By: Everett Perisits
If you are on the fence about whether this pack is right for you, I hope that this review will help you make that decision. I was using Grandpa’s old vest for the first year of fishing and was forced into the decision of buying a new gear-carrying system as zippers began to fail and the sun-rotted pockets gave out. Slightly overwhelmed with the options and prices out there I eventually decided on the Orvis Sling Pack for a few different reasons. The first reason was the price. MSRP for the pack was $98 and with some discount codes, I was able to get it to my door for under $100. The second deciding factor was the look of the pack compared to the vest. Due to the lack of trout water in my area, I find myself spending several days at the local park surrounded by soccer moms and dog walkers. The sling pack offers a sleeker look and is less noticeable than a vest with gadgets and Wooley Buggers hanging from it. Coming from the vest I like the organization the sling offered. I found that the pockets are functional, and when full doesn’t inhibit you from using the other ones.
Inside the front pocket, there is a zipper pocket for small items such as tippet rings and extra spools of specialty tippets. The kangaroo-style pouch fits my pre-rigged double nymph rigs on a loon foam disc for easy rig swaps.
The main compartment is a great spot for a few fly boxes, and snacks, and even will fit a rain jacket. There is a strip of the loop side of Velcro that attaches to a waterproof zip lock style bag not included for items that need to be waterproof. The bag is not included but is a wise purchase. It fits a wallet and keys no problem. I tend to not keep my phone in there as I use it for pictures and would be too much of a hassle getting it in and out. Since I am on the topic of waterproofing, the bag is not watertight. This should be obvious as it is not advertised as one. However, the outer shell does hold up well to the occasional dunking or sparkle of water. Water will get in through the zipper, but items will stay dry with a quick accident or a passing drizzle of rain.
Moving to the outside of the bag there are a couple of nice features worth mentioning. The first is the tippet station. I love how easy it is to get to the tippet and the hidden nipper slot. I feel like the tippet is very secure and out of the way when fishing or crashing through the brush. I just don’t trust Velcro to hold on to things outside of the pack as others use.
The water bottle holder is nice. That was a big problem with a vest for me was not drinking water while fishing. Now every time I need to flip the pack around it is right there to remind me. I would recommend a reusable bottle in the 32oz range. A 40oz Hydroflask is too big, while the Yeti 20oz is a bit small. The 32oz Nalgene seems to be the sweet spot. I have not lost one yet.
The front of the sling offers a spot of nippers and forceps. If you elect for the bigger sling there is a pouch that you could store flotant in. I find that keeping flotant in my front wader pocket works well and was a workaround from buying the much larger sling.
I have put this pack through a few days of hard fishing and have yet to really find out any major flaws. I don’t notice it on my shoulder and can fish all day without it making me tired. I wade past my waste frequently and the pack will hike up and stay dry. There is also a loop that fits your thump nicely when you need to flip that pack back and forth. Also, the sling vest has a chest strap that is removable. I don’t seem to use mine much unless I am going for a long walk. The pack doesn’t really need it as it stays close to the body without it. I have never had issues with the pack snagging on bushes, it stays behind you and out of the way especially when casting. If you are looking for a gear-carrying solution for day outings go for it. I don’t regret this purchase and enjoy using it. I can see this sling holding up for a long time and will be with me on several more outings.
You may have noticed that there were water balloons in the front pocket. I use these as indicators. I use an overhand knot with a few extra wraps to secure it to the leader. It is easy to slide up and down to change depth but won’t slide when casting. It is also so light that it doesn’t make a splash. You can adjust the sensitivity by how much air you blow into them. The best part is five dollars will get you a lifetime supply.
Bio:I’m a newer fly fisher with about 2 years of fly fishing and 20-plus years of spin fishing. My fishing of choice is for trout in mountain streams, but fish in local parks and ponds for bass and sunfish due to limited local trout water access. With fish life balance I get on the water about twenty days a year and dream about it the other 345.
One thought on “Orvis Sling Pack”
Once again another excellent article.