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Fly fishing hip pack shopping guide

I've recently gone through a shopping process for fly fishing hip pack. I don't need a fully waterproof pack, as I mainly fish small streams and seldom wade above waist deep. Also, these waterproof packs are usually simpler (only one main waterproof compartment) and much more expensive. As I live in Europe, availability was an important factor. My local shops don't stock these, so my observation are based on online information and reviews. These are my notes you might find useful if you're about to buy one as well.

Patagonia Stealth Hip Pack

Manufacturer's website

There is an older 7l version (dark letters on the front) that has been replaced by a new 10l version (light letters on the front). Best deal I found is at Farlows.co.uk for £69.99. You can get a £20 discount on purchase over £100 if you sign up for their newsletter.

Higlights

  • Front pocket can work as a work station with removable fly foam patch
  • durable material
  • ventilated backpanel
  • 2 pockets on the belt
  • hypalon gear keeper with hidden magnet to prevent hanging metal gear from clinking
  • Volume: 10 liters
  • weighs 623 grams

Reviews

Cons

  • No D ring for a landing net
  • According to one review, can be top heavy when overloaded

Umpqua Ledges 500 or 650

Manufacurer's website. This was my favorite from the start as I like the design and features.

Older versions can be found for around $80 on Ebay (both 500 and 650) as these have been replaced with a new ZS (Zero Sweep) version. Unfortunately, is impossible to buy it in Europe for a reasonable price (best offer I found was for 159€) Even when bought directly from US ebay, the postage and import fees double the price making it 140+€.

Fishpond Waterdance


Manufacturers website
is broken at the moment. According to reviews, this is the most popular hip pack among guides. I've found the best deal on uttings.co.uk for £89.99. Unfortunatelly, their shipping to Slovakia is £20.00 making it quite expensive even with the 10% discount for signing up for their newsletter.

Highlights

  • Front pocket can work as a work station with removable fly foam patch
  • Dimensions 428 cu. in., 11” x 7” x 9.5” (7 liters, 28 x 18 x 24cm)

Reviews

Cons

  • Seems big for 7 liters
  • Quite deep when fully loaded

Simms Waypoints Large Hip Pack


I like the compression straps at the bottom to keep an extra layer or a rain jacket below the pack. On the other hand, there are no water bottle pockets. Available for £129 at farlows.co.uk it's quite pricy and I can buy a Patagonia Stealth plus 2 Wychwood car seat protectors, Leeda magnetic fishing net, 3 Hardy leaders, dry shake floatant and Aquasure for the same price..

Vision Love Handles


Manufacturer's website

Can be found for around £50, but the functional design and build quality seems to be slightly worse than competition. Looks like a good cheaper alternative though.

William Joseph Surge Chest Pack


Most expensive pack I've found because of the magnetic system that replaces the regular zippers. Available for £149.99 (£129.99 after discount). Very nice pack, but similar to Simms, this is double the price of Patagonia Stealth Hip Pack.

Reviews

Conclusion

After 2 days spent researching and reading reviews I've decided to go with the Patagonia Stealth Hip Pack. It seems to provide the best bang for the buck. Fishpond Waterdance would be my second choice. If price was no objection, I'd go with Umpqua 650 ZS.

Published 31.12.2016 by Peter Pech

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