A successful fly fishing trip often comes down to the best preparation. You never know when the water or environmental conditions can change hence, it is a must to invest in the best fly fishing chest pack, as it is extremely common among anglers because of the quick access and convenience they provide.
As you wade in the water and try catching different fish, you must have all the essentials within the reach. The best fly fishing chest pack is one that has ample storage, is durable, easy to access, and comfortable to wear.
From our field testing trips with more than 15 fly fishing chest packs, we found Fishpond Cross-Current Chest Pack as the overall best fly fishing chest pack. This bag has lots of storage and is extremely comfortable and stable to wear.
Let’s learn about all of them in detail.
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10 Best Fly Fishing Chest Packs in 2023
1. Fishpond Cross-Current Chest Pack – Overall Best Fly Fishing Chest Pack
Fishpond packs are known for their high-end durability and great functionality. This bag is a great example. Though it’s pricey, anglers love the two compartments of the pack with one being larger. The smaller one of the front has four mesh pockets on the inside that offer a high degree of categorization. There are additional two mesh pockets on the outer side of the bag.
Perhaps, the highlight feature of this bag that not only makes it our favorite but also adds to its price is the magnetic rigging station. It drops down and becomes an instant workstation for the angler.
On the inside, there is velcro on one side for sticking the fly box and enjoying seamless access. With an incredible 8 liters of capacity, this is one of the largest bags. The main compartment is very spacious and we could store in it an extra reel, tippet, leaders, and a couple of tools.
- Padded back harness straps
- Lightweight nylon material
- Convenient magnetic drop workstation
The fishpond cross current chest pack is easily the most amazing lightweight choice for all the expert fly anglers.
2. Umpqua Overlook 500 ZS2 Chest Pack – Best Comfortable
It is one of the most comfortable chest packs one can invest in. What adds to the comfort is the four-point back harness. From stability to no strain on the back, neck, or shoulders, this pack is a great pick for longer days.
There are two large pockets on the front and one zipper pocket at the back along with a net holder strap. Our favorite attachment on the pack was the ZeroSweep retractor station. It helped with keeping the necessary items such as fly patches, floatant caddy, etc.
Since this bag is compatible with Surveyor 2000 ZS Backpack, we added it to get some extra space. It definitely offered us a significant amount of space and we easily spent four days at the camp without running out of any supplies.
- Highly adjustable straps
- Very stable and comfortable to wear
- D-ring and web loop attachments
- Less generous front zipper pouch
From excellent comfort to hefty space and attachment options to multiple pockets, this one is an ideal chest pack for large-stream anglers.
3. Fishpond Thunderhead Chest Pack – Best Waterproof
- No. of pockets: Two
- Strap type: Back harness
- Waterproof: Yes
- Storage capacity: 5 liters
Fishpond is among the top manufacturers and hence, never disappoints its users. It is the most expensive and the only waterproof fishing chest pack on our list today. The recycled nylon material has a waterproof TPU technology coating. It makes the bag ideal for deep-water fly fishing applications as well.
The storage capacity might sound a bit less considering the hefty price tag. Our top product which is another model from Fishpond comes with a mighty 8 liters of capacity at a relatively low price.
There are a total of two pockets with one main compartment and a vertical zipper pocket at the front. The main pocket is mighty enough to hold a substantial amount of gear. We carried a large fly box, tackle box, extra reel, and numerous other items.
- Entirely waterproof
- Adjustable and removable straps
- Net holster at the back
- Very expensive
Fishpond Thunderhead chest pack is the best fly fishing chest pack that prevents all the essentials from dampening.
4. Umpqua Rock Creek ZS2 Chest Pack – Best For Durability
Made out of nylon fabric, this one from Umpqua offers the best durability and lasts a lifetime if used with care. It may look like a small chest pack but offers significant space for all the small stream anglers. The main compartment is big enough to fit two fly boxes with some free space around the corners.
What looks small actually stored our numerous gear. These include an extra reel, tippet spools, a thermometer, a large fly box, flotant, leader straighteners, and lots more items. Just like the Umpqua Overlook ZS2, this one also has the ZeroSweep port that we used for attaching nippers and keys.
One of the best features of this bag is the ambidextrous hemostat station along with a tippet holder cover and foam fly patch. Even though nylon dries out pretty quickly, the thick padding on the inside increases the drying time.
- YKK zippers
- Molle modular attachment
- Wear-proof material
- Straps are not entirely padded
- No quick drying
Don’t want a lot of bulk on your chest while having all the useful fly fishing tools within easy reach? The Umpqua Rock Creek ZS2 is a brilliant choice.
5. Simms Freestone Chest Bag – Best Compact
Are you an infrequent angler and need a quality chest pack for short trips? Simms has got you covered. Being small, these are also extremely light in weight hence these bags ensure comfort and no strain at all.
