What’s your favorite fly fishing pack?

johanDH

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I use the FishPond Thunderhead Submersible Lumbar pack. I love it. I upgraded from the Fishpond Westwater guide lumbar pack, only because the Thunderhead is fully submersible. I debated whether the upgrade was worth the money, but in the end it turned out that full submersability gives me a great felling of not having to worry about anything.

I like lumbar packs because with vests and even sling packs I always feel them on my back and shoulders after quite some hours of fishing. I vowed never to use another vest or pack or any other thing that is on my back or shoulders. It makes my day of fishing much more comfortable.
 

desmobob

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I like lumbar packs because with vests and even sling packs I always feel them on my back and shoulders after quite some hours of fishing. I vowed never to use another vest or pack or any other thing that is on my back or shoulders. It makes my day of fishing much more comfortable.
Interesting. I have an older Simms waterproof pack that came with chest and lumbar straps so it can be worn either way. I have never tried the lumbar strap. I always seem to end up on my tip-toes and up to the top of my chest waders at least once during an average outing, so I figured I would have no use for the lumbar strap. Maybe I should try it (and also try to remember not to wade too deep...).
 

johanDH

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That's why I bought the submersible one; I tend to be on tip toes involuntarily or straight out swimming, every once in a while...
Luckily for me I fish smaller rivers most of the time.
 

Ryhags

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I have one, only had it a week. It’s a Simms tactical sling pack. It’s small, but has more than enough room for a day on the water. The one thing I wish it had was a water bottle holder. It’s also not waterproof. Does have a water resistant coating. I’ll just use some nikwix.

if I like it, I’ll upgrade to one that’s waterproof like from Orvis.
 

desmobob

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I have one, only had it a week. It’s a Simms tactical sling pack. It’s small, but has more than enough room for a day on the water. The one thing I wish it had was a water bottle holder. It’s also not waterproof. Does have a water resistant coating. I’ll just use some nikwix.

if I like it, I’ll upgrade to one that’s waterproof like from Orvis.
I have the Orvis waterproof sling pack. I picked it because of the water bottle holder w/shock cord retainer. Turns out that I can't reach back to access the water bottle due to my bad shoulder and the location of the bottle!

The zipper on the pack is as described in a lot of reviews: very difficult to zip closed the final inch and equally difficult to open if closed all the way. I figured some silicone grease would help. A lot of people don't realize waterproof zippers can really benefit from it and maybe that was reason for some folks having trouble with the zipper.

I was surprised to see on the pack's tag that Orvis said the use of silicone grease was required occasionally. It helped a tiny bit, but it still is tough to close all the way and open from fully closed. I rigged up a paracord and metal snap clip arrangement to hang my tippet spools on the provided loops on the pack without having to buy the proprietary tippet bar from Orvis. Considering the price of the pack, I think the bar should be included.

There is a D-ring on the top where it is suggested you attach your landing net. I put my magnetic net holder there and the net hangs in an awkward manner, plus I am unable to hook it back onto the magnet without rotating the sling pack to where I can see it. Not ideal...

My other niggle is that the magnet intended to hold your forceps in place on the strap's forceps loop is a little weak and/or not in quite the right place to do the job well. I tried two or three different forceps that I had and found one that stayed in place better than the others. I think it would be easy enough to improve that arrangement myself, but the designers should have done a better job.
 

Ryhags

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I have the Orvis waterproof sling pack. I picked it because of the water bottle holder w/shock cord retainer. Turns out that I can't reach back to access the water bottle due to my bad shoulder and the location of the bottle!

The zipper on the pack is as described in a lot of reviews: very difficult to zip closed the final inch and equally difficult to open if closed all the way. I figured some silicone grease would help. A lot of people don't realize waterproof zippers can really benefit from it and maybe that was reason for some folks having trouble with the zipper.

I was surprised to see on the pack's tag that Orvis said the use of silicone grease was required occasionally. It helped a tiny bit, but it still is tough to close all the way and open from fully closed. I rigged up a paracord and metal snap clip arrangement to hang my tippet spools on the provided loops on the pack without having to buy the proprietary tippet bar from Orvis. Considering the price of the pack, I think the bar should be included.

