Gear test: Filson Fishing Pack

Having never used a hip or waist pack, I was a skeptical to try one out. Standing only 5-feet, 5-inches tall, it seemed that the waxed-cotton Filson fishing waist pack would be too bulky for me to use, inhibit me from wading deep and become heavy with water.

Yes, it did get heavy with water and took a few days to dry out, however after using the pack in the right conditions in a small stream, its use was a success and there was no issue with bulk. Using the shoulder/neck strap, I was able to turn this into a sling pack style bag, which, when wrapped around my waist offered good support. The pack has a nice feel to it, and quickly softened with use. The side pockets allow for water bottles and snacks, and slinging it to the side provided me with a nice arm and rod rest throughout the day. The flip-open front compartment held an impressive Velcro fly patch system and also provided a nice-sized platform to change and dress flies. The carabineer clip system gave me extra room so I could arrange gear to fit my needs. The main compartment has an interior mesh bag with just the right amount of space for my essentials. The quality of this bag outweighs itself in its design. The Filson brand continues to provide excellence in its products. The $295 price might be higher than others, but this pack will weather many more excursions, making the pricetag worth it.

—Kelly Buchta, New Jersey

By Chris Hunt.