The two main compartments offer a total of 3 liters of space which is pretty sufficient for brief trips. In this pack, our anglers fit a fly box, weights, fishing indicators, hooks, lures, and a couple of more tools easily. Unfortunately, the shoulder strap isn’t adjustable, making it inconvenient for taller people.
On the exterior, we found a tippet caddy and loop velcro which we used for the wet fly storage. Not to forget, the magnetic docking station worked incredibly for mittens and nippers. Despite being a small bag, it had lots of room for all types of fly fishing gear.
- Includes a tippet caddy
- Drop-down workstation
- Unsuitable for long trips
- Non-adjustable strap
Get your hands on this best fly fishing chest pack for small stream angling while having every essential tool within your reach.
6. Orvis Men’s Chest Pack – Best Lightweight
The majority of the Orvis fly fishing bags are made out of recycled materials. This not only reduces the carbon footprint but makes the bag very light in weight. The compartments are well pocketed for easy organization of the items.
In the main pocket, we had ample space to store an extra reel and fly box, pliers, clippers, a soft drink can, and a few more small things. There is a small pocket on either side of the bag along with one of the fronts that act as a workstation similar to the Fishpond cross-current pack.
Unfortunately, the bag isn’t waterproof even at such a high price point. However, even if it gets dampened with wet items inside, the excellent quick-dry feature will come to the rescue. The zippers are water-resistant but we found these slightly tough to open especially after using the bag in saltwater.
- Tippet Whippet docking station
- Security pocket with a key fob
- The recycled polyester fabric reduces overall weight
- Compatible with bugout backpack
- Zippers become a bit tough
- Lacks net holder
Ensuring top-class convenience with high functionality and reliability, this Orvis chest pack is a brilliant choice.
7. Fishpond San Juan Fly Fishing Chest Pack – Best Minimalist Pack
Another choice for the best chest pack for fly fishing in small size, this one comes with a minimalistic design and high functionality. The bag includes two zippered pockets, one being big and the other small alongside an exterior mesh pocket.
It has the same storage space as the Simms Freestone chest pack i.e., 3 liters but is a lot less in price. In the main pocket, we put a small-sized fly box, an extra reel, and some important tools.
The front pocket transforms into a small workstation and we used it for fly patches. The multiple D-rings around the bag help attach lots of useful stuff. We also used one attachment for the tippet caddy, it was extremely useful.
- Zip-down workstation
- Breathable mesh back
- Relatively less storage
- No net holster
All in all, Fishpond always has something great for the anglers and this fly fishing chest pack is a durable and comfortable choice for brief trips.
8. Allen Bear Creek Micro Fishing Chest Pack – Best Value For Money
Fly fishing could be time-consuming and you have to wear the bag for a long. That said, a pack that is already extremely light in weight won’t add too much pressure when loaded. Moreover, the padded neck strap prevents strain while the waist strap manages weight and enhances stability.
What adds to the overall worth of this chest pack are its heavy-duty zippers. The main compartment as well as the small compartment have multiple pockets inside for easy organization.
One of our anglers kept wet gear in the bag which dampened the insides of the bag. However, the polyester fabric has an impeccable quick-drying ability and it helped eliminate moisture in no time.
- Several attachments for tools
- Padded straps for comfort
- Can hold the medium-sized fly box with some other tools
- Not ideal for larger items
You can get the Allen Bear Creek chest bag to carry all your small to medium-sized tools and fishing essentials.
9. M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Chest Bag – Best Breathable
Nothing is better than a chest pack in which you can dump all of your fly fishing essentials without feeling the load. This incredible product from Maximumcatch ensures that you always enjoy optimum comfort. That said, the bag comes with an extremely breathable foam pad to avoid sweating.
Speaking of the pockets, the main compartment held our fly box, a reel, and a small toolbox. Whereas, we used the front smaller compartment to keep the fly patch. There is also a mesh pocket with no zippers on the exterior side.
There are multiple loops and attachment points on the pack where we secured the tippet caddy. The neck and waist straps are highly adjustable and hence, our tallest angler could also enjoy the bag without any issues. If you need a large bag, we would suggest the Fishpond Cross-Current Chest Pack.
- Comfortable and stable straps
- Wear-resistant material
- Several handy loops and tabs
- Not waterproof
- Less storage space
Despite less storage space, this bag offers superb functionality and durability for fly fishing in various conditions.
10. Kylebooker Small Chest Pack – Best Budget
Kylebooker is known to roll out some incredible budget choices for anglers and this small chest pack is no different. It is quite similar to the Allen Bear and Maximumcatch bags in terms of size and hence, is pretty lightweight.
