that I would buy today if I needed a new vest and part of that reason is the comfort of this vest.

The padded shoulders and neck are only one of the reasons that this vest is so comfortable.

The fact this vest is well built using lightweight material and is perfectly balanced so it doesn’t ride up or down in the back or the front, and that it has been field-tested by many top guides makes it one great river vest.

It’s also made weather-resistant, has maybe more pockets than any other high-performance fly fishing vests, and it’s very durable.

The vest ranges from $179 to about $229.99 at some locations but I have found the best prices and best availability at FishUSA.com

See my full Simms Guide Vest Review which goes over all the features of this awesome fishing vest.

Types Of Fishing Vests

An angler wearing aone of the best fishing vests for comfort
Fishing vests come in many styles and are designed for different purposes.

There are a few types of fishing vests to consider and depending on the type of fishing you will be doing some fishing vests might work better for you. My reviews will help you decide on which fishing vest you should buy.

As an example, an angler fishing out of a kayak might be better off using a floating safety fishing vest while a stream angler might be better with a basic river fishing vest.

I have included compatibility suggestions with each vest review below. I will also discuss the pros and cons of some fishing vests.

The Basic or Traditional Fishing Vest

The White River Aventur1 is one of the best standard fishing vests you can buy
The White River Aventur1 is one of the best standard fishing vests you can buy.

A basic fishing vest is a simple design that has no bells and whistles and is just meant to hold some of your gear.

I have heard guys call these vests traditional or standard fishing vests as well.

These basic fishing vests are often made from the least expensive materials like cotton and polyester and are often the ones that cheap brands will sell.

These basic fishing vests are what I used to wear where 30 years ago and they were all you could get back then. Now you can get all different kinds of vests.

There are some disadvantages to these traditional cotton fishing vests like being heavy when wet or many have few pockets or small pockets that are not suitable for bigger fly boxes and tackle boxes.

You won’t find too many extra features on these basic fishing vests but they can still have plenty of pockets and that might be good enough for the average angler.

The White River Aventur1 fishing vest is a great basic vest made by a company that knows fishing. It has plenty of well-placed pockets and is made with a lot of mesh that won’t absorb water and weigh you down.

Simms Men’s Tributary Fishing Vest: #1 Traditional Fishing Vest

Simms Men's Tributary Fishing Vest
The Simms Men’s Tributary Fishing Vest is a great traditional style fly fishing vest.

The Simms Tributary Fishing Vest is a great traditional style fishing vest that was built with comfort and weight in mind.

Made to be weather resistant and more breathable than other fishing vests.

9 pockets, D rings, a built-in rod holder, and a net attachment make this a good choice.

All that combined with Simms quality and warranty.

The Columbia Men’s Henry’s Fork V Vest and the White River Aventur1 are also good options for anglers that want a good basic fishing vest.

Performance Fishing Vests: Not Just For The Experts

The Fishpond Gore Range Tech Pack is a great performance fly fishing vest.
The Fishpond Gore Range Tech Pack is a great performance fly fishing vest.

Performance fishing vests have lots of added features, lots of functional pockets, quality zippers, tool attachments, a net hook, rod holders, D-rings, and more. They are also made from lighter-weight materials that dry faster or might even be water-resistant.

Performance fishing vests are also known to some as technical vests.

Often the pockets are specifically designed for certain gear that river anglers would use and are field-tested for proper placement and function.

You may find that these performance fishing vests will be made from the best materials but you will find that they are often more expensive than a basic fishing vest. Chances are they will last longer than a basic vest and they will be superior to a basic vest so it’s often worth the extra cost.

The best performance fly fishing vests on the market are:

  • Fishpond Men’s Upstream Tech Vest – Loaded with all the features you would expect from a high-performance fishing vest which makes this the best performance fishing vest.
  • Fishpond Gore Range Tech Pack – 17 pockets and loaded full of features makes this one of the top 3 best fly fishing performance vests.
  • Simms Guide Vest – This is a fully loaded and functional performance vest and one of the best you can buy.

Fishpond Upstream Tech Vest: #1 Best Performance Fishing Vest

Fishpond Upstream Tech Vest
The Fishpond Upstream Tech Vest might just be the best technical performance fishing vest you can buy.

Fishpond vests are everywhere along the rivers and for good reason. They look good and they are well built and of all the Fishpond vests the Fishpond Upstream Tech Vest is the best.

Fishpond is known for quality and functional gear as well as for being more environmentally friendly.

