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  #1  
Old 08-07-2009, 06:41 AM
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juro juro is offline
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FORUM Exclusive - custom designs!

Hey I need everyone's enthusiastic participation on this exciting project! I've been talking to a start-up outdoor accessory company who wants to tap into the collective knowledge of the Forum to design the most "dialed-in" stuff with/for us, starting with a chest pack for instance.

Why a chest pack?

Most flyfishing scenarios require that the angler is "self-contained" meaning you everything you need you have on hand. For instance - wading flats, kayaking, etc. We don't carry tackle boxes or lunch coolers.

Vests don't work for those who row, wade the flats, or fish in hot weather.

Chest packs are not designed well today. They can be heavy on the "show" with fancy looking curves and logos that make bass-master sponsored shirts look subtle but light on the usefulness.

Some make big bulky daypacks swung around to the front. When you can't see where your next step is going the chest pack is too big.

I have owned exactly one chest pack out of dozens that I actually liked - made by a small company in Montana catering to river guides that went out of business. All the rest have a feature here or there that is nice but overall suck.

It's time to come together to design the chest pack we actually need, love and will use!

Please participate in this unique opportunity with me in the days to come!
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  #2  
Old 08-07-2009, 07:38 PM
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Dble Haul Dble Haul is offline
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The most important factor to me is comfort. If the pack has economy of space, utility, and comfort, I will use it.

The Fishpond pack comes closest, but is pretty pricey for what you get.
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  #3  
Old 08-07-2009, 08:23 PM
millerbrown millerbrown is offline
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I don't know what market these guys are after. I guess that it is more geared for the salt folks because of this forum.

Anyway, I haven't worn a vest for 20 years. They are useless. I used "packs" for years but disliked them for all of your reasons. Two years ago I was in an EMS store and found what I wanted: a LARGE fanny pack (yup). It has a low profile (not bulky) and plenty of storage room which included room for fly boxes, leaders, clippers, flashlight and a lot more. I could wear it high or low or over my shoulder and it was almost non-existent as far as it's presence. Ok, it couldn't hold water bottles, spare spools (how often do you need that) or a lot of junk that I NEVER USE. The key was that it had DEPTH but not WIDTH which always seems to the the culprit with packs.

There you go,

Millerbrown
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  #4  
Old 08-08-2009, 04:21 PM
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After trying a myriad of chest packs over the years, I've settled on Patagonia's sling approach to a chest/back pack. It has a single, padded shoulder strap that can be slung over either shoulder to accommodate left or right-handed casters without interference. Both packs are water resistant with nylong zippers with flaps. Both front and back packs are not huge, but larger enough for all but gear junkies. Thanks to Dave Kopij (Dave17) for putting me onto this pack.

Some features that are mandatory on a chest pack include water resistant fabric, nylon zippers, dividers in each pack, padded shoulder strap(s), and avoid making it too large to see where you are stepping. Also, insure the pack is a neutral color and doesn't fall apart after a couple of seasons.
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  #5  
Old 08-08-2009, 10:00 PM
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vtloon vtloon is offline
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Like many, I have several chest packs as the result of the search for the perfect one. I have also found that some which work well with single hand rods, interfere with the two-hand underhand tug.
My spec at this point would include:
*LIGHT
*Large enough pockets for a Cliff Bugger box
*closures (velcro or zipper) that can truly be opened and closed one-handed
*padded support strap(s)
* doesn't block your vision of your feet
* doesn't swing out when you lean forward/bend at the waist
*doesn't interfere with a small drybag backpack
*As waterproof as possible, but not at the expense of making the zippers require two hand operation

My best liked are a slightly modified Patagonia Sling Pack and a very small Watermark chest pack.

Having said that, I'm happiest when conditions allow me to wet wade using just shirt chest pockets or force me to wear a wading jacket with chest pockets. These plus a lanyard and I'm good to go.
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  #6  
Old 08-09-2009, 05:54 AM
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I always try to take as little as possible with me so that it all fits into pockets. All of the things I take are also small.
Small spool of tippet, small fly box, small pliers, small camera.
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  #7  
Old 08-09-2009, 12:37 PM
FLGator FLGator is offline
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You've peaked my interest as I've yet to find a useful chest pack. Looking forward to participating and learning.
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  #8  
Old 08-09-2009, 05:30 PM
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I have tried several packs too and have yet to find one that meets my needs. If I am going out for an hour or so, then almost any small chest pack can work. I currently use one from LL Bean that works well for those limited excursions. But if I am going out for a day of fishing in a place like Monomoy/Brewster flats, I need a bigger pack. I don't like a back pack because if I am standing in hip deep water and dry land is long way off, I can't reach the things I need easily. Nor do I like a fanny pack because it doesn't work well with a stripping basket. I need a pack that is light, comfortable, and doesn't get in the way of casting. The sling pack idea seems like the best idea, but the ones I have tried are cumbersome and are either too big or too small. Along with making tools easily accessible, I need a pack that can hold the following items:

bugger box
spare reel/spool
small camera
cell phone
rain jacket (on those days of questionable weather)
sandwich
water bottle

I believe Jim (flydoc) has one that meets those needs, but I don't remember who manufacturered it or if it is still available.

