Gesus!! After reading about all you "old boys" that are about ready to "Go and grab a good position on the "General Store porch", before all the rockers are taken"......... I feel pretty darn good,for being 58 years old, in 2 months and having the onset of Parkinson's, plus already having an advancing bone disease and STILL, love, "buying new gear" and "trying out new gizmos"!?!
Even though, I'd have to borrow $10.00 just to be considered "poor", the last thing I skimp on is my fly fishing.
As to the "post", however.............. I've fished both, the chest packs and the vests, ever since the packs came popular years ago. For a long, long, time I used only the basic "single pocket style", until the newer ones, with the drop down "table" came along. Then,I wore an L.L.Bean's for several years, until I bought Fish Pond's "Water Dance", model pack and LOVE IT.
With the Parkinson's, I naturally "shake a bit" at times, now, so the fold down table/fly patch of the chest pack, has not only made tying on flies a lot easier, but also kept a lot of my flies and fly boxes, from floating off down river if I let go of one, accidently.
All my "tools" are also, right there, lined up along the back of the table,ready and very easy to get to. No retractors to fool with, either, since everything has its own "pocket" it fits into!
The Water Dance, has dual water bottle holders, one, on each side of the wide and comfortable, waist belt. If I want/need/or care to... carry even MORE stuff along, there's loops, eyelets, etc, on the pack to add thing and far more, than even I'LL ever use.
As for "hanging out, in front to get tangled up with",when I'm not, getting into it for something, it simply slides around out of the way, either to my side, or clear to the rear, out of the way.
I wear my Fish Pond mesh vest, when it's called for, but mainly when I'm dressed for cold water and cold weather, i.e. steelhead fishing one of Oregon's cold rivers.I bought it large large enough, to wear over the top of my layered clothing and wading jacket. That's about the ONLY time, I've found, that I do prefer my vest, over my chest pack.... when I have to wear a lot of layered clothing, my rain/wading jacket and then, the chest pack is just to far "out there in front" for my liking and with so many layers on, it's hard to sling it around and out of the way, usually.
So, I use both, LOVE both and BOTH have a real use and place, in my every day fishing set up!