best fly fishing sling pack

Best Fly Fishing Sling Pack

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Whether it’s for fishing or fashion, sling bags are all the rage right now [1], especially if you are over the whole fishing vest thing or simply don’t want to wear a bum bag. 

Whether you like to pack light or want to be prepared for anything, you still need to take a decent amount of gear, lines, flies, and accessories out on a fly fishing trip. A fly fishing sling pack is one of the most practical ways to do all of that.

Sling packs are simply more accessible than a fishing backpack, and they won’t get in your way like a waist pack or chest pack can. More importantly, you won’t risk your sling pack getting submerged and waterlogged like waist bags.

Top Pick
Orvis Safe Passage Guide Sling Pack, Olive Gray
More Features
Fishpond Summit Sling, Gravel One Size
Budget Pick
Allen Company, Daypack, Cedar Creek Sling Pack...
Orvis Safe Passage Guide Sling Pack, Olive Gray
Fishpond Summit Sling, Gravel One Size
Allen Company, Daypack, Cedar Creek Sling Pack...
Large capacity
Dimensions: 13L x 8.5W x 9H in.
Large main compartment with wide-mouth opening
Internal pockets and dividers
Coated YKK water resistant zippers
Has multiple D-rings, heavy-duty molded zippers, and a water bottle pocket
Unique zinger and tool attachment system
Hypalon and tool attachment
high-viz lining and tons of compartments
Top Pick
Orvis Safe Passage Guide Sling Pack, Olive Gray
Orvis Safe Passage Guide Sling Pack, Olive Gray
Large capacity
Internal pockets and dividers
Unique zinger and tool attachment system
More Features
Fishpond Summit Sling, Gravel One Size
Fishpond Summit Sling, Gravel One Size
Dimensions: 13L x 8.5W x 9H in.
Coated YKK water resistant zippers
Hypalon and tool attachment
Budget Pick
Allen Company, Daypack, Cedar Creek Sling Pack...
Allen Company, Daypack, Cedar Creek Sling Pack...
Large main compartment with wide-mouth opening
Has multiple D-rings, heavy-duty molded zippers, and a water bottle pocket
high-viz lining and tons of compartments

We nearly always reach for our fishing sling packs when prepping for a day out on the water, so here’s how you can find the best one for you. Find out what you should look for when choosing a sling-pack, plus our top recommendations for the best fly sling packs around right now.

The Best Fly Fishing Sling Packs

Now, let’s get on to our reviews of the best fly fishing sling packs around right now. We’ve checked out a range of sling bags to see how they fare, so you can choose from the best fly fishing sling packs that have been tried and tested!

Orvis Safe Passage Guide

Orvis Safe Passage sling pack

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The Orvis Safe Passage Guide Sling Pack is definitely one of the best fly fishing sling packs around. It’s specially designed to meet every need you might have while fly fishing and also keep you cool and comfortable out on the water. Made from strong, durable, high-quality material, the Safe Passage Guide Sling is quick and simple to strap on and swing this sling pack around to your chest whenever you need to.

The bottom layer is reinforced with water-resistant material, and you can choose to add a waterproof pocket to keep your gadgets dry. There’s enough capacity in the main pocket for all your supplies, from your fly box, tools, tippet, and gear, to your phone, water bottle, and lunch.

A lot of care has gone into designing this bag to be comfortable enough to wear all day. Even on the hottest days, the Orvis Safe Passage sling shouldn’t feel too sweaty or sticky on your back or chest, thanks to the clever ventilation in the back panel. This makes this sling pack a great choice all year round, even during the hot summer months.

The back panel has also been molded to the contour of your back for increased comfort. The padded shoulder strap should prevent any aches and pains, no matter how long you’re out there casting and hauling in fish.

Orvis has taken the sling pack game to the next level with the minute attention to detail the Safe Passage Sling Pack features. From the clever magnetic anchor on the forcep sheath to the fly-drying patch and the tool attachment system for your gear, it will be hard to find another bag that so effortlessly meets any need an angler might have.

Orvis’ decades of experience in this industry have truly paid off, and the Safe Passage sling pack is a worthy investment for any eager fly fisherman or woman. Orvis products are always high-quality and effective. Click below to check the latest price for the Orvis Safe passage Sling on Amazon!

The Good

  • Plenty of storage capacity
  • Comfortable shoulder strap with comfortable foam padding
  • Molded back panel for extra comfort
  • Ventilated, so you stay cool
  • A unique attachment system means you can easily add more tools 
  • Easily accessible drink bottle holder from any position

The Bad

  • One of the more expensive sling packs at over $100 – a big investment
  • High price – $200+
  • Not waterproof

Allen Company Cedar Creek

Allen Company Cedar Creek

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Allen Company has truly created a low-cost, highly functional sling pack for fly fishing. The Cedar Creek sling pack isn’t flashy, but it’s practical, and it will certainly do the job. The price is also great if you’re on a budget but still want to make the most of your time fishing on the river.

