Gear Institute Expert Test Menu

Umpqua Tongass 650 Waterproof Waist Pack

- published Saturday, 15 August 2015

85

2015

RATINGS

Organization
6
Comfort
9
Adjustability
6
Ventilation
7
Water-resistance
10
Capacity
9
GEAR INSTITUTE RATING
85

SHOP

MSRP
LOW PRICE
$170.00
N/A
Support Gear Institute. If you make a purchase after clicking on the links above, a portion of the sale helps support this site.

THE GOOD

  • Waterproof gear protection
  • Generous capacity
  • Supports heavy loads

THE BAD

  • Few pockets and compartments
  • No net carry

THE VERDICT

The Umpqua Tongass 650 Waterproof Waist Pack’s beefy shoulder and hip straps lets this pack pinch-hit as a sling. 

FULL REVIEW

Organization
The Umpqua Tongass 650 Waterproof Waist Pack is a straightforward pack with no mysterious pouches or lash points. Instead, there’s a big roll-top main compartment and a secondary zipped pocket with three interior sleeves. There’s no exterior tippet holder or tool loops off the exterior, but flotant can be stored in the two stretchy mesh pouches on the outside. There are two water bottle holsters, though the bottle may slip loose if the hip belt isn’t cinched tight. The system for holding a backup rod is nice in theory, but tricky in practice—in testing we had to make sure the tip didn’t drop and drag on obstacles. There’s a foam fly patch that attaches to the hip belt with a carabiner, and while it’s convenient, it also tends to swing around to the inner fabric, where its rough underside clings to the mesh lining and causes it to pill. There is no net attachment but it can be stored inside a wading belt.

Comfort
The fat, 5” wide hip belt stabilizes the load and keeps it from sagging, as does the ergonomically shaped shoulder strap. In testing, fishing gear along with two liters of water and a DSLR camera were easily carried with little fatigue. 

Adjustability
The waist belt adapts to bodies both big and tiny, but the shoulder strap does not cinch very small, making this design best for tall women and average-height guys.

Ventilation
Despite the meshy lining, the wide, body-hugging hip belt and shoulder strap are not supremely breathable. Unclipping the hip belt and letting the shoulder strap support the load allows ventilation to the lower back. 

Water-resistance
In testing, we submerged this pack and left it outside during a rainy overnight raft trip in southern Idaho, and it proved waterproof throughout. The roll-top closure is not as easy to operate as a zipper and takes some getting used to. The waterproofing was a valuable asset during rainy fishing sessions keeping gear dry. 

Capacity
The waist pack looks small, but the 11L pack somehow swallows every add-on imaginable. The main compartment is big and square, and easily contains a fleece, a lunch, and a camera—leaving the secondary pocket for fly boxes and accessories. When it wasn’t filled to capacity, the roll-top and side straps effectively compress the pack and keep it from feeling slack and unstable. 

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

Kelly Bastone

Kelly Bastone

For writer and outdoorswoman Kelly Bastone, gear-testing is just part of the daily routine: Her home in Steamboat Springs, Colorado puts world-class skiing, mountain biking, and fly-fishing right outside her door. Read her work at kellybastone.com


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MSRP
LOW PRICE
$170.00
N/A
Support Gear Institute. If you make a purchase after clicking on the links above, a portion of the sale helps support this site.

RATINGS

Organization
6
Comfort
9
Adjustability
6
Ventilation
7
Water-resistance
10
Capacity
9
GEAR INSTITUTE RATING
85

Specs

  • Unisex

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