Unfortunately hitting the subject of packs and vests there are rarely rainbows and rays of sunshine involved anywhere within the conversation. Being that it has been a subject that I have been back and forth on for years……. there really is no solid answer beyond it being a personal preference. Here are a few guidelines that I have taken into account that has helped me make my decision.
Comfort: Not to sound like a candy ass, but hiking all over Timbuktu uncomfortable awkwardness = No Bueno!! Whether it be sling packs, hip packs or vests this is something that you should hold high on your priority list. It’s hard to appreciate anything that is a complete pain in your neck.
Access: This is one area that I can say that your dollars are well spent. Reputable companies put countless hours into simple little features that make your days on the water more pleasant. Try it on, shift things around and see if it fits the bill for you. As an individual it makes little difference what works for the last guy through the shop, ultimately it has to work for you. Check out all of the features and how they function for you.
Capacity: This is also another unique issue that for me personally is a deal breaker. I am terrible at keeping things organized and fish waters day to day that are backwards from each other. This overall is going to boil down to what gear you actually need to carry with yourself day to day. Try the stuff on, and I have personally been known to grab stuff off the shelves to see how everything fits. In a perfect world a minimalist attitude is always ideal……. but then again most of us are gearheads so that never works!!
This is a subject that there really is no simple subject to other than doing a bit of research and being honest with yourself on what features you need within a product. I am personally a dinosaur to most within my age group rocking the vest, it’s a pack mule and does everything I need beautifully. Fishing backcountry I have drinks, food, rain coats along with flies to cover me wherever I wander off to.
Simms G3 Vest
Swing in your local shop and check out all the new gear, the innovation within these companies are amazing. Using these guidelines you should be able to find something that will work for you, and hopefully for many years to come!!