Vests or Slings or Hip Packs or Back Packs?? - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 38 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 01:41 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Silverton Or
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Vests or Slings or Hip Packs or Back Packs??

When out fishing for Trout or Steelhead spring or summer or fall or winter what do you like to use Vests or Slings or Hip Packs or Back Packs?
I find Vest I bit bulky sometimes and to warm to wear in the hot summers. Slings ? I have not tried but have tested them in the Stores and eh?
back packs well I'm old and my back wont put up with them, Hip packs I like ( I have the Fishpond waterdance guide pack )
but when wading In deep water things get soaked!
Most of the time I get to a spot that will take some time to cover I take my pack off and lay it on the bank, but then if " other people " come then I worry if it is going to
grow legs and walk away or that five finger discount some people look for

So what do you like to use?
or has anyone tried all of the above and have found something that work best over all year round??

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post #2 of 38 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 01:48 AM
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Sling pack if I'm walking in more than a mile, other wise it's just a fly box in my rain jacket or tucked inside my waders. Less is more!

Tight lines! B K Paige
"Occupy Skagit"
Wishin I was fishin the Sauk!!!
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post #3 of 38 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 03:01 AM
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I've been traveling really light for years up here likely because of my use of boats. With the boat as base camp I haven't had the need to carry much at all, you just walk back to the boat for things if needed. But......… that began to change these past few years as I've been fishing some venues where you either fly in or walk only and that means no boat, so..

Last year I bought a Waterproof sling from Simms. I still don't carry much but I can drop in a water bottle, some flies, food and the really cool part is the pack is small and has one of those net holster deals on the back. I can slide my Nomad / Fishpond Boat Net with the long handle in the holder and after a little while you forget it's there.

I don't wade deep enough to get it wet but it is watertight so if you did your stuff would remain dry. I'm not going to say it's like going without any sort of pack but they are not an uncomfortable thing to use if not overloaded.

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post #4 of 38 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 03:49 AM
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I have a Vedavoo sling that I really like a lot.
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post #5 of 38 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Rifflehitch View Post
...other wise it's just a fly box in my rain jacket or tucked inside my waders. Less is more!
This, except I carry it all in my shirt pockets.
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post #6 of 38 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 07:56 AM
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I prefer sling packs. I've used all other forms of bags and vest but the sling is the minimalist and easiest by far. If I'm just popping down to the river for a few swings, it's just a fly box.


Which way to the river?
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post #7 of 38 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 09:09 AM
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1/2 day & shorter: just a fly box, tippet, and a water bottle or two in my waders.

Any longer: waist pack. I just throw it over my shoulder like a sling when I have to wade the occasional deep spot.

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post #8 of 38 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 09:15 AM
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Me too, I evolved from old chunky vest to thin technical vest to backpack then to slings.
I found slings would affect one shoulder by the end of the day
I got tired of worrying when leaving a pack at the head of a run, so I went to hippacks, got an Orvis watertight hip pack, but as time went on, I moved to less is more. Two fly boxes, two spools of leader, one nipper and forceps clipped inside wader bib, water bottle, granola bars, cell phone, all tucked away in pockets on wader and jacket.
No more packs for me!
Of course that's for when car is relatively close, I keep a waterproof backpack for days that involve a hike or need for extra gear or food.
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post #9 of 38 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 09:32 AM
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Location: Michigan rivers and streams
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I've switched to a sling pack as well. Used a hip pack for years but step into a hole and everything gets wet. Usually fish alone so depending how far and how remote I'm hiking I modify what is carried (coffee, food), and at times I've even packed a orange survival blanket. I agree with those that less is more but sometimes more is prudent and coffee always taste better alongside a river.
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post #10 of 38 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 09:48 AM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: All Rivers flowing into Georgian Bay
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I've been using the Vision Aqua Sling now for 4 seasons and haven't looked back
It fits my line wallet, two fly wallets, tippet spools, poly wallet, tip wallet and a big sandwich
I two-way taped a foam fly patch to mine because it didn't come with one.


