Saturday, July 27, 2013

fishpond Westwater Guide Lumbar Pack

My mom, bless her heart, recently sewed me a little fishing pack, ala Recycled Waders, made out of my first pair of waders. It fits me, packs well for a hike-fishing, and is well built, especially for a homemade piece. She let me know it was plenty frustrating with the thick Gore material, but she made me a fine piece of unique fishing equipment. If you know a seamster or seamstress - you might politely check if they'd do the same for you in the interest of cost-savings and recycling. If not, there are other options.
Thanks mom! (photo courtesy Jason/Jen Burton)
For example the fishpond Westwater Guide Lumbar Pack, which I also recently acquired.

It has large enough pockets for most day-trippers; is well-built, looks cool, is waterproof (though not submersible save for a quick dip - don't ask how I know) and can be worn either fanny-pack style or over one shoulder and under the other arm (sling-pack style). It'll fit a couple fly boxes, bug spray, sunscreen, water bottle, camera and probably a little more. You can hang your forceps, tippet and nippers from any of the tabs, and your wallet and cell phone will be protected one of the zippered pockets. It also has a net slot that allows anglers to tote a landing net without the PIA magnets or retractors.

It comes in stylish Earthy tones (my fave), and is built with seemingly reliable construction. Waterproof zippers have proven to be a difficult feature to master for some fly-fishing companies, but fishpond seems to have a solid grip on it. They're easy to pull and haven't broken yet.
Liz likes it too.
The only issue I had was that it doesn't like to stay around your waist fanny-pack style unless you cinched it up too tight (maybe it's just certain body types). It works great to wear it slung over the shoulder (see above photo), but then the net slot/pocket became useless as the net falls out. It's a nice feature, but only fanny-pack style.

Liz had some thoughts, too:
- It fits everything (fly box, other fishing accessories, water bottle, camera, snack or lunch, rain coat or extra layer, bug spray, sunblock, Chapstick) without being bulky. You could also carry a rod tube or a coat with the straps under the pack.  
- It's prettier than anything other fly-fishing companies make.
- It's like a scarf - so many ways to wear it.
- Plenty of places to clip things, if you're one of those people that likes to clip things. Plenty of pockets to organize stuff too, and there is a little zippered pocket on the inside that is perfect for your fishing license and your keys.
- People will compliment your "sweet pack".
- There are elastics to keep all the various strap ends tucked away. Which is nice because there a LOT of straps.
- You'll catch more fish.

- If the upper compression straps are cinched all the way, they block one end of the zipper making it difficult to zip all the way and unzip.
- The waist strap is difficult to tighten while you are wearing it. Much more difficult than the waist strap of my backpacking bag, for example, where the buckle is designed more ergonomically so you can pull the strap ends straight out in front of you. 

Finding $140 in your budget for a fishing pack can be challenging but you only have to spend it once.

UPDATE: It's been a couple of years now, and this is still my go-to back for day-trips on the river. I like its size, durability and how it fits on me. I haven't abandon it for another piece because it's great. 

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