In this gear review, we’ll be taking a look at the all-new sling pack from Backcountry.com’s most recent collaboration with SIMMS. From new waders to water-resistant tote bags, this new line combined Backcountry’s creative style with the functionality of SIMMS new Flyweight technology to create a line of products that are as unique as the anglers who sport them. Check out what we had to say about the new Backcountry x SIMMS Flyweight Z Sling pack below.
Having already taken the new Backcountry x SIMMS Waders and Jacket into the wild for a fun weekend trip (Check out the Boundless Backyard Guide for a full recap) we figured we had a pretty good idea of what to expect with the rest of the product line. However, upon opening up the sling pack and seeing it for the first time in person, we were delightfully surprised with a few unexpected features.
The pack was constructed of the same Flyweight material that we had experienced in trying out the SIMMS flyweight waders, offering a lightweight yet sturdy feel. As will be the same for most to try the pack, the first detail that really captured our attention was the TPU coated TRU ZIP zipper that guarded the main compartment. As advertised the zipper offered a water-resistant seal to the bag, but what we thought was interesting was the lack of teeth on it. Think of your run-of-the-mill plastic sandwich baggie and how that seals, then inject it with steroids and you should have an idea as to what this bag’s zipper looked like. Sliding it from one side of the main compartment was easy, and the unique design was definitely an indicator as to the thought and technology that this bag was bolstering.
Going through the rest of the bag: you have a spacious main compartment with internal side pouches and a zip pocket for tippet, snacks, or whatever you care to bring with you on the water. On the sling side of the pack, you have, of course, your padded shoulder sling with a dedicated holster for forceps, as well as a couple of additional tabs for nippers, pliers, or zingers. On the outside of the bag, there’s an additional mesh zip pocket for storing more gear such as weights, floatant, or bobbers. There’s also a D-loop hanger for a spool, a net sheath (one of our favorite aspects of the pack), and a velcro pad displaying the bright Backcountry and SIMMS logos. In terms of looks, this bag belongs on a fashion runway, but more importantly: how does it hold up on the water?
To test out the new sling pack, we grabbed our waders and piled into our buddy’s camper van to go explore some new water. We knew the water was high, and the conditions were less than ideal – but that’s never really stopped us before.
Upon reaching the fishing hole, we made our way through a field of grazing heifers and set up in front of a clearing overlooking the river. We stuffed the Backcountry x SIMMS sling pack full of fly boxes, tippet, leader, water, and anything else under the sun. It was only once we ran out of things to cram that we noticed the refreshing amount of storage capacity that this bag had. It seems that oftentimes with waterproof bags, capacity is usually the first thing to go. However, with this pack, we were able to store all of our gear, all with some extra space for a beer or two.
As we made our way down the river we kept our eyes peeled for some hungry trout. The pack traveled with us, positioned snug and secure. It was a few hours into the day before we encountered our first fish, but the healthy rainbow was worth it. With relative ease, Cam, our “pack-mule” for lack of a better term; was able to pull the net from the built-in sheath, and the fish was on its way back to the water in no time.
With a quick unclip of the fastening strap and a swing of the shoulder, new flies and all of our gear was quickly accessible from the main compartment. With the relief of avoiding a skunked day, there was also justification for grabbing a country-cool river beverage and cracking into a reward well earned.
The rest of the day was spent wandering around the water, spending more time admiring the scenery and eagles soaring overhead than focusing on fishing. After a few more small fish landed and released, we decided to pack it in and enjoy a fair car ride back through some beautiful western terrain.
Something that’s important to note about the sling pack is that its primary design is geared towards customization. With loops, straps, and pockets positioned in different locations all around the bag; it’s up to the wearer to customize their loadout accordingly to make sure it fits their needs. The functionality is definitely what you make of it; so if something feels like it’s not working – there’s always room to adjust!
Overall, we were very impressed with the Backcountry x SIMMS Flyweight Z sling Pack. If you’re looking for a great pack that you can take with you on all-day wade adventures, or if you’re a gear junky with more jewelry than you know what to do with – this is a great pack for you. While on the higher end of the price spectrum when it comes to sling packs, this is definitely a unique piece of gear you’ll keep around for a long time coming if you can justify forking up the cash.
In terms of what we appreciated the most, the versatility and the customizability were definitely top-competing factors. In the margins for improvement: if you have a specific pack set-up that you’re not willing to offer, accessibility can be a burden in some fascets. In conclusion, were extremely satisfied with what the folks at Backcountry and SIMMS have put together, and hope to see many more collaborations like this in the future.