What to look for in a good fishing vest
Buying from trustworthy, long-established brands is usually a better idea than buying from newer and less well-known companies. A company that has been in business for a long time has a reputation to protect, so they are not likely to sell you a shoddy product.
However, vests from newer companies can also be excellent even if you have to be a bit more careful not to end up with a bad vest. A newer company sometimes sells vests of the same quality for a lower price. They cannot rely on the power of their brand name, so they have to offer you a better deal than better-known companies do.
Look for vests with good reviews
While reviews on Amazon and other websites are not guaranteed to accurately describe a product's quality, genuinely bad products get many negative reviews.
If a vest has a lot of negative reviews - even if they are mixed with positive reviews - it is probably not a good product. If there are only somewhat more positive reviews than negative reviews, that is not good enough. On amazon, if only about two-thirds of reviews are positive, and there are a lot of reviews, you can probably find a better product.
This may seem unimportant to some people. However, there is no point in buying a fishing vest that looks bad. Some vests look better than others without being any less functional.
The last thing you want is a fishing vest that falls apart. You need a fishing vest that can stand up to the elements. The straps, the zippers, and the pockets all have to last.
Each fishing vest is made out of a mix of different materials. Cotton, polyester, and other fabrics are used to make vests. Fishing vests also have mesh in them, but a fishing vest is never made entirely out of mesh.
Polyester is better than cotton in most ways because it does not hold on to odors. Cotton has some advantages - it is cheaper and softer at the very least - but a mostly polyester mix is the best choice. Polyester is also stain-resistant and water-resistant.
A mostly mesh vest is a good idea if you want to stay cool in the summer. The pockets are always fabric, but most of the vest can be mesh. Mesh vests are also stretchier, which can make them more comfortable to move around in.
Size and number of pockets
Fishing vests have very many pockets as there are countless things you might store in them. Fishing vests often have more than fifteen pockets.
Usually, anglers prefer more pockets to fewer pockets. However, some vests go too far in the right direction. With too many pockets, you can lose track of things.
Comfort is most of what differentiates a good vest from a bad vest. A comfortable vest distributes weight evenly. The vest should spread weight all over the body, not weigh down on specific parts of it.
An uncomfortable vest will have stress points. Stress points are small parts of the neck and shoulders that the vest pulls down on. Get a comfortable vest for a better fishing experience.
Do fishing vests double as life jackets?
While some do, most do not. Some fishing vests can help keep you afloat in an emergency. However, this is not a standard feature and is not the main purpose of fishing vests.
The best fishing vests you can buy today
1) Kylebooker Fly Fishing Vest
Comfortable shoulder straps make a great fishing vest, and the shoulder straps the Kylebooker has are positioned at just the right angle. You can carry weight around in this fishing vest for hours without putting any strain on your shoulders.
While one size does not quite fit all, one size fits most people. The vest is adjustable, so it is not that big of a deal if it is a little too big or too small. The vest is also stretchy and flexible.
The pockets are well designed. While the vest has a lot of pockets (17) it is not the sort of vest where too many of the pockets are tiny. There are some larger pockets as well.
The Kylebooker Fly Fishing Vest can help you keep all of your gear in place. There is a rod holder, a ring for a fishing net, and a place to put a hemostat. The Kylebooker looks good in any of the four colors you can get it in.
2) Anglatech Backpack Vest
The Anglatech Backpack Vest combines a fishing vest with a backpack, which is a great idea for the right people. You can use the Anglatech to store things that you could not usually put in a fishing vest. For example, there are large pockets for electronics in the Anglatech, and the pockets are waterproof.
Another great feature of the Anglatech is that it has a built-in water bladder that can hold up to 1.5 liters of water. The Anglatech can keep you hydrated without you having to carry water bottles around. This feature, on its own, can make it the best choice for some people.
The Anglatech is best if you are going to be backpacking and hiking as well as fishing. If you are not going to be going off on the sort of adventures the Anglatech for, you may not have any use for the Anglatech's best features.
The Anglatech does a good job of keeping you both cool and dry. The mesh fabric keeps the water out while letting the air through.
One disadvantage of the Anglatech is that the zippers are plastic. While the zippers are not exactly flimsy, you do have to be a bit more gentle with them than you do with metal zippers. Since the Anglatech is somewhat more expensive than most of the competition, the plastic zippers are disappointing.
If you want Anglatech's expandable storage, large pockets, and built-in water storage, it is worth it. However, if you are not interested in the special features the Anglatech offers, you can get a vest that is just as good for less.
