man in fishing vest

TOP 10 Fishing Vests in 2019 Reviewed with Buyer’s Guide & FAQs

While fishing can be a ton of fun—as we all know—it can be a little finicky.

Fiddling around with all of the various kinds of fishing accessory is an essential part of the charm of our favorite hobby, but it can get a little old sometimes.

Which is where the fishing vest comes in.

Not only are most of these products lightweight and breathable, but they’re also all equipped with all of the pockets you’d ever need to keep your equipment close at hand.

In most cases, they can eliminate the need for a backpack entirely.

But which is the best fishing vest?

TOP 10 Best Fishing Vests of 2019

Bassdash Strap Fishing Vest Adjustable for Men & Women

Review: This fishing vest on offer from Bassdash has been constructed using lightweight material, which ensures that the product dries faster and breathes better, reducing the potential for pockets of liquid being caught between the vest and the wearer’s skin.

With 18 total pockets—14 of which are sealable using smooth conceal zippers—that feature a range of specific design functions, providing for everything from fly boxes to thermometers, there’s more than enough utility, and combined with the adjustable suspension system (which permits a custom fit by adjusting the shoulder and waist straps) the result is a solid all-around fishing vest suitable for men and women both.

Pros

  • D-ring on the back provides added versatility.
  • The strobe holder loop makes night-fishing easier than ever.
  • Compared to the competition, this is a reasonably priced option.
  • It’s waist-high, which makes it ideal for wading and therefore fly-fishing

Cons

  • The loops on each zipper have the potential to get caught on lures and lines.
  • Has a tendency to twist.

Takeaway

Suitable for novice anglers and experienced fishermen alike, this well-rounded fishing vest is a strong contender for the best fly fishing vest in 2019.

Zhusheng Men’s Mesh Outdoor Work Fishing Vest

Review: This lightweight, outdoor vest is suitable for a range of outdoor activities, including but not limited to fishing, fly-fishing, hiking, backpacking, and camping.

More suited to summer, spring, and autumn than it is for winter (on account of the breathable mesh fabric it’s made out of), the vest is washable and quick to dry.

Full zippered closure ensures a snug fit, regardless of size, and in addition to the 16 pockets available, there are also 2 D-rings on the front from which the user can hang small items they need to keep close to hand.

Stylish to look at but designed first and foremost to be practical, as long as the sizing chart is properly consulted, this product is unlikely to let anybody down.

Pros

  • This is one of the cheaper options on the market.
  • The durable Nylon fabric doesn’t shrink easily, allowing for multiple washes.

Cons

  • The sizing can be tricky, and if you don’t get it right you’ll probably have to return it because of the snug fit.
  • It’s not as resistant as other, more heavy-duty fishing vests.

Takeaway

As long as you’re careful in how you use it and make sure you size your product correctly, this garment from Zhusheng won’t disappoint you, but it probably won’t blow you away either.

Even so, it’s in the running for the title of best fly fishing vest, as much for the amount of pockets as anything.

Lightbare Fly Fishing Vest Pack for Men

Review: Designed from the ground-up with fly-fishing in mind, the D ring on the back of the vest can be used to attach a fishing net, rod holder loops, a knife lash tab and a wide reflector (for use in poorly lit conditions).

18 total pockets add to the utility of the item, while the lightweight material which makes use of breathable mesh technology provides the ultimate in comfort and ease of use.

All of the pockets close with either zippers or straps, and if you’re more into regular fishing than fly fishing, there’s more than enough room to hold extra sinkers, bobbers, lures, bait, and even an extra reel or two.

Pros

  • The one size fits all concept promises a comfortable fit without having to worry about sizing charts.
  • Surprisingly durable and weather-resistant while remaining breathable and lightweight.
  • It’s a well-made product with top-notch stitching.

Cons

  • It’s one of the more expensive fishing vests on this list.

Takeaway

Close to being the best fly fishing vest of 2019, this product on offer from Lightbare offers everything you could want, as long as you can fit it into your budget.

Kylebooker Fly Fishing Vest Multifunction Breathable Backpack

Review: The Kylebooker Fly Fishing vest is intended to provide a vest with the versatility of a pack; and given the fact that it can accommodate multiple fly boxes in a variety of sizes, that’s a claim the company have backed up with their product.

A large mesh back storage area with additional zippered pockets offers functionality and storage capacity where usually there is none.

By spreading the weight of the vest through the suspension structure, the fisherman using this vest is spared feeling the weight of his / her gears, making it perfect for standing in streams and rivers for hours at a time.

Pros

  • The adjustable shoulder and waist belt allow for a range of different body types.
  • Half-pack, half-vest, this is an ambitious product which delivers on its promises.

Cons

  • The zipper’s construction quality isn’t always ideal, and they can tend to jam and even break.
  • The product’s description says it’s a personal flotation device, which it isn’t.

Takeaway

Questionable quality control and a misleading description lets this otherwise versatile and impressive product down. It’s not a bad deal for the price, but don’t count on the zips to work forever.

