As I’ve already mentioned once, winter clothes are a must for any angler. But the same is true for any other sort of clothes. The only thing that is different between clothes meant for different seasons is how warm they are. That’s about it. Every other desirable feature is common in all types of clothes regardless of the season.

That said, a fisher’s clothes have always been somewhat unusual because of the conditions anglers have to experience. It’s usually high-moisture, sometimes harsh weather and either extreme cold or extreme heat.

Either way, if you’re an angler and are looking for a trail jacket to keep you comfortable while you’re gunning for your next big fish, the best trail jacket for you must have at least a few key features, such wicking moisture away. To get acquainted with the entire list of those features, please refer to my Buyer’s Guide.You’re planning on wearing it for other activities as well, or maybe you’re not an angler at all? Not a problem! With the help of my Guide, you will find everything you want, even if you have no idea of what exactly you want just yet.Without further ado, let’s get to my top 5 trail jackets.

Top 5 Best Trail Jackets for Fishers⁠ in 2019

Gihuo Men's Reversible Travel Vest — Best Bang for the Buck

If one of the basic features you’re looking for in a trail vest is water resistance, then this is not a vest for you. It’s no different from a regular jacket in that regard, probably since it’s not made especially for anglers. It’s a universal vest suitable for anyone, be it an angler or a hunter. But its 10 pockets make up for that. A nice round number that is not over the top.

The vest is made from cotton. Despite that, it does not shrink after being washed, in fact, it keeps flat even if you don’t iron it. It is also machine washable, a feature you will find in almost every vest that is any good, but it’s there.

The real advantage of this vest is that it is reversible. The outside can become the inside in a matter of seconds. That’s like buying two jackets instead of one.

  • Made from cotton
  • Does not shrink after being washed
  • Keeps flat even if you don’t iron it
  • Machine washable
  • Reversible. You can flip it inside out and wear it like that
  • Not made especially for anglers

Legendary Whitetails Trail Vest — Best Fishing Vest for Cold Weather

An all cotton vest is good, but chasing after a product based on how organic materials are is not always the best thing. Nor is it the worst. Frankly, when it comes to fishing supplies, the source of the material doesn’t matter at all, all that matters is how effective that material is at what it does.

This vest is lined with polyester, but all that does is give you insulation, and that makes the jacket more than suitable for cold weather. Still, seeing how it is a sleeveless vest, wearing something over it might be a good idea.

It doesn’t come with too many pockets, but it’s a cold weather vest, and the pockets are not their main advantage. It still has a few, and it’s good at what it’s made for, and that alone makes it a decent competitor to every other jacket on the list. 

Throw in the durable metal zipper and reinforced shoulders, and you get an all-weather vest that can offer good enough protection in every sense of the word.

You can machine wash it, but dry cleaning the vest is a bad idea. Consider that when making your decision.

  • More than suitable for cold weather
  • Reinforced shoulders
  • Durable metal zipper
  • Doesn’t come with too many pockets

Wild Hare Mesh Vest — Best Fishing Vest for Summer

If it’s good enough for hunters, it’s good enough for anglers. On a more serious note, the Wild Hare Mesh Vest is a perfect example of a hot weather vest. It’s designed to hold hunting supplies, but it can be used to keep fishing supplies just as well. It’s not like that makes any difference.

The real advantage of this vest is ventilation. Calling it breathability would be somewhat incorrect, seeing how the vest is made from mesh. Even “ventilation” is an understatement. But you know what? That’s exactly what you need for hot climates. 

At the same time, it’s still a shooting vest first and everything else second, so you may feel the urge to grab a rifle and go hunting. After getting the license, of course.

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  • Designed to hold hunting supplies, but it can be used to keep fishing supplies
  • Ventilation. Thanks to the mesh, it is the best vest for summertime
  • A shooting vest first and everything else second

Heated Core Heat Camouflage Vest — Best Heated Vest for Fishing and Hunting

Sometimes, insulation just doesn’t cut it. Your vest can be 100% water resistant, but that does not mean it’s also watertight. Water can always get down to your skin unless you wear a watertight costume.

