Whether you’re heading out for a longly anticipated journey into the mountains, or just want to make sure you’ve got all the gear you need for a day on the water, having the right backpack is essential. Considering Anglers have been transporting gear, food, and of course: Beer, in backpacks for as long as the means has existed, we decided to make a list of the best fly fishing packs that’ll have your back for the year of 2019.
We took into account practicality, durability, and functionality as our primary points when assessing what we believe to be the best packs available on the market. Please note that the styles and purposes differ for each pack, all accommodating for certain preferences and styles any anglers may have.
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1. The REI Ruckpack 28
This day pack comes in at 28 Liters and is made up of durable ripstop nylon that can take anything you throw its way. With comfort kept in mind, the Ruckpack comes with a rugged foam frame, and a ventilated mesh back, allowing easy breathing and sweat minimalization. On this inside of the medium-sized streamlined backpack, you’ll find a large storage area, as well as a reservoir pocket for stowing fragile gear such as a laptop. On the outside, you have a top pocket, and side pockets to the body built for incredibly easy access. Additional features include a concealable daisy chain, trekking pole holders, and most importantly, a built-in stowable rain cover to assure everything in your pack stays bone dry even when mother nature doesn’t comply.
2. Patagonia Storm Front Roll Top
Patagonia has reengineered their bags to become the pinnacle of fly fishing equipment. This fully welded, 40L waterproof bag is made of 800 denier Nylon with a Tpu AND DWR finish. In its large main compartment, you’ll find a built-in zippable mesh pocket that can hold objects you don’t want to bounce around during your journey. On the outside, the bag possesses a removable waist belt, an adjustable shoulder strap, and low profile adjustable shoulder harnesses compatible with a Patagonia convertible vest. Additional features include a built-in rod tube strap (as well as a spot for an additional one), and an adjustable shock cord for holding wet gear or a net.
3. The Fishpond Bitch Creek Tech Pack
Conservationists take note: this bag is made with Fishponds fish net based material Cyclepond, and is a piece of recycled genius. Built with structured back airmesh paneling, and load control padded shoulder straps, you’ll be able to go all day without the ache or sweat. This pack’s features include aquaguard water-resistant YKK zippers, two zip rod tube holders, as well as a D ring attachment tab for your net. Built to be compatible with an internal water bladder, as well as Fishponds signature Oxbow chest rig, this loadout can be the one-stop-shop for practicality and versatility
4. Yeti Panga Submersible Backpack
leave it to Yeti to make a bag we simply can’t take our eyes off of. Its simple yet functional design capitalizes on its THICKSKIN TPU lamination, as well as its patented Hydrolock zipper technology, keeping it completely waterproof as well as submersible. Inside the main compartment of the bag, you’ll find a mesh stowaway sleeve to keep your gear neat and organized. On the outside, the ergonomic DryHaul shoulder design, as well as the adjustable chest and waist strap assure that your gear is riding high and comfortable. Not to mention, if your looking for additional external storage, the bag is completely compatible with the also waterproof Yeti Sidekick hopper.
5. Simms Dry Creek Z
The folks at Simms are committed to putting forth American made, nature proof gear; and the Simms Dry Creek Z Backpack is no exception. Here we have yet another completely submersible backpack, held together by welded seams, 500D TPU-coated nylon fabric, and patented TIZIP tech waterproof zippers, you can take this pack anywhere. On the inside of this bag, you’ll find a stretch mesh storage pocket, perfect for holding water bottles upright. On the exterior, the pack has a built-in D ring, velcro patch, rod straps, and lash points for any extra utilities. Also, this pack is sure to help you keep dry and comfortable rain or shine with a water-resistant, breathable foam back pad.
6. Rockgator Kanara
Pack the car and leave a note, the mountains are calling and you must go. This pack means BUSINESS. With a whopping 90L of storage space, you can pack enough gear for the fishing trip of a lifetime. Built with a 500D PVC construction, as well as 1000D connection points for added strength, this pack can hold its own (Not to mention if it can’t, its got a limited lifetime warranty….yup). Not to mention, with welded watertight seams, you’ll never have to fear a wet sleeping bag again. Still, this pack does not sacrifice comfort, as it includes adjustable padded shoulder straps, hip straps, and a top carry handle. Additional features include Hypalon attachment points on either side, mesh side pockets, and a large external mesh zipper map pouch. However, tread cautiously, because with a bag that has it all, you’re always subject to becoming the group’s mule.
7. Fishpond Wind River Roll Top
Fishpond is back with another brilliant design sure to keep your gear safe and dry. Again, this backpack is constructed with the signature Cyclepond recycled fabric and coated with a 420D TPU. Inside the body, you’ll find the main compartment, as well as a zipped pocket, and an additional stash spot for smaller gear. The outside features a removable hip belt, adjustable fishpond gear straps, and for extreme ease of access, front stretch mesh pocket with zipper closure. It also features a coated webbing hauling haul handle for the user’s convenience. This Backpack can be folded down to 24″ to be compact and light, keeping you fishing longer.
8. Umpqua Surveyor 2000 ZS
Designed with Fly fishing in mind, and 2000 cubic inches of carrying compacity, the surveyor allows anglers to go further for longer. This pack is built with a solid ABS frame, a suspended back panel, and a full-length ventilation channel that keeps you feeling cool and clean all day. Featuring an easy to access clamshell opening, two front pockets, two side pockets, and two loft pockets built into the 420D body, you’re going to have to try to find more to carry. The Surveyor also has 2 webbed rod straps, an internal key clip, and built-in wet loops. Tie that all together with closed foot sliders and a fully padded waist belt, and you’ve got the perfect culmination of practical and comfortable.
9. Orvis Waterproof Backpack
What this name lacks in creativity, it surely makes up for in design. With a 500D TPU coated exterior and a flex seal waterproof zipper, this bag provides 21L of safekeeping, included a padded bottom for fragile objects like a camera. Outside of the pack, you’ll find a comfy suspension padded back panel, an adjustable padded waist belt, and adjustable padded shoulder straps. On said straps, there’s a built-in gear station where you can store forceps or clippers. On top of all that, there are also 2 water bottle/ rod holders (mix and match for maximum utility) and an easy to reach back pocket for smaller items.
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This article was written by Wills Donaldson
Cover photo courtesy of Ryan Forbus