At $169, Marabou vest is an investment, but I think, in terms of value for the dollar, well worth it. Put it this way... think of your vest--or if you are so inclined, your pack--as "home base." It's my office on the river. Minus a real comfort level and functionality feel, I think any vest, or pack, is dead weight. But when you barely realize you're wearing a vest or pack at all, and find yourself instinctively reaching for (and finding) the right tool, or fly, or whatever, when your eyes are still locked on the trout rising in the seam upriver... that's the zone you want to be in. I'm in that zone when I'm in this vest, and I've always trusted fishpond durability. Besides it looks pretty sporty too. Maybe Romano will stop teasing me about my "retro" ways now. Nah... probably not.