Best Fly Fishing Hip Packs

The best thing about fly fishing in the summer is that you can travel light. The waders come off and it's time to wet-wade and another great way of lightening your load on the river is by using the best fly fishing hip pack.
Best Fly Fishing Hip Packs

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I stopped carrying a back or sling pack quite a while ago and it made a huge difference. My shoulders were now free for casting, I was carrying less weight, and my time on the water became a lot more comfortable.

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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest Of The BestFishPond Thunderhead Hip Pack
  • Super durable
  • Comfortable to carry
  • Fully waterproof
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest For ConvenienceOrvis Guide Hip Pack
  • Comfortable to carry
  • Durable
  • Handy net sleeve
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest For AccessoriesFishpond Gunnison Guide Pack
  • Great internal compartments
  • Tool attachment points
  • Tough Built
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest For Gear AttachmentsUmpqua ZS2 Ledges 500 Fly Fishing Hip Pack
  • Molle attachment points
  • Very affordable price
  • Net holder and tippet holder
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest On A BudgetFishpond Waterdance Guide Pack
  • Excellent range of storage
  • Dropdown fly bench
  • Large adjustable range
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FishPond Thunderhead Hip Pack

FishPond Thunderhead Hip Pack

Available at:

Best Of The Best

Specs

  • Capacity: 10 L
  • Pockets: 5 +
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Material: 1680D TPU coated recycled nylon

Pros

  • Super durable and long-lasting
  • Fully waterproof so everything stays dry
  • Tool attachment points and a net holder
  • A good amount of storage space and number of pockets
  • Comfortable to carry
  • Can be worn as a hip or sling pack

Cons

  • Very expensive price
  • Hard to open the zipper

Review

First up is the FishPond Thunderhead hip pack and it’s the best fly fishing hip/sling pack you’re likely to find in my opinion.

This fly fishing sling pack is made of tough 1680D TPU coated recycled nylon and is fully waterproof and the waterproof zippers it comes with means it’s submersible too, so nothing inside is ever going to get and it’s going to last plus it’s lightweight.

The pack features two zippered pockets, one leading to the main compartment which has a good amount of storage space. You’ll find a clear stash pocket and another zippered pocket which makes organizing your fly fishing gear easy and there is enough room for multiple fly boxes.

On the outside, the waist pack features a front pocket that is perfect for pre-made leaders or sink tips plus it features loads of attachment points on the pack and the shoulder strap for the fly fishing gear you need to use most – like nippers or floatant.

This fly fishing waist pack also features a slot to carry your net in on the back panel, so you really can take all the gear you need with you. The one thing it’s missing is a place for a water bottle.

From a comfort perspective, this fly fishing pack is excellent. The waist pack comes with fully adjustable waist straps and a shoulder strap that can be worn on your left or right shoulder as a sling pack. The one shoulder strap is important as it stops these fly fishing packs from slipping while you’re wading in the river.

Orvis Guide Hip Pack

orvis guide hip pack

Available at:

Best For Convenience

Specs

  • Capacity: 9 L
  • Pockets: 6
  • Waterproof: Water-resistant
  • Material: 100% recycled ECO CORDURA

Pros

  • Durable and made from recycled materials
  • Excellent array of pockets and a good amount of space
  • Handy net sleeve and tippet holder
  • Convenient and easy access fly patch
  • Comfortable to carry and easy to open/close

Cons

  • Not fully waterproof
  • Price is still quite expensive

Review

The Orvis Guide Hip Packs are some of the best when it comes to having a place for all your fly fishing gear. It features multiple pockets, 6 in total that are all zippered and well spread out around the fly fishing pack.

The spacious main compartment has enough room for a large fly box or two, the front pocket is ideal to carry smaller fly boxes, the small waist pockets are useful too, and there is even a pocket on the shoulder strap. All of them are easy to access making your time out on the creek or river a lot more peaceful.

One of the things I love most about these Orvis waist packs is the integrated tippet holder and water bottle holder. Quick access to your tippet and hydration is key on the water, and it features a nipper holder on the shoulder strap plus a net slot.

This Orvis pack does pretty well from a durability perspective, it’s lightweight and comfy to carry thanks to the adjustable straps, and it’s water-resistant – I just wish it was waterproof. You can wear it as a lumbar or just as a fly fishing sling pack too.

Fishpond Gunnison Guide Pack

Fishpond Gunnison Guide Pack

Available at:

Best For Accessories

Specs

Capacity: 10 L

Pockets: 6+

Waterproof: Water-resistant

Material: Cyclepond recycled fabric

Pros

  • Great internal compartments for valuables
  • Spacious with enough easy-access pockets for organizing your fly fishing gear
  • Tool attachment points, net holder, and fly patch
  • Tough build from recycled materials
  • Comfortable to fish with all-day
  • A more affordable price than other

Cons

  • Not fully waterproof

Review

The Fishpond Gunnison Guide Pack is another great FishPond option. It’s not waterproof like the Thunderhead fly fishing packs but it is water-resistant and features a lot more multiple pockets for organizing all your gear and carrying everything you need.

Every pocket features easy-access zippers that are super smooth, and each pocket is well placed too. The front main compartment is my favorite as it stretches out to hold a fly box or two, there are slots for pre-made leaders and another internal zipper for extras. Plus the front features a foam fly patch which is a great docking station for used flies.

There are lots of external places around the pack and on the shoulder strap to hook gear on to plus a water bottle and net slot too. You can see why it’s a guide pack as there is a place for everything in this bag.

