Is the vest obsolete?
Some say the fishing vest is no longer necessary, yielding utility to the hip pack, chest pack, or sling. While each of these packs provide gear storing capabilities along with pros and cons, it boils down to personal preference. That being said, I have a strong bias towards the vest. Through years of Boy Scouts, the scout motto, Be Prepared, has become instilled in my mind and translated to my fishing practices. My vest allows me all the storage capacity I need with even weight distribution, which is essential when spending long days fishing for trout. With other species of fish, I find that I am able to get away with much less gear. When striper fishing, all I have is a lanyard around my neck and a fly box or two in my pocket. It is the unpredictable nature of trout coupled with the remote areas in which they are found which drives the necessity of having the right equipment. I like to have everything on hand. Boxes of nymphs, dries, and streamers, split shot, sink tips, indicators, spools of tippet all adorn my vest. When hiking in remote areas where a trip back to the car is not an option, my vest holds water, food, raincoat, headlamp, net and anything else I need to Be Prepared.
Precious fishing time is saved when my next fly is in a pocket on my chest. A net magnetically attached to my back is there when I need it, strung to my vest so it will not be lost. These features a vest provides in addition to the unquantifiable fish centered mindset that occurs when a fully loaded vest graces my shoulders.
There are many options for portable gear storage and personal preference reigns supreme. For now, my preference is a Fishpond vest.