SIMMS DRY CREEK Z WATERPROOF HIP-PACK - Brad Harris

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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 wasn’t so good for, say, spare lenses and phones…

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 ‘change modes’ 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 wasn’t perfect.

Then along came the Simms Dry Creek Z Hip-Pack. Totally waterproof, with a submersible zip, at 8 litres it’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, it’s expensive, but still a heap less than replacing all my flies, or a camera. It’s really robust fabric and will last for ages. It’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, they’re a bit lush, but I know they’ll last a long time, which means better value in the long run. Love ’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 couldn’t claim anything like that. Worth every cent.

Most fly shops have Simms, so ask at your local.