August 9, 2010

The Best Tenkara Bag $20 Can Buy

I scored yesterday. Well at least I'm pleased with myself. I was out at the outlet mall with Lilly doing some back-to-school shopping (new pink Crocs were the main item on the agenda), and stopped in the Eddie Bauer outlet to pick up some more sporks (see previous post). At the register there was an item called the Expedition Series Travel Day Bag for $19.99. Upon a little bit of poking and prodding, pulling zippers and velcro closures, it was clear that this would make for a kick-ass tenkara bag.

This is what the bag looks like. It's made of sturdy (but not heavy in weight) nylon, and is about the same in height, but slightly shorter than my William Joseph Amp pack. As you can see I attached a clip-on zinger to the base of the one shoulder strap to hold some retractable tools.

There's a pretty large zipper pocket right on the flap. For scale, I can fit my hand to just about the wrist in it. Since this is the main outer pocket, it's ideal for things you'd need to access frequently, like tippet, or spools of tenkara line.  You could also put a small fly box in there, but I decided I liked in in another spot.  More to come on that...

Pop open the flap and the first thing you see are two pockets. They don't close, so I wouldn't put anything too small and/or pricey in these, but they do seem perfect for extra tippet spools, and in this case (to show scale) a bottle of floatant.

The first main zippered compartment reveals 4 segmented pockets, and believe it or not, the front actually folds down into a workstation-like shelf. There a plastic fob on the inside intended for keys, but I attached a small Leatherman for the picture. The large zippered pocket in the rear of this compartment would be good for a wallet (or at least I.D.), cell phone, or any other valuables.

The second main zippered compartment is simply divided into two sections on the inside. I tossed a pair of sun-blocking gloves (light grey things) in the big part, and a digital camera in the smaller section. Even better, the smaller pocket is lined with a tricot fleece-like material that should protect the lens & viewing screen. This section is very big, the picture doesn't do it justice.

Flip it over, and there's yet another pocket on the back with a velcro closure. I tossed my small Plano fly box in here...but it would also be perfect to hold a map, small stream notebook, or if you prefer, a small flask.

There's also an adjustable shoulder strap. In trying it on I found the most comfortable position is at hip level on my lower back, sort of like a sling. It keeps everything out of the way while fishing, but with a quick swing to the front makes everything accessible when you need it.  The only issue is that it's just a nylon strap, no cushioning in the neck/shoulder area like many fishing packs have.  It could irritate your neck after a while.  I'll figure out a way to "MacGyver" a solution to that.

Here are the full specs as listed on the retail header card:

This little pack carries everything my Amp pack did with plenty of room to spare. As you can see from my pics, the pockets are far from full. In my opinion, for $20 you can't lose.  Worst case, if you don't like it for fishing you can still use it for it's intended use, travel.  Unfortunately, it doesn't appear as if the bag is on the Eddie Bauer website at this time, so you'll have to visit one of their retail stores if you want to check one out in person. Good work outta you EB webmaster...

The bag tested in this product review was bought by me at full $19.99 retail; I currently hold no association with Eddie Bauer whatsoever.  As with all independent gear reviews at Troutrageous!, I try my best to keep my reviews honest and unbiased. If something is good, it deserves applause; if it sucks, I'll let you know that too. I was born, raised, & currently live in the Philadelphia area - it's in my DNA to boo, throw snowballs, and taser where appropriate.


  1. I really like that bag. It looks like it could hold quite a bit. Right now I use a fanny pack to carry when I am out and about but I like the shoulder strap idea better.

    Whitetail Woods Blog / Muzzleloader Testing

  2. Looks like a score to me. The price is definately right. Way to go.


  3. As a minimalist myself that bag is Awsome. I just got back from trout hunting and am tired of stuffing gear into my cargo shorts and clipped to my shirt. I've stopped wearing a vest. A bag like that would work great.

  4. For the money thats a great pack.

    I carry a minimum of stuff, fishing small streams does not require a lot. Fits the bill.

  5. So where does the flask fit?

  6. Nice and simple, no frills, and dose the job. For the money you can't go wrong.

  7. Thanks for the kind words & compliments all.

  8. That's really cool - and a great, detailed review too. I have an Eddie Bauer outlet near me( 10 minutes away to be exact) and I'm going to check for them there from time to time. And hey - if this is the new fashion in fly fishing, I'm all over it. I just hope no one mistakes me for that guy in the Geico commercials! " It's a...European Shoulder Bag..."

  9. Owl - They live on a stand behind the register island at my EB Outlet. I think you'd more likely be confused for Alan from 'The Hangover.' It's not a man purse, it's a satchel.

  10. That's a cool little bag. I've been looking for a little fishing bag but didn't want to go the way of the fanny pack. I've been using a lanyard but the clattering gets on my nerves.