The beauty of your fly-fishing adventure at the ranch is that we provide much of the gear you’ll need. We’ve got your Orvis equipment, waders, flies, snacks and beverages covered. Lunch is even provided if you’re going to spend the day on the water with one of our experienced guides.

But you still might want to carry a few extra things. The question then becomes what style of pack to bring. Maybe a vest or a sling pack. You’ve also got the hip and chest packs as options. Or, you can go with a full backpack.

Jay Allen, manager of our fly-fishing program, has some thoughts on each option to help guide your decision.

“This is obviously a very personal call that depends on what you want to bring, where you’ll be fishing and the time of year,” Allen said.

Here’s a quick run down on the various pack styles along with the pros and cons of each one.


Your traditional vest is like a Swiss Army knife. It can handle just about any situation with its numerous pockets and storage compartments. The advancement of new technology materials in making vests today mean they are lighter and more comfortable than older versions.


  • You can easily reach anything you need.
  • It wears nicely over lighter layers of clothing.


  • It’s tougher to fit bigger items.
  • It can feel bulky if wearing it over heavier clothing or a shell.

Sling Pack

Think of a sling pack as a stripped-down version of a vest. You’ve still got ample room for your necessary supplies, but it’s lighter. You’ve also got the flexibility to move it around your torso throughout the fishing trip.


  • You can still fit a lot of gear in the compartments.
  • You’ve got easy access to everything in the pack.


  • Not as comfortable as a backpack on longer adventures.

Hip Pack

Again, you get plenty of storage with a hip pack. The major difference is that the pack’s weight is distributed to your hips, relieving the pressure on your shoulders. It also frees up your upper body.


  • You’re going to carry about as much as the above options, but it’s less bulky.
  • It’s out of the way when you’re not digging in it for supplies.


  • It is a bit smaller than other options
  • You need to make sure it’s a waterproof in case you wade deeper than your waist.

Chest Pack

This is the most compact of the pack options. It allows you to carry the essentials and leave behind any extraneous items. Your upper body is also fairly free from constriction, allowing you to easily cast and move about.


  • It’s as easy to get into as a vest.
  • The outside zipper panels can serve as a tray when opened.


  • It’s smaller than other options.
  • It can be uncomfortable if you’re going to be hiking a long distance.


The backpack lets you bring everything you want, including the kitchen sink. This is for the ultimate planner who wants to make sure they’ve got everything they’ll need and be prepared for the unexpected.


  • Plenty of storage for anything you want to bring on your fishing day.
  • Most packs today are comfortable and great for long hikes to remote places.


  • It’s tougher to get to the pockets versus the other options.
  • It might be too bulky for shorter fishing excursions.