Last updated on November 13th, 2023.
Fly fishing hip packs have become incredibly popular over the last few years. They can fit a lot of gear without hindering your freedom of movement.
A fly fishing hip pack, often also called fly fishing fanny pack, can be a great alternative to a fly fishing backpack or fly fishing sling pack. Each one of these items has advantages and disadvantages. While a fly fishing backpack can hold the most gear, a fishing hip pack has room for the most essential items such as pliers, tippets, an extra reel or spool, sunglasses, etc. Most of the time you will be doing just fine with a fly fishing hip bag.
As the name suggests you wear a hip pack around your hip. The great thing about this is that you almost don’t feel it when casting. It does not obstruct your freedom of movement as much as a fly fishing backpack or sling pack would. Hence a lot of fly fishermen and women have made the switch from backpack or sling pack to hip pack.
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What to Know about Fly Fishing Hip Packs
Fly fishing hip packs come in all sorts of sizes and shapes. Some of them feature only a main compartment, others come with an array of different pockets making it easier for you to keep things organised. As a rule of thumb fly fishing hip packs can be divided into waterproof packs and non-waterproof ones. All the big manufacturers now have waterproof hip packs in their lineup that are fully submersible. The great thing about these is the fact that they can wet from above when it’s raining and below, for example when you are wading deep.
The downside of waterproof fly fishing hip packs is their price point. Since the technology behind these is much more demanding then for normal hip packs, they are more expensive and mostly range between $200 and $300. Also, if you want the utmost in keeping things in order you should know that due to their construction they most often only have one big compartment. But don’t worry, we’ll look into the details further down in this article.
In this guide we want to give you an overview of the products out there. Since every fly fisherman and woman has a different budget, we’ll be looking at a range of options to make sure we got you covered. We’ll break this guide up into non-waterproof fly fishing hip packs and waterproof ones. Let’s go.
Best Fly Fishing Hip Packs Quick Answer List
Best Non-Waterproof Fly Fishing Hip Packs
In the first part of this guide we want to take a look at non-waterproof fly fishing hip packs since those are the most affordable ones. Here is range of hip packs we recommend.
Simms Flyweight Hip Hybrid System
As part of its brand new Flyweight series, Simms introduced a new hip pack that is meant to provide you with the ultimate lightweight solution: the Simms Flyweight Hip Hybrid System. It offers great flexibility and options to customize your hip pack according to your needs.
The Simms Flyweight Hip Hybrid System is made from durable 420-denier Cordura and highly weather-resistant. The system includes the Flyweight Large Pod, a bottle holster and the Flyweight Tech Utility Belt. The Large Pod contains two zippered main compartments (not waterproof) with internal organization options. The total circumference of the belt is 50″.
Specs // Dimensions: Flyweight Tech Utility Belt: 28” x ¼” x 5” | Weight: .4lb/.20kg
Flyweight Large Pod: 10.25” x 4” x 7” | Weight: .85lb/.40kg
Flyweight Bottle Holster Large: 4” x 4” x 6.5” | Weight: .15lb/.05kg
Orvis Guide Fly Fishing Hip Pack
Here is another great brand new fanny pack: the Orvis Guide Hip Pack. Just like the Simms Flyweight Large Pod Hip Pack, the Orvis hip pack shines with very thought-through features such as the tippet holder and fly patch on top of the hip pack.
Also made from a Cordura fabric, the Orvis Guide Hip Pack is held in a very nice, subtle grey color. The large main department is unlocked with a zipper that opens up the inner part featuring a zip pocket, drop-in pockets and stretch mesh pockets for ample storing opportunities. Features a bottle holder on the side of the pack and an additional shoulder strap as well.
Specs // Dimensions: 12½”W x 9″H x 5¾”D. 9L/549 cu. in. // Weight: 1.54 lbs/0.7kg
Fishpond Waterdance Pro Hip Pack
American manufacturer Fishpond has many fans among fly fishermen and women – rightly so. Their Fishpond Waterdance Pro Hip Bag is very thought through and is a good choice if you want to bring a little extra gear to the water. Its silhouette is not as slim as the Orvis but on the upside it offers even more options for storing your items such as nippers, tippet spools, pliers and fly boxes.
Constructed out of recycled nylon, the Fishpond Waterdance Pro Hip Bag features a large waist strap that distributes the weight evenly, no matter how much gear you carry. Another neat little feature is the integrated net holder to secure your fly fishing net. A water bottle holder makes sure you stay hydrated at the river. The ideal choice for the fisherman or woman who wants to bring all their fly boxes along.
