This waist pack is not small, and it’s not cheap. If you’re OK with those two things, you’re probably going to love this pack.
We’ll start things off with the punchline. The most unique feature of this pack is that it combines an easy-access pocket designed for fishing gear with a totally waterproof, submersible pocket for cameras, electronics, wallets, etc. The big waterproof pocket is the real deal – it’s got room for an SLR, an extra lens and a flash, for example, and after you close the mega-zipper for the first time, you’re going to be pretty darned comfortable putting valuable items in there.
Getting zippers right is a big deal. Water-resistant and waterproof zippers can be really problematic – all too often they blow out, they’re too stiff, they need to be lubricated, they don’t really shed water…the list goes on. This big zipper pulls smoothly, closes positively and is really, truly waterproof. It’s also a big reason that this pack costs $200 – yep, that’s right, a $200 waist pack. High-end zippers like this are really expensive, but man we’re glad Sage kept it high-end here.
The second large pocket is designed more for easy access – it’s got a water-resistant (not waterproof) zipper that pulls really easily, and it has a bunch of organizer pouches sewn into both sides inside. Like the other bags in the Typhoon series, it’s got a really neat hybrid closure system – there’s a flap over the zipper that attaches with magnets – if you’re in and out of your pack a lot, you’ll find that there’s no reason to zip it open and shut constantly, as the magnets are strong enough to hold the pocket shut and keep your gear in.
Although they call it a waist pack, it converts easily into a shoulder pack – the padded waist belt comes off via a super-solid internal velcro system. Ned Hobson, who designed this bag for Sage, suggested giving it a try as a shoulder bag, and we’re glad we did. The neoprene shoulder strap does a really good job bearing the weight of all the gear that you can fit in a bag this big. Having the bag slung over your shoulder also doesn’t interfere with casting either single- our double-handed rods. If you keep the waist strap on, you gain a holster for your pliers, and another little mesh pocket.
Rounding out the very long feature list are a couple of tool sheaths with magnet grips, retractor docks, a couple of straps on the bottom for carrying around your raincoat, two eternal tippet pockets and two water bottle holsters.
If you’re the kind of angler who likes to head out on the river with nothing more than a fly box and a tippet spool, this bag is not for you. If you fish well-equipped, and in particular if you need to keep electronics absolutely dry and on your person, you should check out the Large Typhoon Waist Pack. It’ll be at your local fly shop in January 2010.