Monday, April 30, 2012

Gear I Love: Vedavoo Tightlines Shoulder Pack


Editor's Note: This is the first installment in a series of gear reviews focusing on quality fly fishing equipment made by small manufacturers that offer quality equipment at fair prices. No money changed hands--the manufacturers simply supplied each piece of equipment reviewed. Periodically, the manufacturer and Eat More Brook Trout will hold contests, and readers will have a chance to win gear of their own.

The Vedavoo Tightlines Shoulder Pack. Retail: $99.99
I first laid eyes on the new Vedavoo line of fly fishing gear at the International Fly Tackle Dealer show in New Orleans last summer--Scott Hunter, founder and owner of Vedavoo, did a yeoman's job of coaxing me to his display, where he spent the next 10 minutes or so showing me how the gear was different and, in his mind, how his hand-made (in America) gear was better than gear manufactured by larger companies.

Then he showed the me the price list.

"You're kidding," I said.

"Nope."

But I think what impressed me most was Scott's excitement for his product (he actually does most, if not all, of the sewing himself--he bought a machine, took a class and launched the company from his garage). As he demonstrated the unique features of the gear, including the product I'm focusing on today, the Tightlines Shoulder Pack, he literally gushed.

The pack in action
And, frankly, it was contagious. As I slipped the shoulder pack over my neck, I quickly came to share in Scott's enthusiasm. The shoulder pack kind of fills a void in the fly fishing world. It's not as bulky as a vest. It isn't intrusive like a traditional chest pack or fanny pack, and it's quite a bit more substantial than a lanyard. I've used the shoulder pack now about a half-dozen times--it's been to the Bahamas, the Henry's Fork and the flats of south Texas' Laguna Madre.

The verdict? I absolutely love it. It's got just enough in the way of storage that I was able to comfortably carry a big saltwater fly box, several spools of tippet, an extra saltwater fly line and a pair of heavy-duty pliers. And, in the coolest little pocket sewn into the shoulder of the pack, I was able to easily carry and access my little waterproof camera. One day on the flats I even carried an extra reel equipped with a sink-tip line. It's plenty roomy. Trust me.

But here's the kicker. When you're fly fishing the flats or big water like the Henry's Fork, you're often required to handle a lot of line. Not once did my casts get caught up on the shoulder pack--something I can't say for the traditional chest pack. Not once did I have to hike up my pants because my loaded-down fanny pack was dragging them down.

The pack on the dunes of South Padre
When I needed something from the pack, I simply slid it around to the front, pulled open the Velcro compartment (which attaches independently from the pack, meaning it's an optional addition to the pack and adds carrying capacity) and accessed my stuff. When I was done, I slid the pack around to my back, where it was completely out of the way. When I wasn't using it, I didn't even notice I was wearing it.

Here's the deal: If you've been looking for something that's highly functional and yet somewhat minimalist without compromising quality, the Vedavoo Tightlines Shoulder Pack might be just the ticket. I'm a fan. I think you will be, too.

At the list price of $99.99, it's a bargain. Knowing that's it's made here in America makes it even more appealing. It comes with my highest recommendation.

3 comments:

  1. That looks just like what I'm looking for. Thanks for the review.

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  2. You bet Howard.... I hope you'll consider it. I really do love it.

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  3. I'm looking for something like this for sure...I'm sick of the fanny pack I've been wearing for the last year or so.

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