Years ago, fishermen had limited options when it came to carrying their gear. Some of them relied on nothing but a few bags or a backpack, while others came out with more professionally looking vests. A vest is still a suitable option to a complete newbie who is just getting into this hobby. But on a different note, they do come with a series of limitations. After all, how much gear can you carry in a vest? You do have plenty of options, but you still feel limited.
These days, more and more people switch to fly fishing chest packs. A chest pack is a purpose built unit that aims to take classic vests to the next level. They are designed with attention to detail, so not only are they extremely convenient for your fishing experience, but they also look good and feel comfortable on your body. The market has seriously diversified since they started gaining popularity, so a simple search over the Internet will provide plenty of options.
Finding the best fly fishing chest packs can be challenging task. It is important to understand why you need one, but also what to look for when going out shopping. The more you know, the more informed your decision will be. As for the best product, it takes time to research all options, so simply stick to the best rated products in commerce. It makes the whole experience a lot easier and efficient, especially when you also take your needs into consideration.
- 1 Benefits of Using Fly Fishing Chest Packs
- 2 How Fly Fishing Chest Packs Work
- 3 Top 5 Fly Fishing Chest Packs
- 4 What to Look for to Pick Up The Best Fly Fishing Chest Packs
- 5 Conclusion
- 6 Frequently Asked Questions
Benefits of Using Fly Fishing Chest Packs
Quality fly fishing chest packs come with plenty of benefits over traditional options like vests.
Portability is essential when carrying fishing gear. It is stressful enough to carry all those little things together, so you want the chest pack to make the whole job easier, rather than more annoying. Fortunately, these units go on your body and allow using your hands for something else. For this reason, they are normally lightweight and less likely to cause any stress.
You probably think about it – how much stuff can you carry in a chest pack? You would be surprised! While not as large as a backpack, a chest pack can take everything you normally had in a vest and a lot more. This is one of the reasons wherefore so many fishermen have made the switch to chest packs. Everything can be taken on one trip – no extra bags needed.
When you first look at fly fishing chest packs, it looks like you get a few extra pockets. Terrible misconception. They are so well organized that you can find a specific place for literally every piece of gear. There are lots of storage compartments in multiple sizes to accommodate all your gear. Organization is flawless. There is science behind them, so storage pockets are conveniently placed based on their size and the things they carry.
Finally, fly fishing chest packs are so diversified that anyone can find something for their unique personal needs. Whether you want a specific design, number of pockets or build, chances are you will find it with a bit of research. There is something for everyone out there – just take your time.
How Fly Fishing Chest Packs Work
Fly fishing chest packs are self explanatory. They basically work like a backpack, only they go on your chest. Even if this is the first time you wear one, chances are you will be able to fit it from your first attempt. There is no experience needed. They feature two straps that go around your shoulders. However, unlike backpacks, they tend to slip away when you bend over. For this reason, they also come with a middle strap that will go around your back. This way, they are stable and less likely to go away.
While working like backpacks, they are not as large. Do not imagine a huge backpack on your chest that will always be in your way and will prevent you from doing basic things. Instead, they are much smaller and they can be adjusted to perfectly fit on your chest – there will be no gaps between the chest and the pack.
Fitting a fly fishing chest pack is not so difficult. It might feel a bit challenging setting up the back strap, but you will get used to it in no time. Also, all straps are adjustable, so the fit will leave no room for problems or discomfort.
Top 5 Fly Fishing Chest Packs
Choosing one of the best rated fly fishing chest packs will prevent numerous mistakes and situations.
Anglatech Fly Fishing Chest Pack
Anglatech’s combo is available in more colors and is suitable to both men and women. The forest design is the most popular one for the ability to blend with the surroundings. The combo includes more than just the pack, but also a few extra accessories.
There is plenty of storage available, so analyze it thoroughly. You will find pockets and compartments everywhere. There is room for both small and large pieces of equipment, so the organization will never be an issue for you.
A water bladder is one of the large accessories included in the package. Simply put, the bladder can take 1.5 liters of water. This is almost the daily requirement for an adult, so you can always keep hydrated on a fishing day.
Shoulder and waist straps are highly adjustable for a perfect fit, regardless of your size. Worried about the wide back? It features a breathable mesh, so it will let the air flow despite the tight fit.
