I am someone who likes to be prepared for all eventualities on the water. Some examples of gear I carry at all times:
- 2 large saltwater sized large fly boxes (for big streamers and such)
- Reel plus extra spool
- Various tools (knife, leatherman, wire cutters, etc.)
- Fish hanging scale
- First aid supplies (bandaids, superglue, dry paper towers)
- Fishing gloves
- At least spools of assorted sizes of tippet/leader material
- And more...
It is hard for someone like me to find a really good pack to carry all of my gear. To clarify here, its not hard to find a pack that fits everything (a regular backpack can easily do that), but to find one that fits everything and has pockets and organizing features to keep it all separated and in its appropriate place. Its a real pain to have to adjust every item in your pack once you take your fly box out and want to put it back but 10 things have shuffled into its place.
I have had the Orvis Gale Force sling for some time now and love it for tubing and salt water trips (as its waterproof), but it only really has 2 compartments for gear and a little pocket on the inside. I had looked at the regular Orvis slings for some time, but they were just too small to fit my big fly boxes and extra gear.
The Orvis Guide Sling Pack was released only a few months ago and is more than double the size of their top selling regular sling packs which I admired. The pack is extremely well made, with very high craftsmanship and attention to detail. Orvis is never cheap, but you certainly get what you pay for with the high cost. The outside is rugged, well stitched, and most of it is water resistant in case it takes a quick dip or it starts to rain.
There are pockets for days. The main compartment is very large, fitting both of my large saltwater fly boxes. Included in the main compartment are three internal zippered pockets. The second largest compartment is padded with a foam fly holder velcro'd on (and removable, can also be velcro'd on the outside of the bag). There is plenty of room within this compartment for my extra spool, glasses, gloves, scale and some other items. The third compartment is the smallest, but still capable of holding all my smaller items, such as line straightener, measuring tape, etc.. The zippers for all pockets are oversized and rugged.
The outside of the bag also has some great new features. For easy tippet access, there are two high quality loops that you can bridge a tippet spool holder between. I have 7 spools of tippet on this holder between the loops, giving my access to all the sizes I'd need without opening my bag and fumbling around when wading. There is also a zinger attachment spot with a hidden magnet a few inches below it. The magnet stops the attached clipper or other tools from dangling around and getting caught somewhere. On the top of the bag, there is a wide strip of velcro that can be used to attach flies or to attach the foam fly holder that comes inside the second compartment.
The sling functionality of the pack is extremely easy and helpful. There is a detachable clip that can come across your right side and snap on to the pack to keep it from sliding off our shoulder while casting. When you need the pack, you quickly unclip it (if you have the clip on) and swing it below your left arm onto your stomach. Like I said, very smooth process, very easy and comfortable. I am a small guy and the cinches let me tighten the pack very far down so it fits comfortably and snug.
Overall, I give this pack a 10. It is pricey no doubt, but you will not find better quality or dependability from a pack. If you are an angler who likes to be on the move and still carry a lot of gear, this pack is perfect.