The Sling is the Thing!

Ok, so maybe it’s not as catchy as “The Tug is the Drug” or “The Bird is the Word”, but in my book, the SLING is most definitely the thing.  Over the past 15 years I have owned just about every type of gear setup you can imagine.  Like most, I began with a vest.  My first vest was a Simms shortie style wading vest.  I remember loading that thing up to the point where I looked like I was going on a military tactical mission.  (It weighed just about as much).

A few years back I decided to give the chest pack a go.  I know many of you love yours and that is great, but it just wasn’t for me.  I loved having the easy access to flies, tippet, etc.. right in front of me, but I didn’t like having it there when I was actually trying to fish.  My next venture took me to a lumbar pack.  The thing about the lumbar pack that was outstanding was that you could have easy access to your gear when you needed it,  (Just flip it around your waist) but it could be completely out of your way when you didn’t!  Magical right?  Well….. yeah, as long as you weren’t wading in water any deeper than your crotch.

Enter the sling pack!  Now you have the ease of access of a lumbar pack that can be spun around to your back when not in use.  Want to change your fly?  No worries, spin it around and you are in business.  It also sits just above the small of your back if you fit it right so now you can wade pretty deep without dunking your entire bag in the river.

When slings first came out, they were almost all relatively small and geared toward the minimalist who was looking to carry just a few fly boxes and some basic necessities.  Over the last two years the options have increased exponentially.  Styles and sizes run the gambit from large guide pack sizes on down.  We now are seeing offerings from just about every major player in the industry.  Every sling seems to take a different twist on the theme with its own set of key features.

The good folks at Rogue Fly do a great job breaking down the Orvis Guide Sling Pack.

The Orvis safe passage sling is the smaller version and is ideal for a day on the water if you don’t need to carry a ton of gear.  A few of the features that I absolutely love about this sling is the way it keeps necessary tools like nippers, hemostat, and even tippet accessible yet out of the way.  Fly line always seems to find something to tangle around and this pack is outstanding in keeping it stealthy.

Orvis Safe Passage Sling Pack
Orvis Safe Passage Sling Pack

It has hemostat holsters on both the pack and the shoulder strap.  In addition there is a hidden magnet that keep your nippers from flopping around.  Both the Guide and the Safe Passage have good compartmentalization as well as internal and external fly patches.  Both packs come in a Blue/Gray and DigiCamo.  They even produce a version for the ladies!

Simms has been creating superior quality gear for decades and with their Head Waters line of sling packs, they do not disappoint!  It is feature rich, well constructed, and well thought out.  Simms offers the Head Waters and the Head Waters Large which as it sounds is a bigger pack and ideal for longer days, more gear, and very guide friendly.


A few of the features that really stand out on the Head Waters is the removable hook and loop attachments as well as the easy stash pockets.  The pack is also designed with outstanding weight distribution for a comfortable carry over a long day.

We carry a full line of sling packs at International Angler and would love to answer any questions that you might have so don’t hesitate to reach out!  Remember…. The Bird is the Word, The Tug is the Drug, and The SLING is Most Definitely the THING!

Tight Lines and Loose Pants,