November 04, 2022
Fly fishing tends to borrow a lot of good ideas. Our carbon composite fly rods use technology from the aerospace industry; our boots have sticky rubber from climbing shoes; waterproof breathable membranes were first used in mountaineering; the desiccant crystals we use to dry our flies were first created to pack and store shoes, electronics, and pills; and the list goes on and on.
With a track record like this, it’s hard not to take a serious look at Patagonia’s reinvention of the fly-fishing vest, which uses light, recycled materials and load-lifting suspension technology adapted from Patagonia’s trail-running vests. These trail-running vests—built for endurance runners who tackle 50 miles or more per day—have to maximize load-carrying capacity and comfort, both qualities we fly fishers appreciate on the stream.
The Patagonia Stealth Pack Vest uses 100% recycled materials that shed water so it’s never heavy after rain or deep wading. In the front, each side has three vertical pockets for fly boxes, leaders, and tippet. There are several tool attachment points, and a drop-in pocket just for floatant. For really jumbo streamer boxes, there are two large, mesh zipper pockets under the vertical pockets, as well as four additional zippered compartments.
In the back, there are two other pockets, one with removable waterproof sleeve for cell phones and other electronics. Beneath those pockets—and accessible via a backreach—is a roomy, reach-through pocket for quick access. There’s also a reachable, easy-pull, locking strap that adjusts the Pack Vest’s suspension system and its body-conforming stretch panels. If you like to carry a lot of stuff, this vest helps you bring it all, and the design ensures the vest fits athletically, conforms to your body, and comfortably carries everything you need for a day on the water.
“The Stealth Pack Vest is a huge leap forward for wading anglers,” said Matt Millette, Patagonia Fly Fishing’s head of marketing. “For decades, no one’s really given the fishing vest much thought. We’re fortunate to have a trail-running division at Patagonia. They have made remarkable advances in load stabilization, internal suspension, and secure carrying capacity. Those advances, combined with our always-evolving recycled materials technology and our ethic of intuitive functionality, make this the most advanced, comfortable and—most importantly—the most usable vest we’ve ever made.”
The Stealth Pack Vest comes in two colors: sage khaki and noble grey.
$189 | patagonia.com