When it comes to spending time on the river, many people prefer working with a chest pack vs a vest. It’s not every fly fisherman’s preference although, but, a chest pack can definitely make your life easier! There are a lot of options to consider when choosing a great chest pack, but some of the key factors to consider in a new pack is quality, storage, accessibility and comfort.
Most chest packs are fairly easy to access gear, because everything is right in front of you. This creates an enjoyable experience while fly fishing, rather than having to tear through all of your gear, trying to find some dry flies. Chest packs are an easy solution to several problems.
Here are the best chest packs available for 2020.
- Fishpond Cross Current Chest Pack (Best Overall)
- Orvis Safe Passage Chip Pack
- Umpqua Rock Creek Chest Pack
So when it comes to fly fishing chest packs, how do you go about choosing the one that works best for you?
One of the biggest deciding factors when you are purchasing a new chest pack is “how much are you going to be fly fishing”? This is important because after you’ve gotten that question out of the way, you can start to look into different aspects of the pack you are interested in.
The first aspect is going to be the quality of the chest pack. If you are fly fishing a lot, buy a nice pack. We’ve all been there with some shitty equipment that breaks down the first time you hit the river, and it’s no fun. There is no value in getting something that is cheap now, but doesn’t work in two weeks.
If you can afford it, make sure that the chest pack you buy will withstand the test of time.
The second aspect to look at when you are getting a new chest pack is the storage it has to offer. If you are fly fishing a lot, maybe consider getting something a little bit bigger! Not on the river all the time, get something a bit smaller. Or, do the exact opposite of what I say because what you want to do is the best option for you!
One thing to remember when getting a getting a larger chest pack is that the larger you get, the visibility in front of you decreases. This can get dangerous but it’s also avoidable, don’t get a giant chest pack. If you do get any of the chest packs on this list, you shouldn’t have any issues or concerns with low visibility.
One thing about chest packs is that they are usually cooler than a vest. Fly fishing when the sun is beating down and causing you to overheat is a problem. A quality chest pack can solve that issue for you, without you having to sacrifice any storage space.
Another advantage of a buying a chest pack is that they are comfortable, very comfortable. Typically if you buy a good chest pack it will have quality material that doesn’t cut into your shoulders or anything.
Not only that, but all of your gear is right in front of you. It’s all super convenient which is why many ladies and gents appreciate the chest pack.
Bottom line, a chest pack is an awesome route to go, especially if you are looking for a comfortable fly fishing trip.
Fishpond Cross Current Chest Pack
The first best chest pack of the year is the Fishpond Cross Current Chest Pack. It’s one of the most technologically advanced packs on the market and has great storage capacity. It also comes with a lifetime warranty by Fishpond so you’re covered if it ever has manufacture problems. This pack is one of the best chest packs available under the sun.
- Magnetic closure area on the front for flies for super easy access
- Large chest compartment
- Net slot on the back panel
- Mesh pockets inside of the pack for separating accessories
- High quality build
- Fishpond lifetime warranty
The quality of this pack is unmatched compared to most other packs right now. If you plan on doing some back country fishing, this chest pack is going to hold up. If you want something that will last longer than three days, here you go. This pack is built to last, and last it will.
The storage on this chest pack is great. It has a single large pocket with some additional zippers to throw gear. It doesn’t have so much storage that it cause you to trip in the river, but it has plenty enough for a day trip to the river.
The warranty on this chest pack is for life. Just to reiterate, I don’t believe that this pack will break down on you, but if for some odd reason it does – you’re covered.
Overall, this is one of the best chest packs available for 2020. It has awesome storage, easy accessible storage for gear, and it’s crafted with high quality workmanship and material. I personally would recommend this one.
Related: The Best Fly Fishing Gear Checklist
The Orvis Safe Passage Chip Pack
The Orvis Safe Passage Chip Pack is another great chest pack option. It isn’t super huge, but it still has a decent amount of storage. It looks really good and is manufactured by one of the best fly fishing brands in the world, Orvis. Overall, it’s a very nice chest pack.
- Mid-Size Pack
- Two Compartments (plus a bunch of interior pockets)
- Zippered, gusseted compartments
- Comfortable neck pad
- Detachable neck strap
- Hooded front slash pocket
- Zinger/Tool Attachment System
- 12 oz
- Comes in either olive or grey
- 5” x 6” x 9 & ½”
The Orvis Chest pack one of the highest quality packs on the market. It’s built with great material and has additional 410-denier nylon on the bottom of the pack, for increased water resistance. It has quite a bit of storage overall and has a plethora of internal compartments to throw extra tacky boxes and whatnot.
It also comes with a fly patch on the top of the pack for quick access to your favorite flies. This pack can also be worn as a chest pack, or adjusted and strapped around the waist as a fanny pack – essentially. A duel purpose pack. Perfect.
The strapping on the Orvis Chip Safe Passage Chest pack is padded with extra comfort for long fishing trips. Nobody likes to go fly fishing with a pack or vest that is cutting into the shoulders and back, it’s a pain. This pack solves that issue with its additional padding, allowing you to fly fish for a long time without any discomfort or pain.
Bottom line, the Orvis Safe Passage Chip Pack is one of the best chest packs on the planet because of its storage, quality, durability and comfort. Going on all day fishing trips with this pack is going to be a breeze.
Related: Orvis Safe Passage Sling Pack Review
Umpqua Rock Creek ZS Chest Pack
The Umpqua Rock Creek ZS Chest Pack is deserving of a spot as one of the best fly fishing chest packs available in 2020. It isn’t a massive chest pack, but it’s dynamite. Here are some features..
- Snag-free shoulder sizing buckle
- holds two large fly boxes
- 420 denier nylon
- Two front overlay pockets for flat leader storage
- Two side stretch-mesh pockets for accessories
- Cord tippet holder holds up to 8 tippet spools
- Internal key clip and organization
- Closed-foot sliders
- YKK zippers
- Internal Dimensions: 3.5 x 5 x 9 in. (8.89 x 12.7 x 22.86 cm) (200 cubic inches – 3 Liters)
- Ballistic Cordura® (in high wear locations)
As with the first two chest packs on this list, the quality of it is going to be some of the best in the world. It was one the biggest factors that I looked into when deciding what the best chest packs of 2020 are. I don’t want you to get a pack that breaks down right away, that would suck.
The chest pack is a bit smaller than the other packs but still has a decent amount of space to put gear. It has a large component for storage of your gear and a fly patch on the front for some of your favorite flies. Throw a sandwich and a tacky box in this pack and you’re good to go!
One annoying aspect of fly fishing is when flies get caught onto your gear. It’s a pain trying to pull flies off vest, and other packs, but this one doesn’t have that issue. It’s made with Zero Sweep material that is specifically designed for flies to slide right off of it, rather than getting caught. This is literally perfect for fly fishermen that always seem to catch their flies on their gear, right when the fishing is heating up.
Bottom line, the Umpqua Rock Creek Chest pack is one of the better chest packs on the market due to it’s durability, comfort and zero sweep material.
At the end of the day, buy a chest pack that works for you.
Everyone’s budget and needs are going to be a little bit different. Some will prefer a small pack, others large. It all comes down to who you are and what you look for most in a chest pack.
Regardless of what you go with, best of luck and tight lines my friend!
Related: Fishpond Summit Sling Pack Review