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Our Guides Review Packs & Slings

by the Angler’s Covey Guides


One of the most important purchases a fly fisher will make is the pack, sling, or vest.  It’s such a personal decision!  Next to waders and boots, the choice you make for how to carry your fly boxes, tippet spools, forceps, nippers, strike indicators, and granola bars rises to the top of your priorities.  To help you make an informed decision, we turned to our Guides to see what they use and the reasons why they made that choice. They all agree that amount of storage, degree of waterproof / water resistance, and comfort on your body are their major criteria.


I just received my new Fishpond Gunnison pack and I love it.  My old Fishpond pack lasted 5 years of heavy use and served its purpose.  The new pack has more room for my fly boxes and convenient features like a side pouch for handy access to split shot.  There are two fly patches on the outside for easy placement  storage as I switch flies throughout the day.  The waist belt and sling are beefy and comfortable which help distribute weight more evenly that help me keep going all day long!  ~~ Kenny Romero, Guide



I am currently using the Fishpond Gunnison Guide pack.  I think this is the best pack on the market for the simple reason that it works and does what I need it to do.  First, it’s large enough for all of my fly boxes.  I can carry several boxes along with a first aid kit and other essentials and not feel overweighted.  It also has two water bottle holders that are a must for me.  I’ve tried several other packs and while they were good, none were as thought out as the Gunnison Guide pack.  The belt and cross strap work well together, and the waist carries all the weight, allowing for all-day comfort.  I can also carry a large size Fishpond net in the back without hitting my legs, something others have trouble doing.  Until another pack comes out to de-throne the Gunnison, this is the go-to pack for guides and everyday anglers. ~~ Juan Ramirez, Guide


Shop online for the Fishpond Gunnison in our online store! Or come on into the shop!


I use the Fishpond Thunderhead Waterproof Hip Pack. I wade pretty aggressively and get to where I need to go when on the water. I’m also 5’10” and closer to the water, especially after this year’s high flows. I need something that is going to protect my gear and keep it DRY. I’ve gone through 3 different packs to find the perfect setup, and this is it. Too many times have I crossed the river and soaked my gear, even with it zipped tight, with other packs. With the Thunderhead, I have no worries. It’s large enough that I carry 6 fly boxes, a first-aid kit, and all the rest of the items needed for success on the water. I also carry in tandem, the Wind River Roll Top Backpack. ~~ Blaise Gabrielle, Staff member & Guide


Come into the shop or find the the Fishpond Thunderhead in our online store.


The Fishpond Summit Sling is big enough to hold all my gear for a day on the water — from fly boxes to first aid kit. Plus, it’s small enough to fit a woman’s shoulders. The beauty of this sling is its design to fit all the Fishpond accessories: Fishpond zingers (my favorite-hold firm, they won’t let you down), a sleeve in the back to hold a net without a net release, a pocket for a water bottle. A place for everything. I’ve used this pack for 3 years now. It’s taken a beating. ~~ Janine Young, Instructor & Guide


Interested in the Fishpond Summit Sling?  Come on in or shop our online store!


I recently decided to try a hip pack as I know many guides that use them. Hip packs come in two basic varieties, waterproof and water resistant. The waterproof packs are very appealing as it is always a bummer to get your stuff wet, but they often lack many of the extra pockets to keep your gear well organized. The water resistant packs are more vulnerable to getting wet but offer more pockets. I purchased a Simms Freestone water-resistant hip pack after looking at many products. I chose this pack due to its large capacity. I have used it enough now to say that I am very pleased with this product. It provides the access and ability to organize my stuff that I have been looking for. It carries very comfortably and easily rotates to the front so I can get to what I need, yet it rotates back out of the way for casting and fishing. I have found it to be cooler than a back pack or vest on some of recent hot days. ~~ Neil Luehring, Guide


Find the Simms Freestone in our online store — or come into the shop!


