Everyone has their own way of transporting their fishing gear out on the water. Fishing vests, traditional tackle boxes and specialized backpacks are all effective choices, but what about when you can expect a wet day of fishing?
For those of us anglers that wade high water, take on a lot of splash while boating or that simply fish rain or shine, a waterproof waist pack is a great piece of fishing gear to own.
Out top list has tracked down the best waterproof waist pack systems for anglers — consider what you bring along on the water and select the best option for you! Tight lines and fair skies from all of us here at Heavy!
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1. Orvis Waterproof Hip PackPros:
- Gear station on pack front for securing zinger, nippers, and forceps
- Internal zippered and stash pocket have great organization potential
- TPU coated 500D nylon
- Padded, adjustable waist belt
- Shoulder strap for supporting heavier loads
- External tippet bar loops
- Water bottle stash space is tuked underneath the pack to avoid line snags
- Clean, professional look
- Excellent customer service from Orvis so you can buy in confidence
- One of the more expensive options
- Zipper takes some strength to use
- Some might not like the size of the Orvis logo
The Orvis Waterproof Hip Pack is a fully submersible, low profile option that comes off as minimalist on the outside, yet features some righteous internal storage/organization potential.
This is a seriously tough TPU coated 500D nylon waterproof waist pack from Orvis meant for ambitious anglers who wade high without hesitation. This unit will definitely cost you more than a lot of the competition, but it’s an Orvis product so you can count on quality. I’ve had great experiences with all of Orvis’s nylon waterproof packs and have yet to see one leak. This is a reliable construction style and material choice, not to mention Orvis is renowned for their excellent customer service in the event your pack leaks.
External tippet bar loops and a space to stash nippers and forceps is all you really need on the outside of your pack – especially if you’re high-wading and exposing your pack to water. The design of this unit is meant to keep you low profile in order to avoid line snags and provide you with full freedom of motion.
There’s a unique placement of the water bottle holder on this pack that’s oriented on the underside rather than the side. This style more evenly displaces the weight of your water bottle and also keeps it away from your fly line.
The internal of this waterproof waist pack is quite impressive. It’s an awesome schematic that provides you with huge organization potential without creating a cluttered interior. Several zippered and mesh pockets allow you to customize this pack however you’d like.
Orvis has conveniently included a removable shoulder strap to this pack for some assistance carrying heavier loads. It’s nice to have a little extra support on the hike out to the fishing grounds when your water bottle is still full and you haven’t had your lunch yet.
All in all, Orvis has designed a killer waterproof waist pack with their TPU coated 500D nylon model suitable for any style angler. If you have the fishing funds to spring for this one you won’t be disappointed!
2. Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Lumbar PackPros:
- Main waterproof compartment utilizes a zippered closure rather than roll top
- 1680D TPU coated recycled nylon
- Padded shoulder strap includes tool/accesory attachment points
- Lots of external tabs for external tool attachment
- Integrated net slot
- Lightweight foam used for the backpanel and hipbelt
- Fairly expensive
- No space for securing a water bottle
- Exterior of this pack has some huge potential as a work station but requires some customization
The Thunderhead Submersible Lumbar Pack from Fishpond is super tough. This durable, waterproof tackle system is built with a zippered closure, instead of a roll-top.
This is a highly customizable waterproof waist pack option that’s a crowd favorite amongst fly fishermen. The Thunderhead is crafted from 1680D TPU coated recycled nylon and includes padded/adjustable shoulder strapping. There is a main zippered compartment and a smaller sized front pocket (also zippered) totaling to 10 liters of capacity. This bag has an unassuming amount of space for such a streamlined, low profile unit.
The external of this pack is studded with attachment points and loops for customizing your tool and accessory assemblage. This is a professional status waist pack for serious anglers so most of the set up is left up to you – both a pro and a con if you ask me. This is a waterproof waist pack that can be utilized however matches your fishing style best.
One of the best features of this pack is the tool attachment built into the shoulder strapping. It makes sense to have a tackle system that’s functional on all fronts – why not put the shoulder strapping to good use as well? Forceps, in particular, have a secure and easily accessible home when fastened to the shoulder strap.
The Thunderhead has also incorporated an integrated net slot to the backside of the pack so you can both hike and wade with your net secure and on hand. It won’t be practical when wearing this lumbar pack frontwards, but when facing backward it’s an effective carry system for your net that positions it nicely for a quick-draw. If you’re planning on leaving the vest behind then you’ll need a carry system for your net – Fishpond has thought of this.
