Vest vs. Chestpack vs. Waistpack vs. Sling

scifidelity

Active Member
Hi Folks,

Newbie to the sport and Seattle area. I met member Storybook last night to buy his 3wt. Winston Biii LS. Really nice guy. I am pretty good at doing my own research on gear, but one topic I could use a bit of help on is the right pack. A vest seems practical, but not many people use them these days. A chest pack seems like it would be efficient and I like that it's front facing, but may hurt the neck after a while. Waist packs seem to be popular, but I fear I'll hate having to spin it around or take it off to access anything. I see a few sling options as well. I am taking a few classes and reading a few books to learn how to set up a rig, read a river, etiquette, etc. This forum is a great resource. Thanks in advance your help.

Josh
 

Luke77

I hope she likes whitefish
Hi Josh, I used a chest pack for a while, but during sweltering heat waves here on the east side, they get hot...fast! I went with a waist pack for walk and wade trips and have never looked back. I would recommend against getting the largest you can find as you'll no doubt fill it with useless gear. Really all you need to be carrying is a few small fly boxes, tippet, sink tip (just in case), indicators of choice, floatant, nippers, and beer. That can be obtained by a fairly small pack. This is the pack I use and it's almost too big.
http://www.fishpondusa.com/product/detail/waterdance-guide-pack/2035
 

The T.O. Show

Buenos Hatches Ese
I've had all of those at some point, and have landed on the waist pack.... Vests are convenient having everything easily accessibly on the front of your body, but I think they are bulky, uncomfortable, and look strange. Chest packs are nice, but they don't typically provide as much storage space as other packs and don't have the ability to easily move it to your side or back. The sling pack I had just didn't feel correct for the job it was doing. I bought the Simms Headwaters waist pack on STP with a coupon for pretty cheap. It's awesome, tons of space for all my stuff, comfortable, I can put the handle of my landing net through the waist strap and it doesn't move while I'm hiking/wading. I think the best thing about a waist pack is that you can easily move it to your back, side, or front depending on what you are doing. Super convenient.
 
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Stonefish

Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater....Know Grizzler
I think a lot depends on when, where and how you are fishing.
I mainly fish the salt and use a small chest pack. I've become more of a minimalists these days, so fishing all day with one box isn't an issue.
I like the chest pack because it sits up rather high and nothing gets wet if I need to wade deep.
I tried a fanny pack, but with a stripping basket already around my waist didn't really find it to my liking.

I see a lot of people using sling packs and I'd likely go that route if the chest pack didn't work well for me.

There really is no right or wrong answer to this.
Fish enough and there is a good likelihood over time you might have one of each.
You just need to find what works best for your fishing.
SF
 
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ScottyV6290

Active Member
I have both a small sling pack (Patagonia Stealth Atom) and a waist pack. I fish with the sling pack almost exclusively. It feels more comfortable and secure. I can rotate it around easily. And, it handles better when hiking into and out of the river. The fact that I am a big guy plays a large part in my preference. The less bulk I add to my already ample waist, the better!!
 

VanAllen

www.riverforged.com
I have Simms headwaters Guide Hip Pack for trips when I need a larger variety of gear, and a Darby Creek Sling pack from Smithfly when I know exactly what to bring with me for a location. Its a little smaller but not by much. Both are awesome, and any overflow stuff just goes into a small backpack if needed.
 

majpreal

WFF Supporter
My fly fishing outings consist entirely of walking and wading on rivers. With that said, I like to have a hydration pack whenever I spend the day on the river so after a few years of fishing with a chest back on the front and my camelbak on my back, I decided to give this Patagonia hybrid vest a try and I really like it: http://www.patagonia.com/us/product/hybrid-pack-fly-fishing-vest?p=89165-0

It can hold a decent amount of gear in the front pockets and the back is just large enough to holder a camelbak bladder and some snacks. It meets my needs and serves its purpose well.
 