I like the Orvis Safe Passage sling pack. It’s a great all-purpose general sling-pack that fits comfortably around the back or side when not needed, and slides easily to the front for easy access to any of the three large zipper-tight and water resistant compartments that offer LOTS of ROOM for all the required gear, whether a short trip or a full scale excursion needing extra ‘stuff’.  Inside the two larger compartments are smaller extra netted or full material pockets and one additional internal zipper compartment, for keeping things extra secure.  A fly patch, water-bottle compartment, and an ample set of connecting loops for a tippet bar, and other accessories provides quick access the most commonly needed equipment on the outside. The sling is very comfortable over the shoulder, and you forget that the entire bag is there until you need it!  Durable, stout, and water-resistant.  5 out of 5 stars for me! ~~ Scott Hartwig,  Instructor & Guide


Shop online for the Orvis Safe Passage in either Olive or in Camo. It’s also available in our shop.


About a year ago I transitioned from a large supposedly “waterproof “ hip pack to the Simms Waypoint Hip Pack. First, I love the smaller size. I’ve found I can be more realistic and get by with six flat fly boxes for almost any guide trip. Let’s be real….. that’s a lot of flies!!  There’s also plenty of room between the dividers to put extra stuff (weights, indicators, eggs and hooks, etc) with easy access. I also appreciate the built-in bottle storage on the bottom of the pack. Easy and out of the way!  The Velcro side on the pack face is handy for sticking patches on. And finally, I love the work surface that is provided when the pack is open. Makes changing multiple fly rigs very easy. Great lightweight pack for a fair price! ~~ Karbo, Guide


The Simms Waypoint can found in our shop, or be purchased in our online store!


As a woman guide, it took me years to find the right fishing pack to not only accommodate all my fly fishing needs, but feel right on my body, without aches and pains at the end of the day. I’ve tried a variety of slings, vests, and hip packs, and nothing compares to the ingenuity of the TONGASS 650 WATERPROOF WAIST PACK by Umpqua. Whether I’m guiding, scouting, or fishing for pleasure, I tend to carry a TON of stuff with me. This is the only waist pack that actually fits all of my fly boxes, professional camera, rain jacket, snacks, two drinks, first aid kit, sunscreen, bug spray, leader, weights, indicators. You name it, it’s in there! ~~ Kaitlin Boyer, Guide


Come into the shop and check out Umpqua’s Tongass Waist Pack!


I have been told I am old-fashioned, or just old, because I prefer a vest over sling packs, hip packs, or packs. I am old, and maybe old-fashioned, but that is not why I have stuck with vests for close to 40 years. (Pictured above is old-fashioned Paul Martinez, sporting his vest.)


First I should be up front. I buy the largest compartment vest I can find. I like to carry as many of my flies and as much gear as I can.  I am not a minimalist; I have tried with slings, hip packs, and packs and I just cannot carry what I want and need on the river. On vests I hang forceps, nippers, an amadou patch, and a net for easy and quick access.  I challenge you to hang all of this on slings and packs. My biggest pet peeve with slings and packs is what to do with my net. Most people carry a net in their waist belt when fishing with a sling, or hip packs. I just do not like a net in my waist belt. The net pulls my waist belt down to my hips and pulls my waders way too low. On my vest, the net is carried on my back attached with a magnet and a tether.  With a vest, you have pockets of all sizes to carry various sizes of fly boxes, tippet, leader, gink, dry powder, weights, sunscreen, lip protectant, and a camera. Trust me there is a whole lot more in my vest. I also carry a small first aid kit, and I can stuff a light weight rain coat in the back pocket. Bottom line, vests are more versatile. I can carry half my garage in them or cut way back and carry very little.


I am old, and very possibly old-fashioned, but the vest has stood the test of time and usefulness. ~~ Paul Martinez, Guide


 You can see our line of Vests and Lanyards in our online shop and in the store!


Come on into the store and talk with our guides and staff about the many different options when it comes to packs, slings, and vests.  You can try one on for size and see what suits your style! 


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