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William Joseph Mini II Pack
Published by Mike N
08-05-2006
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Default William Joseph Mini II Pack

Seeing as one of these is being given away on this forum, I thought I would provide a review.

Overall, I am pretty happy with it. Prior to this pack I had a columbia vest, and then a patagonia 'brick' chest pack, (which I still use as a fanny pack to hold extra gear if I need it).

The WJ Mini II is very well designed (for the most part).The variable strap system is excellent - it is easy to put on over bulky clothing in winter because its size/height on your chest varies with the tension on the straps. With bulkier clothing, it just rides a bit higher. Nice not to have to adjust the strap length when changing/removing layers.

Pocket space is excellent. There's a handy reel (or chew can?) shaped pouch right on top, and then a huge elasticated pocket between the separate front and back sections of the pack for storing fly boxes. I can get a large C&F nymph box and a large Wheatley compartment dry box in there side by side with no problem. I was worried at first that the pocket might not be secure as it is open, but the elastic netting does the trick - I've not had a problem, despite several falls. Its also a handy space for stashing gloves in winter.The fold down deck is pretty good - if a bit small. The ripple foam won't last too long if you tend to stick your flies around the top edge - but it does appear to be replaceable (attached with velcro), which is nice.

There's a large valuables pocket in back that zips from the side.

The tippet management system pocket on the front is pretty much a gimmick in my book. I don't see why anyone would want to walk around with 5 different strands of tippet poking from their chest pack. Plus, the slot is too tight for fine tippet and tends to curl it if you pull it out too fast/at the wrong angle. Still, I can get 7 50m spools in there without a problem, so its definitely roomy.

Elsewhere, there are lots of points for attaching things and the built in retractors are excellent - although a little too short for my taste.

The only real complaint I have about this pack are the zippers. Specifically, the zipper that closes the main pocket/deck. The loop where the zipper pull connects to the zipper body is not sealed flush to the zipper body. Presumably this is so that you can replace a pull if one breaks off?

That 2 millimeter gap becomes problematic because it is much wider than the width of a leader. On several occasions, I have had to disentangle my leader from the zip because it slid up under the zipper pull loop. Of course, this is more likely to happen when the leader is pulled tight and brushes against the front of the pack (which happens quite often when landing fish).

This design flaw turns what could be a minor irritant into a major problem. Twice, I have found myself attached to a fish by both rod and chest pack. Not good. Best case, you will have burned your leader into nice little curly cues.

Anyway, I sealed the culprit zipper loop with some flex coat I had laying around and now it's not a problem. Hopefully, WJ will become aware of this problem and fix it on future models. Apart from the zipper issue, it is a well made pack and I am extremely happy with it.

Mike
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  #1 (permalink)  
By 45fisher on 10-26-2007, 11:13 AM
Default Re: William Joseph Mini II Pack

I just 'upgraded' from the Mini I to the Mini II. I gave the Mini I to my oldest son. I still like the Mini I but find I need just a little more carry capacity. Dad has become the "Mother-ship" while fishing. When a tippet, a tool(s), a fly (Dry, Nymph or Streamer) is need my 2 boys relocate me on the river get what they need and move on. Other than food and water, I carry most of the fishing stuff.
My only con with the Mini II is there are no 'instructions' with the pack. There are alot of straps that have no explanation as to their use. Example. there ae two loops on the bottom of the pack that I can see no use for other than to hang 'stuff' on. There are also two velcro straps at the top of the pack that I think are for securing the two halves of the pack together??
Regardless a great day pack.
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  #2 (permalink)  
By Fly2Fish on 10-27-2007, 08:31 PM
Default Re: William Joseph Mini II Pack

[QUOTE=45fisher;15716]My only con with the Mini II is there are no 'instructions' with the pack. There are alot of straps that have no explanation as to their use. Example. there ae two loops on the bottom of the pack that I can see no use for other than to hang 'stuff' on. There are also two velcro straps at the top of the pack that I think are for securing the two halves of the pack together??
QUOTE]

45fisher,
My experience with William Joseph products - excellent as they are - is that they provide very little feature explanation. In fact, even if you call them, you still won't get answers. However, that's not to take away from their excellent design - only that you have to figure out the innovations yourself.

Having said all that, you are probably right that the two velcro straps at the top are for adjustment to fit your upper body shape. There may also be a "fabric tunnel" for containing a pass-through water tube from an hydration pack in the back to the front where you can access it. I'm not familiar with the chestpack, but based on my William Joseph Fusion Vest (easily the most innovative vest I've seen - & that opinion buttressed by "Best Product" industry awards), I'm guessing that the two loops at the bottom of the pack do double duty as for girth adjustment and as loops for holding the butt of your rod when using the upper velcro tab for "parking" the rod while you attend to other matters (i.e., attaching a fly, etc.).

Hope this (ignorant) reply helps.
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