Who wants to check bags? Especially when you need all your gear to stick some fish.
On a recent trip we were trying to figure out whether to check bags or make a run at carryon. If we’d been fishing Atlantic salmon or Alaska steelhead and kings, or even Rocky Mountain trout, we wouldn’t have had a choice—waders, boots, multiple layers, insulated jacket, and a rain jacket . . . not a chance.
But we were headed for salt. Near the equator. And we didn’t need no stinking waders and boots. So we went through our gear, over and over, trying to fit everything into the smallest packages possible. I wanted to take Patagonia’s new submersible Guidewater Backpack, but I just couldn’t get all the camera bodies, lenses and a computer into it, along with my fly boxes and hip pack and other gear. The 29L Guidewater is the ideal size for carrying on your back when wading for permit and bones, and it is a great size to take on the boat with you . . . but it just didn’t work for what I was taking on that trip.
I got four fly rods, multiple reels, some clothes and other items into Orvis’ Carry It All overhead bag, but that left the rest of my gear in limbo.
So I unloaded the Guidewater—again—and pulled out Simms’ new 50L G3 Guide Backpack. I loosened all the straps. opened the main compartment and thought, No worries here. Plenty o’ room. But can I carry it when fully loaded?
Well, the answer was yes, and that’s how I got away with two carryon bags for a 10-day trip to Belize.
The new G3 pack improves on past models that guides and hard-core anglers swear by. As mentioned, this is a good size pack that easily carries everything you need whether fishing from dawn to dusk in the Tongass or heading to the equator to chase permit and other species. Don’t worry about rain and salt spray. The main interior compartment is protected by a roll top closure. Camera’s, flies, food—all protected by a sturdy 42D nylon double ripstop fabric with a TPU coating. That just means nothing’s getting wet. An outer pocked accommodates a laptop when traveling and all the essentials you might need quickly—pliers, fly boxes, sink-tips, leaders, phone, whiskey.
The pack also offers two sleeves for water bottles/bear spray. The pockets double as rod tube holders, which are also held In place by two exterior clips. Hydrophobic molded back panel, multiple tool attachment pads/ports, and a Velcro fly patch round out the options.
I got my hands on this pack last fall and have been extremely impressed with its durability. I’ve dragged it through muck and salt and through airports and hotels and it hasn’t failed in any way.
But the biggest endorsement of the pack that I can relate is from one of the lodge managers who said, “Dude, where’d you get that?” He added, “I had one of the earlier models and I ran everywhere around the world with that thing. It finally wore down. How much you want for it?”
I didn’t sell. If you want one you’ll pay $299.95