Best Fishing Vests

Fishing Vests - Reviews & Guides For 2024

Our Top Fishing Vests

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Fishing Vest Buyers Guide

Most anglers, especially the beginners, forget to invest in a quality vest while focusing more on other fishing gear! You should ever overlook a fishing vest as it can make fishing extremely enjoyable by assisting you in managing the hooks and other such stuff.

You may think that buying a vest is easy, and the one that fits you perfectly is the go-to option, but that is not the case. From checking the material to looking at the number of pockets and size, you have to make a lot of considerations.

Here in this buyer's guide, we have highlighted the factors you should check when buying a fishing best. The guide contains complete information about these vests, so it'd be easy for you to buy the best one.

Benefits of using a fishing vest

Most folks think that fishing vests are suitable for fly fishers only, but that’s not true! Every angler can use these vests to make fishing comfortable and rewarding. Here are some benefits you will get with these vests.

No need to carry multiple bags

If you carry multiple bags and baskets to carry the fishing hooks, bait, and other items, you need a fishing vest right now. These vests can have pockets up to 10 pockets so you can store multiple things without carrying bags.


Fishing vests aren't designed to offer comfort, but when you have fewer things to carry, you will get comfort automatically. The vests are lightweight and easy to wear, so you will surely love them.

Easy to pack

When you are coming back home, you can quickly pack the vest as it doesn't take too much space. Furthermore, vests made using mesh are extremely lightweight and easy to pack.


Fishing vests are made using durable material, and these last longer to make your investment worth. Also, the vest material doesn't soak up water, so you won't feel the excess weight after wearing it during fly fishing.

Factors to consider when buying a fishing vest

Buying a fishing vest may seem easy as a breeze, but it can be challenging, especially for beginners and anglers who haven't used a vest yet. The sole intention of this guide is to help you in buying a reliable vest that's comfortable to wear and helps you while fishing by organizing your gear.

Check all the factors listed in the guide to buy the best fishing vest for the money.

Types of fishing vests

These have come a long way after the invention, and therefore you will see different types of fishing vests available in the market. Each type has its respective pros and cons, so it is essential to choose the right type.

Hybrid or backpack vests

If you want numerous pockets on the vests, then look for hybrid fishing vests. These look just like a backpack, and that's why there is enough space to carry your fishing gear. However, you will find these vets heavier because of the material and number of pockets.

Traditional vests

Traditional fishing vests are unisex so that anyone can use them. Also, these are lightweight, and there are limited pockets only. The vests come with internal pockets and D-rings to keep the fishing gear secure.


When choosing the material, you will find two options, i.e., fabric and mesh. Fishing vests are designed to help you carry the gear, so their primary purpose is not comfort. You can choose the type of materials based on their characteristics.

Mesh vests

Fishing vests made with mesh are extremely breathable and lightweight. If the weather is hot, then you should go for these vests if you don't want to get sweaty. The pockets attached to the vest are made using fabric or some different durable material.

Also, the vests have quick-drying speed so that you can use them regularly. However, there is a major drawback associated with these vests, and that's durability. The mesh isn't very durable, and it can get easily damaged after getting stuck in some pointed objects.

You have to be extra careful while using mesh fishing vests.

Fabric or non-mesh vests

Fabric fishing vests are made using thick material that's much more durable as compared to mesh. The material is comfortable, and it is usually polyester and cotton. If you are planning to fish in colder seasons, then look for vests made using fabric.

Another benefit of fabric is durability. Unlike mesh, it doesn't wear out easily, so you can rest assured that it will last multiple seasons. The downsides of fabric material are weight and less breathability.

You cannot wear the vest in summers, and it will feel heavier as compared to mesh vests.


If you want to have a good time fishing on the shore, then go for a vest that's comfortable to wear. The first thing to check is the material. You should choose the material based on the weather. If the weather is hot, then go for fishing vests made using mesh.

The breathability of the material will keep you comfortable, and you can focus more on fishing rather than rubbing your sweat with a towel. On the other hand, the fabric should be your choice for cold weather. These vests also have thick padding that keeps you warm.

Also, check the size of the vest to make sure that it doesn't restrict your movement. Always buy vests that are a bit bigger than the regular size you buy so that you can wear a t-shirt or fishing waders with it. If you want to fish on the shore, then a vest with padding will be a great choice, but fishing on a kayak needs a relaxed jacket that doesn't restrict your movements, and you can paddle with ease.

