Bringing all your gear on the water in a comfortable and organized manner can be a real challenge. There’s a ton of different style packs out there that are either in the way when you’re actively fishing or just don’t cut it when it comes to effective storage of your gear. Owning a reliable fly fishing pack is something most experienced anglers come to really appreciate.
Chest packs and waist packs are great options for storing your gear in a manner that won’t get in your way while fishing. While fly fishing backpacks definitely provide more storage space overall, a chest, sling or waist pack can fit all your essential gear without the cumbersome effect of shoulder straps and significant weight on your back.
Our top ten list has been arranged into two categories — chest packs (items #1 — #5) and waist packs (items #6 — 10). There’s a few totally waterproof options available as well as both smaller and higher capacity units. Whether you prefer to carry your gear on your chest, over your shoulder or on your waist, we’ve put together an awesome list of packs that’s bound to suit your preference.
1. Best High Capacity Waterproof Waist Pack: Fishpond Thunderhead Sling Pack
Here’s a great waterproof fly fishing pack by Fishpond. The Thunderhead is a high capacity sling pack that will keep all your gear bone dry. It’s crafted with a TPU welded fabric construction as well as TIZIP submersible zippers to ensure the bag doesn’t get wet. There’s a main internal pocket (totally waterproof) and also a secondary, water resistant pocket on the outside of the pack. There’s not a ton of organization potential within the internal of the bag due to the lack of dividers and smaller pockets, but there’s plenty of room for you to bring everything you want along. The external of the bag makes up for the lack of an internal pocket schematic. There’s an integrated sleeve for stowing your net as well as an array of loops and clips for securing forceps, clippers, tippet and what ever else you might want on hand.
There’s plenty of space on the outside of the pack for all your essential gear to have a home. The back panel of this pack is built with a mesh material for increasing ventilation. It’s a comfortable to wear sling pack that won’t grow hot and sticky over the course of the day. For keeping sensitive items away from the wetness and your most essential fly fishing gear right on hand, the Thunderhead is a top performing bag you’ll love and own for years.
Price: $179.96 & Free Shipping (10 percent off MSRP)
- TPU welded fabric construction makes this bag totally waterproof
- Well thought out array of external loops and clips for stowing your forceps, clippers, tippet, etc
- Includes a sleeve for stowing a trout net
- Back panel is designed to provide adequate ventilation on warmer days
- A bit more expensive than a lot of competitor packs — the price you pay for a totally waterproof pack
- Main opening is a bit tight — don’t over pack this one or you’ll be frustrated
2. Best Value Vest/Pack Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest Pack
Here’s a solid sling pack by Maxcatch at an awesome price. This is a great valued pack at just $45 that has a lot of features typical of more expensive fly fishing bags. It’s built tough from high quality polyester and employs a breathable, mesh lined fabric on the backside for providing ventilation. I find this pack to have an effective yet simple design that allows for easy access to the main, large zippered compartment. It has a good internal schematic within each of the larger pouches so organizing all your gear is made easy.
This pack doesn’t have a terribly complex array of pouches, pockets and zippers yet it provides more than ample room for all your essential gear in a compact unit. The strap is wide enough to be worn comfortably even with a lot of weight in the pack and you can even secure a secondary strap around your waist for some added support. This pack also has two lash tabs conveniently on the sides for hiking with rod tubes attached. For a larger capacity pack that you can both hike and fish with comfortably, this option by Maxcatch is a great choice. It provides a lot of internal space for all day outings that require a full pack and also has a great fit so you can fish comfortably. For less than $50 this is a great bag to own for a variety of fishing styles and other purposes.
Price: $39.00 & Free Shipping
- Excellent value pack at $45
- Lots of internal space for packing extra layers, lunch, etc
- Has a nice and wide shoulder strap for comfortability no matter the bag weight and an additional waist strap for added support when hiking and casting
- Built with tabs for securing rod tubes so you can conveniently hike with your rod(s)
- Has an awesome side sleeve that fits a net well
- Not a waterproof pack
3. Best Sling Pack: Orvis Safe Passage Sling Pack
Orvis makes excellent fly fishing bags that are well tested and highly reviewed by anglers. This sling pack is no exception — it’s a top quality unit that’s designed for the serious fly fishermen. This bag wears comfortably, it’s built with a seriously padded shoulder strap that won’t bother you even with heavy loads as well as a molded back panel for retaining good ventilation. The schematic of this nylon pack is very well thought out. There’s external space to stash all the gear you want to have out and ready to go.
A forcep sheath with magnetic anchor, a thoughtfully placed water bottle holder and cord loops for attaching a tippet bar all combine to give you the storage you need on the water. Everything is both on hand and out of the way without having to root through the bag. The quality of construction of this pack coupled with its attention to detail really make it the ideal sling pack depending on what your style is. For a comparable, but totally waterproof sling pack also by Orvis check out this attractive, but more expensive model.
