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I usually wear a waist pack to carry my angling necessities while wade fishing and to be more specific, I use the extra-large Sage Waist Pack. This pack has served me extremely well over the course of four long guiding seasons. It has kept my gear safe and dry through every storm that mother nature has hurled my way since I bought it in 2010. As a guide, I cannot let rain, hail, or snow keep me off the water, and my Sage waist pack helps me brave any storm.
The Key features of these fly fishing waist packs are water resistance, size, and durability. Gear organization is also easy with this pack. And a couple of thoughtful extra features like rain jacket strap and water bottle carriers make it possible to stay on the water all day when the fishing is hot.
Watertight Submersible Pocket
One of the biggest reasons to consider the large Sage waist pack is the watertight submersible pocket. My wallet, keys, iPhone, and guiding permits go in this pocket and they stay dry whether I do or not. Many bags and packs are described as water resistant, but only the back pocket of the large Sage waist pack is actually submersible. No matter the conditions, I know that I can at least rely on one small area to remain totally dry. The rest of the pack does do a great job at shedding water in the rain.
With 671 cubic inches of storage capacity, the large Sage waist pack may seem like a bit of a black hole at first. You might wonder how you will ever fill all that space. After just a few quick trips to the fly shop followed by long days on the river, that will change. If you are like me you tend to accumulate fly cups, tippet spools, spare pliers, and thingamabobbers like it is your job. Soon the available space in other waist packs runs out and you are left feeling unprepared, wondering what you can live a day without and what you can leave in the car. I have tried several of these smaller packs and over time have discovered that the only one big enough is the large Sage Waist Pack. If there is extra space and it bothers you, simply tighten the adjustment straps on the underside of the pack for a sleeker fit. But the ability to carry snacks, a small first aid kit and other extra items will definitely be appreciated.
The only problem that I have had with my waist pack has occurred with the front zipper that seals the large compartment. I have to admit that the pack was a little bit over loaded, and because of the pressure, the zipper failed. The warranty department at Sage was happy to save the day, and after paying only shipping costs, the zipper was replaced. According to Sage, the new models feature updated zippers that are stronger than the old ones, so the problem has been addressed. Aside from this little issue, the pack has been extremely durable. The welded rubber coating is extremely abrasion resistant and the pack performs just as well after a few fly fishing seasons as it did when it was first purchased.
If you are looking for a waist pack that will hold enough gear to match even the most unexpected hatch, keep your essentials dry, and last longer than your truck, look no further than the large Sage waist pack. I love mine and the longer you have yours, the more you will too. Vail Valley Anglers has a large selection of fly fishing packs and vests for every angler’s personal needs and the experts at the fly shop will be happy to discuss the benefits of every model.
Andy “Otter” Smith, Guide and Content Writer