- Breathable mesh back
- Lots of adjustability
- Plenty of pockets for storage
- Small and large compartments
- Comes with a 1.5 liter water bladder
- Straps might go loose if the pack is too heavy
- Water bladder could have been better
Kylebooker Mesh Fly Fishing Chest Pack
Kylebooker is one of the top options when it comes to fly fishing chest packs and this model is probably its top rated one. It is a unisex model available in a few different colors and represents a mix between classic vests and modern chest packs.
The pack is multifunction. Some pockets are soft and designed for soft things, while others are sturdy and feel solid, so they can carry sharp or rough items. Most of them are fitted with zippers. You also have all kinds of rings for extra attachments and convenience. Some pockets are on the inside – great for valuables.
The pack is highly adjustable – it comes with three straps. Two of them cover the shoulders and another one goes around the back. It can comfortably fit most anglers, while every pocket will be in reach right in front of them.
In terms of comfort, you have a mesh back for breathability – your back is less likely to sweat too heavily. Also, feel free to equip the unit with a rod holder strap and you are ready to go.
- Plenty of storage
- Can be equipped with a rod holder strap
- Interior pockets
- Zippers are placed on the left side – opposite to almost everything that has zippers
- Pockets could have been a bit bigger
FanBellFly Fishing Chest Pack
FanBellFly’s chest pack is basically designed like a backpack that goes in the front. Just like you have probably guessed already, it is a bit smaller, so it will be out of the way when you need to use your hands or reach the pockets.
It is well organized on both the inside and the outside. It features a large zippered main pocket and a mesh compartment for small accessories. Side attachments and small pockets add to the storage, not to mention rings, tabs and loops.
The front features a zip down fly bench, which has replaceable foam. It allows an easy access to anything you might store in there.
The design is a bit different from other fly fishing chest packs in this segment. This unit does not feature any shoulder straps. Instead, it comes with a back strap and a neck one. Obviously, every strap is adjustable.
- Multiple pockets
- Lots of tabs and loops
- Feels small for professional fishermen with lots of equipment
- Neck pad is a bit scratchy
M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Fly Fishing Chest Bag
Designed in a compact shape and with lots of adjustability, this is one of the top rated fly fishing chest packs on the market. It comes with a zip down fly bench, as well as replaceable foam.
The main pocket is zippered and quite spacious. It also has a smaller mesh compartment, which is suitable for small things and accessories. A few other pockets are available on the outside as well. In terms of looks, it is like a smaller backpack.
The exterior features lots of tabs, loops and rings too. They are excellent for small accessories and attachments, so some pieces of equipment go on the outside. Weighing just over 10 ounces, it will not feel heavy – not even when full.
It is the kind of chest pack that comes with a neck and a waist belt, rather than shoulder straps. They are fully adjustable, so it makes no difference what size you are.
- Large pocket
- Tabs and loops for accessories
- Adjustable straps
- Comfortable to wear
- Bar holder is a bit too small
- Neck pad might feel rough
Aventik Fly Fishing Chest Bag
Aventik’s chest pack is designed with organization in mind. It features multiple pockets on the inside, as well as on the outside. Forget about heavy vests and backpacks. You can store your stuff and freely use your hands.
The main pocket is zippered and comes with a smaller mesh pocket to hold small accessories. The unit is designed like a combo, so it also features a reel retractor, a catch and release hemostat, a line cutter tool and T holders.
The neck strap is adjustable, as well as the waist belt. It will go tightly around you regardless of your size. The neck strap also has a D ring, not to mention some padding.
When it comes to sizing, the unit weighs 5.7 ounces only. It is easy on your neck, even when fully filled. The main body is made of high grade polyester.
- Good storage
- Lightweight profile
- Good value for money
- Multiple accessories
- Small for professionals with lots of accessories
- Neck padding can feel scratchy when you sweat
What to Look for to Pick Up The Best Fly Fishing Chest Packs
Education is essential when looking for fly fishing chest packs. While most of them seem similar, small details often make the difference in terms of comfort and convenience. You might feel overwhelmed, but this whole venture will be relatively simple if you follow a few steps.
Shape and Size
The shape and size are the main considerations when hunting a good chest pack for your fly fishing sessions. Most people assume that bigger is better because you can store more stuff. But remember, you go fly fishing, so you do not need too much. Think about everything you need and go for the smallest possible option.
Smaller is better and for some obvious reasons. The more compact your unit is, the more useful it will be without getting in the way. On the same note, the lighter it is, the more comfortable it will feel on your neck or shoulders.
