What's so good about the Orvis Sling Pack?
For ages I used a Simms Chest Pack and it was great. I could fit all of the essential stuff I needed inside, but it did get in the way of casting a little and it gave me a bad back. So I thought I'd try a sling pack instead.
The Orvis Sling Safe Passage Pack doesn't impede casting as my chest pack does, because it sits neatly over my right shoulder. Since the load is spread onto my shoulder, instead of the back of my neck, the aches and pains are gone. I can also fit loads more gear inside compared to the chest pack, so it's better for longer days out.
I still use the Simms Chest Pack for quick trips up the river, but for days on the lakes and reservoirs I'll go for the Sling Pack, because I can get a jacket and some food inside, as well as a gazillion bits of fly fishing gear.
How much can you fit inside the Orvis Sling Pack?
There's a surprising amount of room inside. The front pocket of the sling pack will take a large fly box or a couple of those slimline ones. There's also a fly patch inside here for storing and drying flies you've used, so you don't need to put wet ones back inside your fly box.
The main compartment will take a couple more fly boxes (because one is never enough) and has three or four inside pockets to take bits and pieces like leaders, tippet rings, floatant, indicators and other little bits and pieces.
Can you squeeze a jacket or some food inside?
Yes, if any fly boxes you keep in the main compartment are small, you should be able to squeeze a jacket inside, or some food, but there's probably not enough room for both.
As a result, it's probably not quite big enough for a whole day on the water - unless you sacrifice some of the fly boxes in the main compartment for the food and jacket, or unless you go back to the car or lodge for lunch.
Are there places to store forceps?
Yes, there are two pockets for forceps - one on the strap and one on the front next to the front pocket. These little holsters are fitted with very cleverly designed flaps with magnets to hold the forceps in place.
The magnets are surprisingly strong and I can't imagine your forceps falling out accidentally, but I've added retractors to mine just incase.
What about snips?
There's a little patch to take a pin-on retractor so I've attached a Simms one there and attached my snips to that.
Whereas my snips jangled around on my Simms Chest Pack, the Orvis Sling Pack has ingeniously positioned magnets sewn into the sling pack which hold your snips in place. A very clever idea.
What about tippet?
If you use one of those elasticated T-bar tippet holders you'll find a handy place for it on the front of the sling pack. You simply push the T-bar part through the loop and attach the carabina clip to the loop a few inches away. I can get half a dozen spools of tippet on mine, which saves valuable space inside.
Would you recommend buying one?
Mine is the Orvis Safe Passage Sling Pack and I've been very pleased with it. It's roomy, well made and comfortable to use. The only drawback (which is shared with the Simms Chest Pack) is that there's nowhere to hang a net, but I can live with that.
It's also very resilient - after 30-40 full days out mine still looks brand new. It's a great pack and makes a brilliant alternative to a vest.
The Digi Camo pattern shown on my Safe Passage Sling Pack is now discontinued, so you can pick up this model for a bargain price in Orvis' sales. It originally sold for £75, but you can get them for £40-50 in the Orvis clearance sales if you're lucky.
Available from: Amazon