There is a D-ring on the top where it is suggested you attach your landing net. I put my magnetic net holder there and the net hangs in an awkward manner, plus I am unable to hook it back onto the magnet without rotating the sling pack to where I can see it. Not ideal...

My other niggle is that the magnet intended to hold your forceps in place on the strap is a little weak and/or not in quite the right place to do the job well. I tried two or three different forceps that I had and found one that stayed in place better than the others. I think it would be easy enough to improve that arrangement myself, but the designers should have done a better job.
Thanks for the detailed info on the pack!
I agree about the water proof zippers. I have. A few jackets that need a little lube here and there. Sorry to hear about the bad shoulder. Maybe a camelbak would be good for long times when you’re wading or don’t want to unsling the bag. Thanks aging for the great write up. I think fishpond makes a waterproof one as well.
 

desmobob

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Thanks for the detailed info on the pack!
I agree about the water proof zippers. I have. A few jackets that need a little lube here and there. Sorry to hear about the bad shoulder. Maybe a camelbak would be good for long times when you’re wading or don’t want to unsling the bag. Thanks aging for the great write up. I think fishpond makes a waterproof one as well.
You're welcome. I do have a selection of hydration bladders for inside packs and stand alone use. They are one of my favorite inventions to help me enjoy the outdoors, along with LED headlamps, camping hammocks, breathable waders and carbon/Kevlar canoes! :)
 

Ryhags

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You're welcome. I do have a selection of hydration bladders for inside packs and stand alone use. They are one of my favorite inventions to help me enjoy the outdoors, along with LED headlamps, camping hammocks, breathable waders and carbon/Kevlar canoes! :)
Agreed, the modern fabrics make outside life much more enjoyable and breathable. :) Idk wha I’d do with our good LED lights.
 

sweetandsalt

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Alright, I'm not yet ruling out the Patagonia strap vest but a dim bulb went off in deep memory suggesting I bought an LL Bean strap vest years ago that was ahead of its time. I wound up using and even more minimal Orvis one back then as my intent was wading saltwater flats not trout fishing. Believe it or not I was able to excavate this vest from a plastic storage box high on a shelf on my first try.

With the straps tightened to their shortest, this vest rides high on my chest, has a narrow rear pack with water bottle mesh holder and, excellently, has a built in lumbar belt to preclude forward slippage and to assure non-stressed weight distribution. Minimal but ample stowage pockets and the only thing I don't care for are its two built in coil retractors...but I don't have to use them.

I'll set it up and give it a tryout next month, see how it works out and report back.

T21 010 LL Bean Strap Vest s.jpg
 

johanDH

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I have the Orvis waterproof sling pack. I picked it because of the water bottle holder w/shock cord retainer. Turns out that I can't reach back to access the water bottle due to my bad shoulder and the location of the bottle!

The zipper on the pack is as described in a lot of reviews: very difficult to zip closed the final inch and equally difficult to open if closed all the way. I figured some silicone grease would help. A lot of people don't realize waterproof zippers can really benefit from it and maybe that was reason for some folks having trouble with the zipper.

I was surprised to see on the pack's tag that Orvis said the use of silicone grease was required occasionally. It helped a tiny bit, but it still is tough to close all the way and open from fully closed. I rigged up a paracord and metal snap clip arrangement to hang my tippet spools on the provided loops on the pack without having to buy the proprietary tippet bar from Orvis. Considering the price of the pack, I think the bar should be included.

There is a D-ring on the top where it is suggested you attach your landing net. I put my magnetic net holder there and the net hangs in an awkward manner, plus I am unable to hook it back onto the magnet without rotating the sling pack to where I can see it. Not ideal...

