Published on February 24, 2021
Fly fishing has a number of different style bags and packs for carrying gear. One of these styles is the hip pack. Also known as lumbar or waist packs, these comfortable and convenient storage units have a lot to offer and are often overlooked for chest or sling packs.
This article outlines some of the best hip packs currently on the market, and why hip packs should be a consideration when purchasing your next fly fishing pack.
This article will feature:
- Best fly fishing hip pack (overall)
- Other top picks
- Best waterproof hip packs
- Best hip packs for the money
- The what & why of hip packs
- How to choose the right hip pack?
- And much more!
Let’s get started!
Best Fly Fishing Hip Pack (Overall)
We found one pack that we wanted to specifically highlight for it’s quality, versatility, and price. The Patagonia Stormsurge is our choice for Top Dog!
Our best overall fly fishing hip pack goes to the Patagonia Stormsurge Hip Pack. This sweet hip pack looks great, has tons of features, and is waterproof.
First off, the Stormsurge is made from nylon with a TPU coating and water repellent finish.
At 10 liters it’s large enough to hold all of your fly boxes, leaders, and other gear. There is one large main compartment and smaller exterior pocket, both use 100 % waterproof zippers.
The outside also includes two daisy chains for attaching zingers and hemostats, without having to to puncture the waterproof exterior. There are additional lash straps for securing a rod tube, water bottle or jacket.
The price is actually lower than most other fully waterproof hip packs!
Holds 10 liters (610 cu in)
100% waterproof with TPU coating and water repellant finish
Good storage space
2 daisy chains
Fly Fishing Hip, Waist & Lumbar Packs (Top Picks Cntd.)
The Fishpond Gunnison Guide Pack is designed with the guide in mind and has taken the best qualities of other packs and converted into a hip pack.
There is ample storage space with tons of external features; everything you need for a fantastic day on the water.
It is made from Fishpond’s signature Cyclepond material. The large exterior pocket is molded and doubles as a workbench when opened. The Gunnison features two foam fly drying patches on the outside.
There are so many external features freeing up space inside the pack for multiple fly boxes. There are a few Hypalon tabs for attaching forceps or zingers, net slot, and so much more.
This is definitely a pack worth checking out.
10 liters (610 cu in)
Molded exterior pocket
Drop down workbench
Foam fly drying patches
Two small hip belt pockets
Two large water bottle holders
If you’re needing the most space from a hip pack, Simms freestone has you covered. With 12 liters of storage, this is the roomiest pack on our list.
Besides boasting the most space, the Freestone is made from water resistant nylon. This pack is not 100% submersible but will keep out most moisture you encounter.
There is one large main compartment with some internal zippers for organization, with two more external pockets intended to hold additional gear.
The freestone features adjustable and cushioned hip and shoulder straps that will feel like you’re barely carrying a pack. The hip straps come with several cargo pockets for holding strike indicators, weights or other small tools.
12 liters (733 cu in.)
Water resistant nylon
Adjustable and removable shoulder and hip straps
Hip strap pockets
Great internal organization
Exterior magnetic docking station
Filson, who have been around for over a century, are well known for the care and craftsmanship they put into all of their products. They make and sell mostly clothing and other outdoor gear, but have made a really decent hip pack.
The waist pack is made from 100% cotton with polyester interior and nylon accents. The cotton exterior is treated with oil adding durability and some water resistant properties.
This is a simple but handsome hip pack. What it lacks in accessories and add-ons it makes up for with style.
There is one main compartment that has a zipper closure, along with a large exterior pocket with a fold over flap that buttons. There are also two pockets on either side for water bottles or smaller gear.
Treated for durability and water resistance
Fold down workstation
Adjsutable and removable shoulder and hip straps
Side water bottle holders
Other Gear Related Articles
Best Waterproof Fly Fishing Hip Packs
Sometimes it makes more sense to have a lumbar style pack that is 100% waterproof for those rainy days, wading in above your waist or in my case, accidental falls. Here are two products that make our list for best fully waterproof lumbar packs.
Our first pick for best waterproof lumbar packs is the Fishpond Thunderhead. This pack is 100% waterproof from the ultra tough Cyclepond nylon. By adding the airtight waterproof zipper, not a drop of water will get into your bag.
The hip straps are larger than average and made from lightweight foam for added comfort. The back panel also features this comfortable foam with an added net slot.
The removable shoulder strap holds additional tool and gear ports for zingers and forceps. Inside the main compartment you’ll find a few smaller pockets and zippered organizers. While on the outside Hypalon cord loops and tabs for securing extra gear.
If you’re needing a pack that can withstand fast currents, big waves, or heavy rains, the Fishpond Thunderhead has got you covered.
10 liters (610 cu in.)
Recycled Cyclepond nylon material
Foam back panel and hip straps
Shouler strap with tools ports
Hypalon cord loops and tabs
The Orvis waterproof hip pack is sleek, slender, and perfect for those shorter fishing trips. At 7 liters it’s on the smaller side of hip packs. However, it makes the best use out of its small interior with several zippered pockets and compartments.
It is made from TPU coated 500D nylon material, which makes it completely waterproof. Perfect for making a few extra steps above your waist.
The wide waist straps are padded and adjustable to ensure the perfect fit. There is a removable shoulder strap to add stability but most of the weight will be carried from your waist.
