October 29, 2011

Gear Review - Eddie Bauer Sling Pack

A few weeks ago, when I went fishing for runaway stockies, I noticed my friend Swattie wearing a small sling pack to hold his gear.  It clearly wasn't a fishing specific sling pack, so I asked him what it was and if he liked it.  Answering in the affirmative, he explained it was a sling from Eddie Bauer.

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.

Hero shot

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.

Pretty no-frills

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.

Big compartment
Little compartment

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?


  1. Why don't you have your lovely wife make you a bag? It seems she knows how to use a sewing machine pretty well and you can tell her exactly what you'd like. If it works out pretty well you could even sell them!

  2. still like my 50 cent man purse A bigger bag works well for swatty and myself for our loooong wading trips

  3. Heaven forbid your tackle intermingles.

  4. @Stealth
    We've had that conversation once or twice...but just never did anything. One thing I do know is she sells enough diaperbags to keep more than busy, a fishing bag business would not be in the cards.

  5. @spurky
    Yep, that's the whole point. This bag is good for extended trips...on those that you might bring more stuff than usual.

  6. cool,with this new bag,swatty,and myself,can take you on one of our 4-7 hour wades down the creek!

  7. @Clif
    Hey...I personally couldn't care less...but if you've ever picked up a bag made for fisherfolk, there's dividers and pockets galore. Somebody must be asking for that. However, this bag is not that.

  8. Recently I've decided it's time for my old decrepit fishing vest to be replaced with a nice stylish man purse-bag. I do a lot of all day wading trips for steelhead/salmon so I need a little more room than a small chest pack affords. Thanks for the review!