With the Cedar Creek sling pack, the main pocket is generously sized, plus you also get D-rings for your accessories, a zippered mesh pocket on the front, and a water bottle pocket.

It’s been designed to be simple and easy to use out on the water. You’ll find the zip-down work station handy when you need to fiddle with tools, flies, or tying knots. The main section has a large opening, so you can easily fit your fishing without struggling to force larger items in.

Allen Company took care with this bag’s construction, which is evident in its neat, strong stitching and sturdy zippers. The nylon fabric is hardwearing and will stand up to anything you can throw at it. 

The Cedar Creek sling pack may look a bit basic, but looks can be deceiving: Inside, you’ll find lots of zippered and mesh pockets to keep all your gear tidy and organized at all times. It certainly competes with the best fly fishing sling pack for features and quality.

With wide, adjustable straps, you’ll be able to wear this comfortably for hours at a time. As one of the best budget fly-fishing sling packs, the Cedar Creek bag by Allen Company will have no problems meeting the demands of an eager fly angler. Available from Amazon and all good fly shops!

The Good

  • Affordable low price
  • Interior high-viz lining makes it easy to locate items inside your bag
  • Convenient Zip-down work station with a patch and tippet tender
  • Wide opening makes it easy to get larger items into the big  pocket 

The Bad

  • Tricky to reattach the net after using it without swinging the bag to the front
  • Not as many pockets as other models

FishPond Summit

FishPond Summit

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FishPond has created both an attractive and functional sling fishing pack that will make any fly angler’s fishing trip go more smoothly. This bag has three generous main sections where you can store everything you could need on a day out fly fishing at the lake or river. The muted colors of this pack won’t spook the fish out on the water, either.

You’ll find plenty of hooks and rings where you can attach your tools and fishing accessories, as well as Velcro and Hypalon attachment points on both the front of the bag and on the shoulder strap for greater usability and versatility. These features are handy, as they save you space in the main pocket.

There’s also a useful net holder and a dedicated water bottle holder to keep your essentials in easy reach whenever you need them. All these features are available for a reasonable price in the mid-range for sling packs.

Like most products by FishPond, this hardwearing, high-quality bag is one of the best fishing packs, and it is environmentally friendly. When you use this pack constructed from recycled fishing net material, you’ll know you’re giving back to the planet! Check the price on Amazon now!

The Good

  • Perfect size – not too big or too small
  • Eco-friendly – made from nylon recycled fishing net material
  • Reasonable price
  • Integrated net sleeve
  • Water bottle pocket

The Bad

  • Can feel rough on the neck if you need to swing it around often
  • Not compatible with the FishPond rod holder
  • A bit tight over a winter coat

SpiderWire

SpiderWire Sling Fishing Backpack

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If you’re after a bag with plenty of pockets, you should definitely check out the SpiderWire Sling Fishing Backpack. The primary pocket is large enough to hold two medium tackle boxes, but that’s not all.

You also get two more zippered pockets, a dedicated sunglasses pocket, a front organizer pocket, plus a tool attachment on the front, which you can Velcro closed for extra safety. You’ll have no trouble carrying all your fishing gear, and the tool attachment will save space in the inner pockets.

Designed for the angler who likes to be able to put their hands on any item at a minute’s notice, you’ll love the SpiderWire sling pack if the idea of rooting through one large pocket makes you shudder. Don’t want to waste time searching for a tool buried at the bottom of your bag? The SpiderWire sling pack is for you!

Made from durable polyester, this quality bag is built to stand up to the elements. It’s strong and hard-wearing with a comfortable chest strap and sturdy zippers. If you’re not into bright colors, the SpiderWire is perfect in its cool black design. Just take note that it’s not one of the waterproof sling packs.

This pack comes at a reasonable price of around $50, and even better, SpiderWire also offers a lifetime warranty on this durable bag. Should you have any issues or problems with it, SpiderWire will repair or replace it for you. This bargain price is ideal for any fly anglers on a tight budget!

The Good

  • Affordable price – one of the best fly fishing packs on a budget
  • Loads of pockets so you can stay organized
  • Cool, eye-catching spiderweb design
  • You get a medium tackle box included
  • You can wear this bag on either shoulder
  • Lifetime manufacturer’s warranty!
  • Adjustable, padded strap

The Bad

  • Not waterproof
  • No pole holders

BLISSWILL Fishing

BLISSWILL Outdoor Tackle Bag

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BLISSWILL Fishing’s rugged outdoor sling bag is ideal for the avid anglers who like to get out and fish in all weathers. Water-resistant, abrasion-resistant, and corrosion-resistant, this sling pack is made from robust and durable material that can stand up to the elements.