Price: $89.00 & Free Shipping
- Excellent internal and external schematic for stowing all your gear in an orderly and out of the way fashion
- Nylon construction is built tough and made to last
- Great value bag for the cost
- This is not a waterproof pack — but there are waterproof pouches for purchase that can be attached to this bag
4. Best Value Chest Pack: North Star Sports Podium Angels Fly Fishing Day Pack
Here’s a killer bag from North Star Sports that’s currently 60% off! This chest pack is a versatile piece of gear that can either be equipped for long days on the water or just quick fishing outings. This is a compact, low profile chest pack that can fit a ton of gear without getting in your way while fishing. The best feature is likely the zip down fly bench paired with a detachable foam fly patch. It allows you to access flies quickly without rooting through multiple zippers and tackle boxes. It’s a great pack for high action fishing when you need to get to your flies quickly and efficiently. The zippered main compartment has ample storage space for fly boxes while the outer mesh pockets facilitate for additional gear you might want on hand like your clippers and forceps.
Both the padded neck strap and waist strap are equipped with detachable clasps so you can wear this pack as snug or loose as you would like. The backside of this pack has even been thoughtfully crafted with a breathable air mesh material for remaining comfortable during those hot days on the water. This pack is a great option for all sorts of fishing. The internal and external schematic are ideal for gearing up for stream, flats, lake or coastline fishing. The low profile design paired with its killer storage capacity makes for an awesome daypack you can load up without feeling a thing. The price is definitely right on this one — North Star has crafted both an excellent and affordable pack here.
Price: $42.44 & Free Shipping
- Very affordable pack — really a great value with this one
- Zip down fly bench is super convenient and the fly patch is removable
- Backside of the pack is designed for good ventilation
- Outer mesh pockets add up to a solid array of external storage space
- This is a low profile, smaller sized pack — it won’t fit bulkier items
- This is not a waterproof pack
5. Best Budget Sling Pack: Fiblink Waterproof Single Shoulder Fishing Bag
I really like this bag for the cost. Fiblink has designed a spacious sling pack with a ton of organization potential here. If your fly fishing pack is always a catastrophe, then the ten separate inner and outer storage pockets on this pack will really come in handy. It’s a fairly large pack that has an excellent array of storage options for keeping all your gear separate and orderly. If the camo pattern is not your style then don’t worry — there’s three other color options. Fiblink has crafted this pack from heavy duty, water resistant nylon that is built to take a beating This pack should stand up to some heavy fishing before it starts to fail.
There’s decent back support and an ergonomic shoulder strap for ensuring comfort while actively hiking and fishing with this pack. You can choose which side to mount the shoulder strap on in addition to it being highly adjustable, so you shouldn’t have any issues mounting it the way you want it to wear on your body. For less than $30 this is a pretty all inclusive pack that you’ll own for years with the proper treatment.
Price: $28.99 & Free Shipping
- High potential for effectively organizing a ton of gear
- Great value pack at less than $30
- Four color options to choose from
- Water resistant, not waterproof. This bag will keep your gear dry enough but I wouldn’t store sensitive electronics in it
- The zippers used are adequate but not built to last on par with the rest of the pack
6. Best Value Waist Pack: Allen Eagle River Lumbar Fishing Pack
Here’s a high capacity waist pack by Allen Company that can handle a good amount of gear. This form fitting pack is designed to both sit comfortably on your body and also accommodate for a lot of fishing equipment. There’s room for up to six fly boxes or two nine inch tackle boxes in the main pocket. There’s also a zip down work station that is equipped with a tippet tender and a fly patch. It’s a small fold-out work space that’s ideal for stashing and tying on tippet and flies while actively fishing. Several D-rings, loops and additional straps are present on the exterior of the bag for storing any other gear you might need. A mesh pouch for holding a water bottle is also located on the side of this waist pack adding up to some solid overall functionality.
What sets this pack apart from other fly fishing waist packs is the strapping. The padded, cool mesh waist straps on this pack really hug your body for a snug fit while fishing. The material used allows for you to wear this pack tight to your form without becoming too hot or experiencing uncomfortable chafe. There’s even an additional over the neck strap if you find you need some extra support with heavier loads. This is a well rounded fly fishing pack that really has it all. Ample storage space, a thoughtful pocket schematic and a comfortable, sporty fit make this pack the full package for less than $40!
Price: $42.70 & Free Shipping
- Provides good storage capacity while remaining low profile on your body
- Waist belt is designed for an optimum fit while fishing that won’t sag down or chafe you while remaining highly breathable
- Zip down work station within the front pouch is a nice added touch that includes a tippet tender and fly patch
- A great value at just $40
- The over the neck strap is unnecessary according to some fishermen reviews
- There’s an internal waterproof zippered pocket for sensitive items — but the rest of the pack is not waterproof
7. Best Budget Wait Pack for High Organization: YUOTO Outdoor Waist Pack
Here’s another highly affordable waist pack where you definitely get more than you pay for. This pack has a wide array of storage options making it a great pack for fly fishermen who typically have a bunch of gear that needs organizing. There’s two external zippered pockets on the front and another two on the sides. There’s plenty of additional D-rings, strapping and clips for securing extra gear you might want to have on hand like your forceps and clippers. It provides a lot of separate storage for a bag that’s eleven by five by six inches.
