In the early days of fly fishing, anglers had to rely on vests to carry their gear and other essentials into the water with them.
These, however, didn’t offer up nearly enough storage capacity or versatility.
Fortunately, anglers have graduated to fly fishing sling packs instead.
If you want to make the switch as well, you need to know the features to look for in a sling pack that is tailored to fit this particular activity.
So, I’ve put together a comprehensive guide to make it easy for you to pick the best fly fishing sling pack …
Best Fly Fishing Sling Packs We Reviewed
- Fiblink Single Shoulder Tackle Bag
- BLISSWILL Fishing Tackle Shoulder Bag
- Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest Pack
- Piscifun Sling Bag
- Fishpond Summit Fly Fishing Packr
- Orvis Safe Passage Sling Pack
The Advantages of a Fly Fishing Sling Pack
So, why should you consider investing in a fly fishing sling packs?
Well, one of the main perks of this type of bag is the ease of access. Although the pack is positioned on your back, the bag’s carrying system allows you to swing it to the front. This allows you to grab whatever you need, without having to let go of your fishing rod.
The one-strap configuration also ensures that your movements are not restricted in any way. It goes over your shoulder and under your arms so that you maintain a full range of motion at all times. As you are well aware, this is a handy feature to have in a bag that is used while fly fishing.
Last but not least, the design of this form of pack gives you plenty of storage options. You will often find that you can carry many of the things that you will require during a fly fishing trip.
At the very least, you will be able to find a bag that has the capacity needed to accommodate your requirements.
How to Choose a Good Fly Fishing Sling Pack
Now, to move onto all of the factors that will affect your decision about which fly fishing sling pack you should get for yourself:
Fabric Is Important
One of the first things you should look at is the material that the sling pack is constructed from.
Well, the most important qualities that your pack can possess are durability and water resistance. Therefore, by examining the material, you will be able to determine whether or not the pack lives up to your expectations.
Strength and Denier
The most commonly used fabrics for sling packs are nylon, polyester, and canvas.
Typically, when determining the ‘strength’ of a fabric, people look at the denier – which is the unit of measurement that is used. So, essentially, the higher the denier, the stronger the fabric.
This doesn’t mean, though, that two different materials of the same denier possess an equal level of durability.
Out of the three sling pack’s fabrics, nylon tends to be the strongest with polyester coming in second. While canvas is fairly durable, it often can’t hold up to same stresses as nylon and polyester.
Water-Resistant or Waterproof?
Since fly fishing packs are often worn while you are in the water, it stands to reason that you will need one that prevents water getting into your belongings.
You should note, though, that not all bags are equipped with this feature as few materials are naturally water-repellent. So, you should always check on this beforehand.
With fly fishing sling packs, you will need to make the choice between water-resistant bags and waterproof backpacks.
Most fabrics – including nylon, polyester, and canvas – have to be coated with a durable water resistant (DWR) coating. While the actual substance can differ, it is usually a polyurethane coating.
A pack that only bears this coating is considered to be water-resistant. This means that it will be able to prevent water from entering the bag for a short period of time. After a while, though, moisture will begin to seep in through the seams or the zippers.
A waterproof sling pack takes things to the next level. Here, the pack seals off the internal seams and zippers with a water-resistant coating. This way, the water can’t get in through the weak points. Some waterproof bags can even be submerged although these tend to cost more.
The first thing you will need to address with a sling pack and storage is the size of the bag.
So, how big should your sling pack be?
As you can imagine, this depends on how many things you want to take with you on your fishing trip.
A word of caution, nonetheless, when getting an overly large sling pack. While it may seem suitable for all occasions and will let you carry as much as you need, a too-big bag does have its drawbacks. Specifically, it can be too bulky and make it difficult to maneuver your rod due to restricted movement.
So, in this instance, getting a small to medium bag may be a better idea.
Compartments and Pockets
When you are fishing, you won’t really have the time to rummage through your bag, looking for what you need. It is here that pockets and compartments will come in particularly handy.
They allow you to organize and separate your gear so that you know precisely where it is. Of course, to an extent, this does hinge on what you are taking with you. If you are mostly carrying larger pieces of equipment, a big main compartment will make more sense.
