One area where I am weakest are vests. Well, not just vests, but waist packs, chest packs, traditional vests, modern vests, and sling packs. On one trip to Pennsylvania a few years ago I couldn't decide between two vests so I bought both. Somewhere out there is the perfect pack. I don't yet own it.
Currently I'm partial to the sling pack designs. I own two; one of which I'm quite fond.
|Simms Headwaters Pro Waist Pack, $99|
Waist pack configuration leaves little to the imagination. Basically, they're belts with pouches. The Simms pack has three compartments with two side pockets. The outermost pocket came with a large fly patch so it could be used as an ersatz fly box. I learned long ago to stay away from these fly manglers (Fishpond was fond of these on their vests) so out came the fly patch, in went a fly box.
|The Middle Pocket: Gadget Holder|
The middle pocket is the gadget holder. This slim pocket has a couple of mesh internal pockets as well as two bottle holders so you can leash your floatant and desiccant. It does beat having to dig around in the bottom of the pocket for stuff you use often. I do wish that the holders were more rigid. It's difficult to "reholster" bottles one handed though it can be done.
Stuff I liked about the Simms Headwaters Pro Waist Pack
A couple of things strike me right off the bat. First, a very clean design. There are few places for a fly line to catch on. I'm always getting my line caught on one thing or another and with this pack it seems to happens less often. I've noticed that cleaner designs are becoming part of most manufacturer's lines but Simms seems to have this down well.
|Shoulder Strap: Great function, |
but it needs a connector for a net
Stuff I didn't like about the Simms Heawaters Pro Waist Pack
The problem with most waist packs is being able to easily see into the depths. This pack also suffers from that. The pack is soft so the larger section seems to collapse at just the wrong angle to make peering into it difficult. I find i have to reach down and pull it up to see in properly. This is partially due to my middle aged body topography but i would appreciate a slighly more rigid design that held its shape.
The large main compartment could hold a water bottle but I prefer mine on the outside. A water bottle holder would be a good addition. I've ended up clipping mine on with a small carabiner.
The should strap just begs for a loop from which to hang a net. Again, a small carabiner has done the trick but it seems like an obvious miss.
Yet to be tested
The belt portion of the waist pack is well constructed. It's got a mesh back and a rigid foam lattice that seems like it would provide good ventilation during hot weather. I've only used the pack with waders and only during cooler weather but it does appear to be design that could be beneficial during the waderless summer months.
If you're a waist pack person this is a good one. Yes, if you wade deep it's going to get soggy though the shoulder strap helps to prevent this. Perhaps the greatest testament to the design is that I haven't run back to my sling pack yet. I think I've become enamored by the additional capacity a waist pack provides.
In the next day or so (I'm traveling on business so time for posting is rare) I'll post a Simms scavenger hunt. Rich Hohne of Simms has provided a Simms Wading Belt and Cap as a bit of loot to distribute. Hopefully tomorrow. Maybe Thursday.