The back panel and hip belt are padded with lightweight foam ensuring this waist pack is not at all heavy despite its higher capacity. All-day adventures with your gear on your waist/hip means you need to stay light on your feet.
For backcountry go-getters scouting the wilderness for hidden trout holes and saltwater fanatics who crush miles on the tidal flats, the Thunderhead Submersible Lumbar Pack is likely one of the only options that can keep up!
3. Mountainsmith Dry TourPros:
- Fair price point
- Removable bottle/cup holder
- Large interior pocket for more cumbersome fly boxes
- Comfortable lumbar strapping that does not loosen up on you
- Sharp looking aesthetic
- Removable shoulder strap
- Zippered pocket on the lumbar support and tons of external gear attatchment points
- Lack of interior organization (this may be a pro if what you're looking for is simplicity)
- Zipper can be difficult to pull, plan on lubricating it every once in a while
- Detatchable cup holder is built a bit cumbersome for most fly fishing scenarios
The DryTour Lumbar Pack from Mountainsmith is an excellent quality fishing companion that comes at a very fair price point.
The top brands charge quite a bit for waterproof fishing packs, this option contends with the best and is offered at a more reasonable cost. Mountainsmith recently sent me this waist pack to test in the field, and it’s performed awesome for me. It’s effectively waterproof, and the main compartment is submersible. The Dry Tour also carries and adjusts really nicely allowing you to forget it’s even there!
I use this pack for high wading while river fishing and my gear has yet to get wet. This pack truly locks out water, but the zipper definitely takes some muscle to open and close as a result. Plan on applying some zipper lubricant every once in a while and you won’t get frustrated!
The build of this pack feels solid, yet it remains exceptionally lightweight. I’ve only got my Dry Tour on the water a few times so far, but I can tell it’s going to hold up great in the long run.
I personally love the interior schematic of this waist pack. Similar to the Orvis pack listed here, this option is essentially just one big main compartment with zippered mesh sleeves on either side of the pocket. It’s great for fitting more cumbersome gear and fly boxes as opposed to waist packs that split the design into two slimmer compartments.
There are also a ton of external attachment points for gear and tools. Webbing, loops, and D-rings line the entire Dry Tour, and there’s even some strapping for securing a water bottle. A removable cup/bottle holder is also included for actively fishing and enjoying your beverage.
Perhaps my favorite feature of this waist pack is the zippered pocket on the hip belt. It’s not totally submersible, but it’s a splash-proof pocket that’s perfect for stashing keys or a fishing license.
All in all, this is an excellent value waterproof waist pack with a sharp aesthetic that’s well worth the buy!
4. YETI Hopper Sidekick DryPros:
- YETI's Dryhide Shell and RF-Welded seams ensure this bag is truly watertight
- Hydroshield closure utilzes a waterproof gasket and magnetic strip for an easy to access yet totally sealed system
- Perfect minimalist dry bag for a tackle box, phone, leader material and snacks
- 11 ¾ by 7 1/8 by 3 ¼ inch dimensions makes this is wonderfully compact waist pack
- Streamlined design is great for fly fishermen in particular and is not prone to line snags
- Multiple color options available
- Awesome price point
- Lacks any external attachment points for gear
- Does not feature a comfy lumbar support - you'll have to pair this option with your own belt option
- Low capcity bag is not for gear-heavy anglers.
The YETI Hopper Sidekick Dry is a brilliant minimalist waist pack for fishermen seeking an affordable submersible storage option for on the go angling. If you prefer to keep your fishing pack low profile and streamlined, and don’t need to carry a ton of gear out on the water, this is the waist pack you’re looking for.
The Sidekick is built with YETI’s Dryhide Shell and RF-Welded seams to ensure it’s truly watertight. The unique Hydroshield closure furthermore utilizes a waterproof gasket and magnetic strip for an easy to access yet totally sealed system. Getting in and out of this pack is a total piece of cake, and you can rest assured it’s properly secured after grabbing what you need due to the magnet.
Coming in at 11 3/4 by 7 1/8 by 3 1/4 inches, this is the perfect minimalist dry bag for stashing a tackle box, phone, leader material and snacks. Fly fishermen, in particular, will really love how bare-bones this option is – making it easy to avoid line snags while casting and to retain a full range of motion.
There is no lumbar padding or clip system to this bag because it’s also designed to be attached via YETI’s modular system to many of their backpacks and coolers. The strapping on the backside of the Sidekick makes it easy to attach this bag onto virtually anything – and it will receive a regular fishing belt wonderfully for normal waist wear or alternative use as a sling pack.
