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West Branch  
#1 Posted : Friday, August 26, 2016 8:31:02 AM(UTC)
West Branch
Rank: May Fly

Joined: 9/23/2012(UTC)
Posts: 183
Location: West Branch, IA

There was a time when I liked to buy new fishing gear. Anymore, I usually resent having to replace something that I've already bought multiple times over the years. Sadly, the vest I've used over the last dozen years or so is starting to rot away. I've sewn up the bottom of pockets that are worn through and I even washed the thing a year or two ago. I have to say that laundering the vest made no difference in how it looked. My wife pointed out that the thing was still so crusty that it stood up on its own. Thing is, It's MY vest and I know where every doo-dad and special fly box lives. It's not an expensive vest, and I don't recall what brand it might have been as the labels are long gone. I have accepted the fact that a new vest is in my near future.

That brings me to a choice. The local sporting goods stores have pretty limited fly fishing gear, and nothing there jumps out at me as being exactly what I need. At the risk of over-thinking the new vest thing, I've been looking on line for a replacement. My usual fishing partner has a Simms vest that he's worn for years. Aside from a hole chewed by a mouse going after a granola bar in one of the pockets, the vest is in decent shape considering the beating it takes. I'm looking hard a Simms Guide Vest in the $150 price range, but I don't recall ever spending that kind of cash for a vest before.

I'm appealing to the DTA Brain Trust (such as it is) for your opinions. Who has a vest they really like? Maybe I'm too attached to my old one and any old thing would work, but if there is some bargain on a whiz-bang vest I'm all ears. Also, if you have a vest that you really hate, I wanna know about that, too.

Thanks for any opinions.
#2 Posted : Friday, August 26, 2016 11:37:49 AM(UTC)
Rank: Caddis Fly

Joined: 2/22/2015(UTC)
Posts: 133
Location: St. Paul

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Patagonia Hybrid Pack Vest
#3 Posted : Friday, August 26, 2016 6:14:05 PM(UTC)
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 3/16/2013(UTC)
Posts: 1,462
Location: Lake Elmo, Mn

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The newest L.L Bean pack, which goes for $130, is absolutely kickass. Mesh underneath so it's extremely comfortable and moves well on you. Adjusts to just about any chest size. Plenty of pocket space up front, room for a wading jacket or hydration bladder in the back, and a waist buckle with side pockets for pliers and such. Waist buckle greatly reduces the weight on your back by distributing the weight across your entire body. Can't recommend it enough.
"I fish because I love to: Because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness."
#4 Posted : Friday, August 26, 2016 6:59:34 PM(UTC)
Rank: Dragon Fly

Joined: 7/26/2012(UTC)
Views messages in topic : 1,179
Location: New Brighton MN

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I roll with the Fishpond Vaquero. I couldn't say enough good things about it. Here is a video someone made.

#5 Posted : Monday, August 29, 2016 7:48:02 AM(UTC)
Rank: May Fly

Joined: 3/18/2016(UTC)
Posts: 251
Location: St Paul MN

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Was thanked: 35 time(s) in 27 post(s)
I finally had to replace my ancient vest this year. Tried to wash it, and it just fell apart. Blink

I went the sling pack route, which I'm still getting used to, but while I was shopping/agonizing over what to get, I looked hard at the Simms Headwaters vest. Mesh, so it won't cook you when it's warm, really comfortable collar, and well thought-out pockets and attachment points.

It is kind of a big decision...you're hoping for a happy, long-term relationship...
"Our tradition is that of the first man who sneaked away to the creek when the tribe did not really need fish."
- Roderick Haig-Brown
William Schlafer  
#6 Posted : Monday, August 29, 2016 7:14:58 PM(UTC)
William Schlafer
Rank: Super Fly

Joined: 7/24/2011(UTC)
Posts: 3,327
Location: Sussex Wisconsin

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I'll put in a vote for the FishPond Flint Hills vest.


I've had mine for five seasons now. It has really held up well and is solidly built. It looks heavy and hot, but it's actually fairly light and well ventilated. The vest has lots of internal and external pockets for storing a ton of gear. And the shoulder straps are adjustable, making a good fit a snap.

Around $90.

“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
West Branch  
#7 Posted : Wednesday, August 31, 2016 7:38:54 AM(UTC)
West Branch
Rank: May Fly

Joined: 9/23/2012(UTC)
Posts: 183
Location: West Branch, IA

Some interesting suggestions here. I wasn't familiar with Fishpond vests at all, and both of those models look like something I would get a lot of mileage out of. Patagonia makes some good gear, and while I hadn't thought about a pack, a couple of you use and like them. The L.L. Bean pack is something I had seen with interest while looking in their catalog at the "West Branch" vest.

Instead of narrowing the field, my inquiry has raised more possibilities. Pretty soon I'll have to make a choice. Unttil then I have a fresh roll of duct tape and a needle and thread to keep the old vest hanging together. Thanks, all, for weighing in on this. My best option is to go to the stream and ponder my options. My buddy has secured access to a new stream and we're gonna have a look tomorrow...

Thanks again, guys.
#8 Posted : Wednesday, August 31, 2016 9:03:31 AM(UTC)
Rank: Stone Fly

Joined: 1/16/2015(UTC)
Posts: 537
Location: West WI

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I am a fan of the cheap Master Sportsman 27 pocket mesh vest. Lots of pockets inside and out. Back has a large zipper mesh pocket that can be a creel, shoe, and fish basket holder, nice when walking back tot he car. It also has a rod holder. The only dislike is that the zippers tangs can catch you line very infrequently. Nice weight not hot and sturdy. Mine is on third year with some repairs and surgery, but for $29 not too shabby. Woot


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