This vest is loaded full of features including 14 pockets, padded shoulder, adjustable shoulder straps, and waist straps.

It has a lightweight mesh interior which makes it more breathable.

It also comes with many tool attachment points, D-rings, a rod holder, and a net slot on the back so your net doesn’t need to hang off your back. Plus More…

You can get this net for around $199.00 at FishUSA.com

NEW! Fishpond Sagebrush Pro Mesh Fishing Vest

Fishpond Sagebrush Pro Mesh Fishing Vest
Fishpond Sagebrush Pro Mesh Fishing Vest

Also check out the new Mesh Vest From Fishpond with even more pockets, lightweight with mesh for added comfort in the summer, and all the great features you would expect to find on a performance fishing vest.

This vest sells for around $160.00

Vest Backpack Combo

The Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest Pack
The Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest Pack is one of the best vest and pack combos on the market.

For anglers that have the need to carry a lot of gear which might include an extra sweater, gloves, rain gear, or a big lunch, a vest with a built-in backpack is a great idea.

Unfortunately, there are not many great ones on the market but the Maxcatch is one of the better ones and it sells for around $60.00.

Maxcatch Fly Fishing Backpack – gets good reviews and is what I would consider a performance time fishing vest with big zippered pockets, tool attachment rings, and lightweight and water-resistant fabric that is lined with mesh to keep you cool at all times.

Flotation Fishing Vests For Boat Anglers A Big River Anglers

An angler fishing from a river boat
Anglers that fish from boats can benefit from the safety of a fishing vest that is also a life vest and floats

Some fishing vests can also be personal floatation vests and they are great for anglers who fish on riverboats, kayaks, or canoes, or if they fish bigger faster, and more dangerous rivers.

Check out my page on river fishing boats to see which ones are the best and how you can utilize a boat for more fish.

These floatation vests can be too warm during the summer months and they are often bulkier, and less comfortable, and they will have fewer pockets and features so I only wear one when I really need the safety of the floatation feature.

But for most anglers that fish basic trout streams, I would not recommend a floating fishing vest.

If you are an angler that can’t swim and are fishing bigger rivers this could be the best vest for you.

Most of the floating vests that I have seen are not great. They are usually just a regular PFD (personal floatation device) with a couple of pockets sewn in for some of your gear. Unfortunately, they don’t hold very much gear but there is a couple that stands out from the rest.

A few of my clients and one of my guide buddies have been wearing one from Bass Pro Shops.

The Bass Pro Shops Tournament Fishing Mesh Life Jacket
The Bass Pro Shops Tournament Fishing Life Jacket Vest is great for anglers that want to fish off a boat but still have room for their gear.

The Bass Pro Shops Tournament Fishing Mesh Life Jacket is by far the best flotation fishing vest that I have seen.

It has more pockets and well-placed pockets than any other so-called fishing life vest.

It’s also built with comfort, safety, and functionality in mind. Get it at Bass Pro shops for about $59.99.

Some of the key features of this vest are:

  • A neoprene collar is built onto mesh shoulders which are designed for being lightweight and to keep you cooler.
  • PE foam for maximum flotation
  • 2 quick release belts and a full front zipper
  • Multiple D-lops and accessory loops
  • 2 lash tabs on the chest
  • Built-in rod holder for those kayak guys and times when you are deep wading
  • tool loops
  • 8 pockets and outer hook-and-loop pockets
  • Handwarmer pockets

Deluxe Mesh Fishing Life Vest for Adults
Deluxe Mesh Fishing Life Vest for Adults is a good life vest with 4 pockets for anglers to store their tools.

The next best floatation fishing vest is the Bass Pro Shops Deluxe Mesh Fishing Life Vest for Adults. This vest has many of the other vests features with about 4 fewer pockets.

This vest is good for the angler that carries minimal fishing gear and boxes.

This vest will cost you about $43.99 and it gets good reviews at Bass Pro Shops.

Best Fishing Vests For Kids

You can put a kid or youth into any one of the fishing vests above but many fishing vests are built as a one-size-fits-all so they won’t work well on smaller kids.

There are 2 fishing vests that I recommend for kids.

This Aventur1 Fly Fishing Vest is one of the best fishing vests for Kids
This White River Aventur1 Fly Fishing Vest is one of the best fishing vests for Kids.

If you want a basic fishing vest consider the White River Fly Shop Aventur1 Fly Fishing Vest for Kids which will run you about $29 to $39 depending on the size.

This kid’s fishing vest will hold almost everything they will need for a day on the river.

