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 pack.
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.
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 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.
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
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
The Filson Ripstop Compact Waist Pack is also a completely new product for the 2021 season. It is as classical a hip pack as it gets. Held in a beautiful moss green color, it’s the ideal choice if you consider yourself a minimalist. It has been designed with the fly fisherman or woman in mind but due to its subtle looks it can be used in many surroundings without looking like a fisherman.
The Filson Ripstop Compact Fly Fishing Waist Pack is made from ripstop nylon which makes the waist pack incredibly light weight and very comfortable to wear. On the backside, the Filson Ripstop Compact Fly Fishing Waist Pack features a padded back panel and spacer mesh for increased breathability on hot days. Multiple zippered pockets allow for ample storage opportunities. Additional webbing loops and buckles hold extra gear when needed.
Specs // Dimensions: 11”L x 4-1/2”W x 6-3/4”H // Capacity: 5L. Weight: 7.5 oz/ 213g.
American manufacturer Fishpond has many fans among fly fishermen and women – rightly so. Their Fishpond Gunnison Guide Pack 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 Filson Ripstop Compact Waist Pack 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 Gunnison Guide Pack 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: 10L or 610 cu. in. – Dimensions: 14″ x 9″ x 7″ – Weight: 2.1lbs/0.95kg
The Patagonia Stealth Hip Pack 6L 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 durable Cordura 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 6L features a range of zippered pockets and the big main compartment can hold several (big) streamer boxes. On the inside of the outer pocket, a fly patch makes storing additional flies that you used, easy. A bottle holder on each side of the pack gives you plenty of options to carry beverages for a long day on the water.
Specs // Dimensions: 640 g (1 lb 6.5 oz) – Size: 8.6″ x 11.8″ x 5.5″ – Capacity: 6L (366 cu in)
Conclusion on Non-Waterproof Fly Fishing Hip 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 Filson Ripstop Compact Waist Pack. If you want the utmost in packability and flexibility, the Patagonia Stealth Hip Pack 6L 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 hip 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.
The Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Lumbar 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 Pack 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.
The Patagonia Stormsurge Hip Pack 10L resembles the Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Lumbar. It also features a padded waist belt and a shoulder strap for weight distribution. A nice little extra feature are the lash straps on front of the fly fishing pack that allow for the attachment of a rod tube or fly fishing jacket. The Patagonia Stormsurge also comes equipped with the very sturdy TIZIP zipper.
Weighing in at only 564g (1lb 3.9 oz) the Patagonia Stormsurge Hip Pack 10L 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 grey.
Specs // Dimensions: 564 g (1 lbs 3.9 oz) – 14″ x 10″ x 6″ – 10L (610 cu in)
The Simms Dry Creek Z Fishing Hip Pack is another great option if you are looking for a fly fishing fanny pack 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 Hip Pack comes with a net holder for easy carrying of your fly fishing net. The Simms Dry Creek Z Fishing Hip Pack 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.)
The Filson Dry Waist Pack is a beautiful, rugged waterproof fly fishing hip 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 Pack 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 Pack 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
The Orvis Waterproof Hip Pack 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 Hip Pack features a fly patch on top to dry the flies you used. On the side of the fly fishing 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.
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