The choice depends on why you are buying a fishing vest, and weather when you will be using it.

Pockets or storage capacity

You are buying a fishing vest for its storage, so it should have ample space so that you can keep more gear with you while fishing. The choice of pockets depends on you and your skill level. These vests come with a multitude of pockets available on the inside and outside.

The best way to select the number of pockets is by determining how you will be using them. Find out the purpose of each pocket and what you can carry in them as it will be easier for you to get the right number of pockets.

Buying a vest with fewer pockets is a waste of money, and a jacket with too many pockets can leave you in a state of confusion. Also, check the material of the pockets to make sure that these won’t get damaged when you carry fishing hooks and other pointed and sharp gear.

With more pockets, the weight of the vest will also increase, and that can act as a downside. You will not carry all the gear at once, so don't look for vests with 40-50 pockets. The ideal choice of pockets is around 10-20, as these are enough to help you carry the fishing gear.

Generally, best fishing vest brands offer vests with limited pockets so that the angler doesn't find it challenging to use it.

Size of pockets

Another factor to take into consideration is the size of the pockets. Not all the pockets are of the same size, and that's why you should check them before buying the fishing vest. A vest with all small pockets is of no use as you will find it frustrating searching for the small items like hooks.

On the other hand, all pockets can't be big as these occupy much space, so you get less big pockets. A decent fish vest should have multiple small and big pockets so that you can carry everything you need. If you are buying a vest with 20 pockets, then it should have 4-5 small pockets, 4-5 medium-sized pockets, and ten bigger pockets.

You can easily decide the size of the pockets based on the gear you want to carry.


A good fishing vest should be durable enough to last multiple seasons without getting damaged. You will carry numerous things in the vest like fishing weights, hooks, and much more. Always buy vests that are manufactured by trusted brands.

Another factor that impacts the durability is the quality of the material. Mesh fishing vests are less durable, but if you buy a high-quality vest, the mesh will also last longer. You have to consider other things as well when checking the durability.

Pay attention to the zippers, as you cannot compromise with them. Try to buy vests that come with warranties so that you get cover in case something wrong happens. A vest has to withstand a lot of things and continuous exposure to water, so it should be durable.

Never go behind cheap quality fishing vests just for the sake of saving a few dollars. Always remember you will be miles away from your vehicle fishing on a boat or a kayak so you cannot take the risk of a failed vest that breaks down while fishing.

Color of the vest

Most anglers think the color is merely a preference, but it is something more than that! You have to choose the color wisely to have a good experience with the vest. Lighter colors are ideal for summers as these don't absorb too much heat, and you will feel comfortable wearing them for a long time.

Similarly, dark colors are good for winters as these absorb heat to keep you warm. You can also choose camouflage colors since some anglers believe that these help in blending with the surroundings. With all these factors in mind, you can choose the right color for the fishing vest.


Yes, the fishing vests available in the market may not look extremely stylish, but choosing the right design is essential. The design comprises a lot of factors like the placement of the pockets and the space available to move your arms.

Some designs offer a snuggly fit, and these are suitable if you are fishing on the shore. For anglers who want to fish on a kayak, a relaxed vest will be a great choice as you get more mobility required for paddling. Furthermore, check the profile of the vest to make sure that it fits you properly.


Breathability and ventilation are important, especially in warm weather, when you cannot afford to wear a thick fishing vest. To determine the breathability, you need to check the material. Vests made using thick material are less breathable, and you should use them in cold weather.

On the other hand, mesh vests are highly breathable and are perfect to use on a sunny and hot day. If the vest isn't breathable, then it will impact the comfort so you will have a hard time fishing.

Fishing is all about patience and technique, and when you don't feel comfortable, you can easily lose patience and concentration.

Rain and water resistance

You may think that all fishing vests are waterproof, but these aren’t! You have to choose the specific model that promises water resistance. These vests will protect the gear from getting wet from splashes and rains. Also, the water resistance depends on the material as vests made using mesh are not waterproof at all.

If you want to take your smartphone and other gadgets in the vest, then look for a waterproof casing. The casing is like a pocket that's entirely waterproof, which means your phone will be safe from the water. You can also buy a waterproof case to carry it in the vest's pocket, so looking for the built-in case is not very critical.

Determine how you will be using the fishing vest and then go for an option so that you get the best vest under your budget.

D-rings and accessory clips

You cannot carry everything in the pockets, and that where D-rings step in! The D-rings lets you attach various accessories that you cannot carry in the pockets. These rings are available on the inside and outside of the vest.

