February 13, 2012
Looking for a weatherproof pack big enough to hold a full-size camera, jacket, food, and water--but that won't interfere with your wading or casting? Look no farther than Orvis' recently updated Gale Force Sling Pack.
In the Pacific Northwest, steelheading is a game of movement. Maybe we're hiking up a remote river or we're biking up a closed logging road or we're jumping from the boat to fish our way down a three hundred yard run. However it happens, steelheading here requires an angler carry a bag with the a day's worth of necessities: an extra box of flies, a rain coat, lunch, a water bottle, and maybe a camera.
But the trouble with most fishing bags big enough to carry such items is that they impede your travel through the thick forest and prematurely tire your casting shoulder and arm. So lots of us switched over to fanny packs, which stay down and out of the way. However, many casting situations require deep wades, so more often than not our "fanny" packs become over-the-shoulder bags. Except they weren't built for this use, and hence, tend to become uncomfortable after a few hours.
When I first fished with Orvis' Gale Force Sling Pack, I knew I'd found a winner. This bag has all the space I need (equivalent to a small back pack) but is built to remain comfortable all day over one shoulder. In fact, I often forget if I'm wearing it and have to reach back to confirm it wasn't left at the last pool.
Unlike other sling packs, this one has a unique strap that ensures the pack won't swing around when ducking a limb or when bending over to release a fish. Also, its zippers are perfectly positioned; when you want something from the pack, simply pull it around to your front, unzip, and access--all with a chest pack's ease.
Winter steelheading often requires surviving harsh weather; in the past months, I've worn my Gale Force in pounding rain, sleet, and wet coastal snow. Though I wouldn't expect the interior to stay dry if I submerged the bag in the river for five minutes, I have full confidence the bag will keep its contents dry in any weather conditions (so long as the zippers are positioned together and along the edge of the bag--not the top). And it has kept my camera safe during brief wading stumbles.
I'm confident this bag will become a favorite of serious steelheaders everywhere. It has my highest recommendations.