11 Best Fly Fishing Chest Packs & Hip Packs

fly fishing chest packs

Bringing all your gear on the water in a comfortable and organized manner can be a real challenge. A lot of different style fishing packs are either in the way when you’re actively angling or just don’t cut it when it comes to effective storage of your gear.

Owning a reliable fly fishing pack is something all experienced anglers come to really appreciate. 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.

fishpond thunderhead pack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Fully submersible
  • Great array of external attachment points
  • Includes a sleeve for stowing a trout net
Price: $229.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
maxcatch sling pack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Excellent value pack for the cost
  • Lots of internal space for packing extra layers, lunch, etc
  • Shoulder strap is nice and wide
Price: $39.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
orvis sling pack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Great organization potential
  • Great value bag for the cost
  • Nylon construction is built tough
Price: $89.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
northstar sports fly fishing chest pack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Highly affordable option
  • Backside of the pack is designed for good ventilation
  • Zip down fly bench
Price: $14.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
fiblink fly fishing pack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Great organization potential
  • Great value pack for the cost
  • Several color options
Price: $27.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Orvis Waterproof Hip Pack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • TPU coated 500D nylon is totally submersible!
  • Gear station on pack front for securing zinger, nippers, and forceps
  • Great organization potential
Price: $229.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
allen company hip pack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Provides good storage capacity for it size
  • Form fitting hip belt
  • Zip down work station within the front pouch
Price: $38.65 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Mountainsmith dry tour Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Fully waterproof!
  • Tons of external gear attatchment points
  • Comfortable lumbar strapping
Price: $179.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
yuoto fly fishing hip pack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Super affordable!
  • Waist belt is crafted with a breathable mesh
  • Six color options to choose from
Price: $22.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
piscifun hip pack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Five external pockets
  • Several color options
  • Super lightweight at just 10.5 ounces
Price: $9.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
waterfly hip pack Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Super affordable!
  • Great sized bag for packing just your fishing essentials
  • Material is water resistant
Price: $15.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Best High Capacity Waterproof Waist Pack: Fishpond Thunderhead Sling Pack

    Pros:
    • 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
    Cons:
    • Fairly expensive option
    • Main opening is a bit tight - don’t over pack this one or you’ll be frustrated
    • Internal organization is not terribly impressive

    The Thunderhead Sling Pack by Fishpond is a high capacity submersible fishing pack that will keep all your gear bone dry.

    This unit is crafted with a TPU welded fabric construction as well as TIZIP submersible zippers to ensure the interior 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 array of tool attachment points 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 whatever 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.

  2. 2. Best Value Vest/Pack: Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest Pack

    Pros:
    • Excellent value pack for the cost
    • 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)
    • Features a side sleeve that fits a net well
    Cons:
    • Not a waterproof pack
    • Some might not like the almost military style aesthetic
    • The amount of gear storage might be a bit excessive for some

    Here’s a great value pack from Maxcatch for the cost that has a lot of features typical of more expensive fly fishing bags. 

    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. It’s furthermore built tough from high-quality polyester and employs a breathable, mesh-lined fabric on the backside for providing ventilation.

    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.

  3. 3. Best Sling Pack: Orvis Safe Passage Sling Pack

    Pros:
    • 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
    Cons:
    • This is not a waterproof pack - but there are waterproof pouches for purchase that can be attached to this bag
    • Aesthetic may be boring to some
    • Although it's a great value pack, it's still fairly expensive

    This sling pack from Orvis 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.

  4. 4. Best Value Chest Pack: North Star Sports Podium Angels Fly Fishing Day Pack

    Pros:
    • Highly affordable option
    • 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
    Cons:
    • This is a low profile, smaller sized pack - it won’t fit bulkier items
    • This is not a waterproof pack
    • No color options

    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 the 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.

  5. 6. Orvis Waterproof Hip Pack

    Pros:
    • Gear station on pack front for securing zinger, nippers, and forceps
    • TPU coated 500D nylon
    • Shoulder strap for supporting heavier loads
    • Internal zippered and stash pocket have great organization potential
    • External tippet bar loops
    • Excellent customer service from Orvis
    Cons:
    • Some might not like the large 'Orvis' logo
    • Expensive option
    • Zipper takes some strength to use

    Here is a fully submersible waist pack by Orvis for fly fishermen who want to keep all their essential gear bone dry! 

    This is a remarkably tough TPU coated 500D nylon waterproof waist pack designed for ambitious anglers who wade high water and fish out in the elements without hesitation. This unit is certainly more expensive than a lot of the competition, but it’s a quality Orvis product so you can count on great craftsmanship and customer service. I have personally had great experiences with all of Orvis’s nylon waterproof packs – I’ve fished HARD with mine and have yet to see it leak!

