My Fly Pack Evolution
I am not a fan of vests. I tried one out just because I thought that's what fly anglers did and I felt a little to "robo-copish" clinking around in a vest with pockets filled with different gizmos. I then made the move to the chest pack (a cheap smaller one) and hated having the thing in my way and resting on the back of my neck. I then switched to a regular backpack and that was well and good in terms of comfort but I had to take an arm out of the strap and hold it sideways to get into my gear. The answer to all my problems and the last stop in my fly pack evolution and has been the sling pack. It's basically an Indiana Jones style satchel that rides at an angle so that when slid around the body the front faces upright and becomes accessible, comfortable and efficient.
This is a big plus in the sling pack style. There's a lot of room to store everything. It's basically a smaller backpack, so all you guys that love to carry the gear every possible scenario (line change, leader switch, fly packs, snacks, a spare tire) you'll be able to hoard your gear with no problems at all. It has plenty enough room for a day's work if you plan your flies ahead of time. It won't hold all your fly boxes but it holds my top 3 boxes as such: 2 smaller double sided fly boxes (my variety all-stars in one box and my larger terrestrials or a few woolly buggers in the other) as well as my bigger box as a surplus tank of back-ups.
Keeps you stuff dry
It really shouldn't be an issue for small stream guys but for those who brave a little deeper waters this pack keeps everything safe and dry. In many ways the hip pack is comparable to the functionality of the sling pack, lots of storage, not in the way of your casting, slides around the body to become accessible... but here is where the sling pack takes the lead. I drew up a little diagram to illustrate.
What I really look for behind comfort is how efficient I can be with a pack. Can I easily get to the things I need without jumping through extra steps or dropping things in the water. The sling is quick and simple and provides basically a chest pack when slid to the front of the body. The tools are right there in your face, the pack stays put and provides a little work area for you to quickly pull things in and out of the pack without constantly zipping and unzipping. I feel I've been back to the water fastest with this pack. The only arguable point is the slide motion to get the pack to your front; hasn't bothered me at all, I can do it with one hand fairly easily.
This is definitely a huge point for my needs. I often hike into spots I love to fish, navigating thorn bushes, branches, ducking logs, etc. I need something to stay put and not get caught up on everything or bug me while I'm hiking. The sling comes ready with a waist clip and strap that secure the pack around your midsection while hiking in. It stays slender and in place the whole time so it's not snagging or slapping into the brush as you hurry down the trail. Other packs haven't bugged me in this aspect but I like the feeling of not worrying about my gear when hiking in.
D-Loop for your Gear
On the back right of the pack exists the gear "D-loop" that is strong and meant for your net. I use the magnetic net clips and easily reach back to my right side when grabbing for my net. The only catch for me here is that my hemostats are on the front of the pack (I don't use a lanyard) so if I need them for the hook I have to slide the bag up which stretches the stretchy cord for the net around my body. It hasn't became an issue but I would rather it not happen. The fix here would be to wear a lanyard but I'd rather not; or slide the pack in the opposite direction so as not to wrap the net cord around me. (Well, now that I'm thinking I suppose I could just clip the stats to the release lanyard so they extend with the net...)
Compartment Shots - UPDATED
I'm not a gear junky but I need something that I can easily take out of my closet and throw in the car and go. If your a guy like me that can't piece together why others pay tons of cash for expensive big-named packs but still want something functional to help you do what you love I say check it out and see what you think. It's an efficient and useful accessory for any kind of angling you enjoy.
If you have questions please ask I'll answer the best I can.
Here's the link to get you to the pack: White River "Ranger Sling Pack"
or click the picture below to give it a look.