Imagine it: a day in the cool, fresh water. Angling without a care in the world, honing your fly fishing technique, and relishing in the tranquility of the moment. And then it’s interrupted by you having to fish something out of your sling bag or backpack.
A fly fishing chest pack strikes a happy medium between the carrying capacity of a backpack and the warmth and security of a full vest. These bags offer security and convenience while being comfortable to wear – which is especially important when fly fishing for cold water fish like trout or salmon, as catching these fish requires skill, patience, and the willingness to wade into the water.
Best Fly Fishing Chest Packs Reviewed In This Guide
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Fly Fishing Chest Pack Buyer’s Guide
Before we discuss my favorite and top picks here is a short guide when picking a fly fishing chest pack.
The first and perhaps most important consideration you need to take into account when buying a fly fishing chest pack is how much gear are you going to store in it. Remember: you’ll be wearing the fly fishing chest pack, so putting too much weight on your chest pack will not only damage it but also weigh you down and potentially affect your fishing skill. Be sure to pick out a fly fishing vest pack with a weight limit close to or above the weight of the gear you’re planning to bring.
While we’re at it, be sure to get a fly fishing chest pack that’s big enough to hold your fly box. Most fly fishing chest packs have a main compartment that’s dedicated to holding a fly box. However, you’ll need to carefully measure both the size and weight of your fly box to see if it will fit the fly fishing vest pack you’re going to get.
As you’ll be carrying your fly fishing pack the whole day, you should look into each pack’s comfort features too. Look for fly fishing packs with wide shoulder straps – those will help distribute weight evenly, and prevent you from tiring out quickly. The bigger the chest pack and the higher the weight capacity, the bigger the straps and buckles have to be.
Finally, have a look at the safety and storage features of the fly fishing chest pack you’re planning to buy. For anglers on a budget, buckles and clasps do a good job of securing your gear. Some fly fishing chest packs even come with magnetic closures for extra security, if you’re willing to invest extra money in keeping your gear.
Now that you have an idea of what to look for when buying fly fishing vest packs, here are my picks for the best fly fishing chest packs you can get online.
Fly Fishing Chest Pack Reviews
Fishpond Cross-Current Fly Fishing Chest Pack
- Magnetic closures for maximum security
- Spacious front compartment for fly boxes
- Integrated net slot in back panel
Pros: Light nylon construction, extremely secure, large straps for great weight distribution, good storage capacity
Safety? Check. Storage? Check. Comfort? Big check. The Fishpond Cross-Current Fly Fishing Chest Pack doesn’t just meet the basic needs of a fly fishing chest pack, but exceeds them at virtually every turn.
This fly fishing vest pack boasts a nylon construction, which affords it great durability as well as great comfort. But don’t be fooled by its roomy design and light feel, as the Fishpond Cross-Current Fly Fishing Chest Pack comes with fantastic safety features for your items too.
Magnetic enclosures protect it’s main and sub-compartments. This main compartment can house fly boxes and other quick-access items. A net slot in the bag’s back allows you to store nets. However, do note that while this fly fishing vest pack has lots of interior storage space, it doesn’t come with many exterior connectors, such as loops or hooks.
Bottomline: Simply put, the Fishpond Cross-Current Fly Fishing Chest Pack is one of the best fly fishing chest packs available on the market today. Its combination of safety and comfort is very hard to beat, and its many storage compartments serve to sweeten the deal even more.
Bear Creek Micro Fishing Vest Pack
- 100% polyester design
- Heavy-duty zippers and multiple interior pockets
- Zip down work station with tippet tender and fly patch
Pros: Comfortable, durable in spite of its small size,
Cons: High price for a small chest pack
The Bear Creek Micro Fishing Chest Pack is a small, yet hardy companion for any fly fisher. This miniature pack is compact and light, and is very comfortable too – a padded neck strap with a net d-ring helps distribute weight evenly and keeps the vest pack from getting in the way.
Featuring a 100% polyester design, heavy-duty zippers, multiple interior pockets, and a main compartment that can house medium-sized fly boxes, this micro fly fishing vest pack just can’t be beat. And if you find yourself in the need for field repairs, the Bear Creek Micro Fishing Chest Pack comes with a zip down work station.
However, heed the word “micro” in its name. This fly fishing vest pack is quite small, which restricts it to lighter fish and fly boxes.
Bottomline: If you’re planning to go light, the Bear Creek Micro Fishing Chest Pack is an excellent choice. Its combination of high-grade materials, excellent safety features, and small design is perfect for fly fishers looking to nab smaller catches.