And after it does, no level of insulation can save you from cold. Insulation does not generate warm, it merely traps the heat of your body inside. That is what cold water sucks in immediately. After you’re soaked, getting warm becomes a lot harder. Usually, that means you need to change completely.

But the vest from Heated Core can warm you up even after you get completely soaked. It may not be very efficient, but it will be something. After all, the vest comes with an active heating system.

If you don’t intend on getting wet, that’s fine. It’s not like the heater is built in for that exact occasion. It’s integrated into the vest to allow the person wearing it sustain harsher frosts and get warm quickly if they’re feeling too cold.

At the same time, the Heat Camouflage vest is insulated and water resistant. It is the best vest for cold weather, but you’ll have to charge its 2Ah battery before going out to enjoy its full potential. Perhaps it’s a wrong choice for a bug out option, however, in every scenario where the human civilization lives, you won’t find a better product for cold weather and ice fishing.

  • Can warm you up even after you get completely soaked
  • Insulated and water resistant
  • Built-in heater
  • Need to charge the battery before usage

Unisex Hunting Fishing Vest — Best Vest for Hunting and Fishing

To be honest, this vest maybe not the most optimal for fishers except for one situation: you need your vest to be suitable for storing lots of things. That is exactly what this hunting vest will give you.

Its large capacity is not the only advantage of this vest, but it is the most significant advantage when it comes to anglers. The other one — the perfect camouflage —  is nice for hunting, but for fishing, it’s just useless, which is a shame. On the other hand, if you like duck hunting, then you will find this vest to be a good enough investment, as it is perfect for both scenarios.

The vest is highly comfortable, and despite its mesh lining, it can be used as a universal all-weather vest. As it is made from cotton, it is also machine washable.

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  • Suitable for storing lots of things
  • Perfect camouflage
  • Highly comfortable
  • Large capacity
  • Not the most optimal for fishers

Buyer’s Guide

When you’re purchasing an item of clothes, whether it’s a vest or not, you need to know exactly which weather conditions you may face when fishing. Is it going to be raining? Is it going to be hot or cold? All of that matters, and you chose poorly, the vest may actually aggravate the situation rather than alleviate the problems.

Logically, there are 4 types of trail vests fishing.

  1. Low-temperature fishing vest. It’s a vest you wouldn’t want to wear in winter. At the same time, those vests are somewhat universal, and you can wear them in any situation. But just like any generic solution, it’s not very good compared to any specialized product. But that does not mean low-temperature vests do not have their own niche. On the contrary, they are ideal for spring, early fall, and early summer. It doesn’t matter what kind of fish you want to get and how to plan to do that, this kind of vest will do its part for you.
  2. Hot weather vests. That’s definitely self-explanatory, but let’s dive into all that a little deeper. First, I’m not talking about hot and dry climates. Those tend to be incompatible with fishing entirety.  Hot-weather vests for anglers should be built for high humidity — and they are. It’s easy to tell them apart from other vests, as they tend to be made of mesh. Even when they are not, they are at the very least padded with mesh. Moisture wicking is not just a marketing trick when it comes to those vests, as they need to provide excellent breathability or even ventilation. What’s the point of using a vest when all it does is provide ventilation? Let’s just say it’s all about other features, one that I’m yet to bring up, but you can have a hint: the real worth of a fishing vest is how handy it is for keeping all your equipment and supplies on you. We’ll get to that later in detail.
  3. Cold weather vests. You probably won’t want to wear this kind of fishing vest standing in water knee deep. Not because of how the vest works, but because of the conditions that would require you to wear it. Perhaps, you wouldn’t even be able to get to the water before breaking the ice first. That’s right. Cold weather vests are meant for frosts and ice-fishing mostly, although nobody can stop you from using one when you feel unusually cold. As a rule, such vests are well-insulated and keep you warm no matter how cold it’s out there. Aside from extra insulation, such fishing vests are less suitable for fishing, and it would be more correct to refer to them as winter clothes. But they still have a few features that firmly puts them into the fishing vests category.
  4. Life jackets. Some of the fishing vests double as floatation devices. It makes little sense for a trail vest, as the ability to save your life is not their primary feature. Should you buy one of them? Probably not, because you could invest in a genuine dedicated life jacket to keep yourself safe. Leave life-saving to life jackets and use trail vests for convenience and comfort.
But then how to choose them? Are there any factors to pay attention to? Oh yes.