The brand even offers this nifty little submersible fishing companion in a variety of different color options, so you can choose the aesthetic that’s the most fitting for you.
All in all, a killer value waterproof waist pack from YETI that anglers who prefer to pack light will absolutely love the simplicity of!
5. Umpqua Tongass Waterproof Waist PackPros:
- Higher capacity (11 liters) waist pack for gear intensive days that you want to ditch the backpack
- Front pocket is highly water resistant and great for stashing lighter gear like leaders/tippet
- TPU welded 420D nylon waterproof fabric is tough yet supple and not too stiff
- Huge potential for different gear storage methods - this is a highly customizable waist pack
- Internal key clip
- Waist belt pockets also work as back-up rod holder
- Two large water bottle pockets
- Removable shoulder strap
- The higher capacity of this pack might be a bit large for some minamalist fishermen looking for low profile waist pack
- The price although very fair for the quality here is still pretty high
- Roll top closure of the waterproof compartment although very secure is a bit more cumbersome than a zippered closure
The Tongass Waterproof Waist Pack is a seriously advanced and highly capable option for gear-intensive anglers from reputable outfitter, Umpqua.
This is a brand renowned for its quality of craftsmanship and attention to angling specific features – the Tongass waterproof waist pack is the perfect example of why Umpqua has the reputation it does.
This is a pretty high capacity unit (11 liters) that allows you to bring a lot of gear on the water. If you’re looking for an expedition type system of gear storage for more involved days on the water, this is a great choice. You can pack your lunch, several fly boxes, a few water bottles and a wide array of tools. There’s of course also room for leader material some personal items like your keys, wallet, and phone.
The capacity of the Tongass makes it a good carry system for cameras as well.
If you spend long days wading the tidal flats, drifting western streams or hiking deep into the wilderness to your favorite fishing hole, you’ll appreciate all the space this TPU welded 420D nylon waterproof waist pack provides you with.
The main waterproof compartment employs a roll-top closure – it’s a super secure and watertight system but a bit more cumbersome than a waterproof zipper is. The front compartment although not water-tight is highly weather-proof so it’s a great spot to stash leaders/tippet and other gear that doesn’t necessarily need to stay BONE dry.
An internal key clip for securing to your keys (or floatant, tippet bar, etc.) as well as an included external fly patch add even more versatility and function to this fishing pack.
The exterior of the Tongass is exceptionally righteous as a fishing station. This is a very well thought out schematic with all sorts of awesome external attachment points for nippers, forceps, tippet bars and whatever else you might want on hand. The customization potential is huge with this waist pack which is perhaps the most important feature of a tackle system in general!
The waist pad and back panel are fully padded for all-day comfort and Umpqua has also included a removable shoulder strap with a “stay-in-place” silicone screen. If you’re carrying a heavy load, you can easily modify the Tongass to more effectively carry weight.
For those that like to pack a big lunch, a camera for taking photos of the gang or just gear heavy anglers in general, the Tongass Waterproof Waist Pack from Umpqua is right up your alley.
6. Overboard Waterproof Waist PackPros:
- Highly affordable
- Compact and low profile at 5.1 by 7.8 by 3.1 inches
- Comfortable, adjustable strapping
- Decent degree of internal organization for the cost
- Water bottle and tuck-away external zip pocket
- Removable waist belt so you can use this pack with your own belt or attach it to something
- Not designed specifically for angling
- Some complaints that the submersible compartent fails - I wouldn't trust electronics in there
- Roll top closure is more cumbersome than a waterproof zipper
Here’s a budget option of waterproof waist pack that will work just fine for fishing purposes. The Overboard Waterproof Waist Pack has mixed reviews for its level of total waterproofness, but it’s a great choice of affordable waist pack regardless.
If you need something that will absolutely, 100% keep your gear dry – look elsewhere. There are more than a few customer reviews that claim their Overboard waist pack failed upon submersion. That being said, there are also plenty of reviews praising this pack’s ability to keep its contents bone dry. For the cost, I think it’s totally worth giving a shot, maybe just refrain from putting any expensive valuables like your phone or camera in there. As far as your tackle boxes and fishing tools go, they will be just fine.
If you’re looking for a waterproof waist pack to keep all your hooks from taking on moisture and rusting, this unit is up for the task.