3) Bassdash Strap Fishing Vest
The Bassdash stands out for how much gear it can help you carry around. With 19 pockets, plus rings and loops to tie things to, the Bassdash can help you store as much as possible.
If you fill up all of a fishing vest's pockets, it will become more cumbersome to wear. While there is no way to avoid this problem completely, the Bassdash feels better with a lot of gear in its pockets than most other vests. It does get bulky at the front if you overstuff it, but less so than most other vests.
The Bassdash is also remarkable for how quickly it dries. The Bassdash is made out of high-quality material that weighs little, is durable, and dries very easily. The Bassdash is also adjustable and does not have to be just the right size.
4) Guiho Fishing Vest
The Guiho Fishing vest is one of the best looking fishing vests I have tried. It looks even better after you try it than it looks online.
The Guiho is also long, which is good for taller people, as shorter vests do not fit them properly. As well as working well as a fishing vest, the Guiho works well for outdoor activities of all kinds.
You can also safely machine wash the Guiho as many times as you want without doing any damage to it. It has 16 pockets, more pockets than it appears to at first as many of the pockets are inside of the vest.
The Guiho is also lightweight, breathable, and durable. If you need a lot of storage, the Guiho is a better choice than you might think. It looks like it would store less than many other vests, but this is much less true than pictures suggest. The interior pockets help to make sure that there is enough room.
5) Master Sportsman Fishing Vest
Even a dozen or more pockets can sometimes be too few. You may be carrying around many different types of bait, hooks, and tools, and if you keep them all in different pockets, you can easily find them when you need them. Using a fishing vest with a lot of pockets is much better than having to open up and dig through a tackle box.
The Master Sportsman Fishing Vest has no less than 26 pockets, which is about as many as a vest can get away with without making the pockets too small. The master sportsman also has a good rear rod holder that is placed right.
The pockets also close properly, usually with strong zippers. You will not have to worry about anything falling out of your vest while you move around. Many pockets even have both a zipper and a snap to make everything as secure as possible.
A disadvantage of the Master Sportsman is that it is mostly cotton. If you wear it many times, it may be difficult to keep odors out of the vest. Since it is both light-colored and cotton, the vest is also vulnerable to stains.
6) Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest
The Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest is a large, impressive looking vest with as much storage space as possible. While the vest looks heavier and bulkier than most others, the weight is normal or light. It weighs 1.4 pounds; many other vests weigh more than 2 pounds.
The pockets are large and sturdy and open and close with zippers rather than snaps. If you find the pockets too small on many vets, that is not the case with the Maxcatch.
While the Maxcatch is made out of stretch mesh and can be comfortable to wear, it is a bit more difficult to adjust than most other adjustable vests are. Getting it to fit right is a bit trickier than it needs to be, even though it is possible.
If you pull on the straps to tighten it, it may tighten around the shoulders but remain loose elsewhere. Other vests are more intuitive to tighten than this one.
Nonetheless, you can tighten it and make it fit properly; it is just a little tricker than usual. The Maxcatch vest may actually be more comfortable than most other vests for many people because of the padded shoulder straps and stretchy materials.
Another advantage of the Maxcatch vest is that it comes with free fishing tools. You will get a zinger, line nipper, and forceps when you order the vest. The Maxcatch is also cheaper than most of the other options.
7) NRS Chinook Fishing Vest
The NRS Chinook is a fishing vest that doubles as a life jacket. While it is more expensive than any other fishing vest I recommend, the Chinook is excellent. It works well as both a life jacket and a fishing vest.
If you are fishing with a kayak, a life vest is essential - and there is no room to take a box of equipment with you on a kayak. Even if you do not have a kayak, a fishing vest that doubles as a life vest can be a great double purpose product.
Other than the price, another disadvantage of a flotation fishing vest is that there is less storage. The buoyant padding takes up a lot of room and leaves less room for gear. However, if you find yourself using much less room than you have with other vests, the Chinook might have enough space.
The Chinook is not bulky at all and is comfortable to wear. The comfort may be enough to justify the price - it fits snugly all over the chest and back, not just some parts of it.
The Chinook is comfortable even when it is full of gear. It will not interfere with your mobility. The Chinook is the sort of vest you can take white water rafting as well as take fishing.
It is a high quality, high price vest for those who want to buy something exceptional. Most people prefer cheaper vests with more storage, but the Chinook is great for those considering it.