Umpqua Bandolier ZS2 Sling Pack Review
Updated: Oct 31, 2021
I love keeping things simple and packing as light as possible. Because of this, I'm a huge fan of waist packs, slings, and the like because they are so lightweight, portable, minimalist, and easy to move around with. As part of Umpqua's newest product lineup for this year, their Bandolier ZS2 Sling Pack looks like a perfect match for my basic needs. Packed with features and highly portable, let's go in-depth and see what this pack delivers.
Weight: 12 ounces
Dimensions: 18"L x 3"W x 6"H
Volume: 300 cubic inches / 3 liters
Fabric: 420 denier and ballistic nylon
Zippers: YKK closed-foot sliders
Colors: Camo and Olive
The strap of the pack is easily adjustable and I was quickly able to get it right where it fit best. I like how each side of the strap has a band which allows you to fold and tuck-in the tag ends of the straps. This really helps clean up the look and keep things tidy.
Speaking of cleaning up the look, the Bandolier ZS2 incorporates Umpqua's ZEROSWEEP. Designed to keep the bag highly-functional while being as snag-free as possible, an excerpt from Umpqua's website sums it up nicely in their own words:
"...a unique system of ports and attachment points for our go-to tools that are snag-free yet still at our fingertips. Retractors are attached inside on high-wear hypalon tabs and threaded out of ports where tools are stationed snag-free. We even designed our own buckle because nothing on the market could provide the function we needed without being a snag-hazard..."
Constructed with 420 denier nylon and ballistic cordura, there's no denying the Bandolier ZS2 is thoughtfully built both inside and out.
Unzipping the main compartment reveals several options for storage inside. Here you'll find a large main pocket for something like a fly box (the pocket is approximately 8 inches long without being stretched), a small pocket on either side each with mesh sleeve on the back, and 3 smaller pockets with a single mesh zippered pocket inside the front flap.
On the outside of the main pack there's a removable foam fly patch, front hemostat stations, a modular front attachment station for securing various Umpqua accessories (such as the floatant holder pictured in the gallery down below), a stowable tippet cord (I was able to squeeze 6 typical tippet spools onto it), a retractor station on either side, and a few other random little loops and such to attach things to on the outside.
The Bandolier ZS2 came along with me on several quick evening sessions fishing local lakes for largemouth and peacocks with both fly and, yes, conventional gear. Here, I always pack extremely light, don't bring any water, and walk quite a bit—perfect for this sling.
The YKK zippers functioned without a hitch, and thanks to the smooth strap and flat, smooth, padded backside of the main bag, it was not only comfortable, but was also a cinch to instantly switch around to my front or back side. Regardless of whether you are right or left handed, the ambidextrous way the pack is set up allows it to be used perfectly on either side.
Since I'm not big on keeping a bunch of doodads from my packs (currently I don't even own a single retractor), I just fished with the pack completely clean on the outside except for my forceps being clipped on. I often just clip them onto my pants or an outside flap of whatever bag I'm wearing, but with ZEROSWEEP they are held tight to the bag itself which minimizes any potential line tangles and keeps them very secure.
The Bandolier had good water resistance. I got caught in a few heavy rain showers during testing and the pack kept water out quite well. Back home, I ran the pack under a harder direct faucet stream in several parts and found that even after several seconds water wouldn't seep through to the inside except for through the zipper teeth.
For a smart, low profile, easy-to-carry tackle storage solution, the Umpqua Bandolier ZS2 is a solid piece of gear. You can grab one in your choice of camo or olive (tested) at a price of $69.99.
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