I'm in the market for a new fly vest, and am looking for a little advice. I've been looking pretty seriously at Simms' line of vests, but they are so the product really worth the price?

I've also been looking at the WilliamJoseph chest-pack, I've had a few fly-shop owners give it some good recommendations. It's a pretty innovative product, definitely one that I'd never considered purchasing until now. Anybody else have any experience with any WilliamJoseph products?

Any advice would be great, thanks!


Rob Blomquist

Formerly Tight Loops
I would recommend a trip to Outdoor Emporium, and look at the Columbia line of fly vests, I have one, and would give it a 9 as it only lacks front side D-rings. Its a great vest, and only cost me about $45.

On the side of chest packs, I'm not really a big fan, as I prefer to lug a ton of gear in a vest or rely on my pockets to hold my stuff. Well, I have actually been thinking about rigging up a small shoulder pack for lightweight fly fishing. I bet one designed for a couple guidebooks could be easily converted to a usable fly pack.

Genetic pollution damages wild
stocks, bonk those Hatchery Zombies!

Chris Scoones

Staff member
I use the WJ chest/back-pack. Lots of room for gear which is nice for hike-in's. The shoulder straps are nicely padded for extra weight.

Lots of room but sometimes I miss all the extra pockets that come along with fly vests. When I do start thinking about missing pockets while on the river, I smile knowing I have a six pack and other essential gear in the backpack. It's all good again.


...has several mistresses.
I actually liked that vest/pack you use! A MUST is the need to carry a sixer with you! Once a vest/pack is made that will carry an 18 pack, blue ice, a sandwich and a spare pack of smokes I will be there! :THUMBSUP
I'm not a big fan of the chest packs, maybe because I have a...err..chest. I had one for a couple years and it always seemed to be in my way and for the life of me I could never remember to zipper it back up, so every so often I'd have to dive for a fly box that was floating away.
I have a Cabela's guide vest that matches my olive waders...So far I really like it.

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
It's really a matter of choice. I like a pack when I am only fly fishing. That way I only have a couple fly boxes, some line, spare spool, and that's about it. But when I'm running the gambit (conventional and fly) I carry a vest. That way I can carry everything from hardware to flies and pack it away on my back.

Tim Cottage

Formerly tbc1415
A good vest or pack should last the average fisherman 15-20 years or more. There may be some repairs during that time but that just makes it more personal. Average out the cost and it starts to look like a lot less over time. Just a few months ago I finally broke down and bought a new vest. I would have bought the same one again but it is no longer being made. It was a Columbia. The new one is a Simms vertical master and boy is it a lot more comfortable than my old vertical pocket shortie from Columbia. No more stiff neck from all the weight in the front. No more carrying extra stuff in the back just to balance it out. I agonised over the price for a long time before I got it. I finally said okay while fishing near Calgary this summer. The exchange made it hard to resist. I highly recommend this vest. Now if I can just find a way to get rid of that darn logo. It's sewn right into the material. :THUMBSUP
The best deals ever are the Columbia brand at Sportco in fife(discount membership store). Awesome quality,features,PRICE.

"Follow Me and I will make you fishers of Men"
Matthew 4:19
Ok I want to be clear about this. Did I just read that a plus is having one that matches my waders? I have tan waders, a bright blue chest pack, and whatever baseball cap stinks the least when I go fishing. Needless to say you won't see me in any fishing magazines. As far as the confort and eaase of the two I like the chest pack because it limits what I can carry on me. My vest was so loaded with "what if?" gear that it killed my neck and back. I like the packs with the back storage area of some kind so I can bring lunch and liquids. I have had many fishing days cut short because of dehydration. I have one of the orvis chest packs becuase it had everything I wanted for $50.00.
I my self use a 3 compartment waist pack sold at Fred Myer for $9.00. It can be used around the waist, over a shoulder or as a chest pack as I need or thrown in a boat or on the bank as I need. I would rather put $ into rods, reels, lines etc rather then just something to carry it all in. I am able to carry 2 fly boxes. a spare reel, a spare spool, lots of extra leaders, split shot etc in it and want no more space to fill up or it would be to heavy to deal with. The bag is sold in the fishing department. I clip the clipers and hook remover to my shirt to keep them close and ready for use and a net slung over my shoulder or thown in the boat.
I recently purchased the Cabela's model chest pack. It took a little getting used to, but I've become quite fond of it. Not a lot of storage up front, but plenty in back. It won't haul a 6-pack, but it has pockets for a couple of water (or whatever!) bottles. I can carry a rain jacket or polar fleece in the back, as well as a snack and a few more fly boxes. It is easy on the shoulders and stays put well. I, too, worry about getting it zipped up, but the little table in the front when it is opened up, works great. I make a habit of getting it zipped back up as soon as I retrieved what I need. It does not ride real well on the floor of the boat or canoe, but works great while wading or in the tube. A fly patch on the front would be a nice touch, but you can clip one on yourself. All in all, I'm pretty happy with it.

Lots of good advice here! Especially the one about matching
vest and waders.

I've had a Cabelas Three Forks for years and have been working to
retire it but can't seem to let go. I've got a couple of chest
packs, Northwest X cheapy is actually my favorite.

Did see that Cabelas is offering a new Chest Pack. The price
is good and it has some nice features.

I have the cabela's chest pack as well, use it about 50% of the time...great pack! I added a fly patch in front and have added doublestick velcro to all my fly boxes etc so they stick to the velcro sewn into the main compartment. Just enough room to carry a few fly boxes, FRS, leaders etc and stuff your rain jacket in the pocket in the back. The double water bottle pockets is handy for a cold brewsky or two. The price is very cool at around $30! I bought my bro one as a gift...very comfortable to wear, no shoulder fatigue. Loop in back holds my net magnet, all set up!

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