Orvis Safe Passage Sling Pack
- Compact size keeps users unencumbered and ventilated
- Smart attachment system tucks retractable cables out of the way
- Waterproof bottom protects gear when wading in deep water
- Thoughtful organization keeps most tools convenient
- No good place for right-handers to attach a net
The Orvis Safe Passage Sling Pack’s design is streamlined and smart, ultimately minimizing clutter. This sling puts every tool right where you want it.
The placement of this pack’s features are intuitive and well thought out. For example, you can reach your water bottle without having to swing the pack around to your front. Once the pack is in the front position there is a convenient work surface for changing flies: A fly patch sits on the right and keeps to-go flies at the ready, and the tippet storage is within easy reach. There are three zippered pockets and eight separated sections. All interior pockets use light-colored nylon that makes dropped flies easy to spot. The secondary compartment uses an innovative way of attaching zingers, keeping these attachments from cluttering up the pack’s exterior: Pin the retractor to the inside, then feed the tool through a slit that lets you reach it from the outside. The chest strap even features a nifty way to hold a hemostat (a magnetic closure lets you yank it out of the pocket with one hand). But as with most slings, there’s no handy place to hang a net: Shoving it into your wading belt is the best option.
The foam shoulder strap distributes the pack weight well (rarely more than 6 pounds, given the pack’s modest carrying capacity) and is comfortable for hours-long fishing sessions.
Both the shoulder and side straps are adjustable, but the Orvis Safe Passage Sling Pack fits medium and large builds best.
The molded foam backpanel isn’t the breeziest system, but the pack’s small footprint limits the clamminess to a very small zone. We found the ventilation to be perfectly adequate for hot-weather fishing.
The bottom of the pack is made of waterproof fabric, so a quick dip won’t require hours of gear-drying time later. But there’s no waterproof pocket for a phone (a Velcro strip mates with Orvis’s $12 waterproof pocket, which is sold separately).
At 10.5 L, this is not the bring-everything (including the “kitchen sink”) pack. But it is big enough for everything that most anglers need for a lunch-hour session on the river: A couple fly boxes, a granola bar, and sunglasses. It’ll hold a packable, ultralight rain shell, but bulky models strain the capacity.
How We Tested It
The packs in this test were used by a team of fly-fishermen (and women) on multiple trips on Rocky Mountain rivers and lakes.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
About the Author
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