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Monday, June 19, 2017

Simms G4 Pro Sling Pack

If you are like us, you are constantly searching for the perfect fly fishing pack to store all your gear as you fish your favorite river.  It needs to efficiently utilize all the space the pack offers while making everything quickly attainable and secure. It needs to stay firm against the body and out of the way while fly fishing, yet be easily accessed. It needs to be durable against the elements and terrain common to fly fishing and allow us to wade into deep water without gear getting wet.

Doesn’t seem like that much to ask for, right?  Now enters the new Simms G4 Pro Sling Pack, an innovative over-the-shoulder side loading pack meant to be used primarily walking and wading while fly fishing. 

The Simms G4 Pro Sling Pack is a no compromise fly fishing pack that doesn’t make you pick and choose what fly boxes to bring. It’s well thought out compartments take full advantage of the 21 liters of space the sling pack offers so that you can bring them all.  It features a U-shaped zipper opening for easy access to the main compartment that is divided then into four separate sections. After a little examination, it’s easy to see that each section was design for a specific piece of gear.  The most accessible and largest section was designed for you fly boxes, while another was designed for your water bottle. Another to store your leaders and possible a map or notebook.  The last section can be completed zipped closed which was designed to store your cell phone, small camera, or keys.
It is constructed from a water-resistant material and is built around a rigid back panel that helps to ensures the sling pack maintains its shape and structure.  On the exterior for the pack there are two locations to attach retractors, one on the shoulder strap and the other is adjacent to the front “work station” compartment. The strap has a magnetic tool dock sleeve to store your hemostats. The sling pack also offers a sleeve to store your net along the back pad and provides a D-Ring to attach your net retractor to.

Field Tests

We decided to test the G4 Sling Pack in the different fly fishing environments unique to the northwest: Trout fishing on the Yakima, Sea Run Cutthroat fishing on a beach in the Puget Sound, and Steelhead fishing on the Skykomish river.

In each setting, the G4 Sling Pack performed exceptionally well.  It easily held four large fly boxes, an extra spoil, an 18 oz. Hydro Flask, GoPro, a set of trout tippet spools, extra leaders, weights, strike indicators and a couple of Kind bars. We were really impressed with how all my gear stayed in place within the sling pack and how it seemed to fit perfectly on my back with the straps snitched down. The first time we found ourselves in a deep wading situation we checked the sling pack, and it did a great job keeping the contents inside dry while not absorbing any of the water it came in contact with. In addition, the high-quality Velcro closures Simms added to secure the tag ends of the Snitch straps was an unexpected feature that ensured they wouldn’t get in my way while managing my fly line.

·        Size/Storage. At 21L or 1282 cu. In. it easily accommodates a full day of fishing no matter what you are fishing for!
·        Compartment Design. The main compartment is divided into four separate compartments that help you to stay organized and find what you are looking for quickly.
·        Access. U-shaped zippered opening for easy access to the main compartment enables easy removal of even the largest fly boxes.
·        Magnetic hemostat sleeve. It works! It also allows you to cut down on the number of zingers you need to secure your gear on the outside of your pack
·        Worry-Free Deep Wading. The water-resistant 210 Double Rip Nylon with TPU coating used along with the location of the pockets do great in keeping your gear dry.
·        Fit. The sling pack was constructed with a rigid back panel, which allows the pack to hold its shape no matter whether it is fully loaded or just barely loaded with gear. 
·        Net Sleeve. If used, the net keeps the sling back from forming to the curve of your back which makes the pack uncomfortable.
·        Limited Adjustment.  The shoulder strap can only be adjusted from the base of the sling pack and not the top.  This comes into play when you are wearing a lot of layers or if you are large person.  

Value in the Marketplace

It’s hard to find another fly fishing sling pack that is similar to the Simms’ G4 Pro Sling Pack because of its size, the materials it is made of and the strategic design of its compartments. The Patagonia Stormfront Sling is about the same size at 22L, and is completely waterproof and basically consists of one large non-divided compartment.   The Fishpond Thunderhead Sling is closer in price at $199 but is only 15L. Like the Stormfront Sling, it is completely waterproof and basically consists of one large non-dividable compartment.   We stock all of these models, and more, so stop by to check them out!

Summary and Recommendation
From the magnetic tool ports to how the main compartment was designed to the thought that went into its actual size(21L), it’s easy to see how Simms spent two years designing and product testing the G4 Pro Sling Pack.  In addition, great features like the U-shaped zippered opening makes loading and removing large fly boxes easy, and the Water-resistant 210 Double Rip Nylon with TPU coating makes the sling pack super durable.

The Simms G4 Pro Sling Pack has definitely raised the bar when it comes to all-around sling packs and we recommend it to any angler looking to buy a pack for fly fishing. It can hold all the gear an angler would need and it thrives during the warmer months of the year when multiple layers are not required to stay warm and dry. In my opinion, it’s the best pack available but has still left a little room for improvement. 

Manufacturer Listed Features:
·         U-shaped zippered opening for access to main compartment
·         Fold-down workbench, with tippet tender and floatant/shake holder attachments
·         Water-resistant interior lining bag for deep wading
·         Magnetic tool ports for tool access & storage
·         Ergonomically designed shoulder strap for vertical carry
Additional Features:
·        Main compartment is divided into 4 sub-compartments
·        Net Storage
·        Fold-down workbench, with tippet tender and floatant/shake holder attachments
·        Water-resistant interior lining bag for deep wading
Product Specs:
·      Material: 210 Double Rip Nylon with TPU Coating
·      Capacity: 21 L or 1282 cu in.
·      Dimensions: 15” x 9” x 9.5”
·      Weight: 36.6 oz.

* It should be noted that the pack comes with a warning tag that states anglers with pacemakers or other medical devices that can be compromised by magnets should avoid wearing the pack.

Sling packs are not just for freshwater!