However, if you are taking smaller items, a myriad of pockets will be more useful.
If you don’t want the hassle of carrying a smaller bag but still want to hoist rod tubes and other large pieces, you can.
Here you will need to look for an attachment system on the outside of the sling pack. This will be in the form of lashings, daisy chains, D-rings, and various other attachment points. With these, you will be able to attach larger items without cluttering up the internal compartments.
Water Bottle Holder
If you are looking for a sling pack that can do it all, you are going to need one that has an external water bottle holder. This will avoid any spills or accidents inside the bag. Just check that this compartment can accommodate most water bottle widths and heights.
Most of the time, the one strap on the sling pack is advantageous to you, particularly while fly fishing. At the same time, it does come with its downsides.
See, all the weight that you are carrying is focused on this one strap and so you have to find a way to distribute this load more evenly. This is why you should look for shoulder straps that are slightly wider to balance out the weight placed on your shoulders and chest.
The strap should also be adjustable so that you can get it to snugly fit around a torso with your specific measurements.
If your pack isn’t comfortable to carry, then you are hardly going to want to take it with you and wear it for hours on end. With this in mind, make sure that your pack has been designed for comfort.
First, make sure that the shoulder strap is padded so that it will not chafe against your skin or bone.
Also, you should check if your pack has mesh on the back. This material allows the air to circulate throughout, preventing your back from getting hot and perspiring while you are fishing. Moisture-wicking material works well for this purpose too.
You will have to consider how much the bag weighs when it is empty.
The fabric used, buckles, D-rings, all come into play when taking in the weight of a pack. After all, you don’t want the pack to be any heavier than necessary once it has been filled with fishing gear.
If your main concern is a light load, then you may want to think about getting a pack that is made of lightweight polyester and has minimal external storage features. Of course, you should note that the payoff could be that the bag isn’t all that durable.
Best Sling Packs For Fly Fishing Reviews
Here are the packs that I have deemed to be some of the best available on the market:
Of all the great features on this fly fishing pack, what stands out about it the most is the exchangeable shoulder strap.
So, depending on whether you are right hand or left hand dominant, you will be able to choose your favorite placement. As a result, you will have to undergo a lot less hassle when attempting to get to your gear and belongings. The only downside is that the strap is not very wide and doesn’t have any padding. So, if you try to carry a heavier load, you may find that the strap cuts into your shoulder.
This bag is also known for its strength and durability which is excellent if you have to go on a hike through brush and rocky terrain to get to your favorite fishing spot.
As a bonus, the pack is also water- resistant.
The pack also shines when it comes to storage options. Inside, there are lots of little compartments that allow you to neatly organize all your gear. The main compartment is roomy enough to carry larger supplies.
There are also two exterior compartments for anything that you need quick and easy access to. The bag is equipped with an adjustable water bottle holder as well.
To top things off, the back of the pack has a breathable sponge mat that prevents you from sweating.
With this sling pack, you will essentially be able to carry everything you need, leaving your hands free — This is largely to do with the way the exterior of the bag has been designed.
It is crisscrossed with straps, D-rings, and sewn-in loops which will let you take as much gear and equipment as you want with you. The bag is even fitted with a place to hold a rod tube. This is something that experienced anglers will really appreciate.
Unfortunately, the internal capacity isn’t nearly as impressive and the main compartment isn’t as large. Subject to your cargo, you may find it lacking in space.
This bag is as tough as they come and is resistant to regular wear and tear.
The stitching is also durable which will prevent the bag from splitting if you should pack heavier objects into it. The strap is wide and has been made to bear and evenly spread the weight.
With these factors combined, you will be able to use this shoulder bag for a long time to come.
It has been built to be water-resistant so if you do happen to splash it while you are wading, you can feel reassured knowing that your belongings are safe.
The most notable fact about this fly fishing pack is that it comes equipped with numerous spacious compartments.
If you want to carry a lot of tackle, lures, food, and water, then this is the bag for you. It has more than enough space for anything you could need.
However, the attachment system on the outside is lacking so you may find that you will have to carry larger gear by hand.
The good news is that this isn’t a pack that will weigh heavily on your shoulders or back.