Some anglers even call them as accessory clips as these are fantastic to carry the accessories. You don't need many D-rings, so look for only a few that you will be using while fishing.


Buying the right size is crucial if you want to have a good experience with the fishing vest. The size you should buy depends on multiple factors, such as what you will wear under the vest. Some anglers prefer to wear fishing waders, which are thick, so you need a bigger size vest.

Check the size chart to make sure that you don’t buy a vest that’s too small or too baggy. A vest that is too small will restrict your movements, and a vest that’s too baggy will add extra weight to your body. Most manufacturers have different sizes, so don't forget to check the size chart before buying a fishing vest.


Fishing vests are available at a range of prices, starting from affordable to premium range vests. So you should make your budget before buying it. Always look for vests that are under your budget to avoid spending more money.

Accessories to buy with fishing vest

With this guide, you can quickly decide which fishing vest you should buy. Also, we have covered some accessories that you will find useful while fishing.

  • Fly line cleaner

Fly line cleaners are made using durable materials and are pocket size so you can keep it in your vest. The tool helps you in cleaning the fly line whenever required.

  • Rod holder

With a rod holder, you can attach the rod to your vest while pulling the line. Rod holders are extremely beneficial, and you will find improvement in your performance after using them.

  • Taper needle

With a taper needle, you can untie knots while cleaning the hook eyes. You can attach a taper needle with the D-rings using a strap.

  • Nylon dispenser

You will find many nylon dispensers of the pocket size that you can use while fishing by carrying them in your vest.

FAQs: Best Fishing Vest

Q: Are fishing vests extremely heavy?

A: It depends on the type of fishing vest you are going to buy. Usually, most vests are lightweight, provided that you check the material and the right size. Go for vests made using mesh if you don’t need a heavy best.

Fabric vests can be heavy, and that is why these are excellent for cold weather.

Q: Can I wash a fishing vest?

A: Yes, you can wash a fishing vest to get rid of the dirt accumulated on it. Most vests are not machine washable, so you have to wash them on your hands. Here is how to wash fishing vests.

  • Rinse the vest with water, or you can soak it in a bucket full of clean water to remove the dirt.
  • Now prepare a solution of water and cleaning detergent and put the soaked vest in it.
  • Let the vest sit for some time and rub it gently to clean it.
  • For drying, you can hand it on a wire or lay it flat on a surface.
Q: Why are fishing vests important?

A: Fishing vests are important as these allow you to carry the fishing gear and some other stuff. You can use the vest to carry flies weights, line cleaners, hooks, tippets, and clippers.

Q: How long does a fishing vest last?

A: It depends on the quality of the material and how you take care of the vest. Best quality vests can last for multiple seasons, so you should always go for high quality vests. Follow this buyer's guide to buying a fantastic fishing vest that's highly durable.

Q: Is it essential to check the brand when buying a fishing vest?

A: Yes, you should check the brand to ensure that you are buying a vest that's manufactured by a trusted name. Always buy vests made by brands trusted by the anglers.

Q: How to maintain the vest?

A: To get decent longevity from the vest, you should follow the proper care and maintenance regime. Always keep the vest clean as the dust and debris accumulated on it can damage it. Moreover, avoid washing it in a machine due to shrinkage issues.

The best way to maintain a vest is by cleaning it every time before packing it. Protect the vest from sharp and pointed objects such as hooks. Following these, you will get the best longevity from the fishing vest.

Q: Can I use a vest as a life jacket?

A: No, a fishing vest is not a life jacket, and it will not keep you afloat. The sole purpose of the vest is to help you manage and carry fishing gear, and that's all.

Q: Do fishing vests have waterproof pockets?

A: No, fishing vests don't have waterproof pockets, but you can use a third-party waterproof case to protect your smartphone and other gadgets. Check the size of the pockets to make sure that you can put a waterproof case in them.

Q: Does color really matter?

A: Yes, the color of the vest matters! Lighter colors are ideal for summers, whereas dark colors are good for winters. If you believe in the camouflage theory, then you can go for these colors to blend into the surroundings so that the fish cannot see you.


Now buying the best fishing vest will be easy for you following this buyer's guide. Make a list of the vests that are under your budget and compare them based on these factors. Go for branded vests only as you will get a warranty for the material.

Lastly, have a look at the accessories as well to make the most out of the vest. We have answered some frequently asked questions as well to help you in making a better buying decision. / - © Copyright 2020