Analysis tells me that one of most popular posts to appear on this blog was my review of my Orvis sling pack. It originally appeared a year ago, and since then, it is viewed every day by people who Google the sling pack and seek reviews. As such, I thought it might be helpful to write a follow up.
Since that initial post, I’ve taken that pack on almost every fishing excursion I’ve been on, whether it was ten minutes from home, or several hundred miles away by airline. The Safe Passage has spent countless hours on my back while I waded saltwater flats, cast to the breakers on beaches, crept around trout streams, hunted snook in the mangroves of Florida, and all manners of fishing in between.
So, how is it holding up?
To look at the bag, you wouldn’t know the miles I’ve put on it. Despite it’s exposure to a saltwater environment and being dragged through bushes and trees on the way to rivers and streams, all the exterior components remain intact. No snags, rips, or tears. No discoloration from all the sun, and everything attached externally, including forceps and nippers and D-rings remain as solid and functional as the day I started using them. The nippers are not as razor sharp as they once were, but they’ve chewed a lot of leader.
As time has passed I’ve developed preferences on where things are kept and what to attach to the bag when wading for long periods. I can comfortably carry a water bottle and my landing net on the outside of the bag, and keep the interior free for fly boxes, tippet and other necessities. The locations of the D-rings were clearly well thought out when they developed this bag, as nothing ever gets in the way. I’ve worn it over just a T-shirt, and on top of a heavy layers of coats, sweatshirts and thermals, and with a little adjusting of the strap, you can easily make it comfortable regardless of your clothing.
The on-water performance has been impressive – never hindrance, always accessible and easy to manage. You can be waist deep in saltwater on an incoming tide and still comfortably reach all of your necessary gear by just sliding the bag to your front side. In fact, waist deep water is where this bag has a big advantage over waist packs and vests. The pack rides high up on your back, so I’ve waded very deep without fear of it getting soaked. That said, I’ve also stood in hours of rain and had the items inside remain dry.
I keep the fly box I’m currently working out of in the small front pocket, making it easy to look around in, and also because this is where the foam pad resides. I use this pad, as intended, to store flies on after I use them, instead of placing them into a fly box while wet. This is the only part of the bag showing any wear, as the repeated poking with hooks has left a couple of noticeable spots in the foam – but this is to be expected, the foam is replaceable, and frankly, the wear is so minimal I could go for years without the need to replace it.
Currently, my bag holds two pairs of forceps, my trimmers, a leather leader sheath, six pre-packaged leaders, four rolls of various tippet, A pack of sanitary hand wipes, fishing licenses, hook sharpening stone, a flashlight, two large fly boxes and two smaller boxes for small nymphs and streamers, and there is still plenty of useable space. on many trips, I can also fit my rain jacket, my camera gear and a snack.
A year later, I come away only more impressed with this product as I’ve had time to consider what I’ve put it through and where it’s been. I’ve never been a bother to wear, but on a few occasions, I’ve been hassled by not wearing it. The convenience of having your nippers over your shoulder and your forceps on your chest when the need arises can spoil you, and when you find yourself without, you’ll miss it.