It’s also durable which is great since kids can be tough on their fishing gear, and it is made by a company that knows fishing gear well so it is well designed. I even recommend the adult version for parents.

You can only get this vest at Bass Pro Shops since the white river brand is their house line of fly fishing products.

Key Features of the Aventur1 Kids Fishing vest are:

  • Designed and sized to fit all kids with a small, medium, and large
  • Available in brown or tan
  • 10 external pockets and 2 internal pockets
  • Has a cool flip-down fly holder pocket
  • Durable build and designed with a padded collar for comfort
  • Has a built-in rod holder
  • Accessory attachments

This FishPond Tender Foot fishing vest is the best fishing vest for kids.
This FishPond Tender Foot fishing vest is the best fishing vest for kids.

If your kid is a hard-core fishing angler that spends a lot of time on the rivers, or if you simply want the best fishing vest for kids then you should seriously consider the Fishpond Tender Foot youth vest.

If this vest was bigger even I would wear it. You can get this vest for about $99 at FishUSA.com

Like all fish pond products, this fishing vest is built to last and is well designed and functional.

Key features of the Tenderfoot vest are:

  • It’s lightweight for kids with a mesh interior and back and built with the Cylcelpond ballistic fabric for durability
  • 14 pockets of various sizes for all your boxes and tools
  • This vest is adjustable to fit most kids
  • tool attachments and loop attachment
  • Large stash pocket for bigger items like lunch and drinks
  • Net D-ring attachemnt
  • A built-in rod holder
  • Manufacturer’s lifetime warranty

The Benefits Of A Good Fishing Vest.

You might be wondering why even use a fishing vest when you are river fishing?

Fishing vests are a great way to store and organize all your river fishing terminal tackle. There are plenty of pockets for your fly boxes, lure containers, bait containers, your lines, and leaders, hook containers, weights, and even stuff like your lunch and drink bottle.

You can also hang your net off the back of many fishing vests and some even come with rod holders to hold your rod when releasing a fish, taking pictures or when you need to use two hands to tie knots or change baits.

River fishing anglers should not use a tackle box and instead should use a fishing vest or a fishing pack. I will discuss some potential reasons for using a fishing pack below.

The reason that you want all your terminal tackle stored in a fishing vest and not in a tackle box is that there are times when you might be standing 20 feet out in the middle of the river and all your gear is with you when you need it and not back on the river bank.

There are also times when you might hook into a big fish and it might run a long way down the river and a long way from your tackle box which is left on the bank.

You don’t want to leave all your tackle in a box on the river bank where it could get stolen or you could forget about it.

A fishing vest allows you to easily pack and organize all your gear and to keep it with you at all times.

Fishing Vest Pricing

Fishing vests can range from $20 to over $200.00 and I have used dozens of fishing vests ranging from low-end to high-end fishing vests.

You might be wondering what is the difference is between a $200 dollar fishing vest and a $20 dollar fishing vest.

The more expensive fishing vests will be more comfortable, more functional, better designed, have more pockets that are also sized better, and will be made of much higher quality materials that could even be water-resistant or waterproof.

The more expensive fishing vests will also be backed by a better warranty and better customer service. More expensive fishing vests are more durable and will last a lot longer than cheaper vests.

You don’t need a $200 fishing vest and I have had fishing vests under $100 that I have lasted over 10 years. I’ve also had or seen some fishing vests that fall apart within a year or two.

Back when I owned a fishing store I had vests from cheap brands to expensive brands and it was always the cheap brands that always had the most problems or durability issues.

Cheap vests are made from cheaper materials and have poor workmanship and are not as durable which means that stitching could come out or tear. Some just don’t fit so well or they are more likely to be defective.

Some fishing vests use materials that are mildew resistant and stain-resistant while other vests use materials that could mold and have mildew issues.

Water-Resistant Fishing Vests and Weatherproof Fishing Vests

Water-resistant fishing vests are a great idea to help keep all your fishing gear dry if you get stuck out in the rain.

Often, the vest itself is not waterproof simply because of all the openings that rain can get in and because they don’t have a hood.

However, some brands have fishing vests with pockets on the vest that are weather resistant which is basically the same as water-resistant and the idea is that it will keep the rain out, but should you fall into the river and completely submerge the vest it will likely leak.

The benefit of a fishing vest that has weather-resistant pockets will keep your best gear from getting soaked if it rains. Things like hooks, flies, lures, and pliers can rust if they get wet and stay wet so keeping them dry is a good idea.