Have you Swung a Spey Fly today ??
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post #11 of 38 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 10:03 AM
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When I first stared fly fishing, my dad got a really nice vest for me, I only had it out a few times until I decided a vest was not for me. So, I went into my local fly shop, and after chatting with them for a while I settled on a Umpqua sling pack. I will admit, it took a trip or two out to grow comfortable with it. Even so, I found that it worked quite well for me, but then I started getting into the two handed steelhead game. I was finding myself wading consistently deep enough to get the bottom of the pack wet; after a while, having wet gear and a slightly stinky pack I had to find something else. So, I got myself a FP waterproof sling, and it was one of the better decisions I have made so far. No more wet gear, and it's small/big enough for a whole day but not be cumbersome. I've become a big fan of Fishpond in general, as all their stuff seems to be made well. Whether you go a backpack or sling route, I would recommend them.

Tight lines!
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post #12 of 38 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 10:49 AM
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The search for the perfect fishing bag for me is like trying to solve Fermat's last theorem.

I've got a vest that I use for trout, because I tend to carry more flies, floatant, leaders, tippet and various other bits for that. It's not perfect, I'd prefer something lighter and less traditional, but it works well enough that I live with it.

For steelhead/salmon I've tried sling packs, hip packs, game bags and back packs. I like the back pack if I can put it down to fish. I like the hip pack for the additional lumber support/counterbalance but I find if I try to carry more than a small bottle of water it slides down (non-child bearing hips I guess). The sling pack is a reasonable medium, but it is awkward if I'm carrying a net - and I like to have a net, especially when fishing alone.

The search continues.
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post #13 of 38 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 11:41 AM
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Call me the outlier. I have worn a vest for over 40 years. For the last 15 or more it has been the Patagonia version that converts between just a vest or a vest and backpack. I would just vest it except if I was out for the day walking (like on the Thompson) when I would go the backpack route. The pack wasn’t waterproof though so that became an issue. When Patagonia came out with the new version of the vest I retired my old one and matched the new one to their zippered waterproof bag. I love it.

I admit I’m a pack rat but the weight of the pack doesn’t bother me. It holds a couple dry pair of gloves, two pairs of glasses (one low light and one bright), TP, a fleece hat and a ditty bag with a priest, rope stringer and a garbage bag for those rare occasions I keep a fish. The vest side has two boxes, tippet, head light, fabric tape measure, nippers, Abel pliers, tip wallet and leader wallet.

I know, it is overkill but it’s how I roll.


"Loud reels save lives"
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post #14 of 38 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 11:59 AM
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I am a sling pack guy using a small Cabela's for minimalist trips and a larger Umpqua if multiple fly boxes and spare reel spools are carried. Vests are ancient history and waist packs always get dunked when I'm faced with wading through a deep spot. Started years ago with a sling for day hikes carrying a camera, jacket, water, etc. and it worked great so I used it for fishing and liked it. Now there's a wide choice of fishing designed packs, bags and modular stuff that can meet just about any need.
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post #15 of 38 (permalink) Old 01-19-2020, 12:48 PM
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I was a vest guy for 30 years, the last 5 with a top-of-the-line Simms. I also tried waist packs. I gave them both away after getting a sling. The sling offers the best of all the other options.

1. Comfortable - even more so than the vest after a full 12+ hour day, plus it's not nearly as hot
2. Super easy access - not quite as fast as the vest, but I'm never left wondering which pocket I left something in
3. Unobtrusive - nothing out in front of me around my chest area, which I LOVE when two handed casting
4. Rides much highwr than the waist pack, so it stays dry while wading

It doesn't hold as much stuff as the vest, but that just forced me to be more thoughtful and efficient with what I carry. After 4 seasons, I have not encountered a situation where I wasn't able to carry what I wanted or needed for the day.

There really isn't anything not to like.

"It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing"
- Duke Ellington
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