IveofIone

WFF Supporter
Been fishing with a vest since the 50's and you are right-they are practical. Easy to organize and comfortable to wear. I have rain gear that fits over both me and the vest and I like keeping everything dry. There are some wonderful vest out there right now and despite the fact that they are not popular I haven't seen a need to replace a vest with some of the wearable luggage that is so in vogue right now.

Vest probably started to get a bad rap when they went pocket ape shit and added dozens of useless little compartments that would actually hold nothing of value. The American way- if enough was adequate, why not add a helluva lot more and charge more for less function? They still sell those cheapos but you can buy a well thought out quality vest at a reasonable price. And you will look old school hip wearing it.
 

freestoneangler

Not to be confused with Freestone
I switched from a vest to a fanny pack years ago when I was still slinging lead from a level wind :eek:. I found vests too hot in the warmer months and wore my shoulders and neck down by days end. A buddy had already switched to a fanny pack and kept saying he wished he'd done so years earlier. So, I followed suit and have since found this one from Cabela's to offer all the room needed and at a great price for the level of quality.
Cabela Waist Pack.jpg

For sure a vest used for fly fishing is (or should be) less cluttered and heavy than one used for terminal gear fishing... say 1-1/2 ounce bank weight to get a picture. But, I got so use to using the fanny pack, it just became my preference. Also, I find them much more useful when in my pontoon -- simply sits inside one of the side pockets. Sling packs have their advantages as well, but I've never been inclined to change. I tend to find what works and stay with it... yeah, boring I know. :D
 

scifidelity

Active Member
Been fishing with a vest since the 50's and you are right-they are practical. Easy to organize and comfortable to wear. I have rain gear that fits over both me and the vest and I like keeping everything dry. There are some wonderful vest out there right now and despite the fact that they are not popular I haven't seen a need to replace a vest with some of the wearable luggage that is so in vogue right now.

Vest probably started to get a bad rap when they went pocket ape shit and added dozens of useless little compartments that would actually hold nothing of value. The American way- if enough was adequate, why not add a helluva lot more and charge more for less function? They still sell those cheapos but you can buy a well thought out quality vest at a reasonable price. And you will look old school hip wearing it.

LOL! I definitely know what you mean. A hard shaped side pocket makes no sense. Very limiting. Fishpond makes one that looks like a storm trooper vest.
 

Tracker

Active Member
I've had them all. I wade fish primarily in Montana an I've downsized considerably. Bought an antique artic creel which holds my fly box, tippet etc. Sling it and go. I carry water on my wader belt. I can reach into the creel and find everything by feel. Works great for me.

Sort of a Montana ghetto fly fishing thing I guess.
 
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scifidelity

Active Member
I've had them all. I wade fish primarily in Montana an I've downsized considerably. Bought an antique artic creel which holds my fly box, tippet etc. Sling it and go. I carry water on my wader belt. I can reach into the creel and find everything by feel. Works great for me.

Sort of a Montana ghetto fly fishing thing I guess.

So to be clear, and not to judge, this is what you are referring to:

14584.jpg
 

Chris Johnson

Active Member
I find my sling pack very convenient, I spin it around and everything is there in 3 compartments, when I'm done it spins back out of the way. Back packs are a pain in the ass because you have to take them off to get anything and vests have so many pockets I can't remember where everything is so I end up searching through them and swearing.
 

GATOR9

Hey you guys
I first started with vests like most of us. For the last 10 years plus I have used a William Joseph double sided chest pack and love it. I carry seven fly boxes (various sizes), cutter, small pliers, glasses, trimmers, the neatest watch similar to a pocket watch with clamp attached to a loop, extra leader, tippet, strike indicators, keys, bottle of float juice along with my attached walking stick and net. I know I have had this for over ten years, fallen more times than I can count, been wet more times, it has taken a beating and the only thing broken is a zipper tab but half is still there so it can be used. I would not trade this for the world but when it is time to retire it I would be looking at a sling vest if I could not replace it. The thing is though I may have to retire from the sport before the chest pack is ready.
 

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