Adventure Flyfishing Co's All-Season Vest-Jacket
by Paul Sharman
Appearance & First Thoughts
When the Adventure Flyfishing Company (AFCo) set out to design their "All-Season Vest-Jacket" they started with a blank slate. Good choice as the result is probably the finest full-utility fly fishing garment you will ever find.
Thanks to some lateral thinking by founder Robert Gallup and his colleagues about what attributes they would want in the perfect garment, there are enough pockets to carry pretty much everything a fly fisher (and other outdoors types for that matter) could possibly need. From tippet cavities to drop-down magnetic fly trays to dry pockets, the jacket will keep you mobile as well as dry thanks to its waterproof and breathable DuPont Teflon material which is also pretty rugged.
Initially I thought that despite looking extremely well made, the jacket once loaded would be too bulky. I was wrong! Afco have obviously been very careful in their design and construction layout. No matter how much was stuffed in the pockets casting or fishing were never restricted or hampered in any way. This is a pretty important point as there is nothing worse than constantly knocking your arm or hand on something jutting out in the wrong place all day long.
Performance & Opinion
The vest-jacket as the name suggests really is 2 garments in 1. The sleeves, hood and lower-body foul weather extension all unzip for easy removal leaving the core vest behind. This gives you the best of both worlds whatever the weather or fishing conditions you face. With so many pockets and an optional day pack (more of that later), it is easy to store or carry them with you if necessary (the hood folds into its own storage compartment in the neck.)
The mix of olive and tan material blends in nicely with most backgrounds, perfect when stalking inparticular, and the material is relatively rustle-free which I know the fish don't care about but I do!
We can't possibly cover every pocket and accessory here, life is too short, so we picked some of our favourites to share with you;-
1. All hardware used is top-quality such as YKK zippers and shatter-proof clips, rings and buckles. All Adventure Flyfishing gear is backed by an impressive 2 year warranty as well as a 100% satisfaction gurantee.
2. Attention to detail - there are two slim pencil style pockets located just to the side of the drop-down fly trays. These can house an optional "LED full-flex micro light" for those early or late excursions so you can see to find a fly or tie it on hands free. Also, extra-long retractors that can be repositioned inside the vest cavity make it a cinch to line up tools long and short for easy access when needed, but which can be tucked up into the cavity and secured when not - no more 'jangling bunch of keys' syndrome when trying to quietly move down the bank!
3. There is a very thoughtful clear pocket on the right hand shoulder front for displaying your licence in full-view - particularly useful in the USA where displaying your licence above the waist is mandatory by law.
4. The large back cargo pocket has clips inside to attach a hydration bladder. Again good solid design has meant Afco's offering is clear with a large removable filling port so at the first sign of 'fuzz' you can get right inside to thoroughly clean it out.
An insulated day-pack can also be added to the system which actually clips to the back of the vest top and bottom. Useful for carrying lunch and a camera, I found the lack of shoulder straps to keep slipping or adjusting while yomping was a godsend. The only problem is that you have to then remove the jacket or vest to get at the daypack if on your own (there are shoulder straps and a waist band hidden away inside though if you prefer them or want to use the day pack on its own sometimes and you probably will.)
Overall, I found the AFCo vest-jacket to be extremely well laid out and manufactured. My biggest problem seemed to be remembering which pocket I had put something in but familiarity will improve that in time I am sure.
While far from being the lightest vest or jacket you could buy, the specially integrated internal foam padding shoulder yoke disperses the weight very well once loaded and I really did not notice it after a while.
This really is the Batman's utility belt of fishing garments and although at the top end of the price scale is quality through and through and is definitely a case of you get what you pay for.
AFCo are to the Jacket-Vest what Simms are to waders. This is an investment any serious flyfisher should consider and one that will fish with them through many seasons I have no doubt.
Price : £239.99
Available from: The Adventure Flyfishing Co UK
or in the USA: The Adventure Flyfishing Co
Articles by the same author
- Essential Skills - Dry Fly and Mayfly with Oliver Edwards
- New Canadian Beaver report spells doom for Scottish salmon
- Fly Fishing for Atlantic Bass - new book reviewed
- The Streamside Guide - Road Trips
- Wet Fly Fishing on Rivers - Essential Skills with Oliver Edwards
- Venezuelan smorgasbord at Los Roques
- Pope of the Madison
- The principles of layering - the base layer
- Game Fishing by Bob Church
- The Streamside Guide - Planning the Trip