Steve
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  #9  
Old 08-10-2009, 04:14 AM
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A way to secure and manage all external tools (forceps, snips, etc) with no snag points. Adjustable straps are great as well but have too many snag points. Some type of cover that eliminates these.

Nothing worse than casting to a sighted fish and having your line snag your gear.

Two models, left or right retrieve, so the pack is situated to allow you to use your chest when fighting larger fish.

I like the Patagonia sling the best but it has two major drawbacks. The first is too many snag points and the second is that being centered in your chest makes it hard to fight larger fish.
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  #10  
Old 08-10-2009, 08:16 AM
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Another option can be taken from the conventional gear types. Many use a bag that can slung diagonally across the body, and out of the way. If its deep, cinch up the strap.
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  #11  
Old 08-10-2009, 11:01 AM
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A way to secure and manage all external tools (forceps, snips, etc) with no snag points. Adjustable straps are great as well but have too many snag points. Some type of cover that eliminates these.

Nothing worse than casting to a sighted fish and having your line snag your gear.

Two models, left or right retrieve, so the pack is situated to allow you to use your chest when fighting larger fish.

I like the Patagonia sling the best but it has two major drawbacks. The first is too many snag points and the second is that being centered in your chest makes it hard to fight larger fish.
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  #12  
Old 08-11-2009, 09:46 AM
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Gseries69 Gseries69 is offline
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I think some one needs to try something completely different than what is out there. It's hard to pin down one version that would work for every situation but in general I think being minimalist is important. When fishing the salt (or rivers for that matter) I'm usually fishing one or two types of water not several. I'm usually either on a flat, or in an estuary, or on the beach. Not all three in one outing. That being said I would think about what you need, and it's not much...couple of fly boxes, tippet, some tools, maybe some water, sunscreen and a spare spool.

I always use a stripping basket so I don't want something near my waist because I like to spin my basket around when climbing on rocks or bending over to land fish. I also don't want something on my chest until I need it because that is where I'm using my hands to strip line and work the fly. If I want a long fast strip then the chest pack is in the way. It's also in the way if I catch a large and want to mount the fighting butt some where around my rib cage. I think a radical design would be something that sits high on the torso and has the ability to swing the pouches over each shoulder to your chest for easy access and can then be swung back over your shoulder so that it rests on your upper back/shoulder blades and out of the way of your front torso and waist.
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  #13  
Old 08-11-2009, 09:59 AM
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juro juro is offline
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Excellent feedback

This conversation completely confirms that we need to do this, and also that the FORUM is the place to collect wisdom and drive such initiatives to market, for ourselves if nothing else!

I have always had some ideas in this area and this project will bring our ideas to fruition with a little luck.

A few more from my wishlist:

- corrosion-proof zippers: patagonia has adopted these in their lightweight deep wading jacket after everyone I know had them rust off

- minimal strappage, maximum comfort: I had the sling for several years and although it's got some nice features it's uncomfortable, uneven, and the straps are strange. Some of them I've seem might as well be vests because they cover so much area and are sweaty as hell on the flats or while rowing when you need a chest pack most.

- modularity: some days you need a backpack, some days you don't. Some days a small pack works, others you need a rolled-up rainjacket back there. I used to keep a freshwater kit and saltwater kit that could be exchanged in that old Montana ma and pa pack, so easy and convenient.
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Last edited by juro; 08-11-2009 at 10:59 PM.
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  #14  
Old 08-13-2009, 11:01 AM
Swalt Swalt is offline
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I have never liked to wear chest packs. I will put stuff in my pockets or use a small waist pack if I am not going to be away from the boat for more than a few hours. The times I have needed a pack I prefer a back pack. I have a small one made by REI that fits around your waist and has just one strap over your shoulder. I don't think its disigned for this but when you need to you can slide it around, so its mostly in front of you, to get what you need rather than having to take it off. I think a back pack thats designed for fishing and designed to slide around to the front would be a good idea. I would invest in one.
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  #15  
Old 08-13-2009, 12:56 PM
FLGator FLGator is offline
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The ability to add a hydration bladder would be a big benefit in my opinion. I prefer them over water bottles as they are less prone to snagging as well as more convenient to actually drink from. I'm often out all day and the ability to have enough water easily accessable is a huge plus.
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