Fishpond’s new San Juan Vertical Chest Pack is for the angler who travels light. With room for leader material, basic tools, leader & fly treatments, and the rest, this is an effective design. At the front an outer pocket holds small light items like leaders. Behind this you have a zip-down fly bench complete with replaceable slotted or rippled foam insert. The main compartment has enough room to carry a large C&F fly box or a few smaller ones. There’s an inner pocket for tippet material, indicators and shot. The black tabs with red eyelets you see either side of the pack, are designed to take tool retractors like Fishpond’s own 360° Swivel Retractor. There are elastic sleeves below to hold tools from swinging around. The pack has padded, breathable air mesh backing for comfort and maintains a good low profile.
The chest pack functions very well in the field. It adjusts easily enough and is comfortable to wear. The clips at the end of the neck and waist straps are a little stiff to operate but you only need to unclip one to put the pack on or take it off. The strong ‘ballistic’ nylon and well thought out construction result in a robust and efficient pack. You don’t need to steady the pack to operate the zips – they don’t twist and jam but open single-handed. If not actually necessary, that’s a nice quality that some products just don’t achieve. If you want a pack for travelling light this pack from Fishpond is well worth a look.