    This is one of out our top picks from our list of the best waterproof waist packs for fishing and is without a doubt one of the industry leading fishing packs overall!

    This pack is very low profile on the outside to avoid line snags, but external tippet bar loops and a few attachment points for nippers and forceps are present for your ‘on-hand essentials’. The inherently simple design and highly customizable strapping combine to give you full freedom of motion.  

    There’s even a unique placement of the water bottle attachment with this pack that’s located on the underside rather than the side. This style more evenly displaces the weight of your water bottle and also keeps it out of the way from your fly line.

    The internal of this waterproof waist pack is all business and no frills. It’s an awesome internal schematic that provides you with some killer organization potential without creating a cluttered interior. Several mesh pockets and sleeves allow you to customize the pack internal however you like best!

    Orvis has furthermore included a removable shoulder strap with this pack for some help supporting heavier loads. 

    All in all, Orvis has designed a brilliant waterproof waist pack with this fully submersible model that’s suitable for honestly any style angler. If you have the fishing funds to treat yourself to this one, it’s an investment you won’t be disappointed with! 

  6. 7. Best Value Waist Pack: Allen Eagle River Lumbar Fishing Pack

    Pros:
    • 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
    • Excellent value
    Cons:
    • 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
    • No color options

    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 workspace 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 a more than fair price!

     

     

  7. 8. Mountainsmith Dry Tour

    Pros:
    • Fully waterproof!
    • Zippered pocket on the lumbar support and tons of external gear attatchment points
    • Comfortable lumbar strapping that does not loosen up on you
    • Sharp aesthetic
    • Simple internal schematic is spacios to accomodate for larger fly boxes
    • Detachable cup/bottle holder
    Cons:
    • Fairly expensive option
    • The detachable cup/bottle holder is a bit cumbersome, you'll likely pop it off while actively fishing
    • Zippers take some muscle to pull

    Here’s a waterproof lumbar pack option from Mountainsmith that is an excellent value fishing companion with great gear capacity and organization potential.

    Most top brands have an astronomical price tag for waterproof fishing packs, this option contends with the industry’s best and is offered at a more reasonable price point. Mountainsmith recently sent me this waist pack to run some gear trials on, and it’s performed great for me. It’s totally waterproof and the main compartment is nice and spacious for stashing more cumbersome gear. 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 not got wet yet! The Dry Tour locks out water, but the submersible zipper definitely takes some muscle to pull as a result. Plan on applying some zipper lubricant here and there throughout the fishing season and you won’t get frustrated!  

    Similar to the Orvis pack listed here, the interior of this unit is essentially just one big main compartment with a few zippered mesh sleeves. It’s great for stashing more cumbersome gear and fly boxes as opposed to waist packs that split the interior into two slimmer compartments. 

    The Dry Tour also offers a ton of external attachment points for all sorts of tools and gear. Webbing, loops, and D-rings line the entire hip pack and there’s even some strapping for lashing a water bottle. A removable cup/bottle holder furthermore included for actively fishing and enjoying your beverage – just be careful of line snags. 

    Perhaps my favorite feature of this waist pack is the zippered pocket on the hip belt. It’s not totally submersible, but it is a splash-proof pocket that’s ideal for stashing keys or a fishing license.

  8. 9. Best Budget Wait Pack for High Organization: YUOTO Outdoor Waist Pack

    Pros:
    • 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
    Cons:
    • 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
    • Minimal external attachment points for gear

    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 are 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 are 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.

  9. 10. Best Budget Waist Pack: Piscifun Fishing Waist Bag

    Pros:
    • 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
    Cons:
    • This pack is not waterproof
    • Straps are not the most durable - don’t go to hard on this one
    • Not a huge capcity for gear or larger sized tackle boxes although it makes great use of the storage space

    Here’s a budget waist pack by Piscifun that’s comparable with a lot of higher end options and is super easy on your wallet.

    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 are 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 despite its size – I can fit 3 fly boxes, 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 a 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.

  10. 11. Best Minimalist Waist Pack: Waterfly Water Resistant Waist Bag

    Pros:
    • 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!
    Cons:
    • Waist strap is not the most durable
    • The pockets are not spacious, this will only fit smaller fly boxes
    • Lacks external attachment points

    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 fingertips 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 a super low cost, this little pack is a gem that will free up your main fishing pack or perhaps provide you with all the space you need!

Our top list has been arranged into two categories -- chest packs (items #1 -- #5) and waist packs (items #6 -- 11). There are 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 are bound to suit your preference!

See Also:

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