My other niggle is that the magnet intended to hold your forceps in place on the strap's forceps loop is a little weak and/or not in quite the right place to do the job well. I tried two or three different forceps that I had and found one that stayed in place better than the others. I think it would be easy enough to improve that arrangement myself, but the designers should have done a better job.
Yes, a disadvantage of the waterproof zipper. On the Fishpond pack there's a strap that allows you to hold the pack with one hand while pulling the zipper with the other. This makes it much easier to open and close the tough zipper. You can't do it with one hand though. The advantage of it being truely submersible outways the disadvantage to me though. I also noticed that the times I actually have to access my pack while fishing, is less often then I thought.
 

desmobob

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Yes, a disadvantage of the waterproof zipper. On the Fishpond pack there's a strap that allows you to hold the pack with one hand while pulling the zipper with the other. This makes it much easier to open and close the tough zipper. You can't do it with one hand though. The advantage of it being truely submersible outways the disadvantage to me though. I also noticed that the times I actually have to access my pack while fishing, is less often then I thought.
My old Simms waterproof lumbar/chest pack's zippers work almost as easily as normal zippers. I haven't tested it, but I'm not sure it's as 100% waterproof as the Orvis sling pack is. I think I could use the Orvis pack as a life-saving floatation device. You can squeeze it quite hard and no air escapes anywhere at all.

Orvis has a not-so-durable-looking fabric tab to hold on to with the opposite hand when opening the zipper. I feel better grabbing the whole end of the pack instead.

I agree with you that being truly submersible outweighs the inconvenience of the zipper if you want/need truly waterproof storage.
 

bigspencer

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Orvis's small chest pack(several years ago) works well for me. I sort out what flies will be happenning and the pack is thin enough to offer me good vision for walking/hiking. yet has nice wide shoulder straps for comfort.
When taking any of my friend's youngsters along on a trip up into the woodlands we take enough but not too much as I plan on a good meal after beaching up with the canoe somewhere....makes it a lot more fun for my friend's son....to beach up and walk around and check out the place(as there usually are areas to either walk/hike around or ponds that have sections for easy wading/swimming before evening fishing.)
 
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Fauxtog

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This thread was a great read as I'm trying to decide which direction to go from an old Mountainsmith pack that I've been using for 20 years. The beautiful thing about packs from non-fishing companies is that they don't come with that "flyfishing upcharge" ... we will see what I can find out there.
 

partsman

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As I’m closing in on 64 years young I have come to the conclusion that no weight on my shoulders is best! I streamer fish a lot and as soon as bugs start popping I will be dry fly fishing. What I have concluded for me anyway is I hate vest and chest packs, I need to try a lumbar pack, and since I’m a little crazy and go over the tops of my waders every now and then I think the fish pond lumbar pack looks good, I’m going to give one a go, I will give a report once I have had sometime to use it.
Mike.
 

pati

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As I’m closing in on 64 years young I have come to the conclusion that no weight on my shoulders is best! I streamer fish a lot and as soon as bugs start popping I will be dry fly fishing. What I have concluded for me anyway is I hate vest and chest packs, I need to try a lumbar pack, and since I’m a little crazy and go over the tops of my waders every now and then I think the fish pond lumbar pack looks good, I’m going to give one a go, I will give a report once I have had sometime to use it.
Mike.
You won’t regret it: the Thunderhead lumbar pack is great! The one thing to know: it holds perfectly in place with just the belt so don’t bother with the shoulder strap which only gets in the way without bringing much benefit.
 

johanDH

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As I’m closing in on 64 years young I have come to the conclusion that no weight on my shoulders is best! I streamer fish a lot and as soon as bugs start popping I will be dry fly fishing. What I have concluded for me anyway is I hate vest and chest packs, I need to try a lumbar pack, and since I’m a little crazy and go over the tops of my waders every now and then I think the fish pond lumbar pack looks good, I’m going to give one a go, I will give a report once I have had sometime to use it.
Mike.
I have to agree with @pati that A: you will not regret it and B: the shoulder strap is best left at home. Like yourself (although just 40 years old) I have come to the conclusion a few years ago that I just don't want anything. No matter how lightweight. Lumbar packs have been the best buy ever when it comes to comfort. The Westwater Guide lumbar pack ('waterproof') was brilliant. It's successor (the thunderhead: submersible) is even better. Fishpond stuff is expensive, but this lasts forever, keeps all your stuff safe and you will feel freed without anything on your shoulder or back.
 
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