Most people don’t expect to trip and fall while walking from the cubicle to the water cooler, just as most fly fishers don’t expect to end up ass over tea kettle in the waters they’re plying. However, as we all know, things happen, and it can be a relief to know that thanks to a weatherproof pack your day isn’t shot just because of an errant foot.
Weatherproof packs are nothing new, dry bags with pack straps have been around even before i got into the outdoor industry some 25 years ago. While those packs were easliy capable of descending class IV rapids in one piece, they were hardly suited for day hikes and easy access. Their roll top design assuredly kept out the water, but it also kept one from casually entering and exiting the pack on a regular basis, point A to B being it’s call in life.
As all fly fishers know, constant access to tippet, flies and snacks is a must, and it’s here that the new era of weatherproof fly fishing packs shine. The Gale Force Pack from Orvis is a prime example of a simple pack that is fully capable of handling all the abuse that a sane (or semi-sane) angler can dish out while simultaneously protecting the contents and allowing easy access to them.
The body of the Gale Force pack is constructed of a polyurethane-coated nylon fabric that not only shuns tears and scuffs while entering and exiting various watercraft, it also brushes aside the menacing branches of cedar trees with aplomb while bush whacking, something the constantly ravaged tissue of my forearms surely aspires to. The YKK water-resistant zipper that provides such easy access to the packs innards is also non-corrosive making it highly suitable to the harshest salt water conditions that i hope to eventually subject it to.
One of the highlights of the pack is the outside pocket with a vertical zipper that allows easy access by removing the right shoulder strap and slinging the pack around, perfect for retreiving items like flyboxes that require constant access to. While the easy access is awesome, my only issue with the pack is that i wish the zipper was located on the opposite side so that the dominant right hander in me could sling the pack around to the much more convenient right side of my body (petty, i know.)
Other well thought out features such as external side pockets that double as water bottle or rod holders (in conjunction with the two side straps), an inside mesh organizer and external clips that allow you to add additional packs will give you a bag that can grow as your wallet and needs see fit. All of these features and more make this a pack to be reckoned with, especially for the price.
While any pack out there will doubtlessly get an angler by, there is a lot to be said for a pack that can be stuffed with all matter of gear, including cameras and dry clothing, strapped to the deck of a paddle board, or slung on the back and forgotten without further thought as one paddles on, or stealthaliy skirts the waters that fish call home. The Gale Force does this to a T, enabling you to focus on the fishing instead of the water. When eventually things do hit the fan (as they did in the above photo) you’ll be happy to know that despite your misplaced foot and consequent dunking, dry clothes and camera are safe and secure, enabling you to get warm, document the misadventure and continue with the fishing.
To check out the Gale Force and the packs it can be paired with, visit www.orvis.com.
Be sure to check out the excellent video review from www.roguefly.com below to see the pack in action.
Truth: To be honest, i did receive this pack for free to review from the fine folks at Orvis in Austin, TX. But as gar is my witness, every word, critical and otherwise is true. Tested with nine months of hard core abuse trout fishing in Colorado and foraging new paths through the thickest cedar jungles of central Texas and it still looks like new.