I do a lot of shore fishing, so a good pack or sling is a vital piece of equipment. I'm typically pretty minimalist in what I need it to carry—flies, leader material, a water bottle or two, some other little accessories—so these types of storage solutions are absolutely perfect for someone like me that loves packing light. All of the packs and slings I have tried over the years did their jobs pretty well, but some have been just a little more comfy and laid out better than others.
My current beach fishing waist pack has been in service for about 8 years now. Although it has performed admirably, there's been a few times I wished it was waterproof and it could use just a little more storage space. Thoughts of upgrading to something new had been entering my mind, so the timing was excellent when I was recently given the opportunity to try a new sling pack made in collaboration with Simms and Backcountry. Although I have used waist packs for almost 100% of my beach fishing trips, a robust sling with ample storage such as this one seemed to be an interesting option.
This pack is fully waterproof thanks to its TPU-coated Ripstop fabric and TRU-Zip self-healing zipper. Believe me, when I first heard "self healing" I also wondered what the heck that meant, but an excerpt from the tru-zip.com website states "...if at any time the zipper separates from the rails while being pulled, its self-healing properties allow a user to simply slide the zipper back to realign." They also claim the zipper will allow for full submersion in up to 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes.
The overall design includes a padded pack panel, padded adjustable shoulder strap with pliers sheath, small outer zippered pocket, net sleeve (I use it to hold my YETI Bottle for easy access), and one zippered interior pocket along with two adjacent smaller mesh pockets. There's also various loops and such along the outside which offer more options for rigging and storage.
"Right sized" is what I'd call this pack. It provides more than enough space for me to carry the fishing essentials I typically use, but offers plenty more room for an extra water bottle or two, GoPro, extra sunglasses, light rain jacket, and more. It's also really comfortable to wear and stays out of the way like it should.
The straps and main compartment zipper are oriented for the pack to be best worn over the right shoulder. It feels most comfy this way and the main compartment zipper will be easily accessible when you slide the pack around from your left side to the front of your body. I also wore the pack the "wrong way" which was across my left shoulder— this works out okay but isn't really ideal and makes it tougher to access the main zipper. Compared to the waist packs I typically have worn, the Z Sling goes on quickly and doesn't require me to fiddle or adjust it for several seconds to get it to feel just right. With this one I just throw it on, click in the second little support strap (or sometimes don't) and go. I also have to mention another added bonus of a sling pack over a waist pack—it's much easier to quickly take care of business when nature calls!
There's no doubt this is a high-quality piece. Everything looks and feels top-notch and the fabric and seams are strong. The waterproof TRU-Zip main compartment zipper I spoke of earlier does take modest force to slide back and forth along its rails, but it does so silently and smoothly. Speaking of which, in my swimming pool submersion test, the interior of the pack did indeed stay totally dry when fully submerged for about 20 seconds. Pretty sweet! The smaller outer zippered pocket is not made to be waterproof, however after my test I only found a small amount of water inside.
So far this pack has been handier than I imagined and after several trips I'm beyond satisfied with it!
Volume: 15 liters
Dimensions: 9.5 x 6 x 16.5 inches
Weight: 1 pound 1 ounce
Color: Atlantic Deep/Ebony
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