For many years I have been a minimalist fly fisherman. I have walked a long way when fishing so have not wanted to carry anything extra.
When I gave away my Columbia vest I started using a Kathmandu bum bag, which I used until it practically fell apart. I spent many years looking for an adequate replacement that was light, small and compact. I wanted two pockets, and a capacity of 150-200 cubic inches.
Fishing in New Zealand often requires long walks, so cutting weight down is important. Fortunately most New Zealand trout are willing to take first cast if you make a good presentation so you do not need to carry much gear.
The product I use with is the Fishpond Flint Hills Lumbar Pack. This is full of features and much, much better than my old bum bag. The features that I did not know I needed were the extra pockets and the mesh front pockets where I keep my floatant and sinkant.
The Flint Hills Lumbar Pack has a 183 cubic inch capacity, has two separated compartments. The larger of the two has a slash pocket that I keep my licenses & car keys in. My hemostats, Fly Box & one Smith Creek Rig Keeper go in this pocket.
The smaller pocket has two slash pockets which are the perfect size for leader, and keep my C&F Design Threader in an easily accessible place. I keep my other Smith Creek Rig Keeper in this pocket.
There is enough room for some energy bars if I am going to be fishing all day, and the belt allows me to attach my camera, GoPro or my head lamp to the belt. My packable raincoat also hooks onto the belt. I never carry more than two of these on the belt, as I do not need more than two at a time, and the additional weight is not worth carrying all the time.
Since having the Flint Hills Lumbar pack I have never worried about not having enough fishing gear on me. I like the discipline of having to minimise gear and I like thoughtful design of the Fishpond product. I liked the quality & design features I purchased a Fishpond Tech LTE Low Tide Lumbar Pack for saltwater fishing.
This is a highly recommended product that I would hate to be without. The only reason it is not rated “Must Have” is that anglers all have different preferences for the amount of gear they carry, so those who like to carry a lot of gear will not want to have such as small capacity lumbar pack.
- The Flint Hills Lumbar pack comes with a sling strap so it can be used as a sling. I do not use my sling strap, i simply sling the pack over a shoulder using the waist belt.
- There are other features to the pack like cord tabs, and velcro straps that I do not use.
- The only design change I would like to see with this pack is for it to be in camo, as I do not ever want to spook a fish by having gear that is the wrong colour.