There’s even dual water bottle holders on either side of the pack. This pack is crafted with wear resistant nylon and also employs a breathable mesh lumbar padding. It’s built both rugged and comfortable to wear under any conditions. YUOTO has no doubt made an affordable pack well suited for fly fishing with this one.
Price: $19.99 & Free Shipping on orders over $25
- Lots of storage space between the zippered pockets, water bottle holders and additional clips and strapping
- Waist belt is crafted with a breathable mesh for effective breathability
- Super affordable!
- Six color options to choose from
- Comes with additional strapping for securing over the neck or as a chest pack
- The zippered pockets on the rear of the pack are difficult to access without taking the bag off
- This pack will not fit fishermen with particularly large waists
8. Best Budget Waist Pack: Piscifun Fishing Waist Bag
Here’s a budget waist pack that’s honestly a pretty great unit. This fishing fanny pack by Piscifun won’t even run you $15 and it’s comparable with a lot of higher end bags. This is a super lightweight pack at just 10.5 ounces that’s great for packing your essential fly fishing gear. What you see is pretty much what you get with this one — there’s five different outer pockets that allow for some pretty good storage capacity despite this bag’s smaller size.
I own this unit and have been quite honestly pretty impressed with its capacity — I can fit 3 fly bozes, my 5 wt. reel and all my essential tippet, nippers, forceps etc. Two zippered pockets, a mesh pocket and two additional Velcro pockets all add up to some solid space. There’s even space for securing a water bottle. As a lightweight, essentials only waist pack this unit by Piscifun is no doubt a great affordable option. If you’re looking for a simple but versatile pack at a low cost, then definitely give this one a look.
Price: $12.99 & Free Shipping on orders over $25
- Super affordable at less than $15
- Five external pockets add up to some solid storage space
- Super lightweight at just 10.5 ounces — this is a slim and sleek pack that is great for bringing the bare necessities
- Lifetime warranty on the zippers!
- Highly adjustable, this will fit any size angler
- This pack is not waterproof
- Straps are not the most durable — don’t go to hard on this one
9. Best Minimalist Waist Pack: Waterfly Water Resistant Waist Bag
This waist pack by Waterfly is a bare-bones option that is perfect for the minimalist angler or as a secondary pack for those who need a lot of storage. This highly affordable waist pack won’t be able to carry much — but if you’re looking for a hands free option that you can bring along some tippet, floatant, clippers, forceps and a few smaller fly boxes with, than check this one out. There’s one main zippered pocket and two additional front pockets — so despite it’s size there’s some decent organizational potential here.
There’s also another zippered pocket hidden on the rear of the pack great for stashing your keys, wallet, phone, etc. If you like the idea of having your most important fly fishing gear at your finger tips and the rest of your essential gear in a larger chest or shoulder pack, then this could be both the low profile and affordable waist pack you’re looking for. At $13 this little pack is a gem that will free up your main fishing pack or perhaps provide you with all the space you need!
Price: $9.99 & Free Shipping on orders over $25
- Super affordable!
- Material is water resistant
- Great sized bag for packing just your fishing essentials or to use as an extra bag in addition to your sling-pack when you need a lot of space
- Seven different color options!
- Waist strap is not the most durable
- The pockets are not spacious, this will only fit smaller fly boxes
10. Best Versatile Waterproof Fly Fishing Pack: Wetfly Waterproof Lotus Waist/Hip/Sling Pack
Wetfly has come up with a great waterproof pack here. This unit can be modified to function as a waist, chest, hip or sling pack making it highly versatile when it comes to how you want to wear it. If you like to bring along a camera while on the water, this is an effective and safe option for storing your SLR. It functions kind of like a traditional dry bag — the main compartment utilizes a roll-top closure to ensure its contents stay bone dry. All the seams are welded and taped for flawless waterproof performance over the lifetime of the pack. The YKK zippers used are of high quality and the waterproof material of the bag itself is both lightweight and attractive. There’s not a ton of potential for complex organization due to the lack of external pockets — the main goal here is to keep your water sensitive items dry while fishing. There’s absolutely ample space (about 8 liters) to bring all your fishing essentials — you may however need to employ a bit of creativity when packing in order to access it all in an orderly fashion.
Two flip out water bottle pouches are tucked into the main belt for an extra hand if you need it. The strapping is pretty dam solid on this pack as well so it wears comfortably however you choose to mount it. All in all, this is a comfortable, spacious and form fitting pack that will keep your electronics and other sensitive gear safe while fishing — definitely a solid bag from Wetfly. If you’re interested in a waterproof waist pack but this one just isn’t your style, then check out this more attractive option from Fishpond.
Price: $142.15 & Free Shipping
- Main compartment is totally waterproof — bring your camera or other water sensitive gear along fishing
- Great strapping that allows for the bag to be worn as a waist, chest, hip or sling pack
- Provides a good amount of space between all the pockets (about eight liters)
- Includes some bonus goodies! (tippet, fly box, etc)
- Not a ton of potential for internal organization — only two other pockets in addition to the main compartment