Specs: 8L – Dimensions: 14″ x 9″ x 7″ – Weight: 2.1lbs/0.95kg
Patagonia Stealth Hip Pack 11L
The Patagonia Stealth Hip Pack 11L is another great option if you are looking for the utmost in versatility. Its shape is somewhat similar to the Fishpond Gunnison Guide Pack. Made from a 100% recycled nylon ripstop fabric it features a water repellent finish (not waterproof though). The wide waist strap is very comfortable and the shoulder strap can take weight off the hip pack if you load it fully.
The Patagonia Stealth Hip Pack 11L features a range of zippered pockets and the big main compartment can hold several (big) streamer boxes. On the outside, multiple attachment options such as D-rings and sleeves offer great flexibility. A neat little feature are integrated magnets on the front of the Patagonia Stealth Hip Pack 11L that can hold flies, nippers or pliers so you can change tactics quickly.
Specs // Dimensions: 19.75 oz (560g) – Size: 8.25″ x 13″ x 3″ – Capacity: 11L (671 cu in)
Conclusion on Non-Waterproof Fly Fishing Packs
As you can see from our overview, there are plenty of options to choose from if you are looking for a fly fishing fanny pack. Depending on your needs you can opt for a more minimal style such as the Orvis. If you want the utmost in packability and flexibility, the Patagonia Stealth Hip Pack 11L or the Fishpond Gunnison Guide Pack are great options. If you are looking for a lightweight model you should consider the Simms Flyweight Large Pod Hip Pack. Remember while several of these hip packs are water repellant, none of these are waterproof. We’ll look at waterproof, submersible fly fishing waist packs now.
Best Waterproof Fly Fishing Hip Packs
As you can see from our review above, fly fishing packs can be a very practical tool at the water. A non-waterproof model will do the job well most of the time. If however, you know that you will fish a lot in wet conditions or want the utmost reliability in remote places or when wading deep, you should consider a waterproof waist pack. They guarantee to keep your gear dry no matter the conditions. Here are a few that are worth your money.
Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Lumbar
The Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Lumbar (read our in-depth review here) is one of our favorites when it comes to fully submersible fly fishing hip packs. As mentioned earlier, fully waterproof fly fishing fanny packs almost always feature one big compartment that is locked with a waterproof TIZIP zipper. This is the case in the Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Lumbar as well. On the outside it features another small zippered pocket that is not waterproof but can hold essentials such as a pair of keys.
The Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Lumbar is made from recycled nylon and features a foam padded backpanel and hipbelt for all-day comfort. Like the Fishpond Gunnison Guide it has an integrated net slot. Multiple loops make it easy to attach additional gear such as a nipper or pliers. The adjustable shoulder strap can help distribute the weight on long days. Comes in multiple colors.
Specs // Dimensions: 1.65 lbs/0.75kg – 13.5″ x 9″ x 5″ – 10L or 610 cu. in.
Patagonia Guidewater Hip Pack 9L
The Patagonia Guidewater Hip Pack 9L (read our in-depth review here) resembles the Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Lumbar. It also features a padded waist belt and a shoulder strap for weight distribution. The Patagonia Stormsurge also comes equipped with the very sturdy TIZIP zipper that makes it fully submersible. With 9L capacity it is slightly smaller than its predecessor (the Stormsurge 10L).
It features an internal organizer and comes with multiple attachment points on the outside. Weighing in at only 1lb 6 oz (610g) the Patagonia Guidewater Hip 9L is significantly lighter than the Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Lumbar which makes it a great choice for smaller people or female anglers. Comes in black and a new blue. Made from 64% recycled fabrics.
Specs // Dimensions: Weight: 1lb 6 oz (610g) – 13″ x 9″ x 9″ – 9L (549 cu in)
Simms Dry Creek Z Fishing Hip Bag
The Simms Dry Creek Z Fishing Hip Pack is another great option if you are looking for a fanny pack for fishing with the utmost in waterproofness. A TRU-Zip zipper ensures the main compartment stays dry no matter what. Interior stretch mesh pockets allow for easy storage of all your gear.
Just like the Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Lumbar, the Simms Dry Creek Z Fishing comes with a net holder for easy carrying of your fly fishing net. The Simms Dry Creek Z is available in multiple colors.
