I got out of the fly-vest habit a decade or more ago, mainly because I was always carrying a camera backpack. I tried a bum-bag for years, but found that I often dunked it, so had to start using waterproof fly boxes. That stopped flies getting soggy, but the setup wasnâ€™t so good for, say, spare lenses and phonesâ€¦
I then constructed a reversible chest pack thing that was a fly fishing waist pack on one side, camera bag on the other, with shoulder straps that allowed me to spin it around and â€˜change modesâ€™ from fishing to photography. It was up out of the water, but still when it rained I had to use rain covers, and be very careful when wading. It wasnâ€™t perfect.
Then along came the Simms Dry Creek Z Hip-Pack. Totally waterproof, with a submersible zip, at 8 litres itâ€™s big enough on its own for a day-trip, but not so big as to be cumbersome. Now I can put a small camera, spare lens, sunglass cleaning cloths and lunch in it, plus fly boxes and a light rain jacket.
At Christmas Island it was perfect as rain storms blasted through or wading got a bit deep. In the surf on the outside of the island I fished deeper and more adventurously than I normally would, meaning I could get to where the fish were.
Yes, itâ€™s expensive, but still a heap less than replacing all my flies, or a camera. Itâ€™s really robust fabric and will last for ages. Itâ€™s got little organiser pockets inside, but is otherwise bare. Finally, a solution!
Also on the trip I took the new Simms line nippers and pliers. Both are beautifully made, with replaceable cutters and jaws. Yes, theyâ€™re a bit lush, but I know theyâ€™ll last a long time, which means better value in the long run. Love â€™em. The other gem was the Simms guard socks, which meant I only got one piece of coral in my boots in a week of fishing. The other guys couldnâ€™t claim anything like that. Worth every cent.
Most fly shops have Simms, so ask at your local.