Just like other small chest packs on our list, this one also has one large compartment with a smaller one in the front. Moreover, on the exterior, there is a small mesh pocket. The various attachment points allowed us to store the tippet caddy and other useful items within the reach.
The small zipper compartment in the front transformed into our workstation and had fly patches. Since it is a small bag, it doesn’t come with waterproofing abilities. Considering the price point, all the features it has are already way more than one would expect.
- Comfortable padded straps
- Dropdown workstation
- Adjustable girth strap for waist
- No net holster
If you are new to the adventure and need the best fly fishing chest pack that is pocket friendly, the Kylebooker bag is an excellent choice.
You can’t purchase the best fly fishing chest pack unless you know what to look for in it. Below are some of the crucial aspects that you must keep in mind. All of our fly fishing chest pack reviews are based on the following essential factors. First, you have to decide which one is the best for you
1. Sling Pack vs Hip Pack vs Chest Pack
Sling packs come with a single shoulder strap that you wear across the shoulder. The bag rests at the back and you can swing it in the front when needed. It has a fantastic storage capacity for a variety of stuff and usually comes with several pockets for organization.
Anglers use these when they wade in deep waters above their waist. To know more about sling packs, refer to this article. Best Fly Fishing Sling Pack
On the other hand, hip packs are tied around the waist but rest at the lower back. When you fly fish in relatively shallow water, these come in handy. Hip packs have less storage space than sling packs but are spacious enough to carry useful supplies.
To access the items, you swing these in the front just like sling bags. Find out more about these amazon storage bags in our article. Best Fly Fishing Hip Packs
Lastly, chest packs come with various types of straps including the waist, neck, or cross for stability. This helps keep the bag in the front, right over your chest for quick and convenient access.
Chest pack for fly fishing has lesser storage space when compared to sling and hip packs. These are mostly used only for keeping fly boxes, tackle boxes, and other essential items in them. If you wade in very deep waters then these bags will help your dry items from drenching.
Related Post: Best Fly Fishing Backpack
2. Storage Capacity
You can choose the storage capacity of a chest pack based on your fishing techniques and frequency. Some feature micro design with an ultra-lightweight and are designed for brief fishing trips and fewer items.
Best fly fishing chest packs have lots of storage capacity i.e., more than 5 liters and less than 10 liters. These bags are capable of holding a complete fly fishing gear checklist that includes fly boxes, tackle boxes, useful tools, and much more.
Some people prefer lots of compartments for better organization of the items. Whereas, many like it with the least pockets and bigger in size. The final choice comes down to personal preference. So, make sure to look for the number of compartments and internal pockets before purchasing.
Whether you are a hardcore angler or a newbie, durability is something that everyone demands. You wouldn’t want to change your fly fishing chest pack after every couple of trips, would you?
No one knows when the conditions can get rough therefore, a sturdy bag will hold up to such conditions easily. That said, the bag you invest in must be made out of high-quality and wear-resistant materials to ensure longevity.
5. Water Resistance
A chest pack with water resistance is always highly appreciated. Using a bag in water always has risks of getting wet, however, with the water-resistant property, you won’t have to worry about the damage.
Bags with this property repel water and prevent it from entering inside, keeping all the items safe. However, not every angler requires this feature. If you are a small stream angler who plans brief trips in shallow water, a bag with no water resistance will do the job.
Whereas, if you spend your weekends or several days on the water, it is better to invest in a water-resistant chest pack. These will also come in handy on rainy days.
Many anglers don’t consider the aspect of comfort before purchasing the chest bag and end up with issues later. Since chest packs are available in various types of straps, make sure you look for padded ones.
A foam lining on the inside of the bag where it touches your chest also offers great comfort. It doesn’t let you feel the items inside the pack, resulting in an overall comfortable experience.
1. Fly fish chest pack vs vest: which is better?
Be it a fly fishing chest rig or a vest, both house numerous pockets for fly boxes and various other gear. Moreover, both are designed to provide maximum convenience during fly fishing and quick access to everything that an angler needs.
However, they differ in terms of storage capacity. A chest pack has a lot more space because of the proper compartments that a vest lacks.
2. Does a fly fishing front has more storage than a waist pack?
Since both bag types come in various sizes, you can find great storage options for both. Generally, some premium waist packs have 10 or more liters of space. Whereas, a chest pack’s capacity might stay under 10 liters.
As a committed angler, you must be aware of how important it is to have the best fly fishing chest pack. You can only choose the right one from numerous options when you keep all the key considerations in mind.
Based on the important factors, we found the Fishpond Cross-Current Chest Pack as the best fly-fishing chest pack. choice. It is durable, spacious, comfortable, and has waterproof zippers. All in all, it is an ideal pack for various conditions and for everyone.