The BLISSWILL Outdoor Tackle Bag offers excellent versatility and has plenty of ways you can wear it. The straps are adjustable, so you can wear it over one shoulder, as a backpack, or even as a handbag. The shoulder pads are specially designed to be wide for extra comfort, although they have less padding than other models around.

There are many pockets on both the front and sides to store all your accessories and lots of places to attach any tools that you need to have near at hand. The Molle system on the front allows you to attach extra tools or even add more pockets for extra storage.

You’ll find plenty of useful extras like a rod holder and a dedicated water bottle holder. All these features for an affordable price make the BLISSWILL one of the best fly fishing packs around. Check the price on Amazon now by clicking below!

The Good

  • 1000D water-resistant fabric keeps your gear dry in most cases
  • Strong, durable fabrics and zippers
  • Has a rod holder and handy drink bottle holder
  • A great budget price option
  • Comes in a range of cool colors, including khaki, army green, camo, and black
  • Adjustable straps can be worn in 3 different ways: backpack, shoulder bag, or handbag style

The Bad

  • If you fill the bag up, it can feel heavy and cumbersome to carry all-day
  • The water bottle pocket is too small for larger bottles
  • It’s tricky to get into the front pockets
  • Shoulder straps have less padding than other fishing bags and dig in after a few hours

Umpqua Steamboat 1200 ZS

Umpqua Steamboat 1200 ZS

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The Umpqua Steamboat 1200 ZS is another quality, mid-priced sling pack that is a delight to use while fly fishing. One of the larger models on the market, the Steamboat 1200 ZS offers you plenty of capacity to store everything you could need for a full day out on the water, including your tackle boxes and other items.

You’ll love all the pockets and extras you get with this sling pack — the main bag is split into three pockets to keep all your gear, snacks, and items neat and easy to find. The middle compartment has a useful divider, and on the outside of the bag, you’ll find two mesh pockets, attachments for your items, and two fly patch stations. Keeping track of all your fishing gear has never been easier!

The main downside to the Umpqua Steamboat is that you can’t switch the strap from one shoulder to another when you begin to feel tired or achy. When you try wearing it on the other shoulder, you’ll find that all the zips are facing the wrong way, making it difficult to access your gear and tools.

This sling pack isn’t a budget price option, but it’s not one of the most expensive, either. We think that the price is well worth the investment for this handy fly fishing sling pack.

If you need a fishing bag that you can wear on either side, check out some of our other recommendations. Otherwise, the Umpqua Steamboat 1200 ZS is an excellent, large-capacity sling bag that is ideal for fly anglers who like to be ready for every situation.

The Good

  • Cool grey and blue design
  • Handy thumb-loop for easy access to your gear whenever you need to
  • Useful extras including tool sheaths, fly storage stations, and retractor stations
  • You can store all your gear, rainwear, lunch, and more

The Bad

  • Another expensive model at $155 – not for anglers on a tight budget
  • Not waterproof
  • No drink bottle holder
  • You can switch shoulders to prevent fatigue

Do You Need a Special Fly Fishing Sling Pack?

You might be wondering why you can’t just grab any old sling bag and head out? Does it need to be designed for fly fishing? The short answer is yes, it does! The reason is that fly fishers really do have niche requirements — who else could need all their flies, hooks, tippets, etc., handy at a second’s notice?

Regular packs won’t have the capacity for all the gear you’ll be lugging with you, from your fly boxes to your lunch, waders, and more. They have unique features like D-rings to attach your fly patches, net and rod holders, and other necessary items, in addition to the main pocket. 

A generic bag just isn’t going to cut it – you’ll use it once or twice and get so fed up that you’ll never be tempted to take it out on the water again! Go for one of these from the start, and you’ll be all set.

fly fishing sling pack

What to Look for When Buying a Fly Fishing Sling Pack

Fly fishing sling packs can have any number of features [2], but which ones are right for you? If you’re new to fly fishing or you’re just not sure what to look for when buying a sling pack, don’t worry!  Our experts have laid  the most important factors to consider before you buy:

Storage Space

Just how much space do you really need? Well, that’s down to your individual preferences as well as other factors like the weather. Will you need wet weather gear? Do you like to pack minimally or be prepared for every eventuality?

Well designed sling bags can carry a fair amount of gear in the main section, including tackle boxes, extra tippet, anything else you care to bring. Larger sizes are comparable to a backpack, and even smaller sling packs can fit more gear than your average waist or chest bag.

