Gear I Love

Gear I Love: Vedavoo chest pack

Editor's Note: This is the second 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.

Vedavoo chest pack
My recent interview with Daniel Galhardo, the founder of Tenkara USA and the guy who's become the most evangelical advocate of tenkara, likely in the world, got me thinking about the ancient craft and how, in just a couple short years, it's transformed the way approach fly fishing.

Tenkara is what some of the more pure fly fishers these days would call "minimalist," and I can appreciate that without some of the negative undertones that word seems to inspire in some of the more mainstream fly fishing circles. In my mind, the tenkara craft is a way to shrug off the sometimes oppressive belief that more gear is better. And, frankly, it has helped me evolve a bit from a hopeless gearhead to someone who is a bit more thoughtful before each fishing trip.

I've taken to asking myself, "What do you really need for this trip?" before I head out to the water. Increasingly, the list of vital gear is getting smaller, less obtrusive. Over the last couple of years, I've taken to smaller fly boxes, a little floatant, some tippet, a pair of nippers, a pair of hemostats, maybe a small camera ... and that's just about it.

As a result, I've gone from a full-on fishing vest to something quite a bit smaller. Thankfully, there's a relatively new manufacturer out there that seems to get that, in many cases, less is more. Vedavoo, an American company that hand-crafts its equipment, might be the most progressive outfit out there when it comes to catering to the fly fisher who, above all else, wants to fish. In recent weeks, I've taken to coupling a small, unobtrusive Vedavoo chest pack with my tenkara rod--they go together quite nicely, and, while I have room for everything I need, I don't feel as though I'm encumbered by a hip pack or bulging chest pack that, for me anyway, always seems to foil a cast at the least opportune moment.

Minimalist? You bet ;-)
You'll recall my review of the Vedavoo Tight Lines shoulder pack, and how I sung its praises for its portable nature and its ability to tote around quite a bit of stuff without getting in the way of my fishing. I put it to use on the flats of the Bahamas, the sand flats of South Padre Island and here at home on the carp flats of the Snake River.

The chest pack is the shoulder pack's spunky little brother. It won't hold the amount the gear the shoulder pack will, but then, it's not supposed to. The chest pack simply drapes over your neck, like a lanyard would, but it's able to conveniently cary a few more items than a standard lanyard would (and I love a good lanyard, truth be told).

The chest pack comes with three pockets--one on the the front, and two in the back. The zipper pack in the back is ideal for your car keys, your wallet--maybe even a small camera. A second, larger pocket on the back would be great for extra leaders and your "I might need this" fly box.

The front pocket is made from expandable material that could hold "I will need this" fly box and maybe a bottle of gink. The front also comes equipped with a toggled loop that can hold four spools of tippet.

Throw in the 10 different connection point for things like nippers and 'stats--adding a Zinger or two for these tools would be a great idea--and you've got yourself the ideal "minimalist" carrying case that, truth be told, doesn't have to be all that minimalist.

Another thing I appreciate about Vedavoo's equipment. It wears very nicely. The neck strap for the chest pack is adjustable for comfort and it drapes appropriately without getting in the way of a cast or getting hung up on a pesky branch. It's a great little pack, and at $49, it's very nicely priced.

If you're looking for a pack with a decent amount of carrying capacity, but something that doesn't feel awkward or get in the way of the reason you're on the water in the first place, consider the Vedavoo chest pack. It's ideal for the minimalist in all of us.

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.


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.

1 comment:

  1. This was a good suggestion that you put up here...dude…..hope that it benefits all the ones who land up here. 

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