First of all, the pack itself is incredibly light as it is made from high-quality polyester. To improve this further, the shoulder strap is wide and really well-padded. If you require additional support, it comes equipped with a waist strap too. So, really you won’t feel like you are dragging much of a weight with you at all.
To add to this comfort, the back is made of breathable fabric that is topped with mesh. This keeps you cool and comfortable at all times.
While this bag has pretty much anything you could need, I found that its lack of water-resistance was a major disadvantage.
This prevents you from wading too far out into the water.
One of the standout features on the Piscifun sling bag is the strap that can be adjusted at two different spots — this makes it easy for you to get a snug fit regardless of shape or size.
This comes in useful when you have to travel on foot for quite a distance to get to your intended fishing spot. This feature ensures that the bag doesn’t move around while you walk. The shoulder strap is also padded just enough to distribute the weight that you are carrying so that it doesn’t dig into your skin at all.
If you want a sling bag that has lots of compartments, then the Piscifun will fulfill this wish. It has compartments and pockets in varying sizes, perfectly suited to contain tackle boxes for fly fishing. There is even a pocket right up front where you can keep anything that you need quick access to. The sling bag is waterproof so you can feel safe placing more valuable items in there, even as you go wading, as they will not get wet. Even the zippers are rust-resistant so this really is a bag that is completely at home in the water.
The only real disadvantage with this pack is that it doesn’t have too many external points which means that you can’t carry a lot of gear with you as you go.
If space is your main concern, you will find that this sling pack is more than adequate — while it doesn’t have too many separate compartments, it makes up for this by offering up a lot of storage capacity in the main pockets.
This is great for anyone who wants to carry clothes and food in addition to all their gear.
One of the reasons this pack doesn’t have a lot of compartments is because it has numerous external attachment points instead. Loops, lashings, and D-rings are all available on the outside. There is even a net sleeve on the back! This gives you the opportunity to carry all your gear on the outside.
The bag is also designed in such a way – complete with waterproof zippers – to prevent water from unexpectedly entering your bag. So, while you won’t be able to submerge it, it will be more than adequate for most fishing trips.
Another advantage of this sling pack is its comfortable, well-padded shoulder strap. This considerably eases any burden that you are carrying on your back. The back, too, is made from breathable, comfortable material.
One of the advantages of this sling pack is its design. While it has plenty of room to hold many of your fly fishing essentials, it also manages to remain compact. Due to this, you will not find this bag cumbersome at all whether you are hiking a great distance or fly fishing.
At the same time, this is also one of the more comfortable sling packs that you could take with you — the strap is luxuriously padded, so regardless of how heavy your bag is, you really will not feel it all that much.
There are just enough pockets to help you keep all your gear separate and well-organized. The bag also comes equipped with a sturdy water bottle holder that is easy to access at all times.
Now, the pack isn’t waterproof but it is quite good at keeping water at bay, even when you go wading.
Some of the only disadvantages of this bag are the lack of attachment points on the outside and the fact that it is quite pricey.
The pack is a great deal more expensive than the other bags on this list, although its durability certainly ensures that it is an investment.
Wrapping Up: The Best Fly Fishing Sling Pack
It is not easy to choose between all of the options provided on this list.
Despite this, I can say quite confidently that the Piscifun sling pack is my best pick.
- DURABLE & WATERPROOF - Made of rugged, flexible, and fully waterproof 500D PVC...
- UNIQUE INNOVATIVE DESIGN- Features an adjustable padded strap for comfortable...
- STRONGER SEAL CONSTRUCTED - Fully welded seams result in a stronger, more...
- IPX8 CERTIFIED WATERPROOF PHONE CASE: Every dry backpack Including a 6.6 Inch...
- VERSATILE - Piscifun Dry Bags keep your belongings safe and dry for various...
One of its most exciting features is that it is waterproof which really helps to protect your belongings when you are wading. It is also easy to adjust so that it fits snugly around you (or anyone else) which means that you will find it hassle-free to fish with this bag on your back.
Add that to the fact that there are lots of internal compartments, this sling pack really has all that you need for either a short or long fly fishing trip.
This concludes the information and tidbits regarding fly fishing sling packs and how you can decide on the best one.
Last update on 2019-04-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API