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Old 08-20-2008, 07:12 AM
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Default Vest, Chest Pack, Lanyard, or Hip Pack?

I got away from wearing a vest over 8 years ago. I remember I saw a White River chest pack/lanyard and thought it was such a great idea. It was small and I was sick of getting hot wearing a vest and didn't need all of the space. I later switched to an Orvis "Safe Passage" chest pack. It was great because it had a little more room. The only thing is that it can be cumbersome and it doesn't have space for a water bottle.

As I find myself doing more back country fishing these days I am looking to switch again. I don't care to go back to a vest. Filson has a couple of nice looking packs but I really don't want to dish out $120+ for a new pack. I really like the idea of some of the hip/fanny packs that have water bottle space. Many of my friends used them when I lived in Florida when we fished the flats by foot. I just am not sold yet on wearing a fanny pack to fish with, especially if I am wading in deep water.

I value everyones opinion on this site and wanted some feedback on what you use and why. Simms has some cool watertight fanny/hip packs....has anyone used them? Also thought about just using my old North Face fanny pack.... The North FaceEquipmentPacksDAYHIKER

Thanks in advance for your input and support
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Old 08-20-2008, 12:55 PM
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Default Re: Vest, Chest Pack, Lanyard, or Hip Pack?

While my "go-to" gear carrier is a William Joseph Fusion Vest, I also use a Watermark Guide Light Chest Pack for those "minimalist" situations, although as small and compact as this chest pack is, it's amazing how much it holds, including hydration bladder capability along with a couple zingers, two front pockets (one with fly-port capability) with tippit sub-pockets, back pocket for extras & bungee tie-on for jacket, net D-ring, etc. I've also used an Orvis belt which comes with water bottle, wading staff holder and a fly-box pack or so (which has the disadvantage you noted of getting wet in not-so-deep wading), but my current favorite alternative to my beloved Fusion Vest is an Orvis Safe Passage Sling Pack (images below). There are a lot of positive reviews on this elsewhere in this Forum, but I will sum up its advantages as being uniquely flexible in carrying mode, staying out of the way when casting, and in all carrying modes the net attached to its D-ring always stays on your back out of your way. It's even more flexible interchanging some other clip-on accessories (like a William Joseph Water Bottle or Fly-Pack) with the extra clip-on mini-pack that attaches to the main body of the sling pack.
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File Type: jpg Orvis Safe Passage Sling Pack 1.jpg (37.0 KB, 60 views)
File Type: jpg Orvis Safe Passage Sling Pack 2.jpg (49.5 KB, 45 views)
File Type: jpg Orvis Safe Passage Sling Pack 3t.jpg (54.3 KB, 45 views)
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Old 08-20-2008, 03:48 PM
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Default Re: Vest, Chest Pack, Lanyard, or Hip Pack?

I would recommend the LL Bean Rapid River Vest Pack

I own quite a few vests and fishing packs. I have three larger packs, and three vests, and a couple of small shoulder packs. The Rapid River Vest Pack is the one I use more than all the others combined. It has a number of features that make it my favorite. First off, it has excellent capacity. The backpack portion is expandable, and will hold enough stuff for a whole day of fishing. You can put your lunch, a 3 quart water bladder, rain jacket, and other assorted necessities in this pack with a bit of room to spare.

The front part of the pack, which is designed to hold your fishing tackle, is very well thought out. There are two large pockets sized to hold big fly boxes, and other pockets to hold tippet, strike indicators, etc. There is enough storage space to carry everything you might need to catch fish. There are a couple of built in retractable "zingers" to secure your nippers and hemostat. The best thing about the front gear storage is that it is distributed widely across your torso, so that it doesn't create a big protruding lump on your chest that interferes with casting and being able to see your feet.

Even fully loaded, this vest/pack is very comfortable. The combination of the vest, shoulder straps, and hip belt distributes and controls the weight better than anything else I've ever used. The hip belt, in particular adds to the comfort of the pack, both with weight distribution and also lending some back support for long days on the river.

The vest provides decent ventilation for a pack of this type. I use it in the heat of the summer with no issues.

As much as I like this pack, it isn't quite perfect. First off, the back pack part could be a lot bigger. It's not quite big enough to comfortably stow neoprene footed stocking foot waders. Certainly, the weight bearing features of this pack make it easily capable of incorporating a much larger capacity back pack. If the size of the back pack were doubled, it could then hold your waders for the hike in, along with everything else needed. This seems like a serious design oversight to me. I don't know why the designers did not think the make the pack large enough to stow waders.

It's also a bit heavy and bulky when compared with a lightweight vest. I wouldn't want to pack this in on a long, multi-day backpacking trip. It just weighs too much and takes up too much space to be a good backpacking fishing vest.

The other shortcoming if the pack is perhaps an inevitable result of its design. The lower pockets tend to get wet when deep wading. The pockets are not placed particularly high, and the waistbelt and lower part of the backpack tend to become submerged when wading much more than waist deep. To counteract this, I use waterproof fly boxes, and store any water-sensitive items (like my lunch) in waterproof ziplock bags.

Overall, however, I really like this pack. For long days on the water, when you're hiking in and hiking out, it's hard to beat. At under $100, it's also a bargain.


Rapid River Vest Pack: Fishing Vests at L.L.Bean

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Old 08-20-2008, 07:33 PM
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Default Re: Vest, Chest Pack, Lanyard, or Hip Pack?

I have this and love it.

Fishpond USA - WATERDANCE GUIDE PACK
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Old 08-21-2008, 07:51 AM
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Default Re: Vest, Chest Pack, Lanyard, or Hip Pack?

Thanks for all of the replies. I have my work cut out for me to see what fits/feels best. I will let you know what I go with when I make the purchase.
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Old 08-21-2008, 06:51 PM
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Default Re: Vest, Chest Pack, Lanyard, or Hip Pack?

I use a windwalker chest pack. Love it. Plenty of room for gear, a small water bottle and a few snacks.

Fishpond USA - WINDWALKER CHESTPACK
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