Because it’s not specifically designed for angling this waist pack does not include external attachment points for tippet loops, forceps, etc. This is more of a tackle box or gear transport than it is a mobile workstation like the other waist packs listed here. The waist belt does, however, have a tuck-away zippered compartment great for smaller sized tools and there’s also a water bottle holder that could be utilized as is or modified to be compatible with fishing equipment.
The waist belt is effectively padded for comfort, but it’s also removable if you would rather pair this pack with your own belt or secure it to something else entirely. The fact that you can detach this pack from its strapping definitely adds some versatility and makes it much more than just a waterproof waist pack for fishing.
For the budget angler who can’t yet afford to spring for a top of the line waterproof waist pack, this unit from Overboard might be just what you’re looking for!
7. Watershed Goforth Duffel BagPros:
- ZipDry closure seals shut like a freezer food storage bag making for a completely airtight design
- 420D Cordura nylon ripstop fabric provides five times the abrasion resistance of PVC and will not crack or fade
- 15 liter size is fairly high-capacity and capable of holding quite a bit of gear
- Several lash points along the 2 inch wide webbing as well as D-rings for further external gear attachment
- Rolltop design with compression straps allows you to effectively cinch this option down to be more low profile when not full
- The clear color option allows you to view the contents of your bag without having to open it
- Removable waist belt, as well as multiple ways to wear and carry
- Great price point
- Some anglers may not like the feel of the unique ZipDry closure - it's a matter of preference really
- 15 liter (9 by 16 by 8 inch) size is certainly more cumbersome than many of the lower profile options listed here
- This waist pack is best worn on your backside, rather than front side
The Watershed Goforth Duffel Bag is a stellar high-capacity option of waterproof waist pack that’s perfect for gear heavy anglers who have a need for a larger on-the-water storage system but prefer not to wear a backpack.
This 15-liter waist pack is certainly a bit more cumbersome to wear than the other options on this list, but its rolltop design and integrated compression straps at least allow you to cinch the Goforth down to make it more low-profile when not packed full. This is a wonderful personal fishing bag, but it’s truly an awesome option for angling pairs and teams that rely on one storage system for everyone’s essential gear.
The brand sent me a Goforth dry bag a while back, and it’s since been utilized by my fishing friends and I as our on-the-move command center out wading the flats many times. It packs everyone’s tackle, snacks and tools just fine, making it a killer all-day excursion type bag. A nice array of external attachment points and D-rings furthermore allows you to access the tools and gear you want directly on hand with ease.
The 420D Cordura nylon ripstop fabric construction provides five times the abrasion resistance of PVC and will not crack or fade – so this option is built exceptionally rugged. Watershed’s proprietary ZipDry closure seals shut like a freezer food storage bag ensuring a completely airtight design – it ‘s a unique type of closure that’s simple and intuitive to use, as well as approved for long lifespan.
Lastly, the Goforth features a removable waist belt, as well as multiple ways to wear and carry – so you can get creative if you choose to and even use this option as a boat bag or luggage for travel!
An Essential Piece of Equipment
A pack of any kind keeps your lunch, electronics, and other important items safe while fishing and also better maintains the condition of your fishing gear.
One slip and resulting dunk in the stream with your regular fishing pack or vest on could mean all your tackle or flies get wet -- that equals potential hook rusting in the near future. This goes double for all you saltwater fishermen out there.
Waterproof Sling Packs
Some anglers might prefer the fit, feel, and capacity of a sling pack over a waist pack.
Waterproof sling packs sit a bit higher on your person, so they won't ride up on you and create frustrating buoyancy if you're wading up to your waist. Many sling packs are furthermore built to be even lower profile than waist packs, and often offer greater storage capacity - it's all about preference, however.
Some of our favorite waterproof sling pack recommendations include:
Waterproof Fishing Backpacks
If you like the idea of fishing with all of your tools, tackle, and equipment, then you should definitely consider the benefits of a full-on waterproof fishing backpack.
While wearing a backpack is certainly more cumbersome than a streamlined waterproof waist pack or sling pack, there are still plenty of options on the market that allow for excellent mobility and full range of motion. Get the idea out of your head that wearing a backpack will slow you down on the water - there are some brilliantly designed options that are very much equipped for the highly active angler.
Our top picks for waterproof fishing backpacks include the Orvis Waterproof Backpack, the Fishpond Thunderhead Submersible Backpack, and the YETI Panga Submersible Backpack - but make sure to check out our post on the best waterproof fishing backpacks for a closer look at all of our top picks!
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