My wife found my latest fly fishing gear receipt – $87.55 for a Fishpond Westwater Chest Pack I purchased from Creekside Angling. I explained that I needed it for our upcoming ‘family’ trip to Whitefish, but she wanted none of it.
In the Northwest, we expect rain any day between September and June, and my old nylon Fishpond waist pack has tended to waterlog these days. I’ve also debated its bulk and thought a smaller, more waterproof pack for short wading stints might make more sense. Given my dilemma, I headed to the fly shop for a research trip.
Chest Pack options
The crowded chest pack category offers a range of choices, but I focused on packs with welded seam construction that advertise added protection from the elements. Based on the stock on hand, that narrowed it down to the Fishpond Westwater, the Sage Technical Chest Pack, and the Simms Dry Creek pack.
While any one of them would have been solid choices based on brand alone, I did have some minor issues with the Sage (No! Not the Dodger blue color!) and Simms (is this too bulky?). In the end I choose the Fishpond for its versatility and fish-neutral colors.
The Westwater Chest Pack’s main compartment is just large enough to hold both a medium-sized fly box and, critical to my needs, a small camera. A nylon pocket sewn to the pack’s inside front can stow tippet or leaders, and a plastic zippered pouch offers storage for smaller valuables, like a phone or wallet. That’s it for the interior.
Fishpond promotes the welded zippers as water-resistant, not waterproof, and I can see why. A small gap at the zipper’s end may allow water to seep in with a good dunking, so I don’t recommend taking a swim with your new digital camera inside.
The Westwater Chest Pack is the right size for my needs, and has the added water resistance and durability. It’s also backed by Fishpond’s lifetime guarantee. I think I made the right call, but I’m planning to give it a proper field test in Montana to make sure.
Thanks for listening and here’s to greater vigilance with your gear receipts in the future.