"With its streamlined profile, eleven interior storage pockets and two zippered main compartments, the Blue River is the perfect alternative to a bulky vest. Our signature zip-down 'fly bench' provides a 6"x 9"rippled foam work/storage area for quick and easy access to your flies while on the water. Flexibly designed as a chest or lumbar pack, the Blue River stays out of the way while casting. Colorful accent webbing serves as a convenient place to attach tools and accessories."
- Zip-down "fly bench" work area with rippled high-density foam
- Padded neck strap with climbing cord loop for net attachment
- Padded and zippered main compartment for secure fly box storage
- Four additional zippered compartments
- Five internal storage pockets
- Accent webbing and climbing cord loops for attaching tools and accessories
- Fully lined interior
The Low Down:
I've been in the market for a chest pack for quite some time now and have looked at close to a dozen different models over the past year. When I stumbled upon this model from Fishpond USA I thought my search was finally over! The thing that impressed me most is that it's made really well. They've chosen top notch materials and the stitching/construction looks to be bomb-proof. It's obvious that a lot of thought went into its design.
The first thing I did was to try and fill it up with all the gear I'd be likely to carry in it. It comfortably held a days worth of my steelheading gear, although it took a little bit of monkeying around and there wasn't enough room left over for a spare spool or lunch. Plenty of extra space for a snack or two though. The one thing I did was to remove the foam fly storage to make room for 2 fly boxes up front. Since I keep everything in boxes, I figured it would be a pain in the rear sticking a days worth of flies into the foam before each outing. Removing the inserts easily remedied the problem.
After I crammed all my stuff into it, I put it on, went for a walk, and took out a rod for some test casting. The pack stayed in place really well while walking and casting. It's not so wide that it interfere with your casting stroke like some of the other models I've tried. I did find that since the pack is rather deep, spey casting is probably out of the question. The other thing I really liked was that the pack didn't have to many "extras" hanging off of it. Many models have excessive numbers of lash points and fasteners on the outside, which tend to jump out and tangle your line at inopportune times. Finally, the pack was also very comfortable to wear as a lumbar or fanny pack.
In the final analysis, this isn't quite the perfect pack for me due to the spey casting problems. If you're in the market for a chest or fanny pack that's well made and thoughfully designed, the Blue River may be just what you're looking for.
For more information on the Blue River chest / lumbar pack, check out Fishpond USA's website.