Fly chest packs or slings

frickerdog

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Modern vests feel like lifejackets to me, going to stick with my old vest, and back packs and sling packs just get too annoying and heavy. I`m there to fish not be a pack mule. My kind of fishing is to keep moving not camp so I travel light as possible.
If I'm doing a 3-hour fish in my chest waders, I can take everything I need in my wader pockets. It's those summer days when I throw on the hippies to fish shallow streams where need something else to help carry a small load. My shorts pockets get a little overloaded. That is why I was looking at the smaller vests from Patagonia which weigh less than a pound. Like you said, everything else looks like a life jacket.
 

corn fed fins

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If I'm doing a 3-hour fish in my chest waders, I can take everything I need in my wader pockets. It's those summer days when I throw on the hippies to fish shallow streams where need something else to help carry a small load. My shorts pockets get a little overloaded. That is why I was looking at the smaller vests from Patagonia which weigh less than a pound. Like you said, everything else looks like a life jacket.
Beauty of a waist pack. No extra clothing in the hot summer and you don't have to worm into it in the winter.
 

gretch6364

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I wore my Fishpond chest packs (with the alternate longer shoulder pad) over my head and shoulder so I could slide it around to my back before sling packs became popular. Now, unless I want to go light, I wear a Fishpond Summit Sling. Takes a little finessing to work with it but I much prefer it to having something big on my chest.
I have done this fir the last decade or so. The bottom does get wet a lot. Got some Orvis gift cards for Christmas and am making the jump to the sling. The regular sling is a better size for me, but the guide sling has the better net holder. I am gonna order the new guide one I think. I have two little kids that are starting to fish and I am sure I could use the extra room for snacks, beers, sunscreen, etc. Wife bought be a long handled fishpond net for Christmas and I am retiring my Brodin short handle. It is too hard to net fish by myself with an 8’8” G2 and a 9ft leader with the short handle net.
 

flytie09

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Chest packs are dorky. You look like Darth Vader at Comicon. I prefer a sling pack. Which one?....There are tons. I use a Simms Headwater version that has served me well the last 4+ yrs. The problem is the material is flimsy and I don't expect it to last another 3-4 yrs. I have upgraded to a Fishpond canvas messenger style pack and will probably be buried with this thing. Simple and rugged. Too bad it took me 35 years to discover the simplicity of a sling pack Hardy was selling over 100 years ago.
 

hatidua

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I use a Patagonia Stormfront hip pack if not taking too much stuff.
I use a Patagonia Stormfront roll-top backpack if I need to take more.

My camera gear takes up space and weighs more than the fishing items so I can't go quite as minimalist as I would ideally like. And, I'd prefer not to drown the cameras/lenses so the more watertight the bags, the better.
 

JRT

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I find slings dig into my shoulder and become very uncomfortable over a day's fishing, especially if you are carrying spare water/jackets etc.
I now prefer a small cheap backpack that I leave on the shore/bank and have all the essentials on lanyard and wader/jacket pockets.
Slings are sooo expensive too and I'm far too cheap to drop $$$ on one.
 

Flyra

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I am a bit late to this discussion but will tell you what I have found to work. I generally use a hip pack to keep the weight off my shoulders but I also like the utility of it. Instead of layers of gear I use the hip pack's belt as a wading belt, I have the folding wading staff attached directly to it, and I shove the handle of my net at a 45 degree angle in back so it is always accessible. There is nothing impeding my sight when searching for footing and very little for fly line to interact with. The other upsides is that if in a drift boat the pack can be tucked out of the way as a boat bag and if the weather or distance requires extra gear I can add a backpack without changing up the system. I generally try not to wade much deeper than just above my knee if I can help it but there are a few places that I fish that require armpit deep wading to cross and in these instances I bring a separate wading belt and hold my gear over my head. I fish a fishpond bag a lot and just loosen the buckle a tad, swing the bag to my front to change flies etc., and then swing it back around and tighten it. I know a lot of people like the sling bags but as I am typing this I am thinking about a hot summer day where I do not one more layer than necessary while sweating it out and I don't want to feel entangled when I have winter coats etc. on. It comes down to personal preference but that is how I justify what works for me.
 

ottosmagic13

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I've really liked my LL Bean Rapid River sling bag. The options on the front facing strap make it so I really only have to switch it around to re-rig. On the strap is a small pouch, perfect for indicators and some Gink. There is a small fly keeper to hold on to flies while they dry or to keep on hand for quick swaps.

The biggest boon is the second strap that connects perpendicular to the main cross shoulder strap. It keeps the pack from sliding around and pinned in the middle of my back. I use a hat clip to mount my GoPro above where the smaller strap connects.

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It's held up for 5 years now. I've had to replace the original zingers but other than that zero issues. Sadly it doesn't have the warranty that LL Bean once had but I haven't had to even consider that yet.

Lately - especially in the hottest summer humidity (like 90+ with 90% humidity) - I've been looking into a lanyard & hip/lumbar pack combo to complement it. A super small hip pack for the bare essentials and a lanyard for the tools. Even something like a beefier wading belt instead of the pack if I can get a few molle pockets to hold a fly box or two attached.

I tried a few chest packs but agree with others - I don't like the reduced vision and the reduced access to my wader pockets - although I REALLY like the concept of the ones that have the magnetic work station that flips down.
 

gretch6364

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I wish it was a little smaller in size, but I really like the clean lines of the new Orvis Guide Sling Pack. The price is also not as bad as some of the others. It just seems like it has less places for my line and flies to get caught. I also like that the tipped bar isn't banging around all the time.