The exterior is fairly straightforward with a tippet bar, fly drying patch, gear station, and water bottle holder.
7 liters (427 cu. In.)
Cushioned hip straps
Exterior gear station
Water bottle holder
Best Fly Fishing Waist Packs for the money
Fishing packs are expensive! But you don’t have to sacrifice quality for price. Here are three packs perfect for anglers watching their wallet.
This is the minimalist anglers dream pack. It’s the smallest and lightest hip pack we’ve featured and comes in at 12 oz, holding 3 liters. This pack looks and fits very similar to a fanny pack.
The Bandolier is made from 420D nylon with Cordura in certain spots. Despite the small size it packs a punch when it comes to features.
The main compartment has several smaller pockets for organization and is large enough for a few fly boxes and other small accessories. Tippet. Leader, and other small gear can be housed in one of the two side pockets.
Externally there is a plethora of attachments. Such as, two tool sheaths, zinger ports, elastic loops, and cord tippet holder. There is also a foam fly drying patch on top of the hip pack.
3 liters (300 cu in.)
420D nylon material
Adjustable hip strap
1 main compartment
Cord tippet holder
Foam fly drying patch
Our next budget lumbar pack is the Allen Eagle River Fishing Pack. The pack is surprisingly roomy for only a pound. It can hold several large fly boxes and tons more gear. The hip strap is cushioned for added support, and comes with a removable shoulder strap.
Inside the main compartment is additional pockets and dividers to keep everything organized and easy to find. There is a smaller external zippered pocket that folds down into a workstation while on the water.
Outside of the pack there is a foam fly drying patch, D-rings, side pockets, water bottle holder, and daisy chains. At around $50 this pack is hard to pass up.
Cushioned hip strap
Internal pockets and zippers
Large external pocket
Fold down workstation
Foam fly drying patch
Water bottle holder
Vixyn fishing products is a newer company and are relatively unknown. We wanted to feature them for their affordable prices and positive reviews. They pride themselves on having a durable, lightweight and breathable waist pack.
Even though this waist pack is not waterproof one will still reap advantages of a lightweight pack. This hip pack is loaded with features!
There are 10 pockets in total including the main compartment and large zippered exterior pocket, that features a workstation when folded open. This pocket also comes equipped with two removable fly patches.
Both sides of the pack have a built-in retractable zinger for nippers or forceps.
10” x 7”
Durable and lightweight nylon
Comfy mesh hip straps
10 total pockets
2 Removable fly patches
2 retractable zingers
Hip strap pockets
Money back guarantee
What is a hip pack?
A hip pack is a style of pack that fits similar to a fanny pack. The pack consists of a large body that will hold between 7 – 12 liters (on average). The pack has two hip straps often wide and cushioned for added comfort that secure around the angler’s waist by a buckle.
Most hip packs also have a removable shoulder strap. This is to be worn around your shoulders to help stabilize the pack and keep it secure while you’re wearing it.
For smaller hip packs, or when fishing with less gear the shoulder strap becomes obsolete and not necessary to have on.
Like all other fishing packs and vests there is a multitude of external features and comes with just about everything one would need for a satisfying day on the water.
Benefits of fishing hip packs.
Hip packs don’t get as much attention from anglers, who often pursue chest or sling packs. In my opinion, hip packs are often overlooked too easily as they offer some benefits not present with other types of packs.
- The first benefit of hip packs is their comfort and ease of accessibility. One of my biggest complaints with sling packs is the challenge of accessing gear. With a hip pack the bag can be easily reached from any position you’re in, and if not can be easily adjusted.
- Another benefit comes from mobility. Other types of packs can sometimes be bulky and interfere with one’s cast or movement through water and shorelines. Hip packs are easier to maneuver and do not interfere with casting as much.
- Lastly, they can be more comfortable than other types of packs. Our hips are generally more capable of holding heavier items than our shoulders, and hip packs rely on our waist to provide the most support.
How to choose the right hip pack?
Hip packs come in a number of different sizes and styles. As seen above from our list. No two hip packs are alike. We have broken down a few key points to identify when choosing a hip pack.
1. How much space do you need?
This is a great question. Our largest pack we have highlighted holds 12 liters, while the smallest is only 3 liters. For some general approximations 10-12 liters will hold 5-6 fly boxes and most other gear with some room for a snack. A hip pack bigger than 12 liters may feel too bulky and hard to keep secured.
2. Waterproof or not?
Hip packs are made from a few different materials. Most of them are made with some type of nylon with water resistant treatments. However, there are some hip packs that offer complete water protection. These pack can be fully submerged while still keeping the inside dry.
Because the majority of fly anglers are wading in rivers, an angler may find themselves up over their waist, where a fully waterproof pack is essential. However, if you’re like me and rarely go above your waist a simple nylon with some water resistant coating should suffice.
3. Extra features you may want/Style
Hip packs come with a variety of add-ons and accessories. It is merely up to the angler in choosing what extras they may want. There are a few different aesthetic options to choose from as well.
This is the last consideration when choosing your hip pack. If you saw the list, hip packs can range anywhere between $50 to $300 dollars. With the majority falling around 100 – 130. Generally speaking, fully submersible hip packs will be more expensive than other types.
I hope this article was helpful in choosing your next fly fishing hip pack. Please feel free to leave a comment and let us know what you liked or could improve on.
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