Fly Fishing Gear Review: The Simms Dry Creek Z Waterproof Backpack


When Simms offered a sneak peak into their Fall 2017/Spring 2018 gear lineup at ICAST/IFTD in July, it was somewhat hard to keep up with all of the new products, as they themselves described the roll out as their “most innovative line to to date.” Among all of the many products unveiled — from waders to boots to bags to shirts with cooling technology — it was their Dry Creek Z series of packs and bags that stood out the most for me.

Over the past few months, I was fortunate to spend time with the new Simms Dry Creek Z Backpack, and I’ve got to say, this backpack couldn’t be more intelligently designed. And from the Northern California surf to big rivers in the Sierras, this bag perfectly accommodated my needs on the water.

The unforgiving Northern California surf is full of surprises, and rogue waves will easily take down an angler and submerge everything from head to toe. And sure enough, every angler has taken a spill on the river. Considering my camera, flies, jacket or baselayer, and other gear that I cannot afford to get wet, it has become essential in my mind to fish with a waterproof backpack. From getting splashed on float trips to surprise rainstorms, I am confident that everything from the body of the bag to the waterproof zipper protect my gear from the worst-case scenarios. With all of the money this saves me over time, the (generally) higher cost of a waterproof bag or pack is easily justified. The Simms Dry Creek Z Backpack offers all of this peace of mind and much more.

First, this backpack is structured. While that might sound like a strange comment, many waterproof bags collapse when heavier items are placed inside, and the bag reshapes to accommodate that heavy item. Something like a laptop, camera, or water bottle could pull the entire bag with that item. I did not find that this was all the case with the Simms Dry Creek Z Backpack. With a 500D double-sided, TPU-coated textured nylon body, this 29-liter bag can support the heavier items anglers are accustomed to packing. This ultimately leads to better organization and more comfort.

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Also adding to comfort, the backpack features cushioned shoulder straps and a back panel that has water‐resistant foam that is breathable and cut with a design to cut down on back sweat and overheating. Just thinking about those all-day pack trips, this is welcomed design and technology.

In typical Simms fashion, the Dry Creek Z Backpack is loaded with more angler-friendly features than you could possibly keep track of, and it seemed that throughout my multi-month experience with this backpack I continuously discovered more and more. Among favorites: the oversized loops on the zippers are surprisingly convenient. There is also a net scabbard, and there are multiple lash points for attaching gear and accessories. Inside the backpack, mesh dividers aid organization. This is key — especially for items like car keys and phones.

This Simms Dry Creek Z Backpack has it all and comes with strong recommendations. At $319.95, the cost might be a jump for anglers usually going with cheaper bags, but the waterproof technology adds a great deal of value, especially knowing your phone, camera, wallet, and so on are dry inside.

To check out the Dry Creek Z Backpack from Simms, please click here.

Disclosure: Simms is in a professional relationship with 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.

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