Just make sure you pay careful attention to those dimensions, as the size can vary from small and compact to larger and more generous sling packs.

Pockets and Attachments

A sling pack’s functionality isn’t just purely down to the size of the main pocket, however. The number and size of the other pockets are important, too. Most sling bag products generally have one or two larger main sections to hold your bigger items like your tackle box, while offering more storage for your items than a waist pack or chest vest can.

In addition to the big pocket, a clever sling pack will also have smaller pockets on the inside and outside, designed to keep all your smaller accessories and items neat and tidy.

You’ll be amazed at how much space a drink bottle holder on the exterior of the bag can save. D-rings and sheaths can also be an excellent solution for your essential items and even your rod, allowing you to keep your tools close at hand and free up interior space inside your bag.

Durability

Fly fishing sling packs need to withstand frequent use and exposure to all sorts of natural elements. You’ll be using your sling pack in all weathers, from harsh sunshine to heavy rain and everything in between. You might even need to hike through thick undergrowth to get to that remote mountain stream.

That’s why it’s vital to look for a quality fishing sling pack that is strong, durable, and well constructed. You want something that will last you for a good few years.

Take a close look at the quality of the craftsmanship – check the stitching and seams for any signs of weakness. Ideally, the fabric should be hard-wearing and not prone to tearing, or it just won’t stand up to regular use as a fishing sling pack. If you go for a hardwearing pack, you’ll save money in the long run.

You also want your pack to be comfortable, so go for one of the sling packs with a padded strap. Try it on first, if possible.

Price

Whatever type of sling bag you’re shopping for, one of the first factors to consider is the price. You want a quality sling pack, but it has to fit into your budget. You’ll find a variety of price points for sling packs, so there’s something for everyone.

If you’re on a tight budget, check out the great products at an affordable price. But if you have a little more to spend, you can go for a sling pack with specialized features for fly fishing, which is well worth the price!

Waterproofing Design: Yes or No?

This might sound like a trick question – you’ll be on the water, so waterproofing or at least being water-resistant is a necessity, isn’t it? But it’s not quite as straight-forward as that.

Firstly, you usually wear a sling pack high up on your back with the strap across your chest, keeping your items well out of the way of the water. This means that unless you are wading into very deep water, your sling bag should stay dry the majority of the time, even if it’s not waterproof or water-resistant. So one consideration is how often you like to wade and how deep you tend to go.

Some of the best sling bags are waterproof, and this can be essential if you like to take your gadgets out with you – your phone or GoPro, for example.

However, one drawback of having a waterproof fishing pack is that you’ll lose some of the external pockets, sections, and attachment options for your items. Most waterproof sling bags have only one or two large pockets, simply down to the waterproof design and the need to keep water out.

The more pockets, attachment points, zippers, and compartments a pack has, the harder it is to create an effective waterproof seal for a bag. So if you do opt for a waterproof bag, you might have to spend more time rooting around in a large main section looking for your gear.

Another alternative that you can look out for is a sling bag with some water resistance instead of waterproof. This can strike a good balance, offering more protection to your gear without losing out on the unique features like mesh pockets, D-rings, and different compartments.

rainbow trout fly fishing sling pack

The Wrap-Up!

So there you have our complete guide to the best fly fishing sling packs around right now! If you’re after a specialized pack that’s perfectly suited for fly fishing trips, you won’t go wrong with any of our top recommendations. Careful consideration of fly fishermen’s specific needs makes these fly-fishing sling packs stand head-and-shoulders above their competition.

Sling packs are more practical, waterproof, and comfortable than waist packs. Where waist packs will end up soggy and waterlogged, sling packs should stay out of the water. Plus, a good sling pack is less obstructive for casting than a bulky fishing vest. They are generally more comfortable and easier to move in than the best chest packs as well.

From a whole range of tool attachment points and unique features to extra padding for comfort all day long, a good fly fishing pack will make your day on the water go much more smoothly!

So all you need to go is buy a sling pack that meets your needs from your local fly shop or online from Amazon. You’ll find a range of price points on the products reviewed above, so you can pick the one that ticks the right boxes for you. (Don’t forget to compare the price of these products online, so you can save some money!) Then get out on the water and catch some fish! You’ll love how practical and handy your new sling pack is.

Let us know what you think of these fly-fishing sling-packs and which you’d recommend in the comments section below!  Plus, check out our other reviews of fly fishing gear at Fly Fisher Pro. Happy fly fishing!

References

[1] https://medium.com/@istyleaddict/why-are-sling-bags-for-men-becoming-popular-1173e86f306

[2] https://www.answers.com/Q/What_are_the_benefits_of_a_sling_bag

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