Aventik Fly Fishing Chest Bag
- Has both a main and front compartment which can serve as a shelf
- Adjustable neck and waist straps
- Comes with 5 tools
Pros: Super light and comfortable, included tools are of good quality, affordable
Cons: Inside isn’t waterproof
The Aventik Fly Fishing Chest Bag has all you need for a relaxing fly fishing experience. This fly fishing chest bag comes with two compartments – a larger main bag for storing larger gear like fly boxes and other fishing accessories, and a smaller front compartment where you can perform quick adjustments to your gear.
The Aventik Fly Fishing Chest Bag is also notably very light, and comes with adjustable neck and waist straps for maximum comfort and weight distribution. The neck strap also comes with a d-ring, for those looking to make additional adjustments.
Bottomline: Packing light and want something bigger than the Bear Creek Micro Fishing Pack? Give Aventik’s fly fishing chest pack a go. This bag is comfy, durable, sturdy, and all at a great price point.
Kylebooker Small Fly Fishing Chest Pack
- Adjustable padded neck strap
- Various webbing and attachment points
Pros: Compact and very adjustable, padded neck strap is a nice touch, affordable
Cons: Front shelf attachment is floppy
If Fishpond’s products are out of your price range, why not give Kylebooker’s Small Fly Fishing Chest Pack a go?
This small yet formidable fishing chest pack is very comfortable. A padded neck strap and a waist strap work in tandem to distribute weight and reduce fatigue as you fish. The bag itself is quite soft, yet surprisingly tough – but don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s waterproof, as it’s not.
The Kylebooker Small Fly Fishing Vest Pack’s best feature is, perhaps, its own simplicity. There aren’t many features on this bag, but what it does have is a lot of webbing and attachment points for you to add your own gear and accessories.
Bottomline: If all you need is a small bag to carry lots of fishing accessories and a small fly box, look no further than the Kylebooker Small Fly Fishing Chest Pack.
Fishpond San Juan Vertical Fly Fishing Pack
- Low-profile vertical design
- Zippered main compartment
- Comes with webbing and climbing cord loops for extra attachment points
Pros: Padded neck strap is very comfortable, multiple attachment points as well as a belt loop,
If you’re a fan of Fishpond products, you’re in for a treat. Fishpond is an award-winning company that designs its products from the ground-up, and their line of fly fishing chest packs are no different.
The Fishpond San Juan Vertical Fly Fishing Chest Pack is a miniature version of the pricier Fishpond Cross-Current bag. You may think that this means they skimped on the quality of this bag, but no – the San Juan Vertical bag, while it doesn’t quite have the storage capacity of its bigger brother is still a great product.
This fly fishing chest pack features a low-profile vertical design, which allows it to stay low on your chest and out of your way while fishing. Its materials are light and comfortable, and the many straps help distribute weight. Of note is the neck strap, which is padded and rests easily on the neck.
Bottomline: Fishpond really stands by the quality of its products, and the San Juan Vertical Fly Fishing Vest Pack is no exception.
FAQs about Fly Fishing Chest Packs
Are chest packs good for fly fishing?
Yes, they are very good for fly fishing. Lightweight vest packs allow you to spend more time fishing without having to leave the water to change your lures.
What is better: a fly fishing chest pack or a sling bag?
I would argue that a fly fishing chest pack is a better choice for anglers who’d like to spend less time organizing and more time fishing. A fly fishing chest pack is designed so that you don’t need to leave the water as you take or store gear. Chest packs also tend to feature better weight distribution on the shoulders and neck area.
What is better: a fly fishing chest pack or a vest?
That depends on the gear you’re carrying. Fly fishing chest packs are lightweight and are designed to carry small to medium fly boxes. Vests, on the other hand, are a better choice for anglers carrying lots of lures and accessories.
Are fly fishing vest packs waterproof?
In most cases, no. They are water-resistant, but not waterproof.
Can you wear a fly fishing chest pack as a waist pack?
Yes, but only some fly fishing vest packs allow you to detach or adjust their neck and shoulder straps.
Less Fixing, More Fishing
Whether it’s cold water fish or tougher prizes you’re going for, or just refining your fly fishing technique in the water, a fly fishing chest pack is sure to help you save time and effort on your fishing adventure. And with your new lightweight chest pack by your side (and on your chest), I’m sure you’ll be able to reduce the time spent fixing your gear, and more time relishing the fly fishing experience!