Some of the better fishing vests will also have zippers that are also waterproof or rust-resistant.

How To Wear A Fishing Vest

The fishing vest should always go on the outside of your clothes, outside of your jacket, and often even outside of your rain gear.

The reason I keep my fishing vest on the outside, and even on the outside of my rain gear is so all the pockets are easily accessible, but also because the vest can get pretty bulky when full and it won’t fit under my jackets.

Fishing Vest Ventilation and Breathability

Some fishing vests will be cooler and have better ventilation than other vests. Some use a mesh material on the sides, back, and even on the front of the vest for better breathability.

This mesh can make the vest lighter and cooler when you are fishing during the hot days of summer.

If you fish a lot during the summer months you should consider one of the more breathable fishing vests that I recommend below.

If you fish during the winter months you can still use the mesh breathable fishing vest because you will have other clothes to keep you warm. If you fish in the winter and want to know how to stay warm, check out my page Fishing In The Winter – Stay Warm With These 10 Tips.

The Problems With Fishing Vests And The Alternatives

For the most part, a fishing vest is a great tool for river anglers, however, I did find some disadvantages to using a fishing vest.


I tell my clients that I have enough stuff in my vest or in my pack for 3 guys. I have extra of everything because I hate running out of something or losing something on a guide trip and then needing to be without something that I need. Because of that, I found that packing all of that gear, plus my water bottle, and my lunch weighed heavy on my shoulders and would even cause lower back pain.

Most anglers won’t carry as much gear in their vest as I would, however, a couple of cans of pop or water bottles, and a lunch, plus a good trout net hanging from the back of your vest can really create extra weight, and after a long day on the water, it can cause some discomfort.

I and other older anglers that have bad backs find that wearing vests will make your sore back worse.

The alternative to wearing a vest and taking the weight off your shoulders and back is to get a good hip pack that wraps around your waist like a belt. This puts all the weight on your hips and not on your shoulders and back.

Getting Your Vest Wet

In addition to all the gear in your vest creating weight on your shoulders and back, if you get your vest wet it will make it heavier.

Many of the cheaper fishing vests, especially the thicker ones made from cotton will absorb and hold the water more than a more expensive vest that uses lightweight materials. Also, these vests are not very weather and water-resistant so your gear could also get wet and take on extra weight. Some of the best fishing packs are water-resistant and don’t have this problem.

Because these vests don’t dry out as quickly I have found that they will start to stink and could even go moldy easier.

What Do You Put In A Fishing Vest?

Any gear that you are not wearing or holding like your rod and reel will go in your fishing vest. This includes your hooks, weights, flies, leaders and lines, release tools, bait, and even your lunch, gloves, and a bottle of water. A good fishing vest should be able to hold all of this stuff.

If you are a fly angler and want to know all the stuff I would be putting in my fishing vest or what I recommend to my clients check out my Fly Fishing Gear page which covers everything that you would need for fly fishing.

The Best Fishing Vests Worth Buying

The Simms Guide vest in gray color.
The Simms Guide vest comes in a gray color as seen in this picture you can get it in a green color.

#1. Simms Guide Vest Review $179.99

The Simms Guide Vest is one of the top-rated fishing vests on the market for a variety of reasons including the fact it probably has the most pockets on a fishing vest.

The Simms brand is known for well-designed high-quality products that are durable and last so it’s not a surprise that this vest hits the top of the list of the best fishing vests.

This is one of the most functional and comfortable fishing vests which is why it is worn by many top river guides and top river anglers. It has all the features a great fishing vest is supposed to have. I have used this vest and I know many clients and friends that love this fishing vest.

It uses a lightweight material that dries quickly and has added water-resistant features.

One of the things that I really like about the Simms Guide vest is how comfortable it is. It has a built-in ventilated and padded collar which is great if you have it loaded full of gear.

The padding is also great for anglers that cast a lot because it doesn’t dig in or rub around your neck as other cheaper vests can.

This vest comes with a whopping 26 pockets mixed from the front, inside, waist, and on the back.

As an added bonus the material that this vest is made of is covered with a water-resistant coating to keep your gear dryer in the rain.

The Simms Guide Vest Comes in an olive/sage Green Color and in Grey color.

