(A follow up to this post, after a year of using this product, can be found here.)
Regular readers will recall that I recently pondered the value and capabilities of the Orvis Safe Passage sling pack. Since then, it has been revealed that, with absolutely no uncertainty, Santa Clause reads my blog. This is the only explanation for the fact that I found same said sling pack in my Christmas stocking this year. So thanks, Santa.
At initial inspection, the pack is exactly what I’ve come to expect from Orvis. Quality products, built to last. the material is thick and feels durable. The zippers are heavy duty, and everything is stitched to last. Looking inside, I was happy to see a lot of available space over two compartments, and, more importantly to me, several accessory sleeves within the main compartment for additional organized storage.
As I took my every-day gear from my old back pack and loaded up the sling pack, I was pleased to find that everything would fit comfortably in the interior pockets without utilizing any of the main bag space, leaving that area free for whatever I could think of or needed: rain gear, extra reels or lines, camera gear, lunch……
Pictured below, all of my every-day items that I was able to store without utilizing any of the main compartment accessory sleeve space: Fishing license, sanitizer, four spools of leader and tippet material, a few pre-packaged leaders, hook sharpening stone, small cap flashlight, two types of floatant. Not pictured, an additional set of nips, and a leather leader straightner. both hang from convenient attachment loops inside the main compartment.
In the front fly box pouch – three fly boxes with room for two more. Also in the front fly box pouch comes an attached piece of ribbed foam that allows you to store the flies you are currently using, so as to allow easy access without even removing or opening a fly box.
The two sets of forceps, one of which came with the bag with a matching trout-skin set of nippers, are stored both in a sheath on the front of the bag, and in an additional sheath on the chest strap, leaving your tools in reach while wearing the pack on your back. Also on the exterior is a zinger attachment point for securing your nippers or any other tool you may attach to a zinger. There is a magnet at the base of the attachment point that secures your metal nippers and keeps them from swinging around while you walk and fish.
On the water, the sling back did not disapoint. In fact, it is truly a pleasure to use. Everything is stored neatly on your back as opposed to hanging from your clothes or from a lanyard. Your nippers and forceps are in easy reach. If you need to access your fly boxes or anything else within the bag, you simply slide the back around to your front, and everything is right there, and right side up. An additional bonus I found that isn’t advertised by the good people of Orvis is that that main fly box compartment sticks out slightly to allow a wide box to be stored. As such, when the bag is in front of you, it creates a small shelf on which you can place your fly or fly box or leader spool while you use your hands for something else, like tying knots or whatever else you can think of.
When the bag is on my back and the straps have been tightened to fit comfortably and securely, I can honestly say I’ve forgotten its even there, which to me is the ultimate sign of great design. It doesn’t move, even when you are casting for distance or leaning over to land a fish, yet is easily accessible the second you need it. I’ve worn it for six hours at a time, hiking and fishing, and it transports my gear effortlessly.
Orvis has produced exactly what I wanted in a bag. I simply have no complaints. It sits above the water when wading, is comfortable on a long day of bank or boat fishing, stows all I need for a day on the water with room to spare, and keeps all of my regularly used tools within reach when needed, and secured when not in use. It looks good, feels good, it works, and is of top notch quality and durability. I simply can’t ask for more, and even though mine was a generous gift, I can conclude that it’s definitely worth the money. At the end of my first day of fishing with the pack, I looked around for my backpack and open fly boxes; items I have always left out on the ground when bank fishing, before I remembered it was all stowed in my sling pack. I can’t imagine going fishing without it.
(Update – Seems I am not alone. Fishing Jones likes the Safe Passage, too!) – Neil