Dimensions: 19 x 7 x 9 in. (48.3 x 17.8 x 22.9 cm) – Weight: 28 oz. (793.8 g) – Capacity: 29 L (1770 cu. in.)
Filson Dry Fishing Waist Pack
The Filson Dry Waist is a beautiful, rugged waterproof fly fishing pack. The Portland-based manufacturer boiled this fanny pack down to the essentials using a 840-denier nylon fabric that is incredibly durable and sturdy. On top, the TPU coating is resistant to ultraviolet light and chemicals, hence prolonging the lifespan of the product.
Equipped with an extra-wide waist belt, the Filson Dry Waist ensures all-day wearing comfort. The big main compartment is protected by a TIZIP zipper. The adjustable shoulder strap is detachable for extra flexibility. Go for the Filson Dry Waist if you want the utmost in durability and prefer a minimalistic style on the water.
Dimensions: 12-3/4”W x 9”H x 4-3/4”D – Capacity: 8L
Orvis Waterproof Hip Pack Fly Fishing
The Orvis Waterproof is also made from a TPU coated nylon fabric that ensures it is completely waterproof. The main compartment is protected by a YKK Flexseal zipper. The waist belt is similarly wide to the Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Lumbar and ensures a tight fit all day long. If you want to take some weight off your hips you can use the detachable shoulder strap.
The Orvis Waterproof features a fly patch on top to dry the flies you used. On the side of the fishing waist pack you find additional options to attach gear such as pliers and tippet spools. The bottle holder on the bottom of the fanny pack comes in handy on hot days.
Specs/Dimensions: 12″L x 8.5″W x 5″D – Capacity: 7L / 427 cubic in.
Conclusion on Waterproof Fly Fishing Fanny Packs
As you can see from our overview, most of the waterproof, fully submersible fanny packs are constructed in a similar fashion. They all feature a large main compartment that is protected by fully waterproof zippers from different manufacturers. In the end it comes down to your personal preferences in terms of size, shape, color, etc. Filson and Patagonia offer the most minimalistic packs, whereas the Fishpond Thunderhead makes the race in terms of versatility and attention to detail.
Frequently Asked Questions: Best Fly Fishing Hip Pack
What is a fly fishing hip bag, and why should I consider using one?
A fly fishing hip bag is a compact and convenient way to carry essential gear and tackle while fly fishing. It offers quick access to your tools, fly boxes, leaders, and other necessities, allowing you to focus on fishing without the bulk of a traditional backpack.
How do I choose the right size for a fly fishing hip bag?
The size of the hip bag depends on your personal preferences and the amount of gear you typically carry. Consider the number and size of fly boxes, the length of leaders and tippets, and any additional accessories you use. Many hip bags are adjustable to fit various waist sizes comfortably.
Are fly fishing hip bags waterproof or water-resistant?
Fly fishing hip bags come in both waterproof and water-resistant options. Waterproof bags, like the Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Lumbar, offer complete immersion protection, while water-resistant bags provide a level of protection against light rain and splashes. Choose based on your intended fishing conditions.
Can I wear a fly fishing hip bag with waders or a fishing vest?
Yes, most fly fishing hip bags are designed to be worn comfortably over waders or a fishing vest. Look for adjustable waist belts and consider your layering system to ensure a proper fit.
What are the key features to look for in a high-quality fly fishing hip bag?
Some key features to consider include ample storage compartments, waterproof or water-resistant materials, comfortable padding and support, adjustable straps, and durable construction. It’s also important to evaluate how easily you can access your gear while wearing the bag.
Can a fly fishing hip bag replace a traditional fly fishing vest or backpack?
While a hip bag is an excellent addition to your gear, it may not completely replace a traditional vest or backpack, especially if you carry a substantial amount of gear or prefer a more organized setup. Many anglers find it useful to use a hip bag in combination with other gear for added convenience.
Are there any specific maintenance tips for fly fishing hip bags?
To prolong the life of your hip bag, rinse it with freshwater after each use to remove dirt and salt. Allow it to air dry completely before storing it. Avoid exposing it to excessive heat or prolonged UV exposure, as this can damage the materials. Additionally, regularly check zippers and seams for signs of wear or damage and address any issues promptly.
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Notice: We take part in affiliate programs. If you click on one of the links in the text and end up purchasing a product we earn a small commission at no extra cost for you. We only recommend products we are convinced of.