Storing my gear on the water has become an issue. Currently, I use a small backpack to haul my fly boxes, a few tools and some extra line. It’s not a lot of gear, and could all fit into a much smaller bag. Also, I have to take my backpack off whenever I need anything, and that ranges from slightly annoying when bank fishing, to downright aggravating while standing in the water.
In the process of reviewing my options for a replacement storage system, I’ve concluded that a sling back is the best solution for me. It can reside comfortably, safely, and out of the way on my back while I’m casting or moving, and can be easily slipped around to allow access to the pockets, and my gear. It’s not too big – all the room I’d need – and transports easily.
Other options available to me include the traditional vest. While I have a cold weather vest I use, I simply never liked storing my gear this way. I like it off my body as opposed to hanging from it, nor do I like stuffing bulky fly boxes into pockets or pouches. I also don’t want to have to wear a vest in the summer months.
I also considered a waist pack; the convenient, slightly more masculine name a fisherman gives to a fanny pack. I confess that my opposition to these bags, while functional, is based not just in practicality, but also a touch of vanity. A waist bag will be in the water if I’m wading close to waist deep, so there’s that, but it’s also that the only other guy besides fisherman I can think of that routinely wears one of these devices is this guy.
So, a sling pack it would be.
I scoured the Internet looking for the perfect sling pack, and I think I’ve found it in the Orvis Safe Passage pack.
This bag is big enough for my gear, weighs a mere pound, has been intelligently designed to keep tools within easy reach including a spot for my forceps on the forward strap, and is made by a name I trust for their history of making a quality product. But I recoiled when I saw the price tag. Seventy dollars! (or, pay $200 and get some leaders, nippers, forceps, and other accessories. bags now come “loaded”, like cars.)
This tag seemed steep to me. We are talking, after all, about a 472 cubic inch pouch of a bag; some material and zippers. Certainly, the price may reflect the quality of the bag, in that I may own one for 20 years, in which case it’s money well spent. But other sling packs I’ve found online go for as little as $25, leaving me to wonder if I’m simply paying for the Orvis name, as good as it is. You do, after all, get what you pay for, and I’ve found this old adage to be true in fly fishing gear more than any other area of commerce.
Ultimately, I predict I’ll end up biting the bullet, and buying it, for all the reasons above. I’ve yet to find another bag at any price that is as well suited to me or the fishing that I do, and at some point I’ll get tired of reading reviews online (almost all of which are overwhelmingly good), or staring at it longingly on my monitor. If I do follow through, You’ll be the first to know what I think of it.
I’d be interested to hear from my readers on the kind of tackle storage you prefer on the water, and especially if you have any experience with this product. Leave a comment below. I look forward to your thoughts.