Wulff wanted a vest that an angler could wear over their clothing that would give them ease of access to their fly boxes & other tackle. Well the idea was a good one &, as we all now know, many anglers loved the idea.
So the vest was improved upon in its design & was first released onto the market just after World War II. It was called the "Lee Wulff Tak-L-Pac" & was made by Masland of Carlisle, PA. The rest, as they say, is history.
Today of course, anglers have tons of choices when it comes to choosing a vest. There are more designs of vests made from different materials than ever before. When choosing a vest, comfort should be your main priority. You'll be wearing it all day long in all kinds of weather, so make sure you get one that's comfortable. A well designed vest puts the weight on your shoulders - NOT your neck. A poorly designed vest can give you both back & neck problems if worn for too long.
With all the different designs available, it can be hard to choose the right vest for you. It's a good idea before you buy a vest to take all the things you're going to put in it & lay them out on a table. This way you can see exactly how much stuff you really have to pack in it. Keep in mind the things you'll use the most: fly boxes, tippet spools, shot, fly dressing, etc. This will help give you an idea of what you need in a vest.
Of course you can always opt, as I do, to forego the vest & carry a fishing bag (or possibles bag as they used to be called). I prefer bags to vests because all my tackle is easily accessible with one hand & because a bag can be moved out of the way on your body, giving you full range of motion. Plus a bag can easily be taken off & hung on a tree when it gets too hot or when you're taking a break. I also must admit that I like the tradition of using a fishing bag, just like anglers did for centuries before the vest came along. The fishing vest is a 20th century invention; fishing bags are timeless. Then again, I am a sucker for the traditions of fly fishing.