Best Used For:

  • River Fishing
  • Bank and Pier Fishing
  • All Season Fishing

Can also be used for:

  • Kayak and Canoe fishing – Does not float and is not a PDF
  • Boat fishing

The key features of the Simms Guide Vest are:

  • There are 26 total pockets in total.
  • There are 2 vertical pockets on the Chest with 2 zippered side-access pockets built-in, and the2 flap closure cargo pockets on the chest.
  • There are 2 large storage pockets on the waist area and 4 flap cargo pockets with 2 horizontal pockets and a couple of small stretch stash pockets for your smaller gear.
  • The inside of the vest in the chest area includes 2 quick-access mesh pockets and 2 larger storage pockets.
  • On the inside of the waist area, there are 4 velcro drop pockets.
  • On the back of the vest, you will find one horizontal pocket designed to hold your water bottle, and another deep cargo pocket that is great for your lunch or an extra shirt, or a packable rain jacket.
  • One of my favorite features is the built-in retractors for attaching tools like forceps or nippers.
  • Another great feature so you never need to head back to the bank to put your rod down on the ground is a built-in third-hand rod holder with velcro fasteners and a reel seat sling to secure the rod.
  • There are 4 tool attachment D-rings on the front of the vest to attach anything you want like a lanyard for your net, and on the back is 1 D-Ring on the back for your vest. To see how to properly secure your wading net as the pros do, check out my page 5 Best Trout Nets And A Guides Advice On How To Attach Them.
  • The Simms Guide vest is made of 100% Nylon fabric with DWR finish with 100% polyester mesh lining.
  • The weight of the vest is 19 oz. or 538.7 grams.

This fishing vest usually sells for around $179.99 – $199.99 and it’s worth the price.

I have found the best prices and best availability at Fish USA

#2 Simms G3 Guide Vest Review $249.99

Simms G3 Guide Vest
Simms G3 Guide Vest

The Simms G3 Guide Vest was once the top fishing vest on the market. and was used by top anglers and river guides.

However, this G3 vest seems to now be discontinued or on its way out and replaced by the above fishing vest or it’s just simply out of stock at most places including on the Simms website.

This G3 vest has 24 pockets compared to the above Simms Guide vest which has 26 pockets, and the main advantage that I can see to this vest over the above Simms vest is that it has 4 molded weather-resistant pockets with 2 on the chest and 2 on the waist.

For those weather-resistant pockets, you are paying about $70 to $100 more at many places. It’s a nice feature, but is it worth it?

This G3 fishing vest comes with most of the same features found on the above Simms Guide vest but because of the higher price, I would put this vest at the #2 spot for the best fishing vest.

Best Used For:

  • River Fishing
  • Bank and Pier Fishing
  • All Season Fishing

Can also be used for:

  • Kayak and Canoe fishing – Does not float and is not a PDF
  • Boat fishing

This vest usually sells for about $249.99 – $279.99 at most locations. You can get the Simms G3 Guide.

#3 Orvis Men’s PRO Fishing Vest: $198.99

Orvis Pro Vest
Orvis Pro Vest

The Orvis Men’s PRO Fishing Vest is one of the top fishing vests made by the very popular brand Orvis and is a vest you should consider.

It is a performance high-quality fishing vest that comes with 18 built-in pockets and is all made for comfort, function, and storage.

This vest is mostly made of abrasion-resistant nylon with a water-resistant coating while still being breathable and lightweight.

It has a padded collar, and a built-in stretch mesh interior for better comfort with pockets strategically placed from front to back and inside.

This vest comes with some cool features including six interior pockets, ten exterior pockets, two rear pockets for drinks and lunches, an Orvis custom hideaway tool port, a tri-ring net holder, two fly drying patches, and elastic loops to attach a tippet bar.

Best Used For:

  • All river fishing
  • All-season and all-weather fishing
  • Bank and Pier fishing

Could also be used for:

  • Kayak and Canoe fishing – not a PFD and does not float
  • Boat fishing

#4 Fishpond Upstream Tech Fly Vest – $199

Fishpond Upstream Tech Vest
The Fishpond Upstream Tech Vest might just be the best technical performance fishing vest you can buy.

Fishpond Upstream Tech Fly Vest is one of the best vests on the market and will make any angler happy.

So many features and pockets and it’s well built.

This vest is made with Comfort and durability in mind and comes in at around $199.99.

Best Economy Fly Fishing Vests On Amazon

If that price is over your budget these are the best economy vests on Amazon:

Best Fishing Vests – Summary

Now you know all the fishing vests that are actually worth looking into that range from about $30 to over $200 dollars. Remember, you get what you pay for.

If you have a fishing vest that you really like and you want to share, tell us in the comments section below.

Tight Lines


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