The waist and shoulder straps are fully adjustable and padded with mesh for comfort and breathability. You’ll be able to carry this lightweight waist pack all day without any worries as a lumbar or sling pack.

Umpqua ZS2 Ledges 500 Fly Fishing Hip Pack

Umpqua ZS2 Ledges 500 Fly Fishing Hip Pack

Available at:

Best For Gear Attachments

Specs

  • Capacity: 8.2 liters
  • Pockets: 5+
  • Waterproof: Water-resistant
  • Material: 420 denier nylon 

Pros

  • Molle attachment points for all your tools and accessories
  • Net holder and tippet holder that are both easy to access
  • Very affordable price and good quality
  • A good amount of space for fly boxes and valuables

Cons

  • Not fully waterproof
  • A bit loose and not comfy to hike in
  • Waste is too big for small waist sizes

Review

The Umpqua ZS2 Ledges 500 fly fishing packs feature MOLLE webbing around the outside which allows you to build an attachments system for all your fishing gear you might need access to often.

There are numerous Umpqua accessories you can add to the sling pack for tippet, floatant, and even a water bottle. You could even rig a system to hold your fly rod so you can have both hands free to tie on a new fly.

On the outside of the sling pack, you’ll also find a net slot and a foam fly patch and it features a mesh pocket or two for stowing things like hemostats and pliers.

There is a large zippered compartment which is good for valuables and larger items but nothing on this fly fishing sling pack is waterproof so be careful what you put in the bag, as it will get wet in the rain or if you wade deep into the creek or river.

Built from 420 denier nylon this fly fishing hip/sling pack is tough, lightweight, and has some water resistance. The pack only comes with one strap for your waist, and it’s a bit large for thinner people and the sling pack can slide around but it does come with a shoulder strap to keep it from sliding all the way down.

Fishpond Waterdance Guide Pack

Fishpond Waterdance Guide Pack

Available at:

Best On A Budget

Specs

Capacity: 7.5 L

Pockets: 5+

Waterproof: Water-resistant

Material: Cyclepond recycled fabric

Star rating – 4.5

Pros

  • Can be worn as a sling pack or hip pack
  • Excellent range of storage options including 2 m zipper pockets
  • Padded, comfy, and breathable
  • Large adjustable range for a good fit
  • Dropdown fly bench with foam fly patch
  • Comes with holders for two water bottles

Cons

  • Things will get wet inside it
  • Lack of attachments for tools

Review

The Fishpond Waterdanace Guide Pack is by the best sling pack you’re likely to find on a budget. It can be worn as a fly fishing sling pack or a lumbar pack and is has a place for all your gear.

This sling pack comes with 2 main compartments for larger boxes and other gear plus a front dropdown fly bench that has an integrated foam patch for your flies. You also find mesh slots on the front for tippets or tools plus holders for two water bottles. There is also a net slot so you really can carry all your gear in these sling packs.

Each strap is fully adjustable so you can find the perfect fit and the back of the bag is padded and breathable so you be comfortable even on those long days.

Built from recycled nets, it’s also tough and lightweight, the one thing that’s missing for me is there aren’t many attachment points for things like spool and floating. But for the price you can complain and it’s definitely the best sling pack around for the money.

Why use fly fishing hip/sling packs?

Why use fly fishing hip/sling packs

When it comes to picking a system for holding all your fishing gear you have a few options. There are fishing vests, chest packs, a fishing bag or backpack, or there are hip/sling packs.

The great thing about hip/sling packs is that they keep out of the way so you can focus on fishing. You don’t have the weight of a bag or backpack on your shoulders, or a chest pack riding up, or the lack of storage space of a vest.

With hip/sling packs you have enough space for all your gear, you can slide the pack to your back when fishing so it’s out the way, and you get to travel light. Whenever you need something, just slide the pack back around, grab whatever you need, and slide it back to start fishing again.

You can check out our post here on the Best Fly Fishing Sling Pack.

How do I choose a fly fishing pack?

There are a few main factors to consider when picking a pack; comfort, gear space, and access.

You should also pick a pack with padded straps that are adjustable to fit and features a system that allows you to fish freely. The last thing you need is a backpack, chest pack, or bag getting in the way when you’re casting.

Next is space and access. You need to be able to carry all your gear which includes water, lunch, phone/camera, and your fishing equipment. Plus, you need to be able to access all of those things easily.

If you can tick all those boxes, then you have found the right pack for you.

What are the drawbacks of a hip/sling pack?

What are the drawback of a hip/sling pack

The main drawback of a hip/sling pack is that they don’t have much capacity when compared to a backpack. With a backpack, you have close to 35 liters of storage space while a sling has just 10 liters.

This means equipment like your DSLR or extra layers in case the weather changes are not going to have to be left at home or in the car.

Packing Out

Thanks for reading my article about the best fly fishing sling packs and hip packs. I hope you found it useful and stumbled upon the right fishing pack for you.

The best of all the fly fishing sling packs for me is the FishPond Thunderhead. I love that it’s waterproof so you can carry things like your phone and camera without worry plus it’s tough as nails and will last. Oh, and the pack has enough space for all your fishing gear and is comfy to use too.

My other favorite of the sling packs is the Fishpond Waterdance. This pack does everything all the sling packs do and it’s close to half the cost, so unless you want the waterproof option, this is the best bag to go for.

Thanks again for reading, please share the article around with your fishing buddies and until next time, tight lines.

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