It took me a good year and a half and many different versions of chest and hip packs to get comfortable while fly fishing. Luckily we decided on a trip out west to visit the four corner states and I needed to downsize my fishing gear to fly. I ran into the Patagonia sling pack and decided to give it a try. I immediately fell in love with its low profile and the way it sat on my back, away from my arms and hands. Eventually, I moved on to what I now use all the time - the Simms Headwaters Sling (Large) - because it offered more space and comfort. Having fished exclusively with this sling pack all year, I'm fairly confident that my search for the best pack has ended and I'll be fishing with this sling until it falls apart.
Simms offers a normal size, and the large/guide size. I have the guide size and really like it. It has enough space for a full day's worth of provisions: 4 fly boxes, snacks, a small canteen, a journal, and in cold weather enough layers can be stuffed into the back pocket to keep warm all day.
The bottom strap goes across my waist much like a backpack unlike the smaller size where it kinda goes up and under your armpit. I found that the strap dug into my chest after long periods of time. I like this one a lot. Even fully loaded, it rests easy on my back and doesn't weigh heavily on my shoulders. It's super comfortable to cast with and to hike/bushwhack through the woods and brush with. I've put many hours, miles, and casts into this sling and it hasn't even begun to breakdown. The stitching and zippers are quality. The straps are strong and durable, and it takes seconds to unclip the waist band and slide it forward to access your flies, tippets, and beef jerky. It's got a great little "secret" stash pocket to hold your keys, wallet, etc. It also has enough clips for all your zinger and fly net needs.
I would highly recommend this Sling for anyone looking for a pack that can hold a day's worth of gear while sitting comfortably on your back, out of the way for easy casting and wading. Simms did an awesome job with this one.
Sketches & scatterings. Rooted in Pennsylvania along the Susquehanna River.