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Best Fishing Vests;
Mark D. Williams
Professional Fishing Expert
The G3 Guide Vest employs advanced materials and high-tech design technologies. This vest is an extremely-functional, great-looking vest that even fully-loaded doesn't sag, ventilates, and won't feel heavy at the end of the day.
You don't have to be a guide to wear this top-of-the-line guide vest but you'll appreciate its quality, its design, and all those perfectly placed nineteen pockets and zippers. You won't remember where your stuff is half the time, but you'll know it's there. I love the easy-loading, molded chest pockets because they're easy to get in and out of, but the built-in retractors are ideal and should have been a part of vests years ago.
What I like most about this vest is its lightness. Like all Patagonia products, this vest is well-made, functionally-designed, had clean lines and is expensive-looking. A mesh vest on steroids. One problem I have with most mesh vests is that while lightweight, they lack storage space. Not the Riverwalker. There are compartments all over. Several pockets are specifically-designed for flyboxes which means no more trying to cram a round peg in a square hole. The molded pockets provide better access and better protection for your flies.
Hybrid vests are the natural offspring of the classic vest and the chest pack. Funky-looking is the Wasatch, more functional than any conventional vest; it's a love-it or leave-it piece of equipment, part backpack, part vest. If you like form and function, if you tend to day-hike into rivers or wade the flats for hours on end, if you like technical packs, you'll appreciate all the storage the integrated Wasatch vest offers and the handy hydration bladder pocket.
I'm not crazy about the front pockets: there are so many of them and they protrude so much, my flyline catches on them. Others I have talked to don't have the same problem so I won't project my negatives on it. The pockets hold all your flyboxes, your gee-gaws, and anything else you want to store.
The Wildhorse is the big brother to the Wasatch, 1200 cubic inches of storage compared to 950 cubic inches. Comfortable, versatile and ideal for long hikers, backpackers, and anglers who stay on the water all day long. The biggest problem is capacity – there's so much capacity, you'll be tempted to fill up every pocket and that will weigh you down, defeating its suspension design and lightweight, breathable construction.
In many ways, I like this vest more than its cousins, the Wasatch and Wildhorse vest-packs, but it does lack the hydration bladder and when you're out wading and hiking all day, that is an essential part of your vest. The vestpack does have a hydration bladder compartment but this is not included so if you have your own, this vest might be for you. This hybrid has the usual, must-haves for today's vestpack: weight distribution, padded straps, lumbar belt, organization, and breathability. And a million pockets.
Not all wrapped up in high-tech fabric and space-age design, the Filson Guide Vest is classic, elegant, and stylish. You want form to follow function? You want modern innovation like you find in other vests? Don't be fooled. The Filson Guide Vest is functional and updated but its classic design doesn't make you look like you just stepped out of a yuppie backpacking catalog. You'll find plenty of big pockets in the right places; some close by snap, some by zipper, exterior and interior, some thirty pockets overall. One smart addition is the moleskin-lined vest pocket that won't scratch your polarized sunglasses.
Elemental but modern. Classic but innovative. Lots of vest for the price. All the new-fangled design in a lightweight Supplex material. The best thing about the Otter Creek, other than the entry-level price, is the organization of the pockets and tool-holders (what they call the Tool Garage.) The Tool Garage organizes tools for instant access and keeps them hidden and protected when not in use. Other insightful ideas obviously designed by anglers include two internal coil zingers keep tools from dropping in the water, hand-warmer pockets, removable ripple foam fly patch, an adjustable front buckle, a net pouch, two internal water bottle/spare reel pockets, gear pocket, and external position for license holder.
The Battenkill Pro Guide Vest is an upgraded, more durable version of the Otter Creek vest. The Supplex nylon material is lightweight, tough, fast-drying and water resistant. You get the support mesh yoke that reduces neck strain. Cool in warm weather. Lots of pockets but some of them on the front lower pockets seem small to me. Still, a great vest for the regular angler.
This vest would rate higher but anglers can get the same vestpack offerings for lesser money. Other than that, this is a killer vestpack hybrid that is stunningly good-looking and holds all you want to load.
You gotta love the curved zipper and intuitive organization system, two innovative additions to this striking vest. You can actually see and find the things you packed in your vest and you can do it with one hand. The vestpack is so eye-catching, it belongs in a fashion show or art museum.
The name, Fusion, says it all: this is another hybrid vestpack. The pockets are accessible, plentiful and are more streamlined. The big pockets don't stick out as much as other vestpacks so you won't tangle up your line. The Fusion looks more like a traditional vest but you still have the workstation advantages like a drop-down system and weight distribution of the chest pack.
got my dad the fishpond wasatch tech pack....he loves it...it can carry EVERYTHING except the kitchen sink
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