Anglatech Fly Fishing Vest Pack for Trout Fishing Gear

Review: One of the more expensive fishing vests on the market today is this high-quality offering from Anglatech.

Designed by fishermen, for fishermen, this comprehensive pack includes everything from water-resistant pockets to breathable mesh. They even remembered to include a drink holder.

Whether you’re headed out on the river, boat, lake, or shore, this vest will provide all the equipment you need to enjoy your favorite hobby without needing to reach into your tackle box or bag.

It adjusts at the shoulders and waist, meaning anybody can find a way to make it fit them without worrying about sizes or measurements.

Pros

  • Excellently made, constructed as it is from the ground up with top-quality material.
  • Possessed of one of the most intuitive pocket layouts to be found anywhere.
  • Durable enough to survive many fishing trips down the line.

Cons

  • It’s firmly in the more expensive side of the price spectrum.
  • Pocket stitching doesn’t always hold up to extensive wear and tear.

Takeaway

If you’re looking for unbeatable utility, this vest (which was designed by fishermen, with fishermen in mind) is one of the best options around.

Gihuo Men’s Lightweight Quick Dry Fishing Vest

Review: In contrast to some of the more clunky fishing vests available today, this lightweight product from Gihuo brings the concept of a fishing vest back to basics.

Machine washable, and made out of a nylon shell and polyester lining, it’s both lightweight and quick to dry, and features a variety of pockets, some of which use zippers and some of which use buttons.

A drawstring in the hem makes it easy to adjust the elasticity of the garment, while the overall quality of the construction is deceptively durable, considering the low price point it’s marketed at.

Pros

  • Low-cost and low-maintenance, it’s easy to wash and look after.
  • Durable nylon outer shell combines with polyester lining to create a warm, sturdy vest.

Cons

  • The sizing is suited to the Asian market, and appropriate care should be taken to ensure you find one that fits you.

Takeaway

Cheap and cheerful, this is a perfectly good vest which is nonetheless lacking some of the more advanced functionality experienced anglers may be looking for.

Jenkoon Men’s Work Multi-Pockets Lightweight Fishing Vest

Review: The Jenkoon Fishing Vest comes in two distinct styles—the first is a polyester/nylon/fibre blend which is lightweight and thin, while the second is designed for colder weather, lined with fleece and build to be thick enough to withstand the elements.

All of the models have many pockets and buckles to meet different outdoor work needs.

They’re easy to take on and off, made of breathable fabric, completely waterproof, and functional enough to suit a wide range of angling situations. Both the side pockets and the chest pocket close with zippers, while an elastic hem makes it easy to adjust the vest to fit a variety of sizes.

Pros

  • Nylon stops the wind from getting through.
  • Fits snugly, but not oppressively so.
  • More than enough pockets to fit all the equipment you’ll need.

Cons

  • The zippers don’t always last long enough before breaking.
  • The interior material has a tendency to hang down lower than the outer material.

Takeaway

While this fishing vest from Jenkoon isn’t going to break your bank account, the zippers and general build quality leave a lot to be desired—which is a shame, because it lets down an otherwise good product.

Master Sportsman Adult 26 Pocket Fishing Vest

Review: The outer material of this garment is a blend of 60% cotton and 40% polyester, which provides a good combination of stretch and durability.

Boasting 26 pockets, designed to hold everything from tippet to fly boxes (as well as everything else you might need for a full day spent fishing in a stream) the rear and front pockets close with zips.

Removable fly patches make sure that your flies are always within reach, while the rod holder is a nice touch which rounds off a well-designed product that was clearly designed with fishing in mind.

The inside pockets can be a little narrow for some uses, but in general that shouldn’t prove to be too much of an issue given how many pockets there are.

Pros

  • Comfortably on the lower end of the pricing spectrum.
  • Feels solid and well-made despite the cheap price.
  • The whole vest is visually impressive, offering the wearer the classic fishing aesthetic.

Cons

  • No pocket specifically designed for smart phones.
  • Sizing can be inconsistent and tends to run a little tight.

Takeaway

As long as you can find a size that fits you, this is a magnificent fishing vest that provides all the utility an experienced fisherman could ask for. Possibly the best fly fishing vest for the money you’ll spend on it.

Liesezhe Unisex Mesh Breathable Fishing Vest

Review: One of the best fishing vests for women available on the market today, the Unisex Breathable Fishing Vest by Liesezhe is made out of taslon and mesh, which combination creates a product that is light, durable, waterproof, and breathable, as well as fast-drying.

As well as suiting both men and women, children will be able to make use of the vest as well; and since it comes in black, green, red, and khaki, it’s bound to suit a variety of different personal style choices.

The company emphasizes the attention the buyer needs to pay to their sizing chart, but as long as you’re careful about which size you order, this is a comfortable, lightweight option that can account for all the equipment you’d need on a fishing trip.

Pros

  • Suitable for men, women, and children.
  • Pockets come in a range of different sizes in order to hold all kinds of items.

Cons

  • The sizes are a good deal smaller than regular clothing sizes.