If you’re buying a vest for fishing, it’s probably not because you want to keep yourself warm. Yes, that’s possible, but I find more likely the scenario where you need to get some readily available storage space for all your baits, hooks, weights, and other items. Pockets give you just that, often,  they are the only reason to buy a fishing vest.But does that mean the more pockets, the better? Surely that would make the whole choice thing quite easy, right?That it would, but “more” doesn’t always mean “better,” and this is a situation where that assumption does not work. More pockets are more storage spaces, but it’s also more options, which makes navigating the pockets unnecessarily complicated, and if you do manage to stuff something into every one of the seventy pockets on your brand new trail vest, it’s probably going to weigh a hundred pounds or maybe even more. And that is provided to actually can have every pocket hold at least a small item, too often have we seen situations where we could only put something into two of the three pockets sewn on top of each other. The point is, if you buy a jacket full of pockets, it doesn’t mean you are going to be capable of using all of them at the same time. But if you can’t do that, what’s the point in buying that trail vest in the first place?But then again, if we filter out all the extremes, among the abundance of available marketing offers you will find those that happen to be tailored to your needs and those that you will find less than helpful if you manage to deal with them first hand. How to not get lost among the sea of options?That’s quite easy. The trick is to study the vest and every pocket on it and try to find a use for it. If you can do that, that must be a good vest for you. If you can’t think of how to use a few of the pockets, time to move down a little bit. Get to the vest that doesn’t have quite as many pockets, and you may find your best match yet.


Even if a trail vest for fishers is more than a piece of clothing, it’s still something that is worn. As such, it bears all the marks of clothes. That implies it should be comfortable to wear.What does it mean? You have to choose the right vest for the season. It’s not a universal parameter that heavily depends on how exactly you plan to wear it. Is it going to be the only outerwear item you will be wearing? Are you going to wear something over it or under it? Every answer to one of such questions changes things considerably. Some parameters, on the other hand, can be applied regardless of the situation at hand. First, there is no doubt that, as a fishing vest, such a trail jacket is expected to be waterproof. It doesn’t always need to be, but it’s still expected.Simple enough, yet many manufacturers mean different things when they claim their product is waterproof. They are not lying. However, there is more than one grade of waterproofness.Second, ventilation. It is crucial when you’re wearing something that is not supposed to let water leak through. It probably won’t, but how then would it deal with removing the moisture that comes from your body? That’s a tricky situation. Fortunately, there are ways to do that.All you have to do is to make sure you will be comfortable wearing the vest you’ve chosen. It’s all up to you.

How to Tell You’re Buying a  Quality Fishing Vest?

  1. The material must be robust and durable. You’re not choosing a jacket for a social event. Fishing can be hard, and your vest is going to be exposed to the elements, sooner rather than later.
  2. The seams are just as important as the fabric. You can buy a vest made from the toughest fabric around, but even it’s sewn with poorly made threads, it’s going to fall apart before you can say “shuttle.” The quality of the seams in the pockets is crucial because the pockets are often loaded. 
  3. At least one of the pockets is watertight. Too nad few vests meet that criteria.
  4. Check out the fasteners. The most convenient way to close and open a pocket is to use velcro fasteners. Unlike zippers, they don’t jam at the most inconvenient time. Buttons are okay, at the same time, they are not very good.

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