Organization is key in fly fishing chest bags. In fact, this is why you buy one anyway. You try to fit many items in a small pack, so a poor organization will lead to a messy experience. You will forget things back home, not to mention struggling to find whatever you have there.
The best way to go is having as many pockets as possible. More is better, even if they are smaller. Every chest pack will feature a large main pocket for large items though. At the same time, different pockets have different levels of storage space, so you can store things based on their size.
Extras do not necessarily imply a bunch of extra accessories and features. Instead, it is about getting the possibility to add as much equipment as possible yourself. From this point of view, fly fishing chest packs are not all about the pockets and the inside, but also about the outside.
Many of them feature a few rings and loops. Make sure you get as many tabs and loops as possible. This way, you get lots of flexibility in setting up your own design. You can add accessories on the outside and have them hanging or stuck to the pack.
Quality refers to how well built your chest pack is. You can find chest packs that cost less than your lunch. They might seem cost effective, but you will have to treat them like glass or they will fail on you when least expected.
On the same note, the most expensive fly fishing chest packs are not necessarily the best ones. You will end up paying for lots of bells and whistles that might look exciting at first, but you will barely use them.
Instead, go for a middle option that provides great value for money.
The good news is that most (if not all) fly fishing chest packs are highly adjustable. No matter what kind of mounting system they use, they will have straps that you can adjust based on your size. So, when do you have to pay attention to your size?
If you are way too tall or way too overweight, you need to make sure the straps can cover you. Even if you are taller or more overweight than average, you can easily deal with most chest packs. But if you are way out of everyone’s league, it is wiser to double check to avoid wasting your time.
Just like for everything else in life, your available budget can dictate the final choice. You will need to check the market upfront to determine a budget. Some chest packs cost five times more than others, but it does not make them five times better. Set a budget and stick to it, then research your options.
Materials are quite diversified. They need to be soft for flexibility, yet you may also find pockets with a few solid walls. Generally speaking, polyester is a common choice in terms of durability. The higher the grade, the better.
Some pockets might be waterproof to store valuables and electronics, yet this is not a general rule. Just get a plastic bag and cover your backpack if you go fishing on a rainy day – the easy way to save money. Other than that, it might be a good idea to have some padding on the straps – especially the neck one.
As a short final conclusion, fly fishing chest packs are quite diversified. At a first glance, they look quite similar, but as you dig deeper, you notice small details make the difference in the long run. The price can be affected by pretty much everything, from the manufacturer’s name and reputation to the actual features and pockets.
Even if you are new to fly fishing, it is worth investing in a high quality unit, rather than a random one that costs nothing. You want durability and efficiency. Otherwise, zippers will fail, pockets will tear apart and the whole pack might break down if you are not careful enough. When you choose quality, you are less likely to go wrong.
More experienced users require even more attention. The more experience you gain, the more accessories and gear you will get. From this point of view, a small chest pack may not be sufficient to hold everything for you. At this point, you want something bigger.
Finally, remember that ratings weigh a lot in the process. Why would you buy something with no reviews instead of a top rated product recommended by thousands of users?
Frequently Asked Questions
What size do I need?
The good news is that most fly fishing chest packs come with adjustable straps. Some of them have straps around the shoulders – like classic backpacks. They also feature a stabilizing strap around the waist. Other units come with straps around the neck and waist. Choose the one that suits you better, as it is only a matter of personal preferences. Most of these straps are adjustable, so they are universal – they can fit most fishermen. Extremely tall or overweight people would have to double check upfront though, just to make sure they can comfortably wear the pack.
How can I maintain a fly fishing chest pack?
Fly fishing chest packs are easy to maintain – no doubts about it. If you have had an average backpack before, maintenance involves pretty much the same thing. You should still double check, but most of them are machine washable. Make sure every pocket is emptied before or you risk damaging the washing machine or your gear.
You should not dry your chest pack in the drier though, unless the manufacturer claims it is safe to do so. Otherwise, it might shrink and ruin your experience.
Do I need weatherproofing?
Yes and no. If your budget is generous, you can get a vest with such a feature. Otherwise, you will only be wasting time. Your vest will not get into water too much. However, if you go fly fishing and it starts raining, you can simply cover it with a plastic wrap.
Can I use the chest pack as a life vest?
Fly fishing chest packs are designed with storage in mind. They are not life vests – not even the large ones. They are not inflatable, so they cannot keep you on the surface. You would have to buy a life vest separately.