It's all a matter of preference, but I'm not a vest guy. Tried one for a while, and couldn'd stand how loose and jangly it was, especially when hiking and 'schwacking around. It had way more pockets and bells and whistles than I would ever need. And I felt like an old fart wearing it. I don't care how much Geirach romanticizes it - I don't ever want to be an thought of as an old fart.I've tried a few chest packs in the last year, from the Patagonia Whatsitsname, to the Clear Creek SomethingorOther, to the Filson Whatever. All were nicely made and had their good points, but I recently got my hands on a Fishpond Windwalker pack, and my search has ended. This thing rocks. It's well thought out, well-made, just the right size for my day's worth of needs on the stream, pockets are in the right places, has a fold down fly tray w/ replaceable foam, holds a hydration bag with a hole for the tube to lead out of, and you can even swing it around and wear it behind you with a waist strap if it's getting in your way while hiking. Right on Fishpond. Oh, and its so hip looking it almost redeems my hat.
Other pack recs out there?