Honestly, I have never been a fly fishing pack guy. I have had chest packs, hip packs, back packs and any most many other gear carrying device that has been conceived. Usually I just jam some tippet and boxes into my Guide Jacket or fishing shirt and call it good. This all changed when I got my significant other the Simms Waypoint Sling Pack.
I chose this pack for her largely because I could get it in blue, to match her raincoat. Yeah, not the best reason to buy a piece of gear but it seems to have worked out on a multitude of different levels for her – and myself. When she first got the pack she loved the color. Instant win for me! Yeah!
What is truly great about this pack, besides the colors, is its perfect size.
Not too big or too small, the 1027 cubic inch main compartment easily held the three fly boxes, gloves, beanie, and various other indispensable items that she has on her person year round. That is a lot of stuff but come steelhead season it will be perfect for a box of flies and a small thermos. She started planning all the stuff she could throw into the Waypoint the second she unzipped it. The other features really didn’t matter at that point to her. It was a few weeks later when I took the pack out for a test drive because of desperation that I found a pack that I actually would use.
One evening I decided to fish the middle fork of The Willamette River, something I hadn’t done for years. My usual spartan habit of a fly box and some tippet with a few tools jammed into my shirt wasn’t going to cut it. I needed to have a lot of different types of flies with me. So I stole her sling pack and loaded it up.
I noticed how comfortable it was from the beginning. The weight of all the stuff I had, including an extra spool for my Gunnison, didn’t hardly throw my wading off. It also stayed in place nicely after I got the side strap adjusted properly, which I did mid-stream. The features that I truly love the most are the handy magnetic tool slots and the tippet carrier. The outside location made them easily accessible and I never had any worries of losing my forceps at any time. A special compartment with a key clip is a little nice added touch. Fearful of past experiences, I never have used the outside compression straps; although I have experimented with them in the living room and they seem superior to most for external storage.
There is no perfect pack. There are a few features on all packs that are yet to be perfected by any manufacturer. This holds true for the Simms Waypoint. The fold down “bench” was adequate but I have never seen a need for a little table on any pack when I am thigh deep in a river. I did like the higher than normal edges that will keep things from going “kerplunk” but wind and rain usually limit the usefulness of putting small flies on this feature that all pack makers seem to feel is a necessity. Inside, yeah inside, this smaller front compartment are the floatant and spare tippet holders. This is fine for spare tippet, but I like being able to apply floatant without having to unzip a pocket. I know I am splitting hairs. But if these are the worst things about this pack, then it is a pretty awesome pack in my estimation.
I am still “borrowing” her Waypoint when she isn’t using it. This is because I am too lazy to get one from the shop. Dumb on my part. My own Simms Waypoint Sling Pack will be on my back for steelhead season because using one has spoiled me so much that I can’t go back to not fishing, particularly fishing for steelhead this fall, without one.