Anyone else seen it? I know it is not releasing until February....but I might jump on an pre-order.
 

markmark444

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If I'm doing a 3-hour fish in my chest waders, I can take everything I need in my wader pockets. It's those summer days when I throw on the hippies to fish shallow streams where need something else to help carry a small load. My shorts pockets get a little overloaded. That is why I was looking at the smaller vests from Patagonia which weigh less than a pound. Like you said, everything else looks like a life jacket.

You might want to look at the Meshmaster II from Patagonia if you go fairly light on the gear and dodads. With a couple modifications, it has been great for me over several years. Replaced the wool patch with industrial stength velcro and sewed loop inside for mitten clamps.
 

IdahoFlyGuy

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I wish it was a little smaller in size, but I really like the clean lines of the new Orvis Guide Sling Pack. The price is also not as bad as some of the others. It just seems like it has less places for my line and flies to get caught. I also like that the tipped bar isn't banging around all the time.

Anyone else seen it? I know it is not releasing until February....but I might jump on an pre-order.
I really do like the looks and features of the new sling pack. Seems more thought out than the last iteration, which I have. I especially like the net holster and the tippet holder. I do wish the fly patch was better. Looks to be the same patch, and barbless hooks fall right out of it.
 

frickerdog

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You might want to look at the Meshmaster II from Patagonia if you go fairly light on the gear and dodads. With a couple modifications, it has been great for me over several years. Replaced the wool patch with industrial stength velcro and sewed loop inside for mitten clamps.
I talked to my local fly shop guy and he and I agreed on the Patagonia hybrid pack. He didn't have one in stock, but he had the Patagonia convertible to show me, and the hybrid is essentially the convertible with a small pack on the back to carry a light jacket, snack or a water bladder. He also showed me the Meshmaster II, but that was about $80 more expensive. I liked the adjustability and versatility of the hybrid pack. It has fewer features than the Meshmaster and does not fit as tightly, but I am ok with that.
 

upstreamcast

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I gave up on most FF vests years ago. Just annoyed with the bulges of gear protruding in front. I use waist packs. Specifically the Fishpond Blue River Chest/Lumbar pack and my favorite, the Filson Tin Cloth Fishing Pack.
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Goodbye Liz

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I have the Simms Ambidextrous Freestone pack and I run it very light. The net pocket and having the option to wear it over left shoulder are what sold me. The shoulder strap is nice and padded with a couple of forward facing mesh pockets that are perfect for floatant or anything else small you want close at hand. Main storage holds everything I need with no issues.
 

gretch6364

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I really do like the looks and features of the new sling pack. Seems more thought out than the last iteration, which I have. I especially like the net holster and the tippet holder. I do wish the fly patch was better. Looks to be the same patch, and barbless hooks fall right out of it.
Seems like you could just throw a foam patch on it with Velcro on the back. Obviously, would be nice if Orvis included this free with the pack....just like a small one. I found one on Amazon with Velcro for $7. Gonna give it a try.
 

IdahoFlyGuy

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Seems like you could just throw a foam patch on it with Velcro on the back. Obviously, would be nice if Orvis included this free with the pack....just like a small one. I found one on Amazon with Velcro for $7. Gonna give it a try.
Good thinking, I might copy your idea!
 

gary_a_gooner

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I’m a pretty big fan of the Umpqua ZS2 overlook 500 chest pack. It keeps everything high and tight so it’s easy to see over it and not in the way when wading. Also included 2 options for the back—a small backpack or a flat mesh back. I had a sling previously and always found myself adjusting it and disliked having to swing it around. To each his own, but pretty sure I’m sticking to this for a while.
 

TristianSutton

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I’m a pretty big fan of the Umpqua ZS2 overlook 500 chest pack. It keeps everything high and tight so it’s easy to see over it and not in the way when wading. Also included 2 options for the back—a small backpack or a flat mesh back. I had a sling previously and always found myself adjusting it and disliked having to swing it around. To each his own, but pretty sure I’m sticking to this for a while.
That pack carries so much gear, i have no joke 6 boxes in the front of mine

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
 

darkshadow

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I tried a chest pack and it's....weird. Dunno if I was wearing it wrong, but I felt like all the insides were one second from falling over into the drink when I had it open to access the contents.

For the rare short trips, as in im not hiking 1+ miles, or I'm only going to the local pond to mess with the stocker trout, I carry a Patagonia sling that I found in a clearance bin at the local hipster clothing store. It has a large and a small pocket, both zippered, and the strap has a elastic pocket built in that rides against your chest that fits IDs/credit cards perfectly (if you're the type to carry your ID/cards with you.) I use it to carry my fishing license. The small pocket carries the usual suspects, leaders, tippet spools, etc. The small pocket has a lanyard with a clip, so that's where the car keys go as well. The large pocket can carry 3 or 4 fly boxes and a bottle of water, perhaps some snacks. The outside of the pack has expandable straps, so if the weather is iffy, I can carry a thin shell/jacket/etc. folded up on the outside.

For all my other trips, I've found that using a backpack is best. Camelbak makes the backpack I use, the M.U.LE. and it was actually meant for mountain biking. And if anybody that has owned a Camelbak, they over engineer everything, and I've had mine over a decade and it has taken a beating and it keeps on ticking and I've had zero problems. My body has more scars and damage from all the falls I've taken, yet the pack is in great shape. Anyhow, in California, you may find yourself on foot hiking a bit (4 to 5 miles average for me it seems) on a day trip and the weight distribution really assists with these hikes. The pack also takes a 100 ounce bladder. The pockets are everywhere you need them to be, including storage within each pocket. You can carry 5 or 6 flyboxes, a light jacket, lunch, 100 ounces of water, and all your knick knacks. Since I'm crawling through brush half the time as well, because of the streamlined shape of it, it doesn't 'catch' on the brush as much as a larger profile pack would.

I tried slings during long trips and they were too cumbersome and couldn't carry enough for all day trips.
 
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