A pack is not an easy thing to review. In many ways, an angler’s pack or vest becomes a personal and personalized piece of gear that must keep up with every imaginable need an angler might have. That said, a review of a pack ought to go beyond the reviewer’s preferences and imagine the needs of all types of anglers. (Not easy.)
Years ago, I found myself attempting to remedy the lack of hip pack options at the time by finding a fanny pack from a non-fly fishing outdoors company and trying to make it a minimalist solution to my pack needs. It was a failed attempt. It turns out that we actually need thoughtful pack design, and as such, the Patagonia Stealth Hip Pack 10L is as strategically designed as it gets.
When describing the Stealth Hip Pack, Patagonia uses the word, “minimalist.” For those who want a minimalist approach on the water that cuts down on bulk or anything extra or in the way, this is in fact a minimalist pack. However, when the design of the pack is explored, an angler will quickly discover that this pack is packed with features.
The Patagonia Stealth Hip Pack is low profile but loaded. The pack features three separate zipped sections. A drop-down front section can function as a work station and has three pockets within it. Velcro on the largest pocket in this section allows anglers to store larger items without worrying that any of those items will fall out. There is a built-in foam “fly keeper” that is also removable for easier on-the-water access and observing. The middle section is more spacious to hold larger items and also includes five pockets – two of them with Velcro – and an expanding structure that keeps the pack from being bulky overall when empty and allowing it to fit more when desired. And finally, the smallest pocket is mesh-lined and has a divider to perfectly fit anything from a phone to a small camera to a wallet.
There is much to be said for the exterior of the pack as well. Patagonia boasts a “tough, highly water-resistant 840-denier ballistic nylon with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish,” and tested on the water, it is clear that this pack can withstand the demands of some of the most hard-fishing anglers in demanding conditions. At the same time, this pack is designed for comfort and largely consists of a breathable mesh and has a ventilated U-shaped padded back for those scorching days when you don’t want your pack to substantially increase discomfort from the heat. The exterior also includes two compartments to cinch down water bottles and also has two zipped compartments on the straps (next to where the water bottles go) for accessing other items (such as split shot, floatant, et cetera) that you might want secure but easily accessible. Finally, the pack includes numerous loops for attaching zingers, pliers, and other items anglers want on the outside of the pack. In addition, I found that I was able to comfortably slip the handle of a big net down the back of the pack and move all around the water with everything I needed or could imagine needing.
If you love waist packs, the Patagonia Stealth Hip Pack is designed brilliantly for on the water needs. The Stealth Hip Pack retails for $119 and is available at your local fly shop.
To check out more on the Patagonia Stealth Hip Pack, please click here.
– Tim Harden
Disclosure: Patagonia is in a professional relationship with the Fly Fishing Guide Directory, LLC and the Venturing Angler. Though potentially benefiting from this relationship, we do not post what we do not believe to be true. To read more, click here.