|Note sling pack on back|
Anyone who follows along here knows I currently use one of two packs when I go fishing; either a William Joseph Amp chest pack, or my Eddie Bauer Travel Bag (aka "the manpurse"). I like both for different reasons, however each are a little on the small side.
Wanting to try something a little bigger, so I could carry a touch more gear, such as an extra fly box, or even a ham and cheese sandwich, I decided to give the Eddie Bauer sling a go. Figured at minimum it'd come in handy on my trip to New York. Here are my impressions in the form of pros and cons after a handful of trips on the water.
PRO: Price. It only cost $20 (actually less right now at $15). In pricing fishing-specific slings, the price varied quite a bit, but most seemed to average between $60 and $80. Not bank breaking like a $800 fly rod, but more than I really wanted to spend on a fishing bag.
CON: It's not a "fishing" bag. There's no built in fly patches, no special compartments, no gizmos or doo-dads hanging from it to accommodate tools and such. It's merely a two compartment bag. It is also not waterproof. It does have a mesh "sleeve" on the outside to hold a water bottle, but I haven't used it for that yet.
PRO: Those compartments hold a lot of stuff! The bag doesn't look that big, but it tossed everything I used to put in my other bags in there, and it maybe filled it a third of the way. Just note, this isn't a full sized backpack, so if you plan on multi-tasking this thing, school textbooks and whatnot aren't gonna fit. A small paperback however...
CON: Stuff is free to move around. There's little segmentation in the bag. A small elastic-topped pocket within the main compartment will hold something like a camera in place, but that's about it.
The smaller front compartment does have some fabric dividers - organized to hold pens or and a small note pad or cell phone. (I use it to hold my stream thermometer and extra leaders. That noted, neither compartment is padded, so odds are something fragile would get tossed around and could break. Leave the fine China intended for streamside picnics at home.
PRO: It's lightweight and comfortable. I'm no a textile guru, but what I believe is a nylon shell is not bulky at all, and the padded shoulder strap (which is adjustable for length and left or right side carry) is a nice width. Wearing the pack, you almost forget it's on. The bit of ventilated padding that rests along your back is good and gives the bag some structure. Best part, when you need get to your gear on the inside, a quick swing to the front and everything is laid out for easy access.
CON: I think I'm out of them at this point, but for those that this may be important to, it is not made in the USA. Try China on for size instead.
PRO: Zips, pulls, and buckles are all above average. The bag is inexpensive, but the zippers aren't cheap, which is usually my main pet peeve when it come to any type of bag. Don't misunderstand me, they're not bulletproof or anything, but I have little concern of them binding or breaking.
|Buckle & slide|
|Zip and pull|
So to conclude...would I recommend this bag? Yes. It's roomy and and quite comfortable (which I realize sounds like a commercial for a mini-van), making it a great option when a chest pack is a bit too small for a day of fishing. Toss in a few fly boxes, your lunch, or even an extra T! shirt and you'll be good to go.
I actually think it would really excel for someone out wading for bass that typically carries larger gear...like clear plastic tackle boxes (like THIS). Just remember, as mentioned before, it is not waterproof, so don't wade too deep!
The Eddie Bauer sling pack tested in this product review was bought by me at full $20 in-store retail (I evidently need to go back and get a $5 price adjustment); I currently hold no association with Eddie Bauer whatsoever, however I do spend a ridiculous amount in their retail stores. 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. It ain't in my interest to steer you wrong, so why waste the time in doing so?