i have a chest pack and don't really like it. it is fine for casting, but when i am fighting a fish i find my rod hitting it and i end up slinging it over my shoulder so i just sits at home, i don't use a vest either up here in NL the whether is usually on the bad side so i have a cloudveil 8x pro jacket and that holds all the boxes and gear i need for a long day on the river, this year i got a waist pack so am going to give that a try, i usually don't wait too deep so soaking it should not be too much of a issue. that is just my opinion, but getting away from the vest is a good idea. also some guys have a sling pack which goes over the shoulder on your back stays out of the way and when u need it just sling it to the front and get your gear. hope this helps.
I tried a couple, didn't like them. I think the vest is still the way to go but don't get one with too many pockets. Limit yourself to just what you need. I still like my old gas mask bag that my dad gave me about 30 years ago but I had to retire this year. I didn't think you could rip those things but everything rots with enough deet spills.
I would agree with the others- and my issue is I carry a lot of stuff. I tried a chest pack (I've tried everything from those necklace things to backpacks) and I didn't care for it. Two things -
1. The chest pack does get in your way when fighting a fish - the reel is always bumping into it, particularly if it's loaded up.
2. It just doesn't hold what I need.
I use a largeish vest (it's an Orvis Tack-L-Pack), and I find that all the pockets are great. I don't fill them all (there's like 30 on the thing) but I do carry about 6 boxes of flies and then all the deet/dry fly float and so on, plus line, spare reel and tippetts. Add in my lunch, a rainjacket and some other stuff (in the large back "pocket") and you see why a chest deal doesn't cut it.
A good vest should distribute all this stuff on you so that it is carried as all around as possible, which distributes the weight and makes it more comfortable. The chest pack puts all the weight in front - the last place I need more weight!
My advice would be to get a good vest - they'll last a long time and are well worth the money.
Ive used both a vest and a chest pack and in my experience the vest is the way to go. The chest pack does hold all my gear and I ended up getting one from Cabela's that has a mesh pack on the back that can hold a jacket, bottle of water(which also keeps your back cool) as well as other non pointy objects. The problems I have with the chest pack are as previously mentioned is that it does get in the way of the reel but the biggest problem I have with it is not being able to see my feet when I am wading. I have a couple times almost fell as I was thought I was stepping onto something but had completely missed.
I have the chest pack, but go for a really small one. It's not that bad. I've never used the vest, but I'm going to try it.
What I've found that I really like is a the water bladder backpacks. Crappy Tire sells them. Runners use them to hold water while they are running. I get a small one and fill the bladder, and it leaves enough room to throw some gear and a light lunch. Granted, you need to take it off to get your stuff, but it allows you to have something small on your waist or chest to keep tackle, and all the weight on your back.
I have used Chest packs for the last 6 years. While I cannot put as much gear in them, I find them way better for your back than the traditional vest. I currently have a fishpond and, while it is a little expensive, you get what you pay for. Mine has two packs for the front plus a backpack. It also has a purposebuilt pocket for my camelback. Both front packs have small fly patches which are really handy and more than enough d-rings for zappers. To each his own but I will never wear a vest again. As for those that say it gets in the way when fighting a fish, I hold my arm to my chest and actually feel that the chest pack gives me something to rest on, especially when I'm in my pontoon boat.
I have a William Joesph Confluence chest pack and absolutely love it. http://www.williamjo...oice=Confluence. This is my second chest pack. Before this one I had William Joseph gear bag chest pack which was stolen. That sucked. The first pack was a bit smaller (especially the back pack portion) and I find the new one even better.
The main reson I switched was that I was getting tired of my lower vest pockets and the flyboxes getting wet with every river crossing and deep wading exercise. It seems with every vest design that the large pockets where you put you large fly boxes are always down under the waterline at the crossing.
The flip out work station of the Confluence is great for re-rigging flies and leaders etc, with all your tools right there. I really like that feature.
I haven't found it gets in the way of casting or fighting fish at all. In fact I use to find those lower front vest pockets were always around were your rod hand was. I double haul all the time and I don't find its in the way of my left hand/arm either.
Everybody seems to have have a different level of comfort with fishing gear, for which I am glad because I bought my Confluence off a guy that had a vest and went back to it!