September 20, 2021
We broke the news on the new Simms Flyweight Waders when they were first announced, and the breathable waders with stretch panels and 5.11 HEXGRID over the chest pocket won our award for the best new wader of the year (see our 2021 Gear Guide, or online at flyfisherman.com). But the waders are just part of a robust Flyweight product family designed for fly fishers who want to travel light and fast—and as far from the road as possible. Now that the entire line is available, we’ve been experimenting with the Flyweight Hip Hybrid System, a customizable cargo system that includes a Utility Belt, Water Bottle Holster, and a Large Pod to carry fly boxes and other tools you’ll need onstream. The utility belt uses the same customizable 5.11 HEXGRID as the waders. It’s inspired by the old MOLLE webbing system used by military personnel, but the 5.11 HEXGRID allows you attach the Large Pod or the Water Bottle Holster at any orientation—vertical or diagonal. Whatever you decide to attach is locked in place securely. There’s no jostling, wiggling, or sliding in this system, which is important when you’re hiking many miles, wading through boulder gardens, and hopping barbed wire fences. The attachments are fixed in place because you weave vertical TPU webbing straps through multiple entry/exit points in the HEXGRID and also through the horizontal webbing on the back of the Pod or Holster, so the attachment is welded in place, exactly where you want it and at the angle that works best for your body dimensions for maximum comfort and efficiency. The Large Pod is 10.25"x4"x7" with two zippered compartments that will easily take three large fly boxes—or five medium boxes— and leave room in the internal organizers for your leaders, tippet spools, powder, and other accessories. There is also mesh external storage for an additional water bottle (handy if you decide to use the Water Bottle Holster for bear spray), straps to secure a rolled-up Flyweight Shell Jacket, a tool and zinger docking station, and an external looped fly field. Simms also sells a Net Holster ($20) and small Pod ($80) that both dock with the HEXGRID on the Utility Belt.
What I like best about the system is that the wide, comfortable Utility Belt helps comfortably transfer a lot of weight onto your hips. This reduces neck, back, and shoulder fatigue, and frees your upper body for more important tasks like casting. $160, simmsfishing.com