Takeaway

Perfect for fishermen and women of all ages and sizes, this is a respectable option that is sure to serve the wearer well long into the future. Given that the women’s market is relatively small, compared to the men’s, this could well be the best women’s fly fishing vest around today.

Fishpond Gore Range Tech Pack Fishing Vest

Review: With 17 exterior and interior pockets, some of which were specifically designed to hold tackle boxes of different sizes, the Fishpond Gore Range Tech Pack is a high-end, heavy-duty item.

Fly fishing enthusiasts will be delighted by the zip-down fly benches with replaceable foam, while the fabric itself that makes up the vest has been recycled from commercial fishing nets—as well as being lightweight, it’s environmentally friendly.

It’s worth mentioning as well that the robust set of features on offer is reflected in the price, which is the highest of all the fishing vests on this list.

Pros

  • Lightweight but with the versatility of a rucksack.
  • Designed to accommodate multiple fly boxes.
  • The inclusion of fly benches is a nice touch not found in many other competing products.

Cons

  • The vest tends to be too big, so consider sizing down.
  • It’s very expensive relative to the rest of the market

Takeaway

The final word in versatility and convenience, if you can manage to fit this fishing vest into your budget it won’t let you down.

This is a fantastic, well-designed product, and maybe the best fly-fishing vest currently available.

Fishing Vests Buyer’s Guide

Lightweight vs. Coziness

While fishing vests are first and foremost a way to keep all of your accessories within easy reach, there’s no denying the fact that they can also be a way to fend off the elements.

Battling with weather conditions is one of the most fun things about fishing.

But how do you know whether you need a lightweight vest or a heavier one? What are the benefits of each?

Lightweight vests dry quickly and are easy to move around in. They won’t weigh you down, but they won’t exactly take the nip out of the wind either.

Heavier vests, on the other hand, tend to be lined with fleece. While this makes them a good deal chunkier (and sacrifices some pocket space to boot), it also makes them warmer.

These are some points worth bearing in mind as you consider your situation and which is best for you.

man fishing in lake

How Many Pockets are Enough?

The answer to this question is going to depend both on the kind of fishing you’re doing, and how much experience you have as an angler.

Fly fishing, for example, demands more bits and pieces than standard fishing. Ice fishing is another question entirely. And while beginners won’t need easy access to every kind of lure, experienced fishermen who know how to read the water could well require more technical accessories close by.

In general, though, any fishing vest on the market will probably have enough pockets. After all, they rarely have fewer than 14; and 14 is a lot of pockets, no matter who you are.

Sizing Advice

Just like with trying to find a pair of fishing waders, sizing is crucially important when it comes to the fishing vest you end up opting for.

While some fishing vests on the list above employ a one-size-fits-all system, plenty of others don’t. And even those one-size-fits-all vests can wind up being a little too tight for comfort, or too loose.

After all, the human body comes in all shapes and sizes.

The best chance you can give yourself to find a fishing vest that fits is to read the reviews from other users who have already bought the product you’ve got in mind.

Sizing is usually foremost among the complaints, and by taking that information into consideration as well as the sizing guide provided by the company, you’ll be able to make an informed decision that hopefully won’t require any returns.

man in fishing vest

How Much Should I Spend?

The vests on the list above occupy a wide spectrum of price points.

More advanced vests tend to cost more money, but that isn’t always the case. As ever with clothing, you’re paying as much for the name as you are for the product.

If you have an idea of how much you’ll be using the vest as well as an organized budget, you should be able to estimate how much you have to spend, and conduct the rest of your research from there.

FAQ’s

Do I Really Need a Fishing Vest?

My answer to this one is going to be: probably.

No matter what the level you’re fishing at, having accessories nearby is a great help.

Plus, it’s much more comfortable and convenient than carrying around a rucksack, which is likely to be harder to keep organized as well.

How do I Use the Rod Holder?

Some products feature attachments for holding rods, which is great.

Unfortunately, they’re not always easy to figure out, which is not.

That’s why I’m going to leave a link to a great video I found on the subject from YouTube. I really recommend giving it a watch.

How do I Maintain my Vest?

Maintenance of your fishing vest is going to depend largely on whether or not nylon was used in its manufacture.

If it’s a nylon vest, it will resist shrinking and as such can be machine-washed more often.

If it doesn’t have nylon, machine-washing runs the risk of inducing shrinkage, which is the last thing you want, once you’ve finally figured out the sizing.

If it’s a standard, breathable vest, odds are you won’t need to do much more to maintain it than hand-wash it in lukewarm water every now and again.

Most of these garments are built to be durable, so you don’t need to scrub it to death after every stain. That might even shorten its lifespan.

man fishing in sunset

Summary

There you have it: fishing vests, explained.

Each product on the list is a contender for the best fishing vest on offer in 2019.

When reviewing each item I tried my best to list the most important pros and cons, as well as mentioning pricing information when it was applicable – i.e., when the vest was either quite